Ergonomic footrests are commonly used to help short people sit taller at a desk. But two other benefits are for everyone. First, a good footrest will boost movement while you sit. Second, using one makes it easier to sit in crisp neutral postures — with less musculoskeletal effort! Beyond height-boosting, the Secretlab Ergonomic Footrest Pro presents the latter two benefits for all sizes.
Using a Secretlab Professional Footrest yields three potential benefits: height boosting; movement boosting; enhanced neutral posture support. Summary:
Footrests For Short People
Sitting with planted feet provides the power to hold the torso upright. Without that power, back muscles must do the work instead.
Short users at a desk too high will dangle their feet instead of planting them. For instance, check out Team Liquid players training at the Alienware facility in LA:
The multi-million-dollar complex equips players with cutting-edge gaming rigs, Secretlab Titan chairs — and fixed-height desks.
Look closely at the above picture. The esports athlete on the right sits with planted feet; the trio on the left are all boiled shrimp foot danglers.
The new Secretlab Professional Footrest provides an easy height-boosting solution. But… it also presents two big benefits for all sizes.
Footrests Benefits For All Sizes
First, dynamic swivel functions boost movement while you sit. Without disturbing your keyboard or mouse work, these let you work your calves and feet.
Second, slightly elevated feet make it easier to maintain healthy neutral postures. This sitting style reduces the total power absorbed by the seat(1). Instead of gravity pressing your thighs into the seat, that force curls through the hips and into the spine.
With good lumbar support in place, it becomes easier to sit upright with very little exertion. On the flip side, without lumbar support, that much pressure will probably flatten your lumbar spine completely!
Conveniently, the Secretlab Titan Evo 2022 delivers superb 4-way adjustable lumbar support — with an extra spine-hugging surprise. That makes it a perfect pairing with this footrest.
Available in June 2023. The Secretlab Premium Footrest is now available for pre-order @ $89.
Secretlab Professional Footrest Review
The Secretlab Professional Footrest replaces my $22.78 Mind Reader Footrest. I’ve been happily using that model since late 2019. The difference in sizes before unboxing was significant.
Inside the massive pre-production box, I found three parts. First, the metal footrest. Second, a swappable PU cover. Third, a pair of height boosters.
The boosters add 20 mm of height; Secretlab recommends them for sizes under 150 cm (4’9″). Notably, production releases sold in June 2023 will not contain height boosters. Those will be available as add-ons.
Setup is a breeze. Simply chuck the soft PU cover on top of the footrest. A magnetic locking system will snap it into place.
Stationary Vs Dynamic Modes
The footrest comes pre-set in stationary mode. You control it with your feet to lock at any angle from +15° to -15°. Use your right foot to press the lever and tilt downward.
To tilt rearward, press down with your left heel. It took me a few seconds to get the hang of it. The resistance level is good: strong enough to gently work muscles — without exertion.
Once you get the hang of stationary mode controls, flip over the footrest. Pinching the lever closed will let you switch to Dynamic mode.
So far, I prefer dynamic mode. The resistance remains perfect. The footrest will stay in place at any angle against light pressure.
To toggle, push forward with your toes using moderate force. To tilt rearward, press down with the heels of both feet.
The SL Pro footrest is spacious, full-featured, and attractive. Specs are impressive across the board — except for the warranty. The solid steel chassis is likely to last for years, while the PU top is swappable.
- Materials: full metal chassis, rubber foot grips, swappable magnetic PU top.
- Surface: 21.8″(W) x 13.7″ (D)
- Height: 4.3″; 5″ (with 20 mm boosters”)
- Dynamic mode: free-swivel (moderate resistance) with 30° range
- Stationary mode: lockable angles from +15° to -15° using a foot-activated pedal
- Warranty: 1 year
However, the resistance (a highlight feature) comes pre-set to a delicious level. Given the short 1-year warranty, its durability is in question. Will the resistance last, or loosen over time?
The Secretlab Premium Footrest (memory foam wrapped in velour) is also available for $89.
How To Use: 3 Perspectives
Both Secretlab footrests have been validated by members of its independent Ergonomics Advisory Board(2). Its EAB includes experts in the fields of biomechanics, orthopedics, and esports performance optimization.
A pair of prominent esports docs are on the board. Each has unique ideas on how to best use the Professional Footrest. My method differs — but is supported by other physical therapists:
- Dr. Jordan Tsai: use it to support reclined relaxation periods between gaming sessions.
- Dr. Lindsey Migliore: use the locking function to rest feet at varied angles between 0-15°.
- ChairsFX (endorsed by ergorx.com): use the footrest to sit upright with knees bent at a relaxed 100-120° angle; use in dynamic mode to move freestyle.
Dr. Jordan Tsai
Dr. Jordan Tsai is the founder of Respawn Therapy and a consultant with several top esports teams. In this Twitter thread(3), he hypes using the Pro Footrest during reclined, relaxed periods:
Notably, he does not use the footrest while gaming. “I generally don’t play using it because I bring my feet back and sit leaning forwards.”
Dr. Lindsey Migliore
Dr. Migliore is the founder of GamerDoc, an esports medicine consultancy focusing on athletes’ health, longevity, and performance. She’s also the Evil Geniuses Performance Director. Her take:
Car Seat 120° Knee Bend Style
So far, I’ve most enjoyed using the SL Pro Footrest to put myself in a car seat-style position. This study (1) first turned me onto the method.
Sitting with slightly elevated feet and knees bent beyond 90° reduces the total power absorbed by the seat. Instead of gravity pulling your body downward, it curls through the hips and into the spine.
Physical therapist Jeannie Koulizakis from ergorx.com endorses footrests supporting a more generous 120° knee bend(4). She notes that there’s a reason car gas pedals in cars are not buttons on the floorboard:
In her opinion, any gaming station that forces the knees into a 90° (or less) angle is “a trigger for forward-leaning and a painful lumbar degenerative disorder in the making. Reclined positions are best, but only if you can stay there.”
Secretlab Vs Cheap Footrests
Hard-core bargain hunters have a sound case against the Secretlab Footrest. A quick search on Amazon yields dozens of models priced under $50. Why pay $199 when a cheap version does a similar job?
This bargain-hunter mindset is valid. If the Secretlab footrest seems overpriced to you, it is.
Secretlab Pro Vs Mind Reader Footrest
The Magnus Pro’s 25.6-49.2″ height range negated the need for height-boosting. But after a short break without a footrest, I resumed using one for the movement and posture benefits.
In sum, the Mind Reader does a similar job as the Secretlab version, minus some luxuries:
|Model||Secretlab Pro||Mind Reader|
|Materials||Metal frame, PU Cloudswap top, rubber foot grips||Plastic|
|Surface||21.8″(W) x 13.7″ (D)||18.4″ (W) x 4.4″ (D)|
|Height range||4.3″; 5″ (with 20 mm boosters”)||3 lockable presets: 1″; 4.7″; 6″|
|Dynamic mode||free-swivel (moderate resistance) 30°||free-swivel (no resistance) around 20°|
|Price||$199 from Secretlab (footrest + PU cover kit)||$22.78 on Amazon|
Incentives to Upgrade
Secretlab charges premium prices for premium products. This formula has gained the company a massive following of loyal repeat customers. Those + other fans of luxury will find these advantages with the $199 version:
- Integrates well with Titan chairs: this footrest has a similarly solid feel as other SL products. Aesthetically, it blends in seamlessly with my Titan chair and Magnus Pro desk.
- Perfect resistance level: the resistance is set to a perfect level. To alter angles, you need to apply moderate force — light pressure isn’t enough.
- More room to move your feet: the larger surface area gives your feet a spacious playground to slide around.
- Sophisticated stationary mode controls: build foot dexterity; use the right foot to control the tilt-lock lever and the left to tilt rearward.
Secretlab Vs Premium Ergo Footrests
Only a small percentage of the population is likely to spend more than $50 on a footrest. Existing Secretlab, Herman Miller, Humanscale, and Steelcase customers are among those known to pay a premium for luxury.
Against the Professional Footrest, Secretlab also offers a Premium one. Three of the world’s largest office furniture mega-corporations also have luxury footrests on offer. Summary:
- Secretlab Premium vs Pro Footrest: a cheaper memory foam alternative with a few engineered extras.
- Herman Miller Foot Pillow vs Secretlab Premium: an $89 dual-foam block with removable velour cover vs a $275 leather-covered block with a 12-year warranty.
- Secretlab Pro vs Steelcase Adjustable Footrest: $199 multifunction steel footrest vs a $103 plastic height-adjustable version.
- Humanscale Foot Machine vs Secretlab Pro: a $100.00 swivel system vs Secretlab’s $199 multifunction version.
Secretlab Premium vs Pro Footrests
The Secretlab Premium is a cheaper alternative to the Professional with its own unique merits. It was designed at the right height to work with all Secretlab chairs. It helps short legs stay firmly planted while encouraging movement.
The Premium comes stuffed with a dual-density foam concept. An inner layer of medium-firm cold-cured foam ensures consistently even weight distribution and support.
The outer layer is a more malleable visco-elastic Secretlab PlushCell Memory Foam. I enjoy using this stuff on my Plushcell Armrests. It provides soft, squishy, very gentle cushioning.
Covering the two layers of foam is a (removable, machine-washable) quilted velour cover. If similar to my Plushcell Armrest velour covers, users are in for a treat.
Secretlab recommends using this footrest with bare feet or socks. For best results, take your shoes off and relaaaaax…
Secretlab Premium vs Pro Specs
|Model||Secretlab Premium||Secretlab Pro|
|Materials||Cold-cured foam core + Plushcell memory foam outer; Plushcell Velour cover (removable, machine-washable)||Metal frame, PU Cloudswap top (swappable)|
|Surface||21.7″ (W) x 11.8″ (D)||21.8″(W) x 13.7″ (D)|
|Height range||5.1″ fixed (compressible) height||4.3″; 5″ (with 20 mm boosters”)|
|Dynamic mode||no functionality||free-swivel (moderate resistance) 30°|
|Price||$89 from Secretlab||$199 from Secretlab (footrest + PU cover kit)|
Dr. Lindsey Migliore (Gamer Doc, SL Ergo Advisory Board, Evil Geniuses Performance Director) helped to validate both the Pro and Premium versions before the pre-release.
On Twitter, her GamerDoc Twitter account(5) recently hyped up the Premium version:
I’ve not tried the Premium version. But I’m a big fan of Plushcell Velour. Even so, I’m thrilled to be using the Pro model instead.
Available now for pre-order (buy now, receive later).
SL Premium Vs Herman Miller Foot Pillow
Herman Miller’s $275 Foot Pillow comes guaranteed for 12 years. Like the Secretlab Premium, it’s stuffed with foam — and marketed as being available in several fabric or leather colors.
However, only the black leather version is available in the Herman Miller Store. Notably, the type of foam and leather are not specified.
|Model||Secretlab Premium||Herman Miller Foot Pillow||Secretlab Professional|
|Materials||Cold-cured foam core + Plushcell memory foam outer; Plushcell Velour cover (removable, machine-washable)r||Undefined foam padding; non-removable leather cover||Metal frame, PU Cloudswap top (swappable)|
|Surface||21.7″ (W) x 11.8″ (D)||17″(W) x 12″ (D)||21.8″(W) x 13.7″ (D)|
|Height range||5.1″ fixed (compressible) height||5.1″ fixed (compressible) height||4.3″; 5″ (with 20 mm boosters”)|
|Dynamic mode||Manual (move your feet around)||Manual||free-swivel (moderate resistance) 30°|
|Warranty||1 year||12 years||1 year|
|Price||$89 from Secretlab||$275 from Herman Miller||$199 from Secretlab (footrest + PU cover kit)|
Both foot pillows have merits. The Secretlab Premium’s dual-foam core delivers finer resistance; its removable cover is easy to maintain. Its $89 price tag ($186 cheaper than the Herman Miller version) is also a plus.
On the flip side, Herman Miller’s leathers are exquisite. Although the foam type isn’t specified, the 12-year warranty implies it’s legit.
Steelcase Vs Mind Reader Vs SL Pro
The $103 Steelcase Adjustable Footrest is a less functional version of the $22.78 Mind Reader footrest. Like the Mind Reader, it has 3 adjustable height settings.
But unlike the Mind Reader, it doesn’t have a swivel function — it’s strictly for elevating the feet.
|Model||Steelcase Footrest||Mind Reader||Secretlab Pro|
|Materials||Counter pressure-formed styrene, steel, and viny||Plastic||Metal frame, PU Cloudswap top|
|Surface||18″ (W) x 12″ (D)||18.4″ (W) x 4.4″ (D)||21.8″(W) x 13.7″ (D)|
|Height range||4 lockable presets between 2-6″||3 lockable presets: 1″; 4.7″; 6″||4.3″; 5″ (with 20 mm boosters”)|
|Dynamic mode||None||free-swivel (no resistance) around 20°||free-swivel (moderate resistance) 30°|
|Price||$103 from Smart Furniture||$22.78 on Amazon||$199 from Secretlab (footrest + PU cover kit)|
Humanscale Foot Machine FR500 Vs SL Pro
Humanscale offers a few variations of its Foot Machine footrest. The FR500 has a plywood surface in black or wood colors. It also has a fixed 4.5″ height, and rocking blades on each side to promote movement.
Versus the Secretlab Pro, it lacks tilt-locking angle controls. On the flip side, it’s half the price of the SL Pro — and guaranteed for an insane fifteen years.
|Model||Humanscale FR500||Secretlab Pro|
|Materials||Aluminum legs; plywood platform; steel foot stop; rubber grips||Metal frame, PU Cloudswap top, rubber grips|
|Surface||16.75″ (W) x 12.25″ (D)||21.8″(W) x 13.7″ (D)|
|Height range||4.5″||4.3″; 5″ (with 20 mm boosters”)|
|Dynamic mode||free-swivel (no resistance)||free-swivel (moderate resistance) 30°|
|Price||$100.00 on Amazon||$199 from Secretlab (footrest + PU cover kit)|
|Warranty||15 years||1 year|
Conclusion: Likes And Dislikes
ChairsFX has been hyping footrests since 2019 for all gamers size 5’10” or shorter. But now that I’ve got a Magnus Pro standing desk (25.6-49.2″ height range), my 5’9″ doesn’t need to sit taller at a desk.
But even without a height-boosting need, a footrest has two benefits. First, using one makes it easier to sit in healthy neutral postures. Second, it keeps circulation robust by stimulating foot movement.
As a movement booster, a good footrest beats fancy synchronous-tilt functions found on most high-end office chairs.
The problem with sync-tilt: users must lean away from their keyboard to activate it. However, keyboard and mouse work demands a steady seat — not possible while flopping around in sync tilt mode!
Pros and Cons
The obvious downside to the Secretlab Pro Footrest is its gaudy $199 price tag. I also find the PU cover gets warm while I’m wearing socks. With bare feet (recommended!!), it feels luxurious.
So far, I love this footrest — it blows away my old Mind Reader model. However, it’s not something I can recommend for everyone. if the price bothers you, do not buy this footrest — a cheap Amazon footrest will do a similar job.
That leaves those willing to pay extra for luxury as the targets for this footrest. If you’re in that group, do you need to sit taller at your desk? Would you like more movement while you sit? How about enhanced neutral posture support?
Luxury shoppers having one, two, or all of those needs should consider buying this footrest!
Available in June 2023. The Secretlab Premium Footrest is now available for pre-order @ $89.
- Naser Nawayseh, et al. ‘Power absorbed during whole-body vertical vibration: Effects of sitting posture, backrest, and footrest’. Journal of Sound and Vibration, Volume 329, Issue 14, 5 July 2010, Pages 2928-2938 doi.org/10.1016/j.jsv.2010.01.025, (accessed 19 August 2022).
- Secretlab Blog, ‘Step Up Your Ergonomic Support With Secretlab Footrests’, NCBI, February 21, 2023. https://blog.secretlab.co/stories/step-up-your-ergonomic-support-with-secretlab-footrests/, (accessed 23 Feb. 2023).
- Dr. Respawn. Twitter Post. February 21, 2023, 10:28 PM. https://twitter.com/DrJordantsai/status/1628054076507426817.
- Jeannie Koulizakis. Linkedin Comment. July 2022. As a physical therapist and custom ergonomic work-gaming station tailor….
- GamerDoc. Twitter Post. February 22, 2023, 12:53 AM. https://twitter.com/GamerDoc_/status/1628090557213048832.