Best Foot Massagers of 2022 - SI Showcase - Sports Illustrated

2022-10-17 10:21:04 By : Mr. Billy Ba

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Foot massages are more than a way to relax after a long day on your feet. Regularly massaging your feet can contribute to overall wellness by increasing blood flow, reducing tension and diminishing pain. At-home foot massagers provide a similar experience to the in-person massage therapy you receive at a spa. Instead of hands or hot stones, home massagers use rolling balls, vibration, compression, heat and in some cases, water jets to massage your feet. In this guide, we’ll dive into our top picks for at-home foot massager, including a guide on the different types of devices and how to choose the best foot massager for you. Massage Gun

The Miko Shiatsu Home Massager is an electrical option that offers deep-kneading, air compression, rolling, vibrating and scraping to deliver a shiatsu massage to the bottom and sides of the feet. (For reference, shiatsu is a massage technique that involves applying manual pressure to specific parts of the body to alleviate tension and pain.) There are no rollers for the top of the feet, but the air compression applies 360 degrees of pressure. You can customize your massage by toggling through five levels of pressure and turning the kneading function on or off. There’s also an optional heating function that emits warmth around the foot at 97 degrees.

The massager can be controlled via the two included WiFi remotes, and has a built-in timer that maxes out at 15 minutes. At 16.75 inches x 16.75 inches x 9.25 inches and 11 pounds, it’s not the most compact machine on the market, but you can keep it under your desk or stow it away in a closet when not in use.

Purchase Miko Shiatsu Home Massager Machine

While it won’t get rid of plantar fasciitis completely, moist heat has been shown to help alleviate pain associated with the condition. This foot spa from RENPHO combines water, massage rollers and heat to create an active foot soak. There are three massage modes, bubble jets, and an automatic timer that you can set from 10 to 60 minutes. The water warmth adjusts from 95 degrees Fahrenheit to 118 degrees Fahrenheit. (Note: The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends keeping water heat below 120 degrees.) There’s also a removable “medicine box” where you can add essential oils or bath salts to enhance your soak.

The foot spa has a fairly large footprint—it measures 19.3 inches x 16.1 inches x 16.5 inches and weighs 8.8 pounds—but it has a handle and is on wheels for portability. There’s also a drainpipe so you don’t have to turn it over to empty it.

Purchase RENPHO Motorized Foot Spa with Heat

Tight calf muscles can stress the plantar fascia, contributing to foot pain. If you want to release tension in both your leg and foot, you’ll need something with more manual control than an electric foot massager. While a massage gun requires more active use, the Turonic GM5 Massage Gun has an ergonomic design and weighs just 1.7 pounds, so it’s easy to maneuver over sore areas.

It comes with seven massage heads, including a trigger point attachment that’s ideal for working out your foot muscles. While there’s no heat option, there are five intensity modes that simulate pressure ranging from relaxing to a deep tissue massage. The Turonic GM5 has an 11-millimeter amplitude, which measures how deeply it can penetrate into the muscles. This is on the shallower side (higher tier massage guns have a 12 to 16 millimeter amplitude), but the pressure should be plenty for areas like the calves and feet. The massage gun is rechargeable, and will operate for eight hours on a single charge.

Purchase Turonic GM5 Massage Gun

If you have peripheral neuropathy—or nerve damage—foot massages may alleviate some of your pain and help improve sleep quality. If your feet are especially sensitive, you’ll want a way to control the pressure to your comfort level. The Belmint Foot Massager has three settings—rotating and kneading, massage only and air compression only—plus a manual control that lets you toggle through five levels of pressure. There’s also an optional heat setting that you can use with or without the massage function turned on; however, board-certified podiatrist, Nelya Lobkova, DPM, cautions that those with neuropathy should not use the heat setting, since they may have impaired sensation (including temperature detection) in the feet.

You can operate the foot massager via touch buttons on the machine or use the included remote if you want to sit back and relax. The remote gives you access to all the settings, plus an automatic timer that lets you set the massage time for 20, 25 or 30 minutes. At 15.2 inches x 15.2 inches x 8.7 inches and 11.7 pounds, this is another larger-sized machine.

Purchase Belmint Foot Massager Machine

The Wahl Therapeutic Extra Deep Foot & Ankle Heated Bath Spa combines a warming foot soak with reflexology, a type of massage that involves applying focused pressure to specific areas on the feet. This extra deep basin has acupressure nodes for pressure points and ergonomic foot rollers that you can use to manually massage your feet as you soak. There are no pre-programmed massage modes, but there are jets and a vibration mode that can help increase blood circulation to your feet. There are three jet intensities and high or low vibration options that you can operate independently depending on the experience you want at any given time.

Controlled heating can bring the temperature up to 98 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain that temperature for as long as you want to soak. And the 2.6-gallon capacity ensures your feet and ankles are completely covered when filled to the top. At 19.06 inches x 10.63 inches x 16.06 inches, this foot massager has a fairly large footprint, but it’s still portable since it only weighs 3.3 pounds.

Purchase Wahl Therapeutic Extra Deep Foot & Ankle Spa

Peripheral neuropathy (non-spinal nerve damage) affects about 29% of type one diabetics and 51% of type two diabetics. While you can’t reverse the condition, you may be able to find some relief with regular foot massages. Even if you don’t have neuropathy, foot massages may help improve balance and mobility. This adjustable foot massager from Cloud uses a shiatsu technique and offers three levels of pressure. There are five massage functions—rolling massage, compression therapy, spa heat therapy, a sway function and quiet mode. There is also a heating element, though diabetics should not use it. "Those who have diabetes may not be aware of their loss of sensation and thus should avoid using the heat setting on foot massagers," said Dr. Lobkova. "They may not be able to feel if the heat gets too high, potentially burning the feet."

At 22 inches x 11 inches x 17.7 inches and 21.45 pounds, it’s the biggest massager on our list, but it has an adjustable bar that allows you to target your feet, ankles or calves without changing position. All controls are easily accessible on the front of the machine, or you can use the included remote to change massage modes and intensity.

Purchase Cloud Nine Foot Massager 

If you like the deep kneading and direct pressure of shiatsu massage, but don’t want air compression around your whole foot, the HoMedics Deluxe Shiatsu Foot Massager is a solid choice. It’s a platform-style massager with four rotating heads and 10 massage nodes that are positioned to directly target acupressure points on each foot.

There’s only one massage mode and intensity level, but you have the choice to add heat. The heating mode also works independently so you can use this massager strictly as a heating source on days when you don’t want any pressure. Because it’s battery powered and fairly compact compared to others—it measures 13.58 inches x 3.62 inches x 9.06 inches and weighs 4.18 pounds—it’s easier to position it exactly where you want it.

Purchase HoMedics Deluxe Shiatsu Foot Massager

While many foot massagers have a heating function, the enclosed design of the Etekcity Foot Massager Machine makes this one feel extra cozy. It has independent chambers that fully encase your feet, warming from all angles in as little as five to 10 minutes; some foot massagers can take up to 30.

In addition to heating, it also has three massage modes, three air intensity levels and three automatic timer settings that let you set the massage duration for 15, 20 or 25 minutes. You can control all the functions via the touchscreen panel on the massager, or download a free app that functions as a remote control. At 18.4 inches x 15.4 inches x 10.7 inches and 11.77 pounds, it’s not the largest foot massager out there, but it still requires a decent amount of space.

Purchase ​​Etekcity Foot Massager Machine

The Best Choice Products Shiatsu Foot Massager is an electrical option that gives you more control over your massage. You can choose from three massage modes that target different areas of the feet (toes, arches or soles), or use the manual setting to apply pressure exactly where you want it. The open design of the foot chambers gives you more room to move your feet back and forth so you can find that sweet spot. This also helps accommodate larger feet.

While there’s no heat setting, you can control the speed, direction and time of your massage with the LCD panel, and the display shows remaining time and specific massage mode. There’s also a remote. On the larger side, this foot massager measures 22 inches x 12 inches x 10 inches and weighs 13.5 pounds.

Purchase Best Choice Products Foot Massager Machine

If you don’t like the deep pressure that comes along with electric foot massagers, a manual option is likely the best choice for you. This TheraFlow Wooden Foot Massager Roller doesn’t have any fancy functions, like a heating element or air compression, but it relies on the science of reflexology and acupressure to help you find relief.

Each foot pad has five separate rollers, four of which target trigger points in the sole of the foot and a fifth that has acupressure nubs that dig into targeted areas of your feet. The curved design follows the natural arch of your foot so it feels comfortable as you roll. The massager itself is made of eco-friendly wood with a non-slip grip bottom so you can use it on any type of flooring. And when you’re done using it, it’s easy to stow away because of its compact size. It weighs just 1.7 pounds and measures 11.2 inches x 2.5 inches x 7.5 inches.

Purchase TheraFlow Wooden Foot Massager Roller

The Human Touch Reflex SOL Foot & Calf Massager with Heat is a splurge-worthy foot massager that comes with a handful of advanced features. It has an extended height and wrap-around technology that fully encloses your feet and calves. There are three auto-massage programs with two speed and two intensity levels that can be controlled via the panel on the top of the machine. The panel also gives you the option to add vibration and/or heat. All massages are automatically set to 15 minutes and the machine will shut off when the cycle is complete.

The base is large and heavy‎—it measures 19 inches x 18 inches x 18 inches and weighs 25 pounds—but it’s adjustable so you can tilt it back or forward to find your ideal position when sitting in different locations.

Purchase Human Touch Reflex SOL Foot & Calf Massager

The Nekteck Foot Massager is a budget-friendly option that offers all the basics. This platform-style foot massager has six massage heads and 18 rotating massager nodes that work together to provide a shiatsu-style, kneading massage. You operate the machine via toe-touch controls that allow you to toggle through the two modes: massage-only or massage with heat. Each massage lasts 15 minutes, and an automatic shutoff will kick in when the cycle ends.

The base itself has three height levels so you can adjust it based on your height. Compared to other foot massagers, this machine is fairly compact. It measures 15.9 inches x 14.4 inches x 4.7 inches and weighs 7.3 pounds, and it has a carry handle to help with portability.

Purchase Nekteck Foot Massager with Heat

If you prefer a foot massage with less pressure, the Snailax Shiatsu Foot Massager is a good choice. The massage nodes are covered with silicone so they feel gentler on your feet, and the foot chamber is lined with sherpa and has a plush cloth cover for extra comfort. There’s only one massage mode, but you can control the direction of the rotation to hit various spots. You can also remove the top portion of the device to turn it into a back, neck and/or calf massager.

This foot massager operates via a wired remote that has simple one-touch buttons. The remote controls the power, direction of the massage nodes and the heating function. There are no heat levels, but you can add warmth to your massage or use it independently if you want to turn the massager into a standalone heating pad. At 13 inches x 12.6 inches x 6.4 inches and 3.7 pounds, this is a fairly compact machine that’s easier to store than others.

Purchase Snailax Shiatsu Foot Massager with Heat

If you’re always on the go, you need a foot massager that doesn’t tether you to a wall via an electrical cord. The ultra-portable, 1.4-pound TheraGun Mini was made for travel (or bringing with you to the gym or office), so you can find relief whenever you need it. This handheld massage gun comes only with a standard ball attachment, but it’s compatible with all fourth generation TheraGun attachments. If you own one of the other models, you can change the head out as needed.

While there’s no heat setting, the TheraGun Mini has three speed options, exerts 20 pounds of force and has a 12-millimeter amplitude. This combination makes it slightly less intense than the full-size versions, which have a 16-millimeter amplitude, but it still has plenty of pressure to help you work out aches and pains on your feet and beyond. The rechargeable battery offers up to 150 minutes of runtime on a single charge.

One of the most obvious benefits of a foot massager is stress reduction, but massage can also improve blood circulation and reduce muscle tension. This is especially helpful if you spend a lot of time on your feet (in addition to good shoes for walking and standing). If your massager offers compression, it can also function like compression socks, which may help reduce muscle soreness or swelling.

Electric foot massagers need to be plugged into an electrical outlet via a power cord. This limits where you can place them, but you never have to worry about changing or charging batteries. Most electric foot massagers operate via a control panel or remote.

Battery-operated foot massagers rely on regular or rechargeable batteries. They’re more portable than electric foot massagers since you can use them anywhere, but you do have to make sure they have new or fully charged batteries before use.

Manual foot massagers don’t have a power source. They typically rely on nodes or textured surfaces to apply pressure to your foot. This gives you more control over the massage depth, but does require more active participation from you.

Many foot massagers contain a heating function. Some can add heat to a massage mode only, while others allow you to use heat independently and can double as a heating pad. This heating function isn’t limited to a specific type of foot massager. You can find it in electric and battery-operated foot massagers.

Most heated foot massagers have a maximum temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Dr. Lobkova, 115 degrees Fahrenheit is safe for a massager’s ambient temperature, but only if the machine’s fabric liner isn’t torn or damaged. In that case, “...the skin is now directly touching a surface at 115 degrees Fahrenheit, which could be dangerous for a prolonged duration,” she said. 

Brian Moore MD, FAAD, offered advice for the maximum use time at common foot massager temperatures: "At 115 degrees, a person should limit the time of exposure to under 10 minutes. At 109 degrees, the skin can tolerate about 15 minutes without sustaining any type of burn. At 98 degrees, since this is the same temperature as the body in general, the skin should be able to tolerate it for hours," he said.

Any person that has sore feet (and gets clearance from their doctor) can use a foot massager. Those who stand on their feet all day, such as chefs, waitresses, doctors and nurses may find them especially beneficial for preventing sore and tired legs and feet. Foot massages can also help athletes with post-exercise recovery and overuse injuries. (Foam rollers can help too.)

As for who should avoid use? People with blood clotting issues should avoid massage, since it could cause a clot to dislodge and travel to the brain or heart. People with limited feeling or sensation in the feet (called peripheral neuropathy) should also proceed with caution, since they may not feel changes in temperature or pressure. Finally, anyone with foot injuries or open wounds should avoid massage, and those with open wounds should especially avoid foot massagers that require them to submerge their feet in water.

There are three main types of foot massagers: electric, battery-powered and manual. They each have their pros and cons, so the best one for you depends on what you’re looking for.

Electric foot massagers need to be plugged in via a power cord, which can limit where you can use them. Battery-powered foot massagers utilize regular or rechargeable batteries. This requires some forethought since you have to make sure you have fresh batteries or the battery is fully charged when you’re ready to use it. Manual foot massagers don’t have a power source; you just run your feet over a textured surface to get the relief you need. This helps you control the pressure, but does require you to do a little more work since you have to physically move your feet.

Price is a consideration in any purchase. Foot massagers can range from $25 to a few hundred, or even more. As a general rule, more expensive foot massagers come with more advanced features like a heating function and several different massage modes. If you don’t need those extras, you can save some money by getting a budget model.

When choosing a foot massager, you also want to look at the functions. The biggest factors to consider are:

Keep in mind that the more functions a foot massager has, the more expensive it can get. Figure out which functions are most important to you and then make your choice accordingly.

Most electric foot massagers have two main controls: a button-operated control panel and/or a remote. The remote may be wireless or attached to a power cord. Some smarter foot massagers connect to an app instead of a remote.

Some foot massagers are more portable than others. Electric massagers require you to be close to a power source, while you can use battery-operated and manual massagers anywhere.

Size and weight also contributes to portability. Some electrical massagers are rather large and heavy, weighing over 20 pounds. While you can still move them around, it’s not as easy as grabbing a massage gun or a lighter weight manual massager. It’s also more difficult to travel with an electrical massager than the Theragun Mini, for example.

There is no definitive answer to this question. “It depends on your individual needs and preferences,” says Daniel Pledger, DPM, podiatrist and founder of ePodiatrists. “Some people use their foot massagers every day, while others only use them when they are feeling particularly tense or have pain in their feet.” If you’re not sure how often to use your foot massager, ask your doctor.

A foot massager likely won’t damage your feet, but it’s important to use it correctly. Excessive use can cause soreness in the feet. Standing, instead of sitting, when using an electric massager can potentially cause injury. If you use the heat setting, there's a chance of developing a skin condition called erythema ab igne. "As a general rule, keeping the temperature less than 115 degrees and below the threshold of pain is a good way to avoid it," said Dr. Moore. And, of course, if you’re pregnant or have a health condition like diabetes, talk to your doctor before using a foot massager.

The best way to clean your foot massager depends on the type. Many electrical foot massagers with independent foot chambers have removable covers that you can throw in the washing machine. While those are being washed, you can wipe down the rest of the machine with a cleaning solution and a paper towel. Try not to spray the machine directly, though. Moisture can damage electrical components, so it’s best to get the paper towel damp and then wipe the machine down. Spa-type foot massagers and manual foot massagers can be sprayed down and wiped clean with a cloth.

Yes, vibration is good for your feet. “Vibration helps to promote blood circulation and can also help to relieve pain and muscle tension. This is especially beneficial for people who suffer from conditions like diabetes, as poor circulation can lead to serious complications,” says Pledger.

However, according to Dr. Lobkova, it’s important to remember that there are lots of bones in the feet. “Strong vibration (i.e. using a TheraGun) should not be placed directly over the bony prominences of the feet to prevent fracture or bone injury…Vibration should only be applied to the muscle, like the instep of the foot,” she says, adding that kids under 17 should avoid strong vibration devices altogether.

A good foot massager can alleviate tension, promote relaxation and reduce pain. There are plenty to choose from, but the Miko Shiatsu Foot Massager is our top choice due to its range of functions and advanced heating system. The Nekteck Foot Massager is an excellent budget option, while the Theragun Mini is an ideal choice for those who want a massage on the go.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.

Feet Bath Spa Massager With Heat Lindsay Boyers is a functional nutritionist, writer, and editor with over a decade of experience in online media and product testing, mostly in the nutrition, fitness, sleep, and lifestyle spaces.