Choosing the best walk off mats for a particular use will vary depending upon the desired outcome. For instance, if the desire is to trap sand, salt and gritty particulate BEFORE it gets tracked into a home or building, it is best to seek a mat that has an aggressive fiber and is constructed in such a way that dirt is scraped off of the shoe. We refer to this as a Zone 1 walk off mat. If the focus is to dry shoes before a person walks upon a hard floor to prevent a slip and fall, the walk off mat surface should generally be soft to the touch. Entrance mats that are designed for moisture retention will normally have fibers with a very thin denier or fiber thickness. This allows for more fibers per square inch and increased surface area. The increased surface area is what retains any moisture that may accumulate. Walk off mats that are designed for moisture control are deemed as Zone 3 mats and are generally used indoors in a runner floor mat application.
Another consideration for choosing the best walk off mat will be where the mat is to be utilized in relation to the entrance. In an ideal world, it is desirable to utilize walk off matting as a three prong system. The ideal system will utilize three different mat types in a linear fashion to accomplish the goal of Scrape, Scrape AND Absorb, and Absorb. As previously mentioned floor mats that are designed for optimal scraping will have an aggressive construction. The best walk off mats for scraping should be placed on the outside where all of the particulate dirt originates. And just as some entrance mats are designed for scraping OR moisture retention, some entrance mats will be made in a manner to perform as BOTH a scraper and a wiper mat. These are referred to as walk off mats for a Zone 2 application. Zone 2 mats are usually placed directly inside the exterior doors and are often used in vestibules. They will not have the best scraping or absorption qualities, but will assist in the overall function of the system. This Zone 2 mat, should be immediately followed with a Zone 3 mat that is designed to finish drying and wiping shoes clean. The best walk off matting systems will employ this 3 mat system and will shoot for 18-20 lineal feet of walk off. It may not be possible to attain this length of protection due to building design constraints, but it is good to be mindful of this metric.