- We tested the top-rated foot massagers to find the best ones you can buy to relieve chronic foot pain.
- The Belmint Shiatsu Foot Massager is the best foot massager we tested, thanks to its perfect application of pressure, heating function, and reasonable price.
I’m getting an expert foot massage as I write this – not by a person, but by a machine that looks like a tiny spaceship. This is Belmint’s Shiatsu Foot Massager, and it has become an integral part of my daily routine.
While training to run a half marathon over the past few months, my feet took regular beatings. The soreness only increased when I had to switch from my running sneakers back to shoes appropriate for office work. I needed a remedy, and daily visits with a masseuse proved financially prohibitive. So I did the next best thing. I tested a bunch of at-home foot massagers.
Every foot massager I tried had something slightly different to offer, and I learned more than I ever imagined I would about the ins and outs of getting a massage from an inanimate object. Kneading is better than prodding, slight smelliness can be difficult to avoid, simple squeezing can be surprisingly effective, and mobility and power don’t often go hand in hand. Ultimately, the range and style of at-home massagers impressed me. It also impressed my friends who picked out their favorites from my growing collection.
The half marathon came and went, and I’m still devoted to my favorite foot massager – and, to be honest, a couple others. Foot massagers, it turns out, do more than just relieve pain in your feet. They also help improve circulation and stimulate your muscles. The calming effects are key to curbing my everyday stress. Whether you’re preparing to run 13 miles or just unwinding from a long art class where you had to stand for three hours in a row – a weekly occurrence, for me – a well-done foot massage is an effective and relaxing way to recover.
While I didn’t test every at-home foot massager on the market, there are a few common, general prototypes that multiple companies offer. From these types, I’ve chosen a range from electronic massagers with multiple pulsing nodes and plug-in parts to simple, analog pressure-relievers. Some are best for home use, and others can come with you to the office.
Here are the best foot massagers you can buy:
Updated on 07/26/2019 by Malarie Gokey: Updated prices and formmatting.
Keep scrolling to check out our top picks.
The best overall
The Belmint Shiatsu Foot Massager feels like a person massaging your feet, and the pressure is spot-on.
In testing out a number of foot massagers, I learned a lot about comfortable pressure. There’s the kind of squeeze that leaves you groaning in relief, and there’s the kind that leaves you limping. Of all the electronic foot massagers I tested out, Belmint’s Shiatsu Foot Massager proved the best at causing only the former – as long as you learn what pressure setting best meets your personal needs.
Some massagers tickled and others prodded. This one felt like a massage and a hug, perhaps in part because you’re sliding your feet into two snug, cloth-lined nooks. Nothing eyebrow-raising, like repeated jabs to the back of my sole, happened during the 15 minutes of the Shiatsu Foot Massager’s timed session.
The heat made me feel like I was a melting puddle of Jell-O, and the massager never got too hot, even though my feet were sitting in compact, heated chambers for a quarter of an hour at a time. When I removed my feet from this massaging cocoon, it felt like a butterfly emerged.
What makes this electronic foot massager seriously great is the combined effect of kneading motions that differentiate between areas of your feet and overall pressure. While one roller hits that key relief point in the middle back of your heel, another set of rollers glides firmly from your arch over the balls of your feet, all with alternating pressure. Lastly, another set kneads and squeezes around your toes.
While all of this is taking place, the air pressure in both foot compartments constantly fluctuates. Sometimes, the compartments get tight around your feet for a deep squeeze and other times they loosen up. The combined squeezing and kneading sensation is swoon-worthy. When there’s free space in the compartments, I usually like to flex my feet so I can partially control how deep the kneading nodes penetrate my muscles.
Heat can be turned off and on during a massage session. I usually like to start with it on to loosen up my muscles and turn it off midway, when I start getting warm.
It’s not only the movement, pressure, and temperature of this massager that made me fall in love (yes, this is romance!). It’s the fact that it leaves no part of your foot untouched. The nodes in this shiatsu massager correspond to the rise of your arches, the space between your toes, and your often-ignored heels, hitting all the key points on your foot. Many at-home foot massagers fail to reach every single one of these spots, or they just graze them.
Belmint’s Shiatsu Massager gets in there to quell aches and alleviate stiffness you may not have even realized you had. If you get tired of the repetitive kneading, the massager offers two settings. One consists of constant, back and forth kneading. The other kneads in spurts and then pauses while applying increasingly more pressure to eat foot.
Pressure is adjustable on a scale of one to five. I find anything over two overwhelming. The lowest setting usually suffices, unless I’m particularly sore. Then I opt for two or maybe three. More than that and I would fear actual injury, but I have relatively slight feet and my job mostly consists of sitting at a desk. A day after a particularly long run is when I opt for the higher pressure settings, but I would advise anyone trying this massager for the first time to increase the pressure level with care.
Pay attention to what your feet are telling you. If something hurts more than a reasonable good hurt, stop the massage or decrease the pressure.
The Belmint Shiatsu Massager is also fairly compact. While you’re not going to want to lug it with you to work, it’s easy to stick under a table by your couch or in your closet between uses. The fact that it looks like a cute, miniature UFO doesn’t hurt. It appears sleek and unobtrusive, but not clinical.
Since this is a heated massager that you stick your feet into, you do have to consider sweaty foot smell. Luckily, the cloth lining in this massager is washable. The only other downside is the lack of physical flexibility. You have to pretty much keep your feet put during the massage, which can be frustrating if you’re used to more control over your massage. If you want a comprehensive massage in which you get to sit back and relax, this machine is for you.
Pros: Varies pressure and movement during session, sleek design, pays attention to all parts of your feet
Cons: You can’t move your feet when using it, not immune to foot smell, clunky to move
The best for chronic pain
The TheraFlow Dual Foot Massager Roller relieves the pain of plantar fasciitis.
I don’t have plantar fasciitis or chronic foot pain, but from pouring through numerous reviews, I learned that people who do adore this massage roller. Made of high-quality Theaceae wood, this TheraFlow massager is durable. Unfortunately, after looking it up, I found that this plant species is threatened due to environmental factors and logging.
Unlike electronic massagers, it doesn’t need a warranty. You can use one of these for years without worrying about upkeep or servicing. For something so low-tech, it’s shockingly effective.
The raised, pyramid-shaped parts on each of the four front rollers are pronounced, digging deep into users’ foot muscles and paint points. The intense pressure relieves the pain of plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the band of tissue that extends from your toes to your heel bone becomes inflamed, often due to exercise like dance and long-distance running. Obesity and jobs that keep you on your feet, like serving at a restaurant or teaching, are also risk factors. The worst symptom is stabbing pain near your heel, which peaks first thing in the morning and usually gets better throughout the day.
To be clear, this massager doesn’t cure plantar fasciitis. However, many people said it provides the best temporary relief they’ve found, including compared to other similar massagers with less distinct protrusions. In addition to the four rollers with the pyramid-shaped points that hit the front of the feet, the TheraFlow Dual Massager Roller includes a back roller with longer, cylindrical knobs that directly attack the pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
You can also turn the massager around, so those longer nodes hit your toes and the balls of your feet. Tip: Let the longer nodes rest between your toes and then try and squeeze them all together. Toes often get ignored, so giving them a good squeeze feels surprisingly satisfying.
When using this massager, you have the freedom to position your feet so that the nodes hit a number of different tight muscles and pressure points. Myofascial pain, like the inflammation of tissue that occurs in sufferers of plantar fasciitis, is said to manifest in certain trigger points. Being able to stretch out those points can help cause relief, which the combination of this massager’s rolling motion and its raised nodes can provide.
The TheraFlow Dual Foot Massager weighs only 1.6 pounds, so it’s easy to drag around the house. The sturdiness means this at-home massage roller can withstand the weight of a heavy, standing adult.
If you need a break from serious, regular foot pain, this massage roller does not mess around. It’s also affordable and portable.
Pros: Durability and strength of material, portable, combines a deep massage with ability to tailor it to the specific pain points on your feet, low cost
Cons: Made of wood from a threatened plant species, lack of heating mechanism makes it harder for your feet to ease into the massage
The best high-end foot massager
The Belmint Foot Calf and Leg Massager with Heat treats your entire lower leg.
This foot massager is a dream. The only reason why I didn’t stick it at the top of this list is because it can be overwhelming. Between the multiple air pressure settings and the calf attachments that look and act like blood pressure cuffs, there’s a lot going on with the Belmit Foot, Calf and Leg Massager. It also weighs close 30 pounds and has been a challenge to store in my small, New York City apartment.
Each foot platform consists of four separate sections. By your toes, there’s a vibration area, then there are rolling and massage sections for your front sole, your arch, and your heel area. The arch section includes optional heat. Surrounding your feet, an air bag offers increased compression, and between your feet, a console features many adjustment options.
On the console, you’ll find a button for turning the heating element on and off, buttons that adjust vibration frequency, and buttons that change the air pressure. There’s also a button to switch between three different “modes” of massage.
When the light on the “mode” button turns green, that means it’s air pressure only – the machine vibrates but the kneading stops. This is nice if you want to relieve pressure after you’ve been standing for hours but not necessarily exercising. Squeezing the feet alone is a unexpectedly effective massage.
When the “mode” button is red, the air pressure turns off and you get a massage consisting exclusively of kneading and vibration. This works best for when you’re experiencing tightness in specific areas of your foot. The blue mode incorporates all of these features at once. All massages start off with intense vibration to loosen up your muscles, preparing you for the squeezing and/or kneading to follow.
This foot, calf, and leg massager includes an adjustable bar that you can use to position it at an angle, meaning you don’t have to have your calves positioned 90 degrees from the ground while you use it. This machine lets you recline in your chair and put your feet up during your massage.
Now for the leg attachments. Calf muscles do a lot of hard work because of their position between your active knee and ankle joints. Improving circulation in your calves promotes blood flow throughout your entire body. Having attachments that focus on your calves while your feet get a simultaneous work-through takes relief to the next level.
This elaborate massager is fabulous for a day after rigorous exercise or, let’s be honest, the morning after a night of drinking. It will bring your sore, tired muscles back to life and flush metabolic byproducts that build up when you exercise – and that have trouble breaking down when you drink.
Pros: Comprehensive – pays attention to calves and all parts of your feet individually, multiple adjustable settings lets you customize your massage
Cons: Difficult to store, clunky to move, some set-up required
The best for the office
The Moji Foot Pro is easily portable and gives you full control.
When I first saw this hand-sized package waiting for me in my apartment, I approached it quizzically. What kind of at-home massager would be smaller than a single foot? Based on all the others I’d seen, it needed to at least match your foot to hit all the necessary spots at once.
Turns out, you don’t need to hit all the spots at once with Moji’s massager for a satisfying session. The concentrated pressure from leaning a single part of your foot on top of these five rolling, stainless steel balls is enough to make a big difference in how you feel.
You get to completely control the kind of massage you’re getting and what parts of your feet you want to focus on. Sure, sometimes you want to surrender to an electronic foot massager that does all the work for you. However, there’s something to be said for getting to determine exactly the direction, length, and speed of the massage yourself.
Say the balls of your feet are sore from a particular shoe you’ve been wearing lately. You don’t want incessant kneading at your heel, you just want to work out a centralized kink. The Moji Foot Pro allows for that. It also facilitates low-commitment massages. You don’t have to strap yourself in for 15 minutes of intense kneading and vibrations. Instead, you can casually roll your feet across it while it sits unassumingly beneath your desk as you answer emails.
While the five balls on the Moji Foot Pro roll with the movements of your feet, the massager’s non-slip base stays affixed to the ground. This is a good solution to the many circular or cylindrical rolling massagers that tend to roll away while you’re trying to use them.
However, the base of my Moji accumulated dust over several weeks of use, so now it’s starting to slip around more than it used to. Fortunately, you can easily clean the foot massager with either a damp wipe or soap and water.
The Moji’s packaging recommends that you try putting it in the in the freezer for an “ice massage.” To be honest, that sounded unpleasant. However, even though the cold retained by the Moji’s five, metal balls was alarming at first, it ultimately made my feet feel alive.
I tried the ice massage right after waking up in the morning, and not only did it help bring down some nighttime foot swelling, but the cold also proved numbing to the point where I could use the massager to dig deeper into my muscles without discomfort. I was able to do more meaningful work on my feet.
Lastly, you can use this massager on your hands, arms, and legs, as well. Since it’s not designed for those uses, rolling it over your arms and legs isn’t exactly comfortable, but the effect on your muscles is pleasing nonetheless. The best alternative use is for your hands, because you can set the Moji on a table and roll your hands across it like you would your feet. Just make sure to clean it between foot and hand massages.
Pros: Easy to move around, very low risk of breaking, no need for power source
Cons: Can slide around on the floor when it gathers dust, doesn’t hit toes or other tough-to-reach spots of the foot
The best manual and electronic
The HoMedics Triple Action Shiatsu Foot Massager cooperates with you to facilitate the best massage experience.
The HoMedics Triple Action Shiatsu Foot Massager is the ideal cross between a massager that does all the work for you and the Moji, where you have to move your feet around to get targeted relief.
This straightforward massager only has one control button that moves you between three settings: off, on with heat, and on without heat. There are two foot-shaped areas where you place your feet, and each includes three kneading shiatsu rollers.
The top and bottom roller rotate counter-clockwise while the middle roller rotates clockwise. Each include three, raised nodes that push into your muscles. They can reach different muscles depending on where you decide to position your feet.
After trying out electronic massagers with a dizzying array of settings, the simplicity of the Triple Action is refreshing, not to mention much less intimidating.
The platform may be shaped like feet, but you can also lean your whole calves across each set of rolling massagers. This effectively works out kinks and stiffness in the middle back of your calf muscle. You can even maneuver to get the back of your thighs on there if you prop yourself up with your arms, but that can cause undue stress on your arm muscles and isn’t very effective, anyway. Still, having the option is nice, especially compared to massagers that are less versatile and only fit your feet.
The nodes on this massager’s shiatsu rollers did make one of my friends who tried it giggle. She said it felt like the massager was gently poking her (she also admitted to being ticklish). I could understand why this massager, of all the ones I tried, elicited that reaction. It feels less like a person working over your feet and more obviously like a machine, with nodes that rotate without seeming to differentiate between a heel and an arch. But that’s where you get to (literally) step in.
By planting your feet on the Triple Action massager in whatever position you choose, you’ll find yourself with a versatile massaging tool. During the massage, you can constantly adjust your position on the rotating rollers, depending on where you need pressure most.
Meanwhile, the rollers will continue to move in circles that simulate kneading, so you end up working with the machine to create a customized massage. Reviewers with plantar fasciitis have also commented that using it before they go to bed makes them feel less pain when they wake up the next morning.
Pros: Versatile – can use on alternative parts of foot and other parts of body, simple, relatively compact and easy to store
Cons: Impersonal – doesn’t differentiate between parts of feet, no way to change movement settings