The 10 Best Foot Massagers
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in May of 2015. If you spend most of your day standing, you probably suffer from sore feet on a regular basis. The foot massagers featured on this list use heat, shiatsu, and/or air pressure to provide relief to your feet, ankles, and calves, and there are even a few low-tech options that can be just as effective as their electrically-powered counterparts. They come in at prices to meet any budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
December 18, 2019:
It should come as no surprise that for many people massage is an important part of health and wellness. Unfortunately, visiting a professional masseuse on a regular basis can be prohibitively expensive. These foot massagers solve that problem. They're easy to use and can make a big difference in terms of how your muscles feel at the end of a long work day. Using heat, air, and pressure, these tools and devices make it easier than ever to fast-track the recovery process after a gym session. For even more relaxation, a neck and head massager might be the perfect addition to your self-care collection.
The three new additions to the list are the Simple Spectra Set, Sotion BD211, and TheraFlow Dual, all of which were chosen because of their intuitive designs and overall effectiveness. The Human Touch Reflex-4 has been replaced with the updated Human Touch Reflex 5S, and the Belmont Shiatsu was also replaced with the newest version. The HomCom Multifunction and Clever Creations Relaxation Machine have been removed due to confirmed quality issues.
Brookstone Shiatsu With three automatic massage settings and two intensity levels to choose from, this product makes it possible to customize your experience to match your needs. What's more, it has a built-in cord storage compartment and a handle for portability. bedbathandbeyond.com
Gaiam Foot Roller It's not the most exciting product in this list, but this wooden massager can really do the trick after a long day spent walking or standing. It has slip-resistant rubber strips on the bottom that keep it from sliding out from under you (though you should only use it while sitting, of course). macys.com
Homedics Shiatsuflex It may just look like a pair of slippers, but this device packs a punch when it comes to relieving tension in the soft tissues of the lower legs and feet. Those with painful ankles, in particular, may benefit from its flex function. And it comes with a two-year warranty. kohls.com
Let The Robots Do It
Some also include rollers and other pressure devices that mimic the arts of shiatsu massage, reflexology medicine, and other techniques.
If you've ever spent an uncomfortable amount of time on your feet, whether for work or pleasure, you know the agony that can spread throughout your body. If you've ever come home after such an experience to the grace and beauty of a foot massage, you know how the experience can melt away all pain, fear, anxiety, even all thought, resulting in a kind of meditative mush of pure pleasure.
The foot massagers on our list offer you the same level of relief without the need to employ your reluctant spouse's services, or to actually go out and pay a professional for the honor. Better to let the robots handle this one.
What's even better is that your spouse's skills are only so developed, and the pros usually only specialize in one or two kinds of massage. Many of the massagers on our list on the other hand (the other foot?) take their design inspirations from a variety of massage techniques.
Almost all of them apply some form of heat or vibration, as heat helps to relax the muscles on the foot and a steady vibration from a simple motor will allow the bones in the feet to settle into their proper alignment. Some also include rollers and other pressure devices that mimic the arts of shiatsu massage, reflexology medicine, and other techniques.
Know Your Feet
I'm absurdly ticklish. It's not something I freely admit to most strangers, or to the majority of my friends for that matter. My significant other knows it, and she also knows how dangerous it is to tickle me. I flail when tickled, and her attempts to torture me have resulted in spilled drinks, broken lamps, and a pretty bad cut on my finger, so these days she lays off.
This is the primary reason I can't handle any kind of massage.
This is the primary reason I can't handle any kind of massage. I go to the pros and the only depth of massage that doesn't tickle me is so painful that I can't get any relief. This is my constant conundrum.
About six years ago, however, I started working for a company that had me standing about 12 hours per day, and within a few weeks I thought my feet were simply going to fall off. They weren't going to break or weaken, I wasn't going so suffer a sprain or a strain; they were going to fall off.
So, I started doing my field research, going out and putting my feet into the massagers on the market, and after an extensive search, I found one with enough nuance in its levels that I could get relief without dying of laughter.
My point is that only you know just how sensitive your feet are, and what kind of therapy they might need. If you're new to having your feet massaged, and you don't have a lot of experience with mechanical massagers or with human intervention, you should look for a machine with the most methods of service and the most levels of intensity. That way, you can fine tune your experience to the maximum effect.
If, however, this is far from your first rodeo, it might be worth your while to try a machine with a feature you haven't used before, or one that's failed you in the past. Something like infrared heat or a high ankle massage might just do the trick this time.
The Foot Comes First
Much in the way that plants have roots, an animal's feet ground it to the earth. The health of those feet is vital to just about every other aspect of the body to which they are attached. In the case of humans, we haven't been bipedal creatures long enough for our feet or our spines to have completely adapted a healthy posture and stride. We're still in transition toward that level of harmony.
While reflexology is traditionally performed with the hands, little massaging devices have been employed even since those first days of the art.
The feet are responsible for balancing this bipedal act of ours, and that balance plays a figurative part in our health as much as it does a literal one. Count them up, and you'll find that about a quarter of the bones in the human body reside in the feet. You may not think of it this way very often, but would you willfully put the weight of your entire body on the much larger bones in your arm over and over again for miles each day? Imagine that kind of pressure on all those tiny bones.
If it weren't for their particular organization, as well as the complicated organization and reciprocal action of the muscles in your feet, you could very easily do major damage. Unfortunately, increased complications in a system often result in greater chance of failure, and a small injury to a small muscle or bone in the foot can have drastic repercussions on the entire body's alignment.
The importance of the feet was well documented in the civilizations of ancient China and Egypt, and in those two places there started an art we know now as reflexology, which uses specific pressure applied to certain areas of the feet to treat a whole swathe of ailments. While reflexology is traditionally performed with the hands, little massaging devices have been employed even since those first days of the art. Today's foot massagers are distant children of this ancient craft, and as soon as you dip your feet into one of them, you'll swear by the medicine of the ancients.