Is an Eames Style Chair Ergonomic? You Asked, We Answered

According to data provided by Jennifer Liu in a February article for CNBC, 28% of Americans are still working remotely most of the time. With nearly a third of workers clocking in from home, it’s no wonder that “ergonomic chair” is a breakout topic on Google Trends. Of course, achieving work-life balance is also a priority – with searches for “Recliner” ticking upwards too. High on many lists is the Eames lounge chair – which strikes the perfect balance between luxury and functionality. Crafted from high-quality materials like genuine leather and molded plywood, this iconic chair remains one of the most desirable pieces of furniture ever designed. Equally at home in contemporary interiors and mid-century modern, the eye-catching Eames lounge chair is as sought-after today as it was in the 1950s. Whether shopping for a replica Eames chair or an authentic Eames chair, however, the question remains: is an Eames style chair ergonomic? Find out whether the best Eames chair is actually good for your back below.


What Makes a Chair Ergonomic?

What Makes a Chair Ergonomic? customization, durability and more

It is difficult to determine whether a comfortable chair is ergonomic without setting a few criteria. First, one must understand that while many chairs are billed as "ergonomic," few are perfectly suited to every body type.

A chair that perfectly supports the back, hips and neck of a tall user might not adequately support the body of a petite person. An ergonomic chair is adjustable, durable, stable, customizable and supportive.

Here's what makes an office, accent or lounge chair good for your back, according to experts:


#1 Adjustability

Whether choosing a lounger for your living room or selecting an executive chair for your home office, adjustability is key. For example, an accompanying ottoman with four-point base allows users to adjust their Eames lounge chair. Users can switch to a reclining position while supporting their lower legs.

Experts typically recommend chairs that allow users to adjust the armrests, seat height, seat position, backrest height and backrest angle. Lumbar support should also be adjustable.


#2 Durability and Reliability

To be considered ergonomic, a chair must also be durable and reliable. When the armrests, seat, cushions and backrest are adjusted, they should remain locked in place until the user changes their position.

The chair should not fall apart or degrade quickly. Rather, the craftsmanship and materials chosen by its manufacturer should keep the chair in excellent condition for an extended period of time. Chairs that quickly degrade with regular use are not reliably safe or comfortable for their users.


Are Eames Lounge Chairs and Eames Replicas Durable?

Are Eames Lounge Chairs and Eames Replicas Durable for users?

The best Eames chair replica will embody all the qualities of an original chair -- many of which contribute to the chair's durability. An Eames lounge chair that is well-maintained should last several decades in peak condition -- if not longer.

The materials mentioned above include high-quality leather, real wood veneer, aluminum and carefully molded plywood. Whether a replica or an original, each Eames chair features a veneer shell that has been kiln dried to prevent warping and cracking.

Both the real thing and a good Eames chair replica will be upholstered in 100% full-grain semi-aniline leather imported from Italy. Full-grain semi-aniline leather is one of the most durable types of leather available. Whether you opt for white leather or black leather, the leather quality of an Eames lounger is practically beyond compare.

Bear in mind that some authentic Eames chairs sold by Herman Miller Furniture Company are upholstered in faux leather, flamiber or mohair. At the Iconic Chair, we stick to genuine leather -- which was a defining feature of the original design by Charles and Ray Eames.


#3 Stability

Above all, stability ensures a chair is safe for the user.

As alluded to above, chairs must also be safe, supportive and secure in order to be considered ergonomic. Above all, stability ensures a chair is safe for the user. This resource from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) recommends "a five-point base" when checking "the stability of a chair."


Each original Eames lounge chair -- and the best replicas -- will include a five-point base. Both an original Eames lounge chair and a high-quality Eames chair replica will also feature built-in Swivel mechanisms. These mechanisms allow the chair's backrest to tilt and turn without tipping.

Rubber shock mounts prevent the chairs from shaking when users lean on their armrests. Back braces with high polished bright aluminum trim ensure the best Eames chair replicas are as sturdy as they are stylish.


#4 Customization

a chair should fit the exact dimensions of your body

As Melanie Pinola writes in an article for Wirecutter, "the biggest problem is that most office furniture is advertised as one-size-fits-all." Whether you are tall or petite, a chair should fit the exact dimensions of your body. Cushions on the seat and back of each chair should be wide enough to match the contours of the body.


Removable cushions on an original Eames chair -- and high-quality Eames chair replicas -- allow for customization. Multiple size options let shoppers pick the perfect length and height for their body. For example, The Iconic Chair offers a Tall Version for shoppers who are 5'8" or taller.


#5 Lumbar Support

Last but not least, an ergonomic chair must provide lumbar support.

Last but not least, an ergonomic chair must provide lumbar support. In an article for Forbes Health, Jennipher Walters and Rachel Tavel, D.P.T. underscore the importance of lumbar support.

According to Walters and Tavel, lumbar support is necessary because it "helps keep your body properly aligned." In doing so, it "better maintains the natural inward curve of your lower spine." Without lumbar support, sitting in a chair for long periods can cause or exacerbate lower back pain.


How to Prevent Back Pain While Working

How to Prevent Back Pain While Working throughout the day

To prevent or ease back pain while working, experts recommend adding extra back support. Workers should also regularly switch between a seated and standing position. They should ensure that their desks are high enough and that monitors are close enough to prevent the neck from craning.

According to this resource from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, workers can also prevent back pain by strengthening their muscles. They recommend "muscle-strengthening and stretching exercises at least 2 days a week." Improving one's posture while sitting and standing can also prevent back pain.


Is a Replica Eames Lounge Chair Ergonomic?

Is a Replica Eames Lounge Chair actually an Ergonomic chair?

To finally answer the original question posed in the introduction to this article, the Eames lounge chair is considered ergonomic by many experts. A replica Eames lounge chair bears some similarity to a zero gravity chair, which -- when used properly -- can take pressure off the spine.

Preparing to write this article for New York Magazine’s The Strategist, Lori Keong interviewed several chiropractors. According to Keong, “an easy favorite was the famous Herman Miller/Eames lounge chair and ottoman.”

Dr. David Shapiro and Dr. Steven Shoshany – both chiropractors – recommended the Eames lounge chair. Dr. Shoshany described it as “‘the ultimate,’” noting that the Eames has “‘the leg support, head support and cushion.’” Gushing about the Eames, Dr. Shoshany labeled it his “‘ideal chair.’”

Even skeptics cannot deny the iconic chair's incredible quality. In her review for Architectural Digest’s Clever, Elise Portale points to Charles and Ray Eames' original design. Portale notes that the lounger was "designed to resemble a worn first baseman’s mitt. She describes it as "a chair that’s comfortable no matter how you want to sit in it."


Final Thoughts on the Ergonomic Replica Eames Chair

Final Thoughts on the Ergonomic Replica Eames Chair from Iconic Chair

As noted above, how well a chair suits the user's body is what makes it ergonomic. The chair must match its user's height, weight, proportions and shape. Given this, a standard Eames style lounge chair might make sense for one person, but a Tall Eames would be better for another. Consider your body's unique proportions before purchasing an Eames. 

If an authentic Eames lounge chair is too pricey, shop the highest quality and best value Eames chair replicas online through The Iconic Chair. An authentic Eames chair can sell for upwards of $8,000 USD. Sold through Herman Miller Company, an Eames will cost at least $6K. Our replica lounge chair and ottoman is based on the original design, but costs far less.

Enjoy the clean lines, classic design, quality materials and exceptional craftsmanship of an Eames Office lounge chair and ottoman without blowing your budget. Available in a standard or tall size, each of our Eames chair replicas looks and feels just like the real thing. However, it lacks the steep cost of other models.