Interested in our other Product Reviews? You can check them out here:
- Evoluent Mouse
- Evoluent Mouse Friendly Keyboard
- Logitech Marble Trackman
- Penguin Mouse
- Humanscale Switch Mouse
The Handshoe mouse looks like a really large mouse (has a large footprint) that is angled at approximately 45 degrees. Another interesting feature of this mouse is that it is contoured to match the user’s palm, a tactic that was no doubt developed to improve user comfort.
Design. Compared to a traditional mouse and the upright vertical mouse (such as the Evoluent mouse), the Handshoe fits between them. This fact can make this mouse very attractive for a lot of people. It is angled approximately 45 degrees so the hand is in a more neutral/natural posture as pronated (palm down) postures are reduced.
As you can see from the pictures, the mouse looks like a traditional mouse, just angled on its side. This probably was a strategic design move because it keeps the mouse familiar. A familiar mouse is easier for the user to work with and requires little to no training time. When I would lend this mouse out for people to try, I generally only received positive feedback about its design and usability.
Another really unique design feature is its large footprint that allows the entire wrist/hand to rest on the mouse. This is unique to the Handshoe because by resting the entire wrist, it can eliminate or significantly reduce the user’s tendency to move their wrists from side-to side to navigate the mouse. This side-to-side wrist movement (also known as ulnar and radial deviation) is an ergonomic risk for wrist discomfort. Instead, this mouse encourages the user to move the mouse with the forearm and this feature alone may resolve many user’s discomfort symptoms. However, this can also be seen as a ‘con’, and will be referenced in the next section.
Who does this mouse benefit the most?
- Those who deviate their wrists to the side (ulnar/radial deviation) during mousing motions, and
- Those that tend to grip the mouse too forcibly, resulting in overuse types of injuries (like tennis elbow for example).
Sizing. A mouse that is an appropriate size for the user will go a long way to reduce the ergonomic risk. An incorrectly sized mouse can increase the tendency for the user to grip the mouse too forcibly, which may be associated with overuse injuries such as tennis elbow. There are 3 sizes available as well as a sizing guide to ensure that the user gets the correct fit.
Rigid Design. The Handshoe mouse is not an ambidextrous type of design, meaning the user cannot switch its use between the left and right hands. If for instance, you wanted to use a right handed Handshoe with the left hand, then you would have to buy a left handed Handshoe mouse. At over $100 per mouse, this may be limiting for some users to purchase it in the first place. The reason why you would want to switch between left and right handed mousing is to limit daily strain accumulation in one hand. For some users this is very important. For those with a chronic, degenerative condition, or repetitive strain injury (for example tennis elbow) switching between hands may be useful. For the ‘average’ user, switching between the left and right hands would likely not be a high priority.
Large Footprint. This mouse is almost double the size of a traditional/conventional mouse. Due to the Handshoe’s footprint, users must have an adequate amount of room on the work surface to accommodate this mouse. So, it may be difficult to bring along if someone’s job requires a lot of travel.
Soft Tissue Compression. The mouse is designed to rest the user’s wrist and by doing so is a method to encourage the user to move the mouse with the arm rather than just be non-neutral side-to-side movements (aka ulnar and radial deviation). Although I think that this is a very interesting design to encourage healthy behaviours, however by doing so, an ergonomic risk of soft tissue compression is introduced. Soft tissue compression or contact stress is an ergonomic risk factor by impeding blood flow into the hands and fingers and it occurs between the wrist and the mouse surface. It’s by no means the most extreme case of soft tissue compression that I have ever seen, yet it is still there. Overtime, for some users this may be uncomfortable or may even contribute to other chronic conditions.
The major benefit of this mouse is its unique angled and contoured design that makes for a more neutral posture for the user. However, the fact that the user cannot switch between left and right handed mousing may be a ‘deal breaker’ for some people.
Personally, I have tried the Handshoe mouse with both hands for a number of months. I enjoyed the experience and found that the mouse was both useful and comfortable.