The 7 Best Foot Massagers of 2022 | Tested by Health

2022-11-07 18:45:47 By : Ms. Freeling Zhang

Sarah Bradley is a freelancer writer from Connecticut, where she lives with her husband and three sons. Her reported features and personal essays on parenting and women’s health have appeared at On Parenting from The Washington Post, Real Simple, Women’s Health, Parents, and O the Oprah Magazine, among others. She is a regular parenting content contributor at Verywell Family and Healthline Parenthood. In her so-called “free time,” Sarah is an amateur baker, homeschooler, and aspiring novelist.

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The 7 Best Foot Massagers of 2022 | Tested by Health

While they might seem like luxury products, foot massagers can actually be useful for the majority of people. Most of us are hard on our feet, and we have the stiff arches, sore muscles, arthritis, and plantar fasciitis to show for it. For instant relief at the end of the day and healthier feet for tomorrow, a foot massager can be a valuable therapeutic tool to keep around.

The Best Choice Products Foot Massager is our best overall pick thanks to how well it stimulates a traditional foot massage at a spa, offering relief to different reflex points and varying massage modes. If you’re looking for something to treat your plantar fasciitis, specifically, we like the customizable (and portable!) kneading you can get from the TheraFlow Large Dual Foot Massager Roller. 

According to Sidney Weiser, DPM, of Quality Podiatry Group, people who may benefit from using a foot massager include “individuals who have compromised circulation or who suffer from pain due to neuropathy, [and people with] tired muscles, plantar fasciitis, or heel pain.”

Of course, the foot massager market is pretty flooded with options, and it can be hard to know which products will give you the exact foot pain treatment you need. You have to consider how much massage pressure is appropriate for your feet, and understand the difference between rolling, kneading, and shiatsu massage. And then there’s heat and water to think about, too: do you need to be soaking or warming your feet up as well?

To help you figure out what type of foot massager will be the best investment for your feet, we tested several of the most popular massagers on the market in our Lab. We reviewed them thoroughly for comfort, ease of use, effectiveness, ease of cleaning, and overall experience. While some of these factors are subjective—what’s comfortable for one person might not be for someone else!—we determined that the best foot massagers offer a variety of settings, promoted instant relaxation, and offered a deep enough massage experience to leave our feet feeling refreshed.

Here are the best foot massagers, according to our lab test.

Why We Like It: You can get a totally customized massage by choosing between an automatic massage for your whole foot or a manual massage targeted to specific areas.

It’s Worth Noting: There’s no heating element on this massager, and it’s fairly large. 

Wherever you need deep tissue massage the most, the Best Choice Products Foot Massager can deliver—which is why we made it our best overall pick. In testing, this massager stood out for the way it could massage the whole foot, not just the sole…but if you want to target just the sole of your foot, you can do that, too! We loved how flexible the massage modes were, allowing us to toggle between speeds and activate different reflex points.

As far as comfort, our testers reported that this massager felt the most like human hands were doing the work, which increased our appreciation of the overall experience. “I love that this one massaged all planes of my foot and not just the sole; it felt the most like a real foot massage from a human being,” said our tester. 

The unit is large and a bit bulky, making it trickier to store, but if you know you’re going to need a foot massager on a regular basis, this one is a good investment; in fact, our testers said more than once how impressed they were by the value of this product for the cost.

Since there’s no option for adding water, there’s not much cleaning to be done here. In testing, we did find this massager’s interface a little confusing at first, but since it comes with a remote, it’s still relatively easy to operate. Overall, we thought this massager came in strong with regard to effectiveness and comfort, delivering an intense but relieving massage anywhere we chose on the foot. 

Price at time of publication: $100

Why We Like It: The bubbles provide a luxurious spa experience while the motorized rollers offer a surprisingly effective massage.

It’s Worth Noting: The water does heat up, but there isn’t any way to customize the temperature to your liking.

Between soothing bubbles, motorized rollers, vibration, and a foot scrubber, our testers loved how the Costway Foot Massage Bath Massager was both a massager and home pedicure spa all in one.

While you won’t get a full massage experience with a foot spa-type massager, the built-in rollers and balls felt great on our feet, and our testers liked being able to adjust the pressure settings to their preference. The vibration option worked well, but was less appealing to our testers than the traditional rolling massage feature. On the foot spa side of things, this massager offers a nice, deep tub that can accommodate all foot sizes, but it doesn’t take up much space; one tester called it “compact,” “portable,” and “a good size without being bulky.”

Our testers also noted that this massager was a breeze to set up and use, with intuitive controls and smart storage. The one area we felt this massager could improve is with its heating function; while it does keep the water warm, we noticed that it doesn’t really heat the water and there isn’t an option for increasing the temperature. We think it will work best with already-hot water added to the tub to start. Overall, we felt relaxed and pampered by the time we were done with this massager, and we liked how it combines a traditional foot massage with a soaking spa element.

Price at time of publication: $63

Why We Like It: It’s affordable, effective, and easy to tuck under your desk for quick relief.

It’s Worth Noting: You have to put in the work here—it’s not an electric massager. 

At first glance, this wooden roller doesn’t look like much, but people with plantar fasciitis will thank us for putting it on our list as the best massager for this painful condition. Where many foot massagers just can’t really get to the source of your woes, i.e. the band of tissue running along the sole of your foot called the plantar fascia, our testers couldn’t believe how well this unassuming massager worked. 

“This one surprised me, as it wasn't big or fancy, and didn't heat up—but this little wooden device delivered the best massage out of all the massagers,” raved our tester.

What’s the secret of this massager? We couldn’t put our finger on just one thing throughout our testing, but we can say this: the device is simplistic, convenient, and designed in such a way to deliver truly targeted deep tissue massage to the exact spots you need it. Because it’s manual, not motorized, you can decide how gently or intensely to use it. Even though it doesn’t heat up, vibrate, or provide any motorized kneading, our testers couldn’t find one thing they didn’t like about it. 

Why We Like It: It's a smaller and uber-portable version of the TheraFlow Dual Foot Massager, which means it can be used anytime, anywhere.

It’s Worth Noting: You can only massage one foot or body part at a time. 

If you thought the TheraFlow Large Dual Foot Roller was unassuming, we have a surprise for you: there’s an even smaller version, the TheraFlow Foot Massager Roller Stick, that provides similar benefits in a more portable package, making it perfect for people who travel or need highly-specific tissue massage (like, for example, only on one toe). 

The stick is a pared-down model of the dual roller that maintains everything we loved in testing about its larger counterpart: its knobby, wooden roller gets deep down into the tissue for a satisfying massage, and its streamlined design means that not only can you take it with you anywhere, you can put it anywhere on your body for a quick spot treatment. Again, our testers marveled at how such a small, non-motorized device could deliver big massage results, calling its effects “soothing, relaxing, and versatile.” 

It couldn’t be easier to incorporate into your day; we found that after a few minutes of use, we forgot we were even doing the work to make our own massage happen. That means you can keep it under your desk, by the couch while you watch TV, or even in the passenger seat of the car for road trips. Simply put, we found that this roller stick gets the job done.

Price at time of publication: $9

Why We Like It: It provides intense massage relief, an easy-to-use interface, and a comparatively affordable cost.

It’s Worth Noting: The only thing it doesn’t offer is vibration. 

One of our testers described the Miko Shiatsu Foot Massager as “a warm hug on your feet,” which is why we love it for patients with neuropathy. It massaged our whole foot, not just the soles, and delivered one of the best massages out of all the products we tested. For people with nerve pain, a thoroughly relaxing and comfortable massage is key—and the Miko can provide it.

Across nearly every category, the Miko exceeded our expectations; it was easy to use, with a remote control and adjustable settings. Even though it doesn’t offer vibration, the heating element really impressed us. It was relaxing and effective, with one tester noting that it “delivered the best and most forceful foot massage out of any of the machines” tested. There’s no special cleaning required, and even though it’s a bit pricier than the other options on this list, the “amazing” experience it gave our testers makes us think it’s well worth its value. 

Price at time of publication: $125

Why We Like It: It’s a no-frills, budget-friendly pick that functions well as a basic foot spa.

It’s Worth Noting: It works better as an at-home pedicure tool than an at-home therapeutic foot massager. 

We’ll be honest: this product isn’t the best massaging option on this list, but it definitely provides an ultimate at-home spa experience, which is why it’s our pick for best foot spa. Our testers thought the bubbling jets felt like the jets in a hot tub, making the HoMedics Bubble Mate basically a mini hot tub for your feet.

While the massage factor was lower (you have to manually massage your own feet using the nodes on the bottom of the spa), in testing we noticed that this product does have some nice perks: you can turn it on and off with your toe, and buff away calluses and rough skin with the removeable pumice stone. That said, there were some frustrating qualities, too; the massager is fairly loud, and while it has a heating element, you’ll want to start off with hot water since it’s not super effective.

Price at time of publication: $30

Why We Like It: For people with sore legs or calf muscles, this is an easy-to-use option that varies air compression and kneading for intense pain relief.

It’s Worth Noting: It doesn’t work as well as a foot massager, so it’s best for people with leg pain. 

Delivering an intense but comfortable massage, we love the FIT KING Leg Air Massager for the foot and calf. While it’s less effective for the feet, you can’t beat the circulatory benefits these massaging boots provide to your legs, especially your calves.

With an air compression system that felt, to one of our testers, like “getting [your] blood pressure taken, but around [your] calves,” the FIT KING cycles through several rounds of intense squeezing and then relaxing to promote blood flow. While our testers thought the pressure could be a bit too intense at times, there are three different pressure modes for adjustability, as well as two modes.

In our testing, a few areas where the FIT KING massager performed well were in comfort and ease of use; we didn’t have any trouble putting the boots on or changing the settings, and we liked that you can still move around comfortably, even elevating your feet if necessary, while wearing them.

It’s worth noting that we think this product is best for people with intense calf or leg pain versus people with foot pain. Since traditional foot massagers employ different types of massage, like kneading and rolling, to pinpoint pain areas, the FIT KING is lacking in versatility and can’t offer as much for the feet.

Price at time of publication: $89

We tested 12 foot massagers in our Lab to determine the best ones for regular, therapeutic use at home. Our testers set up each device and tried them out according to the manufacturer instructions, evaluating them across five insights: comfort, ease of use, effectiveness, ease of cleaning, and overall experience. The testers all used each foot massager for 20 minutes so they could get a good feel for how an individual massager worked and compare its function to the other massagers being tested.

For comfort, we looked at the variety of pressure and heat settings, noting if a product felt too intense even on its lower settings (making it less likely to be comfortable for many users). We also considered pressure and heat settings for effectiveness, paying attention to the areas of the foot targeted by the massager and how well it performed when it came to releasing muscle tension and providing relief from soreness.

With the ease of use attribute, we focused on how easily the machine could be turned on and off, how easily it could be changed from one setting to the next, and the simplicity of the overall setup. If a massager was complicated to use without referring to the manual or the display was confusing to read, we called that out. Ease of cleaning was primarily relevant for foot massagers that utilize a water or soaking element, but we still made sure those products had a removable basin that made a quick wash in the sink a breeze. 

Finally, we assessed each product’s overall experience. Did we like using it? Would we recommend it to our friends and family members? We also thought about what type of person might benefit most from each one (i.e. runners versus people with arthritis) and whether the cost of the product seemed appropriate for the results it could provide.

We’re also testing these foot massagers at home so we can rate their performance over weeks and months of daily use. We’ll continue to update our recommendations based on insights from our long-term testing. 

Whatever type of foot massager you’re considering for purchase, you’ll want to consider these four things before you make your final decision.

Ideally, a foot massager will have a wide range of adjustable settings so you can find the intensity you need on a given day. What’s just right for one person may be way too powerful for another, so look for massagers that feature multiple intensity settings. If you’re considering a foot massager that doesn’t offer a lot of strength adjustability, see if it has a return policy so you can try it out at home; if it turns out to be too gentle or too harsh for you, you’ll be grateful you can exchange it for something that meets your needs.

Rolling, kneading, vibrating, shiatsu—there are all different kinds of massage movements offered by popular products, and it can be hard to know what’s right for you.

In general, Dr. Weiser says that both vibration and kneading massage are helpful for most users. If you have plantar fasciitis, though, you might find that a product with rolling massage, which can really work along the band of tissue under your sole, is the best option. Dr. Weiser also suggests looking for a massager that can accommodate your foot and your calf, if possible, to maximize your therapeutic options. 

Traditional foot massagers don’t come with a soaking option, but some foot baths offer a massaging element so you can get the best of both worlds. The massaging element can be motorized or manual (i.e. you roll your feet back and forth along a series of nodes yourself, rather than relying on the device to do it for you). 

These types of massagers work better for people with tired, achy feet than people with chronic pain conditions, since they are more like foot baths with a massaging element than dedicated foot massagers. In other words, if you need targeted therapeutic massage, opt for a traditional foot massager and not a foot spa…but if you just need to soothe your feet after a long day at work, a foot spa with a little extra massaging action will probably give you what you need.

Some foot massagers—both the traditional ones and the foot bath styles—come with a heating element that warms up your feet, increasing the muscle relaxation and circulatory benefits. You should choose these products carefully, however, making sure that you can fully control how hot the massager gets. You should also be mindful of heating elements if you have certain medical conditions.

“Heating elements help to improve circulation,” says Dr. Weiser, “[but] I personally would stay away from a heating element for patients with diabetes, since their sensation to feel pain—hot or cold—can be severely compromised.”

We also tested these foot massagers but ultimately decided not to include them in our list of recommendations. They fell short in our test when it came to convenience, effectiveness, and setting options: 

The “best” foot massager for you is primarily about personal preference, says Gary Feldman, DPM, of The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, but there are a few things any good foot massager should (and shouldn’t!) do. 

For one, the best foot massager will probably involve a heating element, since this not only heightens the relaxation experience, it can loosen cramped muscles and promote better circulation. You should also make sure that any massager you purchase can actually address your area of concern; in other words, if your main issue is plantar fasciitis, a foot and calf massager like the Fit King featured on this list probably isn’t your best bet.

Finally, Dr. Feldman says no foot massager should ever cause pain—if a product is simply too aggressive in its massage techniques, pass it over for something gentler.

Sometimes, depending on the patient. While foot massagers can be useful for people with neuropathy, people with diabetes still need to be careful about the therapies they use on their feet (and should avoid heating elements, as we mentioned earlier). 

But Dr. Feldman says that he does occasionally recommend foot massagers to his patients, because they can offer several different benefits: helping with blood flow, relieving muscle tension and relaxing soft tissue, decreasing chronic pain, decreasing emotional stress, and assisting with anxiety.  

Again, it depends on the type of massager you choose and your overall goals. If you just want a relaxing foot spa experience at home, it’s fairly easy to find a foot massager with a water basin and some massaging nodes on the bottom. If you’re looking for a true shiatsu massage experience, however, or need air compression or variable pressure, it can get a little tougher to find products that actually address your needs.

That said, there are plenty of foot massagers on the market that can relieve the symptoms of many common ailments like plantar fasciitis, foot fatigue, neuropathy, and arthritis. It’s just important to consider what type of relief you need and whether a specific massager can safely provide it for you. 

While foot massagers can’t cure arthritis, they can act as a comfort device and alleviate some of your symptoms, says Dr. Feldman, who notes that many of them can decrease the inflammation associated with arthritis. 

The 7 Best Foot Massagers of 2022 | Tested by Health

Vibration Foot Massage Sarah Bradley has been a freelance writer since 2017, tackling health commerce articles, product reviews, and shopping guides on everything from dry skin moisturizers and wart removers to menstrual cups and toothbrushes for braces. She has personally tested electric toothbrushes and water flossers, so knows what makes a good product stand out from a great one (and really, really wants to tell you about it).