Leap Chair V2
Designers of Steelcase Leap chair researched how people sit for over four years. The result is the Leap chair’s patented Liveback technology which allows the chair to adjust dynamically, mimicking the movement of your spine. The Leap chair’s seat moves when you move, the back moves when your spine moves- even the arms follow your movements. The result is a chair that is amazingly comfortable. The Steelcase Leap chair also has an unusually wide range of adjustment, allowing this chair to fit the broadest range of people possible. This product is an open box item.
Leap Chair V2
The Steelcase Leap used to be our top pick, and we still like it a lot. Built with many of the same features as the Gesture, it’s comparably comfortable under many conditions. However, it isn’t quite as adjustable—it lacks the fancy arms—and its design is a bit chunkier overall. Bypassing the Gesture in favor of paying a little less for this model is hard to justify, but if the Gesture is unavailable, the Leap is what we’d get. Another point in the Leap’s favor is its adjustable lumbar support, though the Gesture’s adaptive back negates any need for this feature. The Leap has also been around for more than a decade, which makes it easier to find used at a steep discount.
Leap Chair V2
Overall, the two chair models are quite similar. David Pogue writes in his New York Times review: “You can adjust the Leap in most of the same ways as the Gesture, but it costs less.” That’s true, but you get about 20 percent more range of motion with the Gesture in any direction compared with the Leap, and it costs only a bit more. Considering how important proper arm support is to a comfortable posture and a healthy back, we think you can easily justify spending the extra amount for fancy armrests. The Gesture is also a bit more compact and better looking than the Leap.
Leap Chair V2
In 2015, we tested the new Mirra 2, which is to the original Mirra what the Gesture is to the Leap. It’s a similar design, but one that’s meant to support your body as you move. It also comes in a mesh-covered configuration, which makes it more like the Aeron than ever. The Mirra 2 is a good chair, and it comes better-equipped than the Aeron at a similar price. But at about $900, it’s gone from being a budget-friendly version of the Aeron to being almost a direct competitor with not only the Aeron but also the Gesture and Leap. Next to the Mirra 2, we think the Gesture and the Leap have more to offer in this price range, for the same reasons we prefer them over the Aeron.
Leap Chair V2
I was reluctant to spend $715 on a chair, but my previous, inexpensive desk chair was causing me tremendous pain and sleepless nights. Months of damage had occurred before I realized my chair was the culprit. As soon as I replaced it with my Leap chair, I began to heal. I'm almost fully recovered. I love all of the adjustments the chair has, and I've found that by moving and adjusting every hour or so, I can be comfortable in the chair the whole work day.
Leap Chair V2
I settled on the Steelcase Leap. The Leap is a favorite among many, and some, like the folks at TheWireCutter, recommend it over the venerable Aeron as well as Herman Miller’s new flagship, the Embody. The Wall Street Journal called the original version of the Leap “Best Overall” in 2005. I ordered the V2 model, which has softer arm rests, a taller back, and other design tweaks. It set me back $755 before tax, which is a lot, but not that much for something in which I spend most of my waking hours.
These two knobs are all you need to make seat and back adjustments on the Gesture. The right knob controls seat depth and height; the left controls reclining resistance and how far you can go. In contrast, the Leap separates seat depth and height on opposite sides, though it does have a combined reclining-resistance and tilt-limiter knob. The Leap’s seat height control (on the left) and reclining resistance knob (right), on the opposite side of the chair from the depth and angle controls.
The Leap made my back better instantly, but it took me over a week to get really used to the thing. See, the Mirra has a flexible mesh seat, kind of like a hammock, that molds itself to the shape of your butt. The sides and front of the chair are rock-hard, but the part where your butt hangs is very soft. The Leap is the other way around. The front edge never cuts off circulation to your legs, and the sides are soft, but the part where your butt goes is quite firm. There’s a couple inches of padding and a hard surface underneath, and that’s it.
Enjoy better posture with the Leap Chair’s revolutionary LiveBack technology, which allows the chair’s back to flex with your movements, providing superior support to the places that need it most. The chair’s padded back and seat cushion are soft and supportive; customize yours to your liking with a collection fabric options for an ergo-friendly seating solution to keep you working comfortably.
Finally, while the Gesture is a great chair, it is not the ergonomic revolution its marketing materials suggest. We have no doubt that Steelcase did in fact undertake a global posture study across six continents, surveying 2,000 people to help design the chair. But fancy armrests and a couple of extra degrees of reclining aside, the Gesture feels similar to any other ergonomic task chair in the $1,000 range. In fact, were it not for the redesigned armrests and improved control scheme, the Gesture would pretty much be the old Steelcase Leap by a different name.
We spent a week and change sitting in the Markus, one of the few task chairs that anyone has designated as a standout at the $200 pricing tier. The Markus came to our attention through a Lifehacker article that asked readers to offer their own task-chair recommendations. Of the dozens of models the commenters put forward, the IKEA chair was one of the five most commonly mentioned, and of the five it was far and away the cheapest (other picks included the Herman Miller Aeron and Embody, and the Steelcase Leap). In subsequent voting, the IKEA chair took second place.
December 23, 2015: After a year of testing, our new office chair pick is the Steelcase Gesture. It has a wider range of adjustments than any other chair. If the Gesture isn’t available, we recommend our previous pick, the Steelcase Leap. If you are prone to perspiring, we recommend the Herman Miller Aeron, which has a mesh back and seat. And if you can’t spend $900-plus on an office chair, the IKEA Markus is a good bargain.
One thing we dislike: The Gesture doesn’t have adjustable lumbar support like its predecessor, the Leap, does. However, all three of our testers were able to find a comfortable position without this adjustment, and besides the Leap, none of the other chairs we tested this time around had this feature either.
If you know that you won’t benefit from the adjustability of the Gesture, or if the Gesture is unavailable for whatever reason, keep in mind that we still love our former pick, the Steelcase Leap. It’s comparable to the Gesture in comfort, but it falls short in adjustability—although it does add adjustable lumbar support, which the Gesture lacks. The Leap has traditional telescoping armrests instead of the Live 360 pivoting ones on its newer sibling, but it offers the same reclining mechanism and customizability of the Gesture.
As someone who has experienced both chairs, the Leap lumbar support is significantly worse than the Aeron lumbar support. It’s literally a thin sheet of plastic that you can slide up and down. The Aeron offers a rubber lumbar support element that can be height adjusted as well. However, the Aeron lumbar support can be adjusted on a deep or even deeper side (i.e., not simply a thin plastic – if you wanted the same effect, you could just not insert the element at all). Additionally there is an adjustable pelvic depth element that the Aeron can be customized with. My recommendation for the Aeron is just something to keep in mind for people with highly arched backs. If you fall into the “one-size-fits-it-all” category of backs however, the Leap is probably the better choice.
The Leap looks pretty unimpressive next to its Herman Miller counterparts. It has padded cushions instead of fancy mesh materials, and there’s a lot of plastic covering things up. Steelcase has put an adjustment guide under each arm rest, too, and it has labeled the adjustment knobs with both printed text and Braille. Looking at this thing, you get the sense the Leap was designed to populate boring offices filled with normal people—not European design studios rife with iMacs and glass-top desks. If Herman Miller can be accused of favoring form over function, Steelcase is the polar opposite.
Gallery of: Leap Chair V2
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