Office chair for short sweaty people
February 28, 2017 2:26 PM   Subscribe

I need a new office chair for my home office, that has a mesh breathable seat and is suitable for a short person! (5'2" with especially short legs.)

My fancy executive chair is comfy and supportive like a big leather cloud, but I get very sweaty in it , and I really need a chair that will help minimize seat-sweat. Sorry, I know it's gross. The problem is that all the decent ones I see are not sized for short people, or are junky chairs that aren't really meant for sitting for long periods of time. I sit for 8-10 hours a day and need something very comfortable that won't jack up my back. Do such things exist? With wheels even? Do they exist under, say, $400? Recommendations, please. Direct links welcomed. Personal experience especially welcomed.
posted by juniperesque to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
We had these chairs in my last office full of very complainy people and none of them ever complained about chair sweat. They're very lightweight-feeling chairs and were really good for all day sitting imo. No idea how they are for short people, unfortunately, but you can take an afternoon and go over to the Merchandise Mart and put your butt in dozens of chairs to see what works best. (That's how I found these Diffrient chairs, I went to the Merch Mart with my boss and we put our butts in things.)

I know for a fact when we bought them they were not $900 apiece. I think we paid something on the order of $420 each, which is still over your budget but not terribly.
posted by phunniemee at 2:35 PM on February 28, 2017

If you can find a used Herman Miller chair (not the Aeron - maybe the Mirra) then that would be perfect. I've had mine for about 8 years now, and it's the most comfortable chair I've ever had. The new ones are a bit above your budget, but maybe also worth considering. The seat is a sort of tough plastic mesh that is very breathable, and the chair fits people like me who have short legs.
posted by pipeski at 3:31 PM on February 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have the Humanscale Diffrient Liberty Task Chair at my home desk, which I bought for $200 on Craigslist. I love it, but all of those Diffrient chairs have mesh backs and gel seats, which might not fulfill your requirement for a fully mesh seat.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 4:06 PM on February 28, 2017

It's not as nice as the Aeron but the Capri which is a conference room chair was pretty comfy for me. It has a mesh seat and is pretty short.

Could you stretch your budget to look for a used Aeron in your area? They are very height adjustable - my office chair was the second smaller size and it was comfortable for me at 5".
posted by oneear at 4:07 PM on February 28, 2017

The only thing I really like about my Aeron is the mesh seat. A mesh seat really the key to not having things get funky downtown. When I look at office chairs, they often have a mesh back but a foam (or even worse - memory foam) seat. Madness!

If you look for a used Aeron, be sure you get the small size. Per the specs, the medium would fit you but most of the women in our office preferred the small.
posted by 26.2 at 4:23 PM on February 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding a used Aeron or Mirra. I have a Mirra and both the seat pan and the back are mesh so no butt/back sweat like leather or vinyl. It has about 1000 adjustments (OK, maybe not a 1000, but a lot), so you should be able to fine tune it to your height/frame. If you spend 8-10 hrs/day sitting you really deserve a proper ergonomic chair and as several commenters have said you should be able to get one used with only a little stretching of your budget.

Good luck with you chair shopping.
posted by codex99 at 4:40 PM on February 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is not an Aeron chair but it's under $200 and I like mine quite a bit. I am just a little taller than you and I use mine with a footrest, a half-round foam thing I found on Amazon and a pillow for my back. They have ones with or without arms, I prefer with. It's kind of minimal looking which I like. The Container Store Bungee Chair. Link.
posted by amanda at 5:06 PM on February 28, 2017

For 8-10 hours a day you should probably shell out. That's a lot. Seconding used small-size Aeron. They should be cheap now that the new model has been released. Check for office furniture resellers near you-- startups get liquidated all the time if you're near a city.
posted by supercres at 5:10 PM on February 28, 2017

(Also seconding that the mesh seat is the best for air circulation.)
posted by supercres at 5:12 PM on February 28, 2017

Leather office chairs are for yuppies with something to prove (nothing personal), and are generally going to be kind of gross in the way you've noticed.

You can get a net-like chair, but even Cordura is going to breathe a lot more than leather. So, my suggestion is really "anything but leather," or naugahyde, or vinyl.
posted by rhizome at 5:15 PM on February 28, 2017

Herman Miller Mirra. Great chair.
posted by so fucking future at 5:49 PM on February 28, 2017

As a short legged person, a foot rest makes a huge difference.
posted by kjs4 at 5:57 PM on February 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also 5'2, have the humanscale linked above. I have to drop it all the way down, but can get my feet flat on ground. Foot rest is better.

I'd try it out at a store. The ones in our office don't have a back you can lock, which too time to get used to. But definitely breathes.
posted by MandaSayGrr at 7:37 PM on February 28, 2017

If cost is a problem you can get wood bead seat cushions for a really affordable price. Sometimes they're advertised as having a "massage" effect but I don't find that to be the case- there are so many beads that you can't really feel them. They're actually meant for allowing ventilation and air flow around the body while driving a car, but they also work on regular chairs. Makes any seat much cooler and more comfortable.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:04 AM on March 1, 2017

Sort of a tangent, but as a fellow desk jockey, I wanted to pass this along: I downloaded the Stand Up app a few weeks ago to help remind me to get up and stretch and move around at regular intervals at work, and it has been MAGIC. The basic version is free and has all the functions you'd need and is highly customizable and user friendly.

Maybe while you're working on finding the perfect new office chair (and at 5'1" and kind of a sweaty kid myself, I know the struggle is very real), standing up and stretching at regular intervals will help keep sweat buildup at bay?

I wish I had any chair recs, but I legit use an old beast of a 1960's dinner table chair at my desk at home, which, while better than any of the other cheapo swivel office chairs I've tried, is hardly something I'd recommend for others.

Also, this incredibly ridiculous, but awesome product also exists if chair height ends up being an issue.
posted by helloimjennsco at 5:50 AM on March 1, 2017

I've had this bungee chair for about 5 years now, and I love it. It feels a little cheap compared to a Herman Miller, but hey, IT IS cheap compared to a Herman Miller. It's also available with arms.
posted by D.Billy at 8:50 PM on March 1, 2017

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