Whether sore or tired feet are caused by an underlying condition or as the result of a long and busy day, there’s nothing pleasurable about them. That’s where a quality foot massager can come in handy. They are available in a wide range of options, and the best foot massagers can be electric or manual, with or without heat, and isolated to only the feet or include the ankle and calf too. Here are top picks designed to soothe weary soles.
- BEST OVERALL: Cloud Massage Shiatsu Foot Massager with Heat Therapy
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: TheraFlow Foot Massager Roller
- BEST FOR PLANTAR FASCIITIS: Simple Spectra Foot Massager & Spiky Ball Therapy Set
- BEST SHIATSU: Miko Shiatsu Foot Massager With Deep-Kneading
- BEST HEATED: Quinear Leg Massager with Heat Air Compression
- BEST FOOT AND CALF: Human Touch Reflex SOL Foot and Calf Massager
Foot massagers come in a few varieties, but each is worthy in its own right. There are electronic, manual, and foot spas that require water.
Most electronic foot massagers need to be plugged in to function. They tend to be larger units with a broader range of functions to massage the feet better. Most electronic foot massagers will cover the user’s feet entirely and provide different modes of massage, various speeds, and sometimes heat applications. Electronic foot massagers are more expensive than manual but provide many more options for the type of massage applied.
Unlike electronic models, manual foot massagers do not require any electricity and instead are handheld or placed on the floor for users to roll with their feet. They typically come in the form of roller boards, spiked balls, or textured rolling bars to target pressure points on the feet. Because they are much simpler and don’t require any electricity, manual foot massagers are much more affordable. They also tend to be easier to transport for use at the gym or on the go.
Foot spas take the massage functions of electronic foot massagers and add water. They also need an outlet to operate and use heated water, bubbles, solid rollers, and sometimes vibrations to massage the feet as they soak. They, too, often have various modes such as the intensity of massaging vibrations, level of heat, and bubbles. The best foot spa is designed to rub away pain, improve circulation, and relax muscles with the benefits of heated water. Most allow for the addition of Epsom salt while using.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Foot Massager
The type of foot massager is not the only essential shopping consideration to keep in mind when choosing the best foot massager for one’s needs. It’s also critical to consider the desired purpose, massage style, how it’s applied, intensity levels, and more.
Foot pain can occur nearly anywhere on your feet but is most often felt along the arches, heels, balls, and toes. A few of the most common foot afflictions include plantar fasciitis, diabetic neuropathy, flat feet, hallux valgus (bunions), or general foot fatigue and soreness.
The root of pain for most foot afflictions stems from overly tightened or inflamed ligaments, tendons, muscles, or fascia. Targeted massage digs deep into these tissues to stretch them out, loosen tightness, and promote blood flow. When done regularly, foot massage can provide pain relief and sometimes promote healing over time by encouraging these tissues to return to a normal position.
For example, plantar fasciitis is caused by foot strain that inflames and tightens the thick band of tissue that connects the heels of the feet to the toes. It can cause heel pain and sometimes arch soreness. Foot massagers stretch out the tight tendons and fascia on the bottom of the user’s feet to guide these tissues to a relaxed posture, which provides relief.
There are a few techniques for massage, which essentially means how pressure is applied to the feet. The most common methods include oscillation, kneading, heat, air pressure, and Shiatsu. Sometimes techniques are used alone to isolate certain spots, but often they are applied in conjunction with one another. Oscillating massage uses vibrations to dive deep into muscle tissue to promote blood flow, whereas kneading stretches and moves the muscles in different directions to increase flexibility.
Shiatsu massage originates from Japan and is sometimes called finger-pressure massage. This technique applies pointed pressure to a locale and is believed to improve blood flow, increase energy, and relieve pain. Air pressure massage uses the compression of air to squeeze and manipulate muscles. Finally, heated massage applies heat to relax the muscles and can be used with all of the above methods.
When choosing the best foot massager, it’s necessary for users to consider their preferences. Some foot massagers are an open design in which the user places their foot on or partially inside the massager. Others are fully encased either with massaging wraps or a solid base that closes over the feet. Both are great massage options with minor differences: Closed machines may provide a massage all over the feet versus an open machine that applies pressure only to the bottom of the feet.
There are also foot massagers that massage more than just feet. For users who also experience ankle or calf pain, there are options; some massagers localize the entire lower leg to massage and provide relief. However, others massage only one body part at a time, but the user can position them to massage the feet, calves, or ankles.
Most foot massagers feature various heat and pressure levels and different massage styles to accommodate most people’s preferences. For manual products, the intensity of pressure is fully controlled by how hard the user presses down on the massager. For electronic foot massagers, there are typically one or two levels of heat, three or more massage styles, and two or three pressure intensities the user can control using buttons on the device.
Some extra features to consider when shopping for the best foot massager include versatility, ease of transport, and whether the device comes with a remote control. Many foot massagers are designed to provide pain relief to the foot only, while others can be adjusted or used to massage other parts of the body.
For users whose foot pain stems from working out or their sports league, the ability to transport the foot massager may be vital, in which case something lightweight and manual makes for a great choice. Lastly, some electronic foot massagers come with a remote control to conveniently change the settings from a comfortable position.
Our Top Picks
Here are top picks for the best foot massagers that fit a range of needs and come from reputable brands.
The Cloud Massage Shiatsu Foot Massager is a product that offers users a wide variety of options. It has three intensity levels starting at gentle, then going to medium and up to strong, to reach deep tissues. There are also five settings for massage techniques. Users can choose from compression therapy, rolling massage, heat, sway, or quiet mode.
Compression therapy uses airbags to press down on muscles and promote circulation. The rolling and sway settings use applied pressure and motion to knead muscles and can be combined with heat. This foot massager is unique in that it has an adjustable base so the user can position the machine at different angles. It can also be used on ankles and calves.
- Type: Electronic massager
- Weight: 22 pounds
- Additional features: Massages feet, ankles, and calves
- 3 intensity levels
- Can also be used on calves and ankles
- Adjustable base for different angles
Get the Cloud Massage foot massager at Amazon, Walmart, and Cloud Massage.
This roller foot massager by TheraFlow is an excellent option that provides pain relief without breaking the bank. Wooden beads with grooves and nubs are set on a rotating rod to knead the soft tissue on the undersides of the feet, but it can also massage other parts of the body.
To use it, the user places the wooden massager on the ground, presses their feet into the beads, and starts rolling. It is long enough to use with both feet at one time, but users can also hold it in one hand to massage the other hand, back, legs, and more. This option is the best foot massager for neuropathy and works to alleviate pain from various other ailments, including plantar fasciitis and tired feet. This massager is also a great choice because it’s small and light enough for travel.
- Type: Manual massager
- Weight: 7.5 ounces
- Additional features: None
- Lightweight and compact
- Simple yet effective
- Limited effectiveness
- Requires manual movement
Get the TheraFlow foot massager on Amazon.
Caused by overuse and strain, plantar fasciitis is a pain in the foot, but this three-piece set from Simple Spectra helps alleviate soreness with its easy-to-use foot massagers. The best foot massager for plantar fasciitis comes with two spiky balls, one soft and one firm, as well as a rigid foam foot roller so the user can effectively target critical pain points on the feet with the right amount of pressure.
The rollers are easy to use on other parts of the body, including calves, ankles, and thighs. This set also comes with a convenient carrying bag to safely store the massagers in one place and to make traveling with them easy.
- Type: Manual massagers
- Weight: 8 ounces
- Additional features: 3 massagers with a travel bag
- 3 separate massagers
- Varied levels of intensity
- Comes with a travel bag
- Some users find the massagers too soft
- Requires manual movement
Get the Simple Spectra foot massager on Amazon and at Artsyvems.
Miko’s electronic foot massager utilizes the deep kneading power of Shiatsu to apply pinpointed pressure to soothe tired, aching feet. Two wireless remotes are included with purchase so the user can control the experience without disturbing a comfortable position. With the remotes or the buttons on the massager, users can choose from five different air pressure levels, the kneading intensity, and the heat function.
This vibrating foot massager is designed with two foot chambers that fully envelop the user’s feet during the massage and are lined with soft and washable linens to help keep the massager clean. Although this at-home foot spa fully encloses the feet, it’s important to note that it does not target the ankle, only the bottom of the feet.
- Type: Electronic massager
- Weight: 11 pounds
- Additional features: Washable liners, multiple settings, 2 remotes
- Simple-to-use controls
- Comes with 2 wireless remote controls
- Multiple settings to choose from
- Only massages the soles of feet
Get the Miko foot massager at Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Walmart.
This Velcro-wrap foot massager by Quinear delivers a powerful heat massage directly to the user’s tired body. Using a soft and breathable fabric that bends to the curves of the feet, this massager provides a more precise fit and a more personalized massage experience. The material features an inner liner that can be removed and easily washed after use.
There are two heat levels, three massage styles that mimic the kneading application of hands, and three intensity levels to choose from, all operated by the wired remote. Users can also opt to turn on the 20-minute timer. This massager uses airbags to stimulate tissue.
- Type: Electronic foot and leg massager
- Weight: 4.14 pounds
- Additional features: Adjustable wraps and handheld controller
- Massages both the feet and legs
- Wraps are adjustable to the user
- 2 heat levels
- Multiple massage modes and intensities
- Pressure may not be uniform throughout
- Wraps may be too short for longer legs
Get the Quinear foot massager on Amazon and at Mercari.
Human Touch delivers an electronic massager that reaches 18 inches tall to effectively massage the soles of sore feet on up to tired calves. It has two auto-massage functions and two speed options. This machine also has WarmAir technology to improve circulation and relax muscles.
On the bottom of the massager, there is a tilt stand to customize the machine’s angle, and powerful rollers and vibration technology target deep tissues effectively. The foot and leg sleeves are removable and can easily be tossed in the washer and dryer.
- Type: Electronic foot and calf massager
- Weight: 25 pounds
- Additional features: Washable inserts, onboard control panel
- Sturdy unit
- Simple control panel
- Multiple massage settings
- Tiltable to provide better angles
- Large and heavy unit
Get the Human Touch foot massager at Amazon, Best Buy, Kohl’s, and Human Touch.
Shoppers looking for a powerful and effective foot massager to relieve frequently used muscles should consider our top pick from Cloud Massage, which provides a deep-tissue massage to the feet, ankles, and calves. For a more simple and budget-friendly massager to soothe minor foot aches, the TheraFlow is a lightweight and compact solution.
When gathering our list of recommendations for foot massagers, our research focused on the various types of massagers on the market, from lightweight manual units that are easy to transport to more heavy-duty electronic units that users plug in. Our top picks provide a range of options for shoppers depending on their specific needs, from simple foot massagers that provide relief to the soles of the feet to more extensive units that can massage the feet, ankles, and calves for comprehensive muscle therapy.
We made sure to also include a range of options at various budget levels, since we found that electronic units can vary widely in price. Our list provides recommendations for the most luxurious upgrades down to more budget-friendly—yet still highly effective—electronic massagers.
There are many benefits to using a foot massager. Not only do they offer comforting massage and heat therapy that can help melt away the stresses of everyday life, but they also help eliminate pesky foot pain and discomfort. Rather than paying for an expensive visit to the spa, using an at-home foot massager is a cost-effective way to comfort tired feet. There are also many options at various price points so users can get the best foot massager for their needs and budget.
Foot massagers can sometimes be an affordable alternative to physical therapy for minor foot injuries. For users who suffer from plantar fasciitis or neuropathy caused by diabetes, regular and targeted foot massages may help relieve foot pain. In summary, there are several benefits of having a foot massager for neuropathy or other ailments:
- Foot massagers are a great way for users to pamper themselves to help relax and unwind after a long day on their feet.
- The best foot massager can help ease pain and discomfort caused by various foot problems and general fatigue.
- Foot massagers can improve the blood circulation in the feet, which keeps oxygen pumping to injured tissues to promote healing.
Since foot massagers come in a wide variety of options and functions, it’s only natural to have questions. Here are answers to some burning foot massager questions.
Q: How long can you use a foot massager?
You can use a foot massager a few times a day for no more than 20 to 30 minutes per area.
Q: Do foot massagers improve circulation?
Yes, foot massagers improve blood flow because the pressure and kneading movements physically get the blood flowing through the body’s tissues while pushing through any congested areas that may exist.
Q: Can you use a foot massager while pregnant?
It is safe to use a foot massager while pregnant, but be sure to watch out for blood clots that may show up as warm, red, or swollen spots on the feet and legs. If you notice these bumps, do not massage, and see a doctor immediately.
Q: How long does a foot massager last?
A manual foot massager can last for many years with proper care, whereas an electric foot massager has a lifespan of a few years. However, it depends entirely on the brand and specific product.