A lot of people are dealing with some seriously achy feet right now—spending a few months not doing a whole lot of walking followed by doing a whole lot of walking all of a sudden will do that to you. So! This is a great time to talk about foot massagers, especially because professional massages are largely unavailable since salons and spas are still shut down.
Most foot massagers will fall into one of these categories: Electric foot massagers, manual foot massagers, and foot spas. We covered foot spas as part of our guide to at-home pedicures, and will take a look at them again down the line because … well, you guys like foot content! (We know things about you, you see, and one of those things is that you like foot content.) So for now, we’ll focus on the electric and manual foot massagers and check out some of the different options out there.
The top-rated foot massager on Amazon has a ton of bells and whistles: It features divided chambers for each foot, with separate controls for both the heating and the shiatsu-style massage mechanism, which is good for people with foot injuries or problems that require a harder or gentler massage than the healthy foot. It’s also remote control operated and comes apart for easy cleaning. However, according to reviewers, it’s not ideal for people with smaller feet.
If the idea of a heated shiatsu foot massager sounds great, but the idea of throwing a bunch of money at such a machine sounds … less great, this HoMedics model is for you. It has rotating heads that are fitted with nodes to mimic the feeling of being massaged by the heel of the hand (the heads) and the fingers (the nodes), and the unit is fitted with a control button at the base of the massager that allows you to change the pressure and heat settings using your toes—no leaning forward required!
Air compression massagers are a slightly different take on traditional massagers. They wrap around the feet, legs, arms, etc., secured in place by velcro, and tighten around the muscles in a way that’s akin to a blood pressure cuff. The compression wraps can be used to treat tired and sore muscles, and will can to relieve the symptoms of edema (swelling of the legs and feet), varicose veins, restless leg syndrome, and poor circulation.
Manual foot massagers feature nubby dowels, usually made of wood, affixed to a frame. Put it on the floor, pop your feet on top and roll back and forth to get your massage going. This model is lightweight and compact, so it’s easy to travel with or to stash out of sight for quick storage and retrieval.
This electric roller-style massager is sort of a mashup of the electric shiatsu-style machines and the manual foot massager. The nice thing about this model is that it’s super versatile: It can be used as a foot massager, yes, but also as a calf, thigh, and neck massager as well. It has two different massage functions—the outer edges are fitted with rolling nodules for targeting the soles of the feet, and the center houses a kneading massage mechanism for use on the sides of the feet as well as the calves, thighs, and neck.