Almost anything reasonably firm that can be rolled on the floor can be used as a foot massager. That includes everything from tennis balls to stainless steel water bottles. But, if you’re reading this, we’ll assume you’re ready to take your personal foot massaging to the next level. Here’s what to look for when shopping for the best foot massager for you:
Broadly speaking, foot massagers fall into two categories: General purpose foot massagers designed for relaxation and to relieve tiredness and more hardcore, percussive-style massagers that work to alleviate muscle aches and pains. There are pros and cons to each design.
General-purpose massagers usually sit on the floor. You place your feet in or on top of a pad, sleeve, or plate, dial in your preferred setting, and let the relaxation begin. The best part about this design is that it’s hands-free and the closest experience to having your feet rubbed at a day spa. However, this type of massager is typically only good for light to medium pressure. Most don’t have the horsepower to really dig into sore muscles.
To work out serious aches and pains, you’ll need a percussive massage gun, like those offered by Theragun and Hyperice. The best massage guns are very powerful, and the fact that you guide them over your feet by hand means that you can precisely isolate the most specific areas.
Heated or not?
Heat helps stimulate blood flow and relax tired muscles. There’s no question that adding heat makes for a better, more effective, and more luxurious massage. The best foot massagers offer built-in heat with a variety of settings, so you can dial in your preferred level of hot.
Most foot massagers—even the best foot massagers—are surprisingly affordable. Decent, budget-friendly general-purpose massagers are available for around $100, while more advanced models run closer to $200. Percussive massage guns are a bit pricier, with the best models typically costing over $200. In our experience, you definitely get what you pay for, though. We recommend buying the best model you can afford.