According to Harvard Health, foot massage improves circulation, stimulates muscles, reduces tension, and often eases pain.
Our 15 Best Foot Massager Reviews
Treat your tired feet in the comfort of your own home, by taking a look at our detailed reviews of the 15 best foot massagers on the market right now:
Different Types of Foot Massagers
There are a wide range of different foot massagers available on the market, each providing their own range of benefits.
Here we’ve taken a look at the most common types of electric and manual foot massagers to help you make your decision.
Foot Massage Machine
A foot massage machine generally encases your feet inside to enjoy a massage. You typically get a range of modes to choose from plus heat to treat your feet.
Foot Bath Massager / Foot Spa Massager
Foot spa massagers take the experience to the next level. As well as massage nodes or rollers, you also get hydrotherapy, with bubbles, jets and vibrations adding to the relaxing experience.
Foot Massage Pad
Foot pads have a large surface designed to target pressure points in order to stimulate circulation in the legs and feet.
Most devices have multiple speed settings, and come with different massage modes in order to best soothe the feet. Some models come with additional therapies, such as electrical muscle stimulation, heat or infrared technology.
Typically manual handheld devices, massage rollers are designed to be moved up and down the soles of your feet. Wooden rollers are particularly effective, as the kneading action helps to relieve tension.
Compression Foot and Leg Massager
These clever devices strap on to your legs and feet. Pressure is applied by inflating the air bags inside the massager. They are excellent for treating restless leg syndrome and reducing swelling caused by conditions such as diabetes.
Gun / Percussive Massager
A gun massager is a handheld tool with a head that applies strong bursts of pressure to your muscle tissue.
You can choose from a range of electric massage slippers. However generally foot massage slippers are a pair of shoes covered in a number of acupressure points. They put force on certain areas of the foot in order to release pressure and relax the feet.
If you’re considering massage slippers, do remember you have to be moving around in order to receive the benefits. They’re ideal if you’re one of those people who never sits down!
A massage chair is a piece of furniture that you add to your home. You’ll find massage nodes or rollers within the chair and, with some chairs, added functionality for your feet and calves.
It could be an encased foot area you slide your feet inside, or a pad you place your feet on. It is a big investment and generally they are designed for full body relief.
Features and Functions of Foot Massagers
There are so many different functions and styles of massage to consider when choosing a foot massager.
To help you understand the differences, we’ve provided you with a little description of each feature:
Electric / Non-Electric
Consider which option is right for you. It depends on whether you want to take your massager on the go, or just use it as an at-home treat option. Also think about if you’ll be able to apply the necessary pressure needed with a non-electric device.
Foot massagers come in a variety of different styles. There are ones you pop your feet inside and sit back, and others where you do the work with a massage tool. Consider what you hope to achieve with the massager, and your range of motion, to ensure you make the right choice.
Size could also be an important consideration when choosing a foot massager. If you have larger or smaller than average feet, check that the massager will still work for you.
The number of massage nodes, and the sizes of those nodes, is important as it tells you about the foot coverage you can expect.
Electric foot massagers will typically offer a number of different massage modes. If you want a machine you can experiment with, then choose one with multiple options.
Shiatsu is a traditional Japanese massage method based on Chinese medicine that uses pressure from the hands to knead the muscles.
Foot massagers with shiatsu settings or styles have rotating heads or vibrators to simulate a masseuse’s hands.
Compression is a style of massage that involves the direct application of pressure, typically with airbags, in order to relax, cleanse and rejuvenate the muscles.
Compression helps dilate the capillaries and therefore is a beneficial form of massage for people with circulation issues.
Percussion is a style of massage that could be described as “thundering on your body”. Perfect if you want a deep tissue massage, not as ideal if you’re looking for something a little more gentle.
If you have knots and want a massage that is really going to work them out then you might want to look out for the kneading function. Wooden rollers can also deliver kneading action.
An excellent way to loosen the muscles is through heat. Heat has many positive effects, including increasing your blood flow and reducing muscle tension.
While heat itself is not a massage technique – it is often an added setting on a foot massager, as it helps to relax muscles further.
Hydrotherapy is a massage style based on the use of water pressure to treat the body. Water pressure is used to relax muscles, increase circulation and relieve muscular pain.
Hydrotherapy foot massagers (also referred to as foot spas), often use a combination of jets, bubbles, vibrations, lights and/or heat to provide a complete relaxation experience.
Through invisible waves, infrared rays penetrate deep into the muscles and bones of the body to provide many health benefits.
Infrared elevates the surface temperature of the body to relax stiff muscles and can also increase blood flow. Infrared is not a massage technique in itself, but is often used in conjunction with other massage styles.
Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)
Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) is a treatment technique that involves delivering electrical impulses to the body, causing the muscles to contract. It can help to reduce inflammation and swelling, and improve your blood flow.
Many electric foot massagers will have a variety of intensity settings. This can be highly beneficial, as some days your feet might feel too sensitive to receive an intense massage.
The number of intensity settings doesn’t necessarily suggest a device is more powerful. It simply means you can move up the different intensity levels in smaller increments.
When you want to sit back and enjoy your massage, it can be a little annoying to have to lean forward to change the settings. Certain foot massage machines will come with a separate controller, allowing you to relax and play around with the options.
A timer can be a useful feature. If you pick a particularly pleasurable massager, it can be easy to lose track of time and exceed the recommended usage time!
For your safety and so the device doesn’t overheat, electric foot massagers will have an auto shutdown. This is typically a set amount of time you can use it for before it will automatically switch off, which can be frustrating. Sometimes higher spec massagers will allow you to tailor the auto shutdown time.
If you want a massage tool that you can use in the office, or in the car, then portability is important. Non-electric devices could work best, or opt for an electric massager with a rechargeable battery. Looking for a massager that comes with a carrying case could also be important.
When looking at rechargeable devices they’ll typically quote the usage you can expect when the massager is fully charged. Running out of charge mid-treatment is frustrating, so finding a tool with a long battery life can be really valuable.
Some foot massagers will come with a range of attachments. This can be beneficial as it provides you with a number of different tools to get to the source of your pain.
Foot massagers range in price, from simple handheld tools for less than $10, to top of the line foot massage machines demanding hundreds of dollars. Set a budget and use our guide to prioritize the features that mean the most to you.
Do foot massagers really work?
Yes! Foot massagers have a number of proven benefits, including improving circulation, reducing swelling and easing pain.
Which foot massagers are suitable for diabetics?
Oscillating footpads or electric massagers are one way to ease the symptoms associated with neuropathy, as they stimulate the blood flow and promote better circulation.
Always check with a health professional before purchasing a massager, as not all electric foot massagers are approved for diabetics.
Can I use a foot massager while pregnant?
Although a foot massage is great to relieve sore feet and reduce edema, it is best to consult with your obstetrician before using a foot massager.
Due to the intensity and electric nature of most foot massagers, it is not recommended that you use a foot massager during pregnancy unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.
Can a foot massager induce labor?
Based on the principles of reflexology, there are some claims that a foot massage can induce labor.
Because a foot massager is often more intense than a foot massage, it is not recommended that you use a foot massager during pregnancy.
Are foot massagers appropriate to use if I suffer from back pain?
If you suffer from a tight or sore lower back, this can often be the result of tension or tightness in other parts of the body, such as the feet or legs. Depending on the severity and source of your pain, foot massagers can help.
Taking time at the end of the day to use a foot massager may be able to ease those sore feet, and in turn your back.
How long can you use a foot massager?
Generally electric foot massager manufacturers will recommend no longer than 30 minutes daily, however this differs between devices.
Check the manual of the massager before you commence treatment, to avoid bruising your muscles.
How much do foot massagers cost?
There’s a foot massager for every budget because the cost varies widely, from less than $10 for a handheld tool to over $1000 for a massage chair.
Set a budget and then use our buying guide to help you decide on the features that are right for you.
Where can I buy a foot massager?
- The Good Body (2018). Quick Foot Facts: Anatomy, Healthy Feet, Injuries And Problems, (Fun!) [Online]. Available from: https://www.thegoodbody.com/foot-facts/ [Accessed 12 August 2020]. ↩
- Footlogics (2018). New Survey Shows That Most Americans Suffer from Foot Pain [Online]. Available from: https://footlogics-shop.com.au/new-survey-shows-that-most-americans-suffer-from-foot-pain/ [Accessed 12 August 2020]. ↩