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Whether you’re a marathon-running athlete, a worker that stands on their feet all day or you want to elevate your self-care game, an at-home foot massager is the product you never knew you needed (until now). And the benefits you can reap from one of these babies goes far beyond just feeling good in the moment.
The benefits of a foot massager
According to Harvard Medical School, a foot massage improves circulation, stimulates muscles, reduces tension and often eases pain. Plus, Chinese and alternative medicine literature states the right foot massage taps into reflexology, which is a system of applying pressure in different foot zones to stimulate energy and release blockages elsewhere in the body. This practice is believed to cure certain illnesses and alleviate stress.
The most popular style of foot massage, however, is the shiatsu massage. This ancient Japanese healing method uses kneading, pressing, tapping, soothing and stretching the feet to help reduce muscle stiffness, stimulate the skin, aid in digestion and even influence the nervous system, according to the University of Minnesota. Some at-home shiatsu massagers even have extensive tech features like bluetooth and app connectivity, infrared heating elements and more.
The different types of foot massagers
- Electric Massagers: The most popular at-home massage machine that either plug into the wall or are battery-powered.
- Manual Massagers: Usually lower maintenance, manual massagers involve a textured base for manually massaging feet.
- Heated Massagers: A specific type of electric massage that involves heat therapy to warm up the muscle fibers for a soothing, calming effect.
Alongside compression boots and deep tissue massagers, these at-home foot massagers make the perfect wellness gift, Mother’s Day gift or just-because gift — especially for someone who stands all day or suffers from neuropathy, plantar fasciitis or overuse of the foot muscles.
Personal trainer and owner of Anywhere Fitness Ben Walker loves the use of massage tools for himself and his clients, particularly after a rigorous workout. “Percussive therapy enhances blood flow to the muscle groups being trained that day,” he says. “After a workout, the muscle fibers have just broken down and pain signals are still radiating from various body parts and to the brain.” The pulses from a massage create a positive neurological response, which allows the body to send nutrients like water, oxygen, enzymes and amino acids more quickly to the muscle fibers that have been broken down. This stimulates recovery and reduces inflammation or swelling, Walker explains. Plus, a massage just feels good.
Those new to foot massaging should begin with pressure level 1 for about 15 minute a day until they start getting used to the massager experience. You may feel a little sore after the first few uses, but that means the device is working. Be careful not to overdo it, because this can have an adverse affect on the muscles being treated.
If you try to blindly shop this category, you’ll quickly figure out it’s saturated with brand names you’ve probably never heard of. That’s why we swept the internet to bring you the 13 best foot massagers, from Amazon best sellers to tried-and-true low-tech options. Add a foot massager into your routine — whether it’s under your office desk or in front of the couch for movie night — to get the spa experience (for a fraction of the cost) at home.
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Top Foot Massagers
Cloud Massage Shiatsu Foot Massager Machine
This Amazon best-selling foot massager proves that you get what you pay for. It’s the cream of the crop of foot massagers, with a deep, powerful range of kneading. The five different modes can be adjusted to hit your feet, ankles and calves. It rolls, compresses, sways and heats, and even has a quiet mode for more of a spa-like session. Plus, the three different levels of intensity makes this customizable to your preference. It brings the shiatsu technique to your home, and is the closet machine that mimics a human touch. Several of the over 10,000 near-perfect Amazon reviews claim this machine has changed lives, especially for those who suffer from neuropathy, diabetes, plantar fasciitis and other foot-based aliments.
What reviewers say: “I’ll admit that my expectations were not very high for a foot massager, but when I read the reviews, and the chief complaint was that it was painful, I knew I had to try it. Straight to the bottom line: This machine is excellent! A massage therapist with exceptionally strong hands is the only superior alternative I can think of. But hiring a professional to come to my TV room every night for an hour would not be as convenient, and considerably more expensive. In two weeks, it’s significantly reduced my plantar fasciitis. I like it so much, I’m buying another one for a friend.”
Etekcity Foot Massager Machine with Heat and APP Remote
The Etekcity foot massager machine uses pressure and kneading to soothe tired, achey feet via a wireless remote and corresponding smart phone app. You can connect to VeSync to control the massager remotely and better yet, you can save your favorite settings. From kneading to rolling nodes, heat functions and air compression, this massager covers it all. Customers can choose between three air intensity levels and three massage speeds for a custom experience.
Many reviewers say this device is a bit more gentle, thus requiring less time to get used to. However, that means the massage may not be as intense. If you’re looking for subtle relief to truly relax (and not work out intense foot pain), this massager is for you. Another standout feature of this machine is its lightweight build. Other massagers can feel heavy and bulky, but this low-profile design is easy to store and carry around — all while being able to fit up to a men’s size 12 foot.
What reviewers say: “I am a male with size 10 wide feet, and there is plenty of room in the unit for me to adjust position. I have used the highest intensity level, mode two and heat. This combo seems perfect for me. If I scoot my feet in as far as they go, it hits my arches with just enough pressure. If I pull my foot all the way back to the heel, I can feel the airbag squeeze basically just below the Achilles. It’s nowhere near as powerful as the rollers under the feet, but the airbag does an excellent job of applying pressure. Sliding my foot left and right inside the unit shifts the roller focus. I haven’t decided if I prefer the inside edges or outside edges yet, but I know I’ll be testing a lot more in the near future.”
Best Choice Products Therapeutic Shiatsu Foot Massager
Best Foot Massager for Plantar Fasciitis
With over 13,000 near-perfect reviews on Amazon alone, The Best Choice Products electric foot massager offers a deep, shiatsu-style massage. It can target various areas of the feet based on the mode you select, and some shoppers even say it can reach the calves for extra soothing effects.
It’s powered by a remote, which allows you to control power, speed and massage directions and has three mode settings: automatic, custom and manual. All of these are viewable on the LCD screen, which reviewers rave make this device super simple to use. It’s compact in size with a built in handle for easy handling during travel or at-home use.
What reviewers say: “If you have plantar fasciitis, you need this product. At first, it is painful because it is a deep tissue massage. When you continue to use it, you will start to feel the benefits. The arches of my feet are massaged far easier than me trying to use a tennis ball or frozen water bottle for relief. This foot massager has helped alleviate knee problems and heel pain, too. It helps massage the muscles so they don’t feel tired anymore, and it takes away the pain.”
Miko Shiatsu Foot Massager Machine
Best Foot Massager for Neuropathy
The Miko shiatsu foot massager is unique because it has the potential to cover your feet, legs, ankles and calves thanks to an adjustable bar feature. The machine is equipped with three massage modes and the full suite of shiatsu techniques, a rotation ball, rolling stick, heat therapy and air compression at five different pressure settings. The sway function, deep kneading and heat therapy can all hit different points, depending on your preferred angle.
It has a well-designed control panel and is powered by a wireless remote so you can easily adjust the settings without having to bend down. Reviewers claim this to be the best foot massager for neuropathy, poor circulation, diabetes and more.
What reviewers say: “I bought this foot massager for my wife for Christmas. She has diabetic foot neuropathy, with almost constant pain while walking, along with water retention in her ankles and calves. My wife and I have been very pleasantly surprised by the quality of this machine. She got almost immediate relief for both the foot pain and the swelling. In fact, I too have been using it almost daily to relieve my reoccurring plantar fasciitis. So far it has worked very well for us.”
TheraGun Wave Solo Foot Massager
Best for Travel
People that suffer from plantar fasciitis or arch pain know that the oldest trick in the book is to massage your feet with a tennis ball. TheraGun’s Wave Solo elevates the tennis ball experience, and it’s small enough to throw in any gym or carry on bag without question — making it the perfect travel companion.
The device is designed to deeply massage feet to reduce tension and increase range of motion. The three vibration settings can be adjusted to your comfort level, and the machine connects to the TheraBody app via Bluetooth for total control in the palm of your hand. It has a 120-minute battery life and a quick recharge feature. It doesn’t use the shiatsu technique, but it packs mighty vibrational relief considering how compact it is.
What reviewers say: “I got this for my plantar fasciitis, and it is wonderful for massaging the entire foot area. I love the strength of the vibration. You can really work specific areas. The chargeable battery is a great feature and it seems to hold its charge for a long time. I definitely recommend this product!”
Belmint Foot Massager Machine
Belmint’s foot massager brings deep kneading and air compression to a completely personalized massage. There are three modes, five different pressure levels and a heat option, plus an optional air pressure feature to suit different circulatory needs. The optional heat function will soothe pain and stimulate blood and oxygen flow. Plus, the vibrating foot massager addresses and relieves pain from plantar fasciitis, specifically.
What reviewers say: “I’ve been having sporadic pain in my foot and leg the past few months, and I was told to purchase a foot and leg massager. Buying this has probably been the best decision, as I’ve noticed my pain is going away slowly but surely. When I come home from work, I look forward to using this foot and calf massager with heat, as it’s extremely relaxing.”
Snailax 2-in-1 Shiatsu Foot and Back Massager with Heat
The Snailax shiatsu foot massager brings some new features to the table that others lack. For starters, it’s a two-in-one massager, meaning the electric foot massager can be flipped into a back massager or massage cushion for a full body session. All you have to do is remove the zipped top. And on top of the multi-body function, it implements heat therapy, adding a full body (and foot) heating pad to soothe those aches and pains. It’s controlled by a remote for ease of use and has an automatic shut off function that activates after 15 minutes of continual use. A bonus is that it’s compact and easy to carry for travel purposes, whether that means transporting it to the office, living room or on a road trip or across the country.
What reviewers say: “This is a great product! I love how versatile it is! It keeps my cold feet warm and the massages feel wonderful. If I could change one feature, I would change the length of time on the automatic shut off. The manual says 15 minutes, but it’s more like 10 minutes before it automatically turns off. I would rather it shut off after an hour or two.”
TheraFlow (XL) Dual Foot Massager Roller
Best Budget Foot Massager
The TheraFlow dual foot massager roller is based on the acupressure reflexology method, featuring five rows of nubs designed to mimic the natural curve of the foot and alleviate tension by stimulating blood flow throughout the entire body. The manual machine has a sturdy base, making it a great addition to the bathroom floor. It comes with a full detailed reflexology chart to help educate shoppers on proper use for optimum results. And the best part? It’s under $20.
What reviewers say: “I have plantar fasciitis and have been looking for ways to help relieve the discomfort in my feet. This product has been amazing. I keep it at the side of my bed, so I can use it every night before bed and each morning when I wake up. It feels so good. It’s one of those things that once you use it, you don’t know how you ever got through life without it. Not only does it relieve pain, but it helps me start my day feeling a little bit more energized, and as a mom of three, every little bit helps!”
Homedics Shiatsu Air Max Foot Massager
Best for Circulation
Homedics calls this a “soreness relief cocktail” because it uses a collection of different techniques. From shiatsu kneading to rolling, air compression and an heating element, you get a three-in-one machine you’re bound to fall in love with. A special touch is the simulation foot squeeze feature that helps you ease into the massage before it gets deeper. The heat function elevates comfort to help neutralize any discomfort. The rhythmic air compression massage setting helps you destress with each release to coax out pains and aches. You can even trigger air compression levels with your toes to save your back from constantly bending.
What reviewers say: “I already had one, and my 90-year-old mother was having foot issues, so I ordered her one. Our massagers have improved our foot comfort greatly. The massager helps circulation in the feet, which was causing our problems. We are both very happy with this particular massager.”
Renpho Foot Massager Machine with Heat
With over 18,000 near-perfect Amazon reviews, the Renpho foot massager was bound to make this list. The electric machine is equipped with a rotation ball, rolling stick and heat therapy to maximize the shiatsu foot massage experience. Reviewers say the intensity can reach the “hurt so good” level, meaning it’s not for people who are highly sensitive to deep tissue kneading and squeezing.
Renpho brings three different intensities in an ergonomic design that is comfortable and easy to use. It’s manually powered (not by a remote), so be prepared to adjust the touch panel with your foot. The foot room is also enlarged, making it accessible for up to a men’s size 12 foot.
What reviewers say: “The availability to customize settings is great! I love this massager! shiatsu and air compression each have three settings, and you can turn the heat on or off. My feet fit comfortably and I am hooked. So far, I have used it an hour or more a day and love it. Helps my foot aches and neuropathy. Plantar fasciitis in one foot is almost gone and decreased in the other. Also, the cloth inserts can be hand washed.”
Nekteck Foot Massager with Heat
Best for Big Feet
If you’re looking for an adequate electric foot massager that won’t break the bank, the Nekteck foot massager with heat is the right choice. It may not have all the bells and whistles of some of the others on our list but does exactly what you need it to — aka offers a warming massage that brings relief to your feet. Since you’re not putting your feet into pockets here, the massager is a good choice for people with big, wide, sweaty feet. It does require a bit of pressure on the surface to reach a deep kneading sensation, but many customers find this version is far less intimidating to use than some of the fancier gadgets available.
Beksar Larger Shower Foot Scrubber Mat
Best for the Shower
This isn’t your typical foot massager. For starters, it’s not electric, meaning it can be put right in the shower. In fact, it’s actually made for the shower. The Beskar shower foot scrubber mat has a multitude of benefits, from stimulating blood flow to getting rid of foot odor and providing a deep exfoliating clean to the feet. It doesn’t employ the popular shiatsu method but is ideal for any busy person that doesn’t have the time or space to sit down for a massage. It’s intentionally designed to hit pressure points and massage as hard or as light as you’d like.
What reviewers say: “I’ve bought other types of foot massagers, and I like this one best. I wake up to morning foot aches, and this really helps. It’s not a miracle but gives relief.”
Vive Heated Foot Massager
Featuring an open design, the Vive electric foot massager offers heat therapy without encasing feet to avoid overheating and is able to accommodate feet of all sizes.
It has adjustable heat and mild air compression settings as well as three massage levels that utilize rollers and nodes to target pressure points along the sole, heels and toes. This method also stretches the feet to not only relax but rejuvenate energy throughout the entire body. The style gets additional brownie points for its six-foot power cord that allows for easy transport.
What reviewers say: “This is the best thing I’ve ever purchased. My feet always hurt because I have a neuroma near the third toe. This machine massages the pain away within a few minutes and helps my feet feel great. The open footbed allows you to move your feet around freely and massage the needed areas.”
Meet the expert
Ben Walker is a personal trainer and owner of Anywhere Fitness, an at-home training service based in Dublin. His company aims to bring clients well-rounded fitness, nutrition and health services, including helping them relieve pain from sore feet both pre and post-workout with the best foot massagers.