Yes indeed, your gaming mouse has feet, sometimes known as ‘skates’. The feet are what help your mouse glide around with reckless abandon on your mousepad. Many gamers opt for specific materials or positions of these feet for increased performance, comfort, or just to prevent wear and tear. The mouse feet are typically placed on each ‘corner’ of the mouse. Some premium gaming mice like the Razer Viper Ultimate even include an additional section around the sensor as the central section can potentially sag.
What are mouse feet made of?
These days, mouse feet are made from PTFE – Polytetrafluoroethylene. This material is more commonly known as Teflon and the reason it’s used for this application is that it has the lowest coefficient of friction of any material is actually attainable by means other than expensive scientific engineering.
The coefficient of friction defines how grippy or slippery any given material is. The lower the coefficient, the less friction experienced, and the more easily the material moves over another material. Obviously, this is advantageous when it comes to gaming mice as speed is paramount and any snags or drags adversely affect the experience.
Not all PTFE is born equal, unfortunately. Most mouse feet that come stock are not 100% virgin PTFE. A quick way to tell is to look at the color, if it’s anything other than a bright dental white, it’s not virgin-grade. Pure PTFE is white in color and any addition of dyes or other such substances will cause the material to be darker in color.
While PTFE is known as the industry gold standard, many enthusiasts opt for third-party upgrades to alternate materials. The two main contenders to PTFE are ceramic and glass.
Ceramic mouse feet
By changing the material of the feet to ceramic, you then also change the characteristics of the mouse too. It’s important to note that the mouse is only half the equation. Different mousepads interact differently with different mouse feet. This may seem an obvious point to make but it’s vital to understand that certain mouse feet upgrades might produce undesirable results depending on the type of mousepad you have.
Here’s an example of ceramic mouse feet from the folks over at Glorious. (We recently reviewed one of their gaming mice, the Model O-, and were very impressed.)
Ceramic feet produce a more slippery sensation on hard-style mousepads but tend to bog down when paired with cloth pads, particularly those that are on the thicker end of the spectrum. The benefit of ceramic is mostly their huge, huge longevity. They can last up to around 2500km of covered distance before wearing down, this is a massive increase over that of PTFE.
Glass mouse feet
Glass may seem a weird choice due to its brittleness, but it has a place in the hearts of many a gaming mouse enthusiast. However, they are far more suitable for cloth mousepads which are by far the most common form of mousepad out there. A positive knock-on effect of this is that as they are only used on cloth, they will probably last the longest out of all the available mouse feet materials.
Glass mouse feet have only recently started to break into the mainstream but they are rapidly growing in popularity. Don’t be surprised when companies like Corsair, Razer, and SteelSeries start manufacturing their own glass mouse feet.
To the right, you’ll find an example of one of the most popular sets of Glass mouse feet, the superglides from Pulsar. They feature a very rounded edge that eliminates snags and they have sets for many of the most popular gaming mice out there like the Logitech G Pro X Superlight and Razer Viper Ultimate.
Mouse feet – the final word
So, you’ve now undergone a brief and comprehensive education about an oft-overlooked mart of gaming mice, the feet. They are far more important than you might think and changing them up might just increase your competitive performance too. Just remember to upgrade to feet that will work with your mousepad, or you might have to upgrade that too.