Gear Review: Roll Recovery R8
Traditional foam rolling is a great way to loosen stiff muscles and improve blood flow to weary limbs, but Roll Recovery takes self-massage to the next level with the R8.
The Roll Recovery R8 is a powerful self-massage and recovery tool that allows you to precisely target the areas of your body that need attention. Thanks to its spring-loaded design, the R8 delivers forceful and consistent pressure to massage your biggest muscles and smallest pains equally.
Fleet Feet runners put the R8 to the test by rolling out after runs and workouts, and switching parts in and out to see how easy it is to fine-tune the massage. Here’s what they thought.
Roll Recovery R8
Roll Recovery R8 Build and Materials
The first thing you’ll notice about the R8 is its build quality.
From top to bottom, the entire R8 feels overbuilt in the best way. The rigid plastic body—made of Zytel thermoplastic—is thick and sturdy at every point. None of the plastic arms or connections bend under weight, and its weight feels substantial in your hand.
Roll Recovery used ball bearings at all the moving pivot points for smooth operation. None of the pivot points catch or feel rough, so the R8 opens and closes smoothly to always provide even pressure.
Stainless steel hardware and corrosion-resistant springs give the R8 durability, and the rubberized grips on the handles keep your hands from slipping off.
The rollers on the original version of the R8 looked like wheels from a pair of rollerblades, but Roll updated the design to create two different rollers. The new rollers deliver two different levels of massage, Super Deep and Super Plush.
Roll made the R8 Super Deep roller from a more rigid plastic for a deeper massage. Designed with a more aggressive shape, the Super Deep digs into your muscles to untie knots and increase the intensity of the massage.
For a gentler massage, Roll designed the R8 Super Plush insert. Made with a softer foam and mellower shape, the Super Plush has more surface area to create a flushing feeling and improve circulation.
The rollers are interchangeable with the included wrench, so you can up the intensity by using a pair of Super Deep rollers or drop it down by using two Super Plush rollers. One Fleet Feet tester liked using a combination of the two—a Super Deep on one side and a Super Plush on the other—to be able to flip back and forth as necessary.
Using the Roll Recovery R8
Traditional foam rollers are great. They allow you to massage muscles on your own, which can improve blood flow and aid recovery from hard workouts. But they also have limitations.
A traditional foam roller can only provide as much pressure as you can generate on your own—it doesn’t push back—so you can end up exerting more force on one part of your body and less on others. Plus, rolling around on the floor can make you use other muscles to hold yourself up, which takes extra work.
The R8 is different.
Because of its spring-loaded design, the R8 generates force on its own. The springs create all the force you need to get a deep-tissue massage, and it provides consistent pressure no matter what part of your body you’re working.
The springs are strong, too. Pulling the handles apart with your arms could be a workout in itself, so the R8 provides plenty of force to give a deep massage. If that’s not enough for certain spots, you can also add a little more pressure by pushing the roller into your muscles a little more.
The easiest way to use the R8 is to push it onto your leg instead of trying to pry it open with your arms.
- With the R8 all the way closed, place the rollers flat against your thigh
- Push down on the handles, and the rollers will roll down either side of your thigh
- Rotate the R8 perpendicular to your thigh, and begin rolling
Because it provides pressure from both sides, the R8 makes quick work of your massage. Testers found the R8 great for massaging a variety of areas, including:
- Quads and hamstrings
- Calves and shin muscles
- IT band and adductors
- Hip flexors
But it’s not just for runners: One of our testers who is also a climber loved the R8 for his forearms.
While the R8 hits lots of major areas in the legs, it also has limitations. Specifically, the R8 can’t roll out your lats or back (luckily, they also make the Roll Recovery R4 and Roll Recovery R3 to target other muscle groups).
The Roll Recovery R8 is a powerful and versatile self-massage device that’s great for all athletes.
The R8’s spring-loaded design generates enough force to work deep into your muscles, and its interchangeable rollers let you dial up or down the intensity of the massage. Plus, because it creates its own force, the R8 lets you get off the floor, so you can roll on your couch, at work or pretty much anywhere.
Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $99 and free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.
By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.