Have you ever spent the day standing on a concrete floor? I have done this at Trade Shows and by the end of the day, my feet and legs are aching and my back is killing me. Concrete is brutal. Given that we spend so much time standing in the kitchen, rather than sitting, softer, more resilient types of kitchen flooring can be easier on your joints. A softer flooring surface may also add a little cushioning to items that slip out of your hands unexpectedly.
The softest, springiest choice is probably rubber. Though not that common in residential homes, it is a great choice for supporting aching knees and joints. It is naturally sticky and can therefore be installed without adhesives. It is highly durable, offers great sound insulation and is very slip resistant. The only problem in a kitchen is that oil and grease marks can be difficult to remove. A water soluble wax will help the surface repel stains and damage. Rubber usually comes in tile or sheet formats and should be sealed after installation.
Cork is available in a variety of colors, textures and patterns and because of its inherent air pockets, it is a natural shock absorber. This makes it comfortable to stand on over long periods of time and your china is less likely to shatter when dropped. Cork essentially comes from the bark of the cork tree, therefore obtaining it does not destroy the tree. In fact most cork trees live for around 200 years. Cork is a little vulnerable to scratching and may become permanently indented by heavy furniture. You may want to consider applying a protective layer of wax and putting protective pads under furniture.
Vinyl is very budget friendly and comes in a wide range of styles and colors. Many of the new vinyl tiles feel fresh and modern rather than a poor imitation of other materials like wood and stone. Geometric patterns can look bold and interesting or try classic black and white. Vinyl is ideal if you want to give your kitchen a new look without breaking the bank.
Wood is always a favorite and has natural give in it to help support your back, hips and knees. There are many different opinions as to whether wood is suitable for the kitchen as it can get scratched easily and does not mix well with water. It is important to make sure that the wood is properly sealed and with a little extra care, it can look beautiful in the kitchen.
Bamboo is actually a type of grass but has many of the same properties as wood and is sustainably harvested. A company called Cali Bamboo https://www.calibamboo.com/ uses a proprietary manufacturing process to make their bamboo flooring twice the density of any other hardwood floor. Their bamboo flooring is extremely durable and backed by a 50 year warranty.