One of the main goals of a foot massager is to roll out and loosen up the plantar fascia, so an effective foot massager can be as simple as a tennis ball or lacrosse ball. But a few extra features can improve the quality of the massage.
Some foot massagers stick to the ball shape but add spikes or other protrusions for a more aggressive feel. Others elongate the shape to make them like foam rollers for your feet.
These foot massagers are all manual massage tools. Unlike motorized devices, like percussion massagers, you generate all the force. That means you control exactly how much pressure you want.
These tools are great to give yourself an effective plantar fasciitis massage, and some can even be repurposed for a calf massage. Try out different areas to dial in your recovery.
The shapes may change, but one thing these foot massagers have in common is their affordability. With few moving parts and almost nothing to wear out, these simple massage tools make for a great solution for achy feet.
If you’re ready to upgrade from the old lacrosse ball, here are some of the best foot massagers you can find today:
[This article is part of the Best Massage Tools 2020 Buyer's Guide. Find the right massage tool for all your needs at Fleet Feet.]
The R3 from ROLL Recovery pairs the classic lacrosse ball feel with a more stable frame for easier use.
ROLL designed the R3 with a bulb flanked by two flared ends. The bulb, situated just off center, rolls along the plantar fascia to soothe any soreness and help stretch the connective tissue.
The R3 has two narrower channels on each side of the bulb; the deeper groove goes on the outside of your foot, and the shallower one is for the inside. The asymmetrical shape matches up with the shape of your foot to massage not just the plantar fascia but all the surrounding tissue, as well.
The flared ends are also an important design feature. Not only do they help create those grooves on either side, but they also provide two points of contact with the ground. The two contact points create more stability so you don’t have to worry about the R3 rolling out from under you.
Designers coated the Due North Foot Rubz foot massager in flat-topped spines to increase the level of massage.
Due North says the spines mimic acupressure techniques that can help loosen tight muscles and increase circulation. The ball shape is ideal for rolling back and forth beneath your foot to help soothe the plantar fascia, and the blunt spines aren’t too aggressive.
Like many of these foot massagers, the Foot Rubz is small and easy to pack away. Take it with you when you travel to roll out your feet after a long day.
The TriggerPoint NANO X Foot Roller shrinks the GRID down to a manageable size for your feet.
Like the GRID foam roller, the NANO X features a grid of protrusions to create a deeper massage than a flat surface would. The texture is consistent around the entire massager, so you get a predictable, repeatable feel.
TriggerPoint capped each end with a taller disc that makes the entire roller more stable under your weight. It won’t slip side to side as you roll like a ball would.
Put the NANO X on a table top, and it doubles as a forearm roller, too.
The Pro-Tec Spiky Massage Ball has an aggressive look and feel thanks to its array of spikes.
Unlike the Foot Rubz that truncates the spines, the Pro-Tec ball keeps them pointed for a more stimulating feel. The ball is just 3” in diameter, and is built to be firm so you can put as much pressure into you massage as you want.
The ball shape is easy to use standing up or sitting down, so you can keep your feet loose even while you’re at your desk.
Addaday built the Type J+ Junior Roller to be precise and versatile.
Unlike Addaday’s Pro Roller massage stick, the Type J+ only has one massaging gear. A flat base is stable on the floor, which makes it a great foot roller. The single gear rolls smoothly along the plantar fascia to soothe the connective tissue.
The small design also lends itself to one-handed operation. The J+ is easy to use on your other muscles and is precise enough to target stubborn knots.
The three-pronged Addaday Marble Roller can be used all over your body, but it shines as a foot massager, too.
Addaday built the Marble Roller with a flat base, so you can place it on the ground to massage your plantar fascia. The lightweight roller is also easy to hold in one hand, which lets you pick it up and maneuver it around other muscles.
The smooth-rolling action makes it easier to maintain consistent pressure as you move. You can also use each individual marble to put precise pressure on troublesome spots.