Are Those GelPro Mats As Good As They Look?
For years I’ve seen GelPro mats advertised in my cooking magazines and wondered if they were as good as the reviews I’ve read. Then, a few weeks ago, I was contacted by a representative from the company asking me to talk about their product and I said sure, send me one and I’ll give it a try.
So for full disclosure, I did not buy my GelPro Elite mat, it was sent to me for review. When they asked me which pattern and color I wanted, I said I had no idea so the founder of the company looked at my kitchen on one of my YouTube videos and chose the Grasscloth Harvest Grain. That nice of her, and the color actually works!
A Little GelPro History
This is one of those start-up stories that begins with a problem and ends up with a solution and a new business. Turns out one Thanksgiving, Lisa McMahan was getting cold feet in the kitchen from standing on their cold hardwood floors too long while preparing the feast.
Her husband Robb, an engineer by trade, figured he could make her life a little better by creating a “gel-filled anti-fatigue floor mat his wife could stand on and no longer suffer from aching calf muscles. This was back in 2003 and since then, they keep coming up with newer and better models made from different materials at different thicknesses depending on what they are being used for.
Where to Use Your GelPro Mat?
For me, it’s all about the kitchen. My wife and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen because we love to cook and entertain, but not everyone is like us. Some of you may spend much time in front of a hobby bench or workbench fixing things or making cool home projects.
Others may find themselves spending too much time in the laundry room. Then there are those of you who a standing desk which is great for the back but, depending on your floor, may be tough on the knees.
Then there are all those commercial uses you can imagine using a GelPro for. Think of any job where you must spend a lot of time standing on your feet. I’ll name a few:
Customer Service Counters
Hotel & Restaurant Management
Chef & Line Crews
|Assembly Lines in Factories
Barbers & Hair Dressers
Stand Up Comics
Let me describe the GelPro Elite that was sent to me and that I have been spending the last couple of weeks standing on while chopping onions and peeling potatoes. This model offers a “Duel Comfort Core” which means it has both “soothing gel and energy-return foam” to make my feet more comfortable and reduce the stress and prevent fatigue.
As you can see from the photo, it has beveled edges that are reinforced so the mat won’t curl or wear down on the edges. I read it’s easy-to-clean and has a waterproof, stain-resistant surface that I haven’t tested yet because it’s so brand new but as messy a cook as I am, I’ll know soon enough.
I also like that my Elite model is made in the USA. That’s a real plus and I’d like to find more products made here. It has a 5-year warranty which is incredible if you think of the amount of time you’ll spend on it. I wonder how this works for me since they sent me a mat to test out?
My mat is 20 inches x 36 inches, 0.8 inches thick and weighs in at 9 pounds. It is 50% thicker than the GelPro Classic.
My Experience with the GelPro Elite
When it arrived by UPS, I was surprised by its weight. This is not some flimsy piece of foam rubber but a solid, well-constructed, dense floor mat. The grass cloth style in harvest grain color blend in nicely with the tile in my kitchen. There are so many different styles and colors that for Gemini’s like me, it makes it really difficult to choose.
As soon as I stepped on my GelPro in bare feet, I know this was going to be a great fit. You feel this incredible plushiness that is both soft and firm at the same time. I know some of you are saying, “How can that be? Soft and firm?” But that’s how I would describe it.
As I went on with my business of prepping vegetables the first night, I tried working on the GelPro. I noticed my legs felt fine and I wasn’t shifting back and forth from one leg to the other like I normally do. As for the long term effects of reducing back pain or leg fatigue, time will tell but I’ve seen lots of reviews that say these mats help.
The next night I wore my shoes while prepping and cooking dinner. The mat was fine and extremely comforting to my feet, legs and back but I have to admit, I liked standing on it barefoot more than with my shoes on.
These mats are not cheap so you want to place it where you think you’re going to use it the most. At nine pounds, I don’t think you want to drag it around all over the kitchen every time you move to do a different chore, but I can see myself moving it from where I prep dinner and then in front of the sink when doing dishes.
Right now I have it between my center island and the stove. This is where I spend the most time prepping ingredients and cooking at the stove. Depending on the size and layout of your kitchen, you’ll figure out the best place to position yours.
So far I only see two and one isn’t really a negative at all. It takes a little time to get used to it being there. The first week I had the mat, there were several times I stepped on it and thought I was stepping on the dog’s tail. I just wasn’t used to it being there. Over time, especially if I leave it in the same position, I’m sure I’ll get used to it and it’ll be part of the kitchen.
The other negative is who gets to stand on the mat. Both my wife and I do most of the cooking but our girls like to help out. I can see a future argument occurring when one of us gets on the mat and doesn’t want to get off. Maybe if I leave it in front of the sink, next to the dishwasher, I can get the girls to do the dishes. Now that would make it worth its weight in gold!