Choosing The Best Walk Off Mats

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.

Best Walk Off Mats for Scraping – Zone 1

Aluminum Walk Off Mats

Aluminum Walk Off mats are available in a variety of thicknesses.  The mats that are 3/8″ in thickness can be outfitted with beveled edges made out of a vinyl or aluminum profile for a surface application.  The 3/8″ Aluminum mats are also suitable for a recessed application of 3/8″ to 1/2″ in depth.  Other thicknesses available are a 3/4″ thickness, 1-5/8″ and 1-3/4″ for deeper pit applications.  All Aluminum walk off mats can be outfitted with different “tread options” which is the part of the mat that comes in contact with the shoe.  For a Zone 1 application, we normally recommend a tread option that enhances scraping action such as the Polybrush, Vinyl or Serrated.  Pictured below are each tread option in a different thickness mat.  For all Aluminum Mats, please refer to the following Link:  Aluminum Walk Off Mats

Super Scrape Rubber Mats provide an inexpensive outdoor scraper mat option. Superscrape walk off mats will last a long time and will help to keep the dirt outside where it is supposed to be. Superscrape floor mats are made from a nitrile rubber material and can be outfitted with a high definition logo if desired.
Brush Hog Walk Off Mats are great for sandy beach environments. They help to trap sand and hold it.
Mat-A-Dor Walk Off mats have been around for a very long time. They are generally thicker than most other floor mats designed for a surface application so be mindful of any door clearance issues. The rubber “fingers” of the Mat-A-Dor mat provide a very aggressive scraping action and any grit falls below the walk surface and is retained within the mat.
Vinyl Link Mats are popular with schools and military installations. They provide a long lasting option for scraping in a Zone 1 walk off mat scenario. Vinyl link floor matting can be used as a surface mat with beveled edging or in a shallow recessed application. These mats are made to order and cannot easily be modified onsite. Vinyl Link walk off matting can also be outfitted with a high definition or low definition logo. These mats are fairly expensive and each mat is made to order. There is no additional upcharge to have a logo design added to the mat.

Best Walk Off Mats for Scraping and Absorption – Zone 2

Waterhog Walk Off Mats are the workhorse of the floor matting industry.  The original Waterhog Classic mat with a “waffle pattern” surface has spawned many knock offs, but the original beats them all hands down.  After Waterhog Classic proved to be so successful, new designs, colors and patterns were implemented.  Rest assured, however, that all walk off mats with the “Waterhog” name will provide superior Zone 2 Scrape and Absorb cleaning action.  All Waterhog mats are made from a high quality rubber backing, have a patented raised rubber nub under the surface fabric to maximize scraping and elevate foot traffic above any dirt or moisture that collects within the mat.  This raised rubber nub construction is crucial to minimize the sand, salt and grit from getting tracked further into your building.  While most Waterhog floor mats can be used outdoors, they are best utilized as a second line of defense in vestibules or directly inside the exterior door.  The Waterhog line of matting is often used as a Zone 3 mat as well in a runner application.  Waterhog walk off mats are the most versatile and functional mats available.

There is a popular category of Berber walk off mats that are ideal for Zone 2 areas that may have an odd configuration or a need to cover a large surface are such as around a revolving door or large vestibule. We recommend either our Piazza or SandTrap berber matting interchangeably. Different manufacturers with different color options. These Berber style walk off mats can be used in a shallow recessed application if glued down or as a surface floor mat with heavy duty beveled edging attached. Piazza and Sandtrap floor matting can also be personalized with custom logos that utilize precision waterjet technology with an inlaid logo process to achieve phenomenal results.
Aluminum Mats as discussed above can be outfitted with different tread insert options to accomplish different results. For a Zone 2 application, we recommend our recessed mats with a Monoscrape Carpet Tread insert. Again, these aluminum mats are available in several thickness options. Here are some of the ones available with a Monoscrape Tread Insert:
Entrance Carpet Tiles can be used in both a Zone 2 or 3 application. They can be applied in a surface application provided transition edging is used around any open sides. They can also be used in a shallow recessed application. Carpet Tiles that are designed for entrance walk off matting is different than the carpet tiles used in an interior office setting. Generally, carpet tiles that are designed for an entrance use application need to be able to withstand a high volume of foot traffic in a concentrated area such as directly in front of a doorway leading to the outdoors. Here are some very popular Carpet tiles that work well in a Zone 2 application.
Here are a few Low Cost Options Zone 2 Walk Off mats that hit an attractive price point and work well in low traffic Zone 2 Applications. Generally speaking lower cost walk off mats will have a vinyl backing and only be available in 3′, 4′ and 6′ widths available in 1′ increments up to 60′ in length. Here are some popular low cost walk off matting options:

Best Walk Off Mats for Drying Shoes – Zone 3

Zone 3 Walk off mats are often called Finishing Mats.  The primary purpose of a good Zone 3 mat is to finish the drying process and help to capture any small particles of dirt.   A well selected matting system will result in 75%-85% of dirt and moisture to be captured within a small defined area.  This area can then be targeted for more frequent cleaning and areas farther in the building will remain cleaner.  Slip and fall incidents can be reduced by using walk off mats in a proper manner.  Here are some popular Zone 3 mats that primarily focus on moisture control.