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What Angle Should a Footrest Be?

What Angle Should a Footrest Be?

Finding the best angle for a footrest is a question many customers, experts, and businesses are interested in.

If you learn these footrest angles, you will get to enjoy many benefits, including:

  • Better posture and comfort.
  • Improved blood circulation.
  • Reduced sitting pains.

In this article, we will answer questions like “should a footrest be angled?”, “what’s the best angle for a footrest?” and more.

So let’s dig right in.

Should a Footrest be Angled?

Footrests are indeed an essential addition to any seating arrangement that leaves your feet dangling off the floor. However, the debate on whether footrests should be angled has yet to be resolved.

Angle Adjustable Footrest with Removable Soft Foot Rest Pad

In fact, according to some experts, like Olivier Girard, an author and member of Logitech’s ErgoLab Scientific Board, a footrest’s primary purpose is to mimic the function of the floor. So, according to him, a footrest should not be angled. Instead, Girard says the best footrest should be level, firm, and not slippery.

On the other hand, other reputable researchers, organizations, ergonomic therapists, and well-known reviewers often recommend plushy, angled footrests like the ErgoFoam or ComfiLife footrest as the best ergonomic choice.

At this point, as a buyer, no doubt you are confused. Should you buy a tilting or non-tilting footrest?

Well, the answer is simple. Non-tilting horizontal footrests are like vanilla ice cream. They are just right if all you need is a place to rest your weary, hanging legs. But if you need a footrest with extra spice, for example, massage textures, bumps, and rollers, then pick an angled or tilting footrest.

Woman sitting on office chair using a Tilt Adjustable Footrest

Additionally, angled footrests improve blood circulation and the range of leg activity, thereby helping to reduce swelling in the legs caused by gravity and increased deoxygenated hemoglobin (deOXY-Hb) in the legs.

So you should angle your footrest if you:

  • Suffer from leg swelling caused by prolonged sitting.
  • Want the extra features and mobility allowed by angled footrests.
  • Need to improve the blood circulation in your legs.

What Angle Should a Footrest Be?

As mentioned before, the angle of your footrest depends upon your needs, health, and situation.

According to a 2014 Japanese study, a properly angled footrest can even help reduce swelling in your legs and feet. In the study, the researchers had participants in three positions:

  1. First, sitting on a high stool to increase leg and foot swelling.
  2. Second, sitting on a trial chair with a footrest at 0°, 15°, and 30° to find the best footrest angle to relieve the swelling.
  3. Third, lying down facing upwards for 20 minutes to alleviate the swelling.
Tilt Adjustable Footrest with Removable Soft Foot Rest Pad

The study’s results show that when sitting in a chair:

  • A footrest set at a 30° (30 degrees) angle provides the best relief from swelling. So if you’re part of the 90% of females and 15% percent of males who suffer from swelling in the legs when seated, you should use a footrest at 30° to reduce the swelling.
  • Secondly, a footrest set at 15° neither increases nor decreases the swelling. So if you find such an angle comfortable when sitting and don’t suffer from swelling, you should try it out.
  • Lastly, a horizontal footrest at 0° will slightly increase the swelling in sufferers. However, a flat footrest will do just fine if you don’t suffer from leg and foot swelling and only want to take the pressure from your thighs and back due to dangling feet.

Who Should Use a Footrest?

Anyone can use a footrest. The only difference is that a footrest is necessary for some people, while it’s a luxury item for others.

Woman sitting in good posture using footrest

With that said, you should use a footrest if you experience the following while sitting in a chair:

  1. You can’t firmly place your feet flat on the floor. In other words, your feet are dangling.
  2. Your thighs are not parallel to the floor, and your knees are below your hips.
  3. You cannot type comfortably while your arms are parallel to the floor.
  4. The height of your table needs you to sit on a high-stool or raise your chair’s elevation.
  5. You are often on your feet for long periods. You can do so by alternating each foot onto the footrest to ease the load on your lower back. 

What Makes a Good Footrest?

An excellent answer to this question depends upon what kind of footrest you want. This is because there are many kinds of footrests on the market today. The options include footrests made from metal, plastic, rubber, and even foam-based footrests. Thus, choosing the ideal footrest for your purposes is up to you.

Woman sitting in an armchair and putting her feet on Adjustable Footrest

If you want a comfy and lightweight footrest so your feet don’t dangle all day, then foam-based is the way to go. On the other hand, if you want a footrest that comes with a massage-ready textured surface, then a plastic or rubber footrest is the way to go.

Lastly, if you want a minimalist, sturdy footrest that can survive until kingdom come, then metal is your go-to choice.

Here are some common traits usually found on good footrests:

  • Height adjustable: People come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and heights. So a great footrest must  adjust to match the varying leg height.
  • Affordable: A footrest at the end of the day is not a spaceship. Some might even call it a glorified cardboard box. So there’s no reason why it should cost you an arm and a leg.
  • Made from sturdy and durable materials: It should handle and outlive the rigors of carrying heavy loads daily.
  • Ease of cleaning: Self-explanatory.
  • Non-slip top and bottom: Your footrest is neither a playground slide nor a trolley. So you should not have to readjust your feet to their original position constantly.
  • Able to find replacement parts: Some footrest manufacturers are now infamous for their bad after-sales service and repair. Hence, the footrest you choose should have a decent after-sales policy and replacement parts if  something goes wrong.
  • Comfortable: Your feet should feel much better when using a footrest. Ideally, your footrest also should be able to tilt to an angle that puts the least strain on your feet, legs, and spine.