How to choose the best shop floor mats for every retail zone

Specifying for a brand new fit-out? Current safety matting or anti-fatigue flooring mats in need of an upgrade? In retail, appearances matter as much as functionality. We've asked our sales team to share their shop floor mat recommendations for retailers.

As matting specialists with over 50 years’ experience, we’ve been involved in a diverse range of commercial shop flooring matting solutions, from small retail outlets to large supermarket chains and department stores. The retail environment has diverse safety matting needs, from anti-fatigue mats for areas where employees spend hours on their feet, to slip-resistant mats for areas that are slippery when wet, and of course, entrance mats to help keep dirt and moisture from becoming a safety hazard.

Entrance matting for high traffic entrance ways

In a busy shopping centre or store, thousands of customers can visit in a single day, each trekking in a collection of dirt and debris. Without a high performance entrance mat, dirt and debris create a literal trail of safety hazards and cause a bad customer experience. No one likes to see a dirty shop floor or push a supermarket trolley with wheels clogged with debris.

An entrance mat is also so much more than a place for people to wipe their feet before entering your store. It contributes to meeting H&S and DDA compliance standards, and the opportunity it could be for your branding shouldn’t be undervalued.

When looking for shop entrance mats for a retail stores, here’s what you need to consider:

  1. Location: Do customers enter the store from the high street or outdoors (like a park/natural environment)? Do they have to walk through a parking area before coming inside? Factor this into the store's entrance matting system to ensure as little dirt and grime as possible gets trekked inside. In addition to an interior entrance mat, you may also need a heavy-duty exterior system to scrape and clean dirt, water and debris from visitors' heels and wheels to prevent it getting trekked all over your shop floor.

    Look for an entrance mat with an open grid for excellent drainage, and a deep-etched surface for superior traction underfoot. This winning combination will ensure the entrance mat scrapes shoes and wheels clean, stops dirt in its tracks, and helps prevent slips and trips.

  2. Durability & fit-for-purpose: Over the course of a year, how many customers are expected to enter the store? Foot traffic really adds up, and durability is key – as is ensuring the building entrance is DDA compliant. A budget entrance matting option may need to be replaced sooner, and entrance matting that comes in tiles have a greater tendency to break as there are more connection points, so look for systems that come in rolls. It’s also worthwhile to check what maintenance (and special tools, if any) is required to clean the entrance mat before you make a selection. Choose entrance matting that can be easily lifted or rolled for an option that makes maintenance a breeze.

    Also consider whether deliveries happen via the same entrance to the store that customers use. If so, look for entrance matting that’s specifically designed to be wheel-proof, so that sack truck wheels don’t get caught up under an ill-suited loose laid mat.

  3. Customisation & installation requirements: Does the entrance have an existing mat well? Are there any architectural constraints to factor into the installation, such as pillars or sliding doors? Some entrance mats need to be custom manufactured for size, adding significant extra expense and time to an order (avoid this if you can!).

    This was a key consideration for Selfridges when they chose Frontrunner Plus for the entrances of their Birmingham and Manchester department stores. Frontrunner Plus can be quickly cut to fit any shape, such as within revolving doors, inside mat wells or over irregularly shaped areas. This was a huge benefit for Selfridges, because the matting needed to be cut to fit around several irregularly shaped columns – and the whole installation process had to happen during the store's closing hours.
Frontrunner plus 05

For interior entrance matting, consider:

Frontrunner Plus

  • Has carpet inserts for superior dirt and maximum moisture removal
  • Helps to reduce cleaning intervals and keeps interiors looking stylish for longer
  • Can be quickly cut to fit on site, and installed recessed or surface-mounted
  • Over 50 colour and style combinations available for bespoke branding, as well as the option to add a logo panel
  • Certified slip resistant, wheel-proof and heel-proof, making it ideal for shopping centres and stores with high traffic

Order your free Frontrunner Plus sample

For exterior entrance matting, consider:

Frontrunner XT

  • An extra slip resistant indoor and outdoor entrance floor mat with a deep-etched tread that scrapes shoes and wheels clean
  • Wheel-proof, heel-proof, and certified slip resistant, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic entrances with frequent trolley use

  • Easy to cut to size on-site with no special tools required, and can be installed surface-mounted or recessed seamlessly into the subfloor

  • Designed for quick installation, even in non-conventional shaped entrances

  • Extremely easy to clean: simply roll and lift, with no special cleaning tools needed

  • Available in a wide range of colours to match branding and enhance the aesthetics of the entrance

Order your free Frontrunner XT sample

Anti-fatigue mats for service staff

Retail staff, particularly those working behind service counters and at cash registers, spend hours on their feet. This can be detrimental for circulation, as well as contribute to fatigue and discomfort. Fortunately, installing high-quality anti-fatigue matting in areas where employees spend lots of time on their feet can help improve H&S and boost productivity.

When looking for anti-fatigue flooring mats, here’s what you need to consider:

  1. Location: Generally speaking, anti-fatigue mats are behind service counters and cash registers, however depending on the environment, consider if any additional functionality is needed. You may require matting with extra grip in areas with frequent spills or water, like a fishmongers counter or floristry preparation area, or noise absorption for spaces where equipment is frequently dropped onto shop floor mats.

  2. Durability & fit-for-purpose: For checkout and other service areas, look for an anti-fatigue mat made from high molecular density foam. This construction means the mat will bounce back for extra comfort and the cushioning won’t deaden over time, even when staff stand in place for prolonged periods.

  3. Customisation & installation requirements: If you need to install anti-fatigue flooring mats in all service zones, look for shop floor mats that are quick to install and easy to clean. You want to choose an anti-fatigue mat that can be cut to fit on site and contours to uneven surfaces.

For anti-fatigue matting, consider:

Zed Land ESD has been proven to significantly reduces standing fatigue.

Zed Land

  • Can be used as a shop floor mat in every retail zone, from service and checkout counters, to entrance security check areas
  • Effectively reduces the impact of noise
  • Provides good slip resistance, thanks to the embossed pebble surface
  • Features certified wear resistance, which means there’s minimal wear to the foam
  • Patented foam construction reduces standing fatigue and boosts worker productivity
  • Easy to clean (simply roll and lift) without special cleaning tools
  • Comes in rolls or modules for quick installation with no special tools needed
  • Easy to cut to size and shape on site, so there's no need for extensive design visits to site before ordering, and minimal time needed for installation

Are you looking for ways to help encourage social distancing at your supermarket, either behind counters for service staff or to help keep customers a safe distance apart in queues? We have a range of social distancing matting solutions available for retail flooring that are more durable than stickers or stencils.

Matting for cold rooms and wet areas

If the premises has a cold room, a refrigerated product display, or an inherently slippery retail area, suitable shop floor matting is an important consideration for health and safety. From ice crystals and condensation to accidental spillages and tracked-in water, refrigerated areas pose plenty of potential hazards.

Retail environments like garden centres also require matting that can withstand significant water, and can become slippery from humidity. Covering the floor with heavy-duty, slip-resistant matting that improves drainage helps reduce the risk of slip, trip and fall accidents and prevent goods from getting damp or contaminated.

When looking for matting for refrigerated areas and slippery retail areas, here’s what you need to consider:

  1. Location: Are refrigerator/cold room doors frequently opened, leading to condensation dripping/freezing on the ground? Does the cold room store products that drip water or spill, such as bags of ice or bottles of milk? Are you looking for matting for an area that’s going to be hosed or wet regularly, such as in a garden centre or outdoor retail environment where slippery walkways are inevitable? If so, make sure the matting is slip resistant, has excellent drainage and is impermeable to fluids, and resistant to mould and algae.

    This was central to the Royal Horticultural Society’s decision to install our heavy-duty Vynagrip matting to provide safety underfoot for pedestrians. After testing different mats, they chose Vynagrip, which is impermeable to mould, algae, oils and other chemicals. The two-layer construction provides comfortable cushioning, and the addition of a gently angled ramp welded to the edges of the mat facilitates the passage of carts and wheeled equipment.

  2. Durability & fit-for-purpose: Of course, when considering matting for a cold room, look for matting that’s purpose-designed to withstand cold temperatures. Make sure the matting has anti-fatigue properties also, as staff spend prolonged time in cold rooms unpacking and packing trolleys.

    Don’t forget to consider wheeled traffic. Cold room floor matting may need to be suitable for wheeled trolleys moving pallets of stock and large carts. In garden centres, wheeled traffic includes trolleys and carts as well as prams, and DDA requirements for safe access for wheelchairs also need to be met. Ensure the matting you select will help prevent skidding of wheeled traffic, as well as being suitable to not get caught under wheels.

  3. Customisation & installation requirements: Retail zones and cold rooms can vary in size and shape, so choose matting that can be cut to size and shape on site to meet the specific needs of the area. It can also be useful to have colour variations in the cold room matting to mark out different areas.
Matting for commercial refrigeration

For slippery areas, consider:


  • Made from non-porous vinyl with a two layer construction and open grid for superior drainage

  • Diamond-tread pattern provides unparalleled traction underfoot, which helps prevent people from slipping and vehicles from skidding

  • Designed to function at temperatures from -23°C without cracking or curling

  • Cushioning and anti-fatigue properties

  • A breeze to clean with a high pressure hose

  • Easy to cut on site and contours to uneven surfaces

  • Available in black, red, blue or with yellow bands around the edge for extra visibility

Order your free Vynagrip sample

Protection matting for shelving

In some retail environments – such as butcher shops and fishmongers – product display shelving also requires drainage and cushioning. Protection matting for shelving may also be useful in retail warehouse and store rooms areas where cleaning supplies, tools and equipment are stored.

When looking for shelf protection mats, here’s what you need to consider:

  1. Location: Where are the shelves located, and how high are they? Are they in an employee workspace or product display areas? Look for matting that’s lightweight and not going to add too much extra weight.

  2. Durability & fit-for-purpose: If the shelving will hold food products, such as in a butcher or fishmongers display, the protection matting needs to be fit-for-purpose, and of course, hygienic and a breeze to clean. Look for matting that’s easy to lift out or roll to clean, and is resistant to acids, alkalines and oils.

  3. Customisation and installation requirements: Look for protective matting that contours to uneven surfaces and is quick to install. If you think about how many shelves and display areas may need protective matting, you don’t want to waste time navigating a complicated installation process.

For shelving matting, consider:


  • Resistant to most acids, alkalines and oils, including cleaning products

  • Air-filled hollow sections deliver superior cushioning

  • Open grid design ensures good drainage and fallthrough

  • Light to handle, making installation a breeze, even for higher shelves

  • Simply lift or roll to clean with no special tools needed

  • Contours to uneven surfaces easily

  • Available in a wide range of colours

Order your free Pillomat sample

As always, our expert team is happy to help you select the best shop floor mats to meet your specific requirements. The shop floor mats and shelving mats we’ve recommended in this article are the ones most often chosen by our distributors and customers for the needs mentioned but we love a challenge, so if you have a niche retail flooring or other matting need, please get in touch with us.

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