Choosing a carpet that resists matting and footprints can increase the life of the carpet and its beauty. Some carpeting is vulnerable to footprints because it is thin or is a cut pile. These carpets mat and show footprints because the fibres lay down when weight is placed on them. Looped or cut/looped carpet styles show far fewer footprints and do not mat easily, although they will snag from pet claws.
Talk to a flooring specialist to find the options for carpets that will not mat easily. Thin cut pile carpets will not only show footprints easily, but they will mat quickly. Berber or closed loop carpets do not show footprints or footpaths. Frieze carpeting does not show footprints and resists matting as well. A frieze carpet is made from tightly twisted yarn and it resists compaction because its fibres do not separate at the ends easily over time.
Two tone carpets do not show as many footprints as cut pile carpets. Some use multicoloured yarns and two different textures and do not show wear or dirt as easily as a carpet made from a single colour and texture.
Look for commercial carpeting that may be suitable for residential use. Although commercial carpets are not as soft as residential carpets, they do stand up well under high traffic conditions and can be cleaned frequently. The commercial carpets do not have as high a nap as most residential carpets and when they do mat, it is not nearly as obvious.
Choose carpet made from nylon, the longest wearing fibre for carpeting, second to wool, followed by polyester. Wool carpets are the most expensive, although they wear very well. Wool is not as resistant to abrasions and vacuuming it more often than other fibres will help it last longer.
Install a good pad under the carpet. Thicker pads will not necessarily prevent footprints on high nap carpets, but they will prevent some of the matting commonly found in high traffic areas like hallways and doorways.
Vacuuming carpets frequently will keep them from matting, although it will not stop footprints from forming. A carpet rake can hide footprints and keep carpets in high traffic halls or doorways from severe matting.