If you need motivation to foam roll or you just don’t know where to start, you’re in luck! Coach Nate takes us through a 15-minute guided foam rolling session.
The Best Foam Rollers 2023
Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet
Whether you're a seasoned marathoner or just starting your running journey, spending time on recovery and taking care of your hardworking muscles is essential if you want to feel and perform your best.
Studies have shown foam rolling can help decrease muscle tension from exercise or daily stress, and it can also help increase your range of motion. That’s why Fleet Feet coach and Physical Therapist Aaron Knighton makes foam rollers an essential part of his pre and post-run exercises.
Foam rolling is relatively simple: Press your muscles into the roller and move side to side, back and forth. But with a variety of lengths, features, firmness and textures to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide what type of foam roller will work best for you.
If you’re looking for an affordable, easy way to get a massage at home and boost your recovery, these are the best foam rollers to try:
- ROLL Recovery R4
- Addaday Nonagon Roller
- TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller
- Power Plate Roller
- Pro-Tec Foam Roller
- Hyperice Vyper 2.0
[This article is part of the Best Massage Tools 2023 Buyer's Guide and was updated on 5/24/2023 by the Fleet Feet Editors to include the latest and most popular foam rollers while removing any out-of-stock or outdated products. Find the right massage tool to help you recover quicker and perform your best at Fleet Feet.]
How to Choose the Right Foam Roller For You
The basic design of all foam rollers is essentially the same: a rigid tube made of (or wrapped in) foam. With affordable prices and versatile performance, they are great to use whether you are new to running, a seasoned athlete or even looking to stretch out after a day sitting at work.
If you’re just starting out, you can choose a foam roller with a smooth surface and softer foam.
If you’re more familiar with using massage tools for recovery, you may opt for a firmer massage roller that features textured surfaces to give you a deeper, more targeted massage. Or, you can kick it up a notch by trying a foam roller that vibrates. These models use small internal motors to shake the roller as you use it, adding extra power to soothe muscles, reduce soreness and improve range of motion.
ROLL Recovery R4
ROLL Recovery created the R4 to provide the traditional foam rolling experience but with features designed to enhance the massage.
The R4 sticks to the basic foam roller design. It’s a rigid plastic tube wrapped in a firm, dense foam. The R4’s difference, though, is in the foam’s design.
ROLL designed the R4 with different zones. Instead of one smooth tube, the surface of the R4 dips and rises to create a few areas meant to massage more muscles.
The broad sections on each end are great for rolling out big muscle groups, like the calves, quads and hamstrings. The center groove can roll out the back muscles around your spine and neck.
ROLL engineered the R4 to 18 inches long and six inches wide at its widest parts. The length makes it long enough to easily balance on when you’re on your back, but it’s not too long to make it unwieldy for maneuvering around.
Addaday Nonagon Roller
The Addaday Nonagon is a traditional foam roller designed to go deeper.
Addaday’s nine-sided foam roller employs a textured surface that creates different pressures when you roll a muscle across it. The oval-shaped bumps reduce the surface area of the roller, which focuses pressure on a smaller area. Got a troublesome knot? Put it right on top of one of the bumps to untie it.
Some similar foam rollers have sharper protrusions that deliver an even more targeted massage, but the rounded oval shapes are a good middle ground. They stick out enough to get deep into muscle tissue but they’re not so aggressive that people new to foam rolling will be turned off.
The rounded shapes also mean the Nonagon still rolls easily across the ground, so you don’t have to worry about any jerky motion.
The Nonagon is 13 inches long and 4.5 inches in diameter. Fleet Feet reviewers find the 13-inch length to be the perfect size for most people. Long foam rollers give you maximum coverage and stability, but they’re more difficult to store out of the way. A 13-inch model (or something in the neighborhood) is easy to store in a cabinet or closet.
TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller
TriggerPoint engineered the GRID foam roller to mimic a massage therapist’s hands.
There are three different surface textures molded onto the GRID, each one with a specific purpose:
- High and firm squares. A grid of squares with rounded tops at each end and in the middle of the foam roller work muscle tissue like fingertips.
- Long tubes. The tubular shapes run in rows around the GRID roller and act like fingers to provide more contact.
- Low, flat patches. The flat zones replicate the palms of a therapist’s hands for maximum surface area.
The different zones make it easy to find the right pressure and optimize your rolling session. TriggerPoint designers wrapped the EVA foam around a hard, hollow core that adds rigidity to the roller, so you can press deep into sore muscles.
At 13 inches long and 5.5 inches wide, the GRID is big enough to handle all major muscle groups but easy to stash out of the way. The standard GRID also comes in a longer size for bigger bodies or more coverage.
To bump up the power, TriggerPoint also makes the GRID in a vibrating version called the TriggerPoint GRID Vibe Plus.
The GRID Vibe Plus has the same foam rolling features as the unpowered GRID, but it includes a battery powered core that adds vibration into the mix. The rechargeable battery lasts up to two hours on a single charge, and its smaller diameter provides more targeted relief.
Power Plate Roller
The Power Plate Roller takes your classic foam roller and kicks it up a notch.
It has a powerful motor with three levels of vibration, plus a rhythmic setting that helps break up tight knots and increase blood flow to your muscles.
The familiar shape makes it easy to reach all the right places so you can stay on top of your game and boost your recovery.
Pro-Tec Foam Roller
Go back to the basics with the Pro-Tec foam roller.
Even though there are fancier foam rollers on the market with textured surfaces and vibrating motors, Pro-Tec continues to make its basic foam roller because it just works—and it’s one of the most affordable options around.
The smooth surface provides maximum contact with muscles to loosen up fascia and flush blood through the body. Pro-Tec’s base model rolls easily on the ground and delivers just-right firmness to press deep into soft tissue.
The basic foam roller comes in two different lengths: 18” and 35”. The 18” length is a great all-purpose size that’s easy to get out of the way when you’re not using it. The 35” model gives you maximum coverage and stability, making it easier than ever to stretch and roll.
Whichever length you choose, the Pro-Tec foam roller is a great, budget-friendly choice for anyone new to foam rolling.
Hyperice Vyper 2.0
From the brand that engineered one of the best percussion massagers, the Vyper 2.0 delivers similar relief thanks to its high-powered motor.
Hyperice built the Vyper 2.0 to add another dimension to your massage. The vibrating foam roller gets its power from a 40W motor built into the tube. There are three different vibration settings or speeds to cycle through, so you can dial in your warmup or recovery.
Designers wrapped the core in a German-engineered foam that alternates between smooth and grooved textures.
Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the Hyperice Vyper 2.0 is a premium vibrating foam roller that delivers top-notch performance.
3 Ways to Maximize Your Post-Run Recovery
More of the Best Massage and Recovery Tools
There’s more than one way to incorporate massage into your running routine, and different massage tools can help you reach different muscles.
Level up your recovery with these top massage tools for runners:
How We Tested the Best Foam Rollers
With over 250 stores in communities across the country, Fleet Feet is the largest running store in the U.S. with over four decades of experience outfitting runners with the best running shoes, apparel and gear. We focus on running and walking gear, so we can be the experts and bring you the best running and walking advice possible.
Additionally, thanks to 100,000+ runners participating in our local running clubs and training programs each year, we can see firsthand how the newest massage tools and foam rollers perform for all different types of runners, each with different goals in mind.
Collectively, our experienced team of Fleet Feet editors has tried, tested and fallen in love with running gear from dozens of the world’s top running brands. With this knowledge, we meticulously pour over the smallest details like performance, materials, durability and price to decide which foam rollers are the best. From running shoe and gear reviews to workout tips and inspiration, we are your go-to source for running knowledge and motivation.
With this knowledge and expertise, we’ve tested the best foam rollers for runners based on:
- Purpose. Comparing apples to apples
- Performance. How well does it do its job?
- Real-world testing. We put them to the test in our own training
- Price. Is it affordable? Does its performance justify its cost?
- Sales. Best-selling models are best-sellers for a reason
- fit id® data. Our 5 million+ foot scans show how shoes fit for different feet
- Availability. It won’t be good for you if it’s not in stock
- Designer interviews. We ask the people who made it
Standing Behind Our Picks
Fleet Feet knows running.
We picked the best foam rollers for recovery based on over four decades of experience outfitting runners of all abilities, ages and sizes. If you buy gear from us and you don’t like the way it looks, fits or performs, bring it back within 60 days for a full refund.
Plus, we offer free shipping & returns on all orders over $99 on fleetfeet.com, and we’ll match a lower price from a qualifying retailer. That’s our Happy Fit Guarantee.