If you get home with worn out, swelling, or aching feet after being on your feet all day, you aren’t alone.
Some studies have shown that 80% of people in America and 75% of people in Canada suffer from a problem that causes pain in their feet at some point in their lives.
Many people are using foot massagers to stay on their feet in the face of foot pain, circulatory problems, or plantar fasciitis.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a foot massage, we’ve got the lowdown on the various types available on the market as well as our top selections on the market today.
You’ll also learn who should use a foot massager, the different benefits foot massagers provide, what to consider when shopping for a foot massager, as well as get answers to a few frequently asked questions about foot massagers.
Table of Contents
What Do Foot Massagers Do?
A foot massager helps to relax and stimulate your foot muscles. It can also work your calves using vibration, rollers, heat, and electric muscle stimulation.
With an electric foot massager, you don’t have to book an appointment with a spa. You’ll be able to receive all the benefits of massage from the comfort of your home.
Who Needs a Foot Massager?
While anyone can make use of a foot massager, the following people can benefit the most from a foot massager.
- Arthritis patients
- Sportspersons and athletes
- People with diabetes
- Elderly people who suffer from soreness, aches, and numbness in the feet
- People suffering from varicose veins
- People with muscle pain or back pain
- People suffering from depression and anxiety
- People with sleep conditions
- Working professionals or individuals who engage in strenuous physical activities
In addition, you can use a foot massager after a long day of running, walking, trekking, working, or traveling. In a nutshell, anyone can use a foot massager at any time. Since the device is very easy to use and causes no side effects, it’s in great demand.
What Are the Health Benefits Provided by Foot Massagers?
While people generally consider foot massage as a way to de-stress and refresh their body and mind, this massage provides many other physical and psychological benefits, including:
Muscle Pain Relief
A foot massager can help loosen your aching, sore muscles. It applies targeted pressure on tight ligaments, tendons, and muscles, thus helping get rid of pain.
Lower Back Pain Relief
Lower back pain is often the result of improper postures. A foot massage device helps regulate the flow of blood and pumps oxygen to various body parts, therefore relieving back pain and other types of pain.
Foot massagers will target specific pressure points on the sole to relieve throbbing headaches and migraine symptoms.
Foot massagers help increase the level of serotonin—a chemical that’s subsequently converted to a sleep hormone called melatonin. This process helps you sleep better.
A foot massage releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones that are known to relieve stress. That’s not all—people who have depression and anxiety problems can benefit from a foot massage since it helps calm them down and lifts their mood.
Improved Blood Circulation
A leg or foot massage can regulate your blood flow, thus helping improve oxygen supply inside your body. Of course, we all know how important proper blood circulation is to your body.
Improved Nervous System Function
Foot massages are beneficial to your nerves and can help ease any underlying pain, numbness, or weakness. A foot massager can help stimulate your nerves as well as go a long way to helping improve your nervous system function.
What to Consider When Selecting a Foot Massager
Foot massagers come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, colors, designs, and prices, so finding the best one for your specific needs can be quite difficult. To help you make the right choice, we’ve identified the key factors to take into consideration in order to find the right massager and reap its benefits to the fullest.
Kinds of Foot Massagers
There are many different kinds of foot massagers available on the market today, including:
Basic Foot Massager: This foot massager features rotating heads that rub down the soles of your feet. Also, it may have a heating feature that eases pain and fatigue further.
Calf and Foot Massager: Certain foot massagers also rub down calves. You simply place your foot in the massage device and wrap the cuffs around your calves and feet. Calf and foot massagers look more like oversize boots—they alternately inflate and deflate, thereby massaging your legs and feet.
Foot Spas: With the help of pressure-node rollers, foot spas knead your feet. But they allow you to soak your feet as well and then stimulate your feet like how a mini Jacuzzi does.
Air Pressure Technique: Some massagers use Shiatsu (using rotating massage heads) in addition to air pressure, kneading, heating, and rolling all at the same time. You place your feet inside sleeves of clothing, which are basically air bags. Then the unit fills up the air bags to rub your feet down from all sides.
Shiatsu Foot Massager: A Shiatsu foot massager uses vibrators, rotating heads, and heating functions to stimulate the popular Shiatsu massage technique. It can replicate a professional massager’s hands.
Water Foot Massagers: These massagers use water, bubbles, lights, and vibrations to rub down your feet. Simply fill a water foot massager with some hot water and connect the device to a power source. This device is normally used to do pedicures in a salon.
Infrared Massager: This massager comes with numerous little manipulation points that give off infrared lights, complementing your massage with gentle warmth. The vibration along with the heat generated by the rays will improve blood circulation in the muscles where it’s applied. Infrared massagers are perfect for your calves and feet.
Foot Massager Designs
The design of a foot massager will greatly impact your massage experience. Different foot massagers come with different features. The main designs available on the market today include:
Open Design: Most foot massagers feature an open design, allowing you to comfortably rest your feet on the floor of the massager and you actually don’t have to switch it on. This foot massager design comes with various benefits:
- It’s often lightweight and portable, which means you can use it on the go.
- It’s very quiet and rarely causes any commotion as your feet get massaged.
- It’s low maintenance
- It can massage your feet thoroughly, leaving you feeling relaxed.
- It has a heating feature that’ll heat up your feet at all times.
- It’s sturdy and keeps you comfortable while your feet are being massaged.
Closed Design: This popular foot massager design lets you place your feet inside the device. Here are the benefits of the closed design:
- It can massage your soles, sides of feet, and the arches, too.
- Some models will even massage your heels.
- It has a heating function that’ll keep your feet warm and provide a soothing feeling.
- It’s high maintenance but worth it.
- It features loads more massage techniques than open models.
- It can be remote-controlled, which makes it easy to use.
- It has numerous settings.
- It’s built to accommodate multiple users.
- It’s very advanced technologically and offers users many different options.
Size of Foot Massager
You must consider the size of your foot before choosing a foot massager; otherwise you might buy something that doesn’t fit your feet. Buying the right size of foot massager means you can use it comfortably and reap maximum benefits from it.
Ease of Ease
It’s vital to get a device that’s easy to use instead of one that’s too complicated to use. Foot massagers are usually not that difficult to use, but there are those with multiple settings and features that may require you to consult their manual. To use a foot massager efficiently, always follow the instructions provided in the manual.
The massager you buy must be sufficiently stable to support your feet. It mustn’t be shaky or keep tipping over and spilling its contents.
However, make sure not to stand while using a foot massage machine as this puts your entire weight on the device, potentially causing it to become weak or to break. Foot massagers are designed to work while you’re seated. Never let anyone stand on the massager, either.
Foot massagers come with a variety of different features and massage techniques, such as:
Kneading Massage: This very popular massage technique is done by both the closed and open foot massager models. The massager’s heads usually rotate clockwise and anticlockwise, carrying out a kneading massage on your feet—which is effective particularly if you have circulatory issues.
Shiatsu Massage: This refers to a popular Japanese massage method that’s done by both open and closed massagers. The procedure usually applies pressure on various parts of the feet using the kneading function, much like what a professional massager would do.
Air Pressure Massage: When it comes to air pressure massage, the foot massager usually features alternating air bags that fill with air and let the air out within the device. This type of massage is quite common with closed foot massagers and provides a great deal of relief.
Oscillating Technique: In this type of massage, the foot massager vibrates its surface as you rest your feet on it. Therefore, it’s able to put pressure on your various pressure points and provide you with lasting pain relief. It’s most commonly found in open design models.
Heat is one of the most important features in any foot massager, but not all models come with this useful feature. The foot massager generates heat while you’re receiving a massage and this warmth feels wonderful, especially when you’re trying to relax.
Heat also helps improve blood flow as well as helps send other vital nutrients to the feet. When you’re through with the massage, you’re not only warmed up and relaxed, but this will also help your muscles recover.
Massage area is a critical factor to consider since it’ll determine where the massager will work on at any given time, for example:
Foot: Unfortunately, almost all foot massagers can be used only on the feet, targeting only the ankles and soles of feet. However, this is still effective since the soles of feet have various pressure points that can help you relax.
Foot and Ankle: Closed design foot massagers are generally tall and can work almost your entire leg. By using them on your foot and ankle, they can also put pressure on your calves and sides of feet and provide maximum benefits.
Foot, Calf, and Ankle: While foot massagers that work the foot, calf, and ankle are very few, they are a much better option. These massagers can target areas well beyond your leg and calf. They’re multipurpose and can even let you tilt them to reach those hard-to-reach parts of your leg.
A foot, calf, and ankle massager is ideal for relieving muscle knots in the calves, while the first two types are perfect for a basic foot massage.
Most foot massagers are designed to last for a long time. Many manufacturers use the best materials to ensure that your massager lasts for years to come. Foot massagers are quite a significant investment, so durability is definitely an important factor to consider.
Foot massager prices can vary widely depending on what features they have and what they come with. As a general rule, the more expensive the foot massager, the better it could be. And if you’re on a budget, you might need to do some research prior to buying one.
Our Top Picks
Here are our top foot massager picks for various needs and budgets. We evaluated these massagers based on their effectiveness at treating specific conditions (pain, poor circulation, swelling, etc.), value for money, and comfort and ease of use.
Best Overall Foot Massager: RENPHO Foot Massager
Providing the best value for money, this foot massager from RENPHO provides a bit of everything: compression, heat therapy, and kneading, and you can customize the intensity of all these functions to suit your needs.
There’s no remote control function but the spaced out and wide on-device control panel allows you to either reach down to make a choice or press a button with your toes to make a choice. With a detachable, washable fabric lining encasing your feet, you can keep the device clean with ease.
According to many customer reviews, the RENPHO Foot Massager feels less mechanical than similar products and feels much more like a professional massager’s touch. Since it envelops your whole foot, it also provides extra care to ankles and heels—vital for tight tendons.
The massager features various settings each for air compression and kneading intensity, creating a more personalized experience. In addition, there’s a warmth setting that helps keep your feet comfortable and loosens tight muscles.
According to customer reviews, people with plantar fasciitis have reported experiencing less tension after using this massager, especially after using it for a few straight days. But if you simply have tired feet, it’s perfect for pampering and relaxation after a stressful day as well.
It’s designed to accommodate size 12 of men’s feet. Those with smaller feet will of course find the massager a bit more spacious, but you can try different foot positions.
- Compresses and kneads
- Washable fabric cover helps with hygiene
- Features customizable settings
- Optional heat therapy is present to help loosen tendons and muscles
- Might not be sufficiently intense (or might be too intense) for some users
- It’s a little noisy
Best Basic Foot Massager: TriggerPoint Performance MBX Massager
The TriggerPoint Performance MBX foot massager is meant to replicate the elbow pressure of a professional massager. If you‘re suffering pain or sore aches in the plantar fascia tendon, put this lacrosse-style massage ball below your foot so your body’s weight can work with targeted pressure to relieve the pain.
However, this massage ball isn’t that good at relieving foot pain. If you’re suffering with a sore Achilles tendon, sore top of the foot, or sore ankle, it’s difficult to provide targeted relief with the TriggerPoint Performance MBX.
Having said that, this massage ball can provide trigger point relief anywhere on the body, so you can put it between the floor and your calf to loosen tight muscles that could be causing foot pain, or between a wall and your shoulder blade to loosen tight muscles in your back.
- Very affordable
- Not good enough at relieving foot pain
Best Foot Massager for Chronic Pain: Theraflow Dual Foot Massager Roller
This basic wooden foot massage device is amazing for working out painful, tight spots caused by conditions like plantar fasciitis, overworked tissues, tendons, or muscles. With its pointed nubs, the Theraflow Dual Foot Massager Roller works by putting pressure on the trigger points that have pain and tension.
While you may think that expensive electric devices would work better, many customers actually report that this basic device provides added relief to their painful feet courtesy of its ability to control the pressure manually and pinpoint trigger points.
It’s also small and lightweight, so you can easily move around your house and rub down your feet beneath your work home office desk.
Keep in mind that if you want a deep, intense massage, you might need something electric-powered or spikier. It obviously doesn’t offer the complete, at-home spa experience offered by Shiatsu-style foot massagers, but if you simply want to manage chronic pains and aches, this foot massager should suffice.
- Requires no battery or charging
- Doesn’t go deeper like other devices
Best Budget Foot Massager:
On a budget but need a Shiatsu-style foot massager? If so, the NeckTeck Foot Massager provides an intense kneading rubdown and heat therapy for around the cost of the RENPHO Foot Massager and similar devices.
Instead of encasing your feet completely, this device cradles from the sole. With its smooth surface, you can easily move your feet about as needed to work aching spots, but it requires additional finesse to knead out achy arches, for example.
You can also adjust the massager’s height for your comfort and, as with the RENPHO Foot Massager, you can easily turn it on and off using your toes.
Because it’s basically a flat panel, this massager fits a variety of sizes of feet and is in fact quite a versatile device since you can use it practically anywhere on your body. For some pain relief, try placing it on sore thighs or calves.
The kneading massage has one intensity and mode only, but if you’re sensitive, you can wrap your feet in a towel or socks to lessen the sensation.
The one major drawback of the NeckTeck Foot Massager is that it only works on the soles of feet. If you’re feeling particularly painful in your ankles, this device may not be of much help.
- Gentle heat therapy
- Deep kneading
- Can massage other body parts
- One intensity and mode
- No air compression
- May have problems reaching high arches
- Rubs down bottom of feet only
Best Foot Massager for Travel: Recoup Cryosphere
The Recoup Cryosphere ices and massages your muscles all at once. Icing helps to boost blood flow and reduce inflammation.
The metal ball can be removed and thrown into the freezer for a few hours, then put back into its plastic covering for a comfortable grip. The ball will remain cold for about six hours and you can decide how to use it—you can roll it under your foot while seated or hold it with your hands and really work tight spots.
Since it’s manually operated, it obviously requires no battery change or charging. And since it remains cold for such a long time, it’ll still provide relief even after lying in your training bag for quite a while.
While the Recoup Cryosphere is an effective foot massager, it’s actually designed to provide a full-body massage. If your work is physically demanding, you’re an athlete, or otherwise suffer with sore muscles in other areas of your body, the Recoup Cryosphere provides even better value for your money.
- Stays cold
- Rolls smoothly
- Requires no charging or change of battery
- No nubs or spikes
FAQs on How to Find the Best Foot Massager
Answer: The best foot massagers currently on the market are:
- Renpho Foot Massager
- Cloud Massage Shiatsu Foot Massager
- Best Choice Products Foot Massager
- NekTeck Foot Massager
- MED Massager
- Homedics Triple-Action Shiatsu Massager
- Belmint Shiatsu Massager
- Miko Shiatsu Massager
- Arch Refresh Premium Massager with Heat
Answer: To select the right foot massager, do the following:
- Check if the massager has multiple settings to offer versatility
- Pick your preferred foot massager features
- Go for easy-to-clean models
Answer: Foot massagers are extremely effective at providing some much-needed relief after a long, stressful day. Not only that, they also provide several health benefits. Even a brief massage can relieve stress and elevate your mood.
Answer: A foot massager doesn’t cause any harmful effects if it’s used properly. However, it can potentially induce labor.
Answer: A foot massager can help alleviate the discomfort resulting from peripheral neuropathy symptoms. It may be quite expensive to hire a massage therapist, so a foot massager can be a convenient and cost-effective tool to provide relief at home.
How to Find the Best Foot Massagers: The Takeaway
Whether you’re an essential services employee and you’re on your feet throughout the workday or you’re an athlete with plantar fasciitis, your feet could probably benefit from some TLC. Fortunately, you don’t have to visit a spa to pamper them. Buying a foot massager will allow you to have happier, healthier feet at home.
There are various foot massagers on the market today with a wide variety of features, including kneading, vibration, foot scraping, rolling bars, heat, and compression. You can also choose one from a variety of materials and designs.
You can personalize your settings to get the perfect massage for your own specific needs. And you can do this from the comfort and convenience of your favorite couch as you surf the internet or binge-watch your beloved TV shows.
Foot massagers are also fabulous presents for your friends and family—especially seniors or those with foot disorders, stress, or circulatory conditions. Of course, that’s as long as you don’t mind giving one away after buying it!
For the best bang for your buck, be sure to go for the RENPHO Foot Massager. If money is a little bit tight, then you should get the NeckTeck Foot Massager.