TOP 9 Best Foam Rollers & Massage Sticks for Runners Reviewed 2021

Jeff Baldelli
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Are you a runner, triathlete or cyclist? Would you like to or need to relieve tension and tight muscles? If you do then you may want to get a foam roller to help with your muscle stiffness.

A foam roller will make life a whole lot easier and could help you recover faster from your races or training.

When it comes to picking the best foam roller there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration.

The material of the roller, the size or weight of the roller, the size of the core and the application of the roller need to be considered.

Following in-depth reviews of the 9 best foam rollers on the market today, we’ll explain what to look for when choosing your foam roller.

NameCategoryProduct
TriggerPoint GRID Foam RollerBest OverallTriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
Idson Muscle Roller StickBudget PickIdson Muscle Roller Stick
RumbleRoller GatorUpgrade PickRumbleRoller Gator

1. TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

Our rating: 9 / 10

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

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Pros:

  • It includes a handbook with instructional videos for your convenience.
  • It’s made from high-density closed-cell foam.
  • It’s designed in 7 rolling grid zones with various firmness levels.
  • It is designed with a black semi-oval texture to increase grip.
  • Helps to improve balance, increase mobility, and aid in recovery.

Cons:

  • It’s not very durable.

This TriggerPoint foam roller is the best foam roller for runners. It’s the highest-quality, most durable foam roller in this list.

The roller has 7 different hard zones that measure from extra firm to extra soft. These zones support different muscle areas depending on the angle of your body as you roll along your back, legs, shoulders, and arms.

If you’re looking for a foam roller to support your recovery from an intense workout, this is the best option for you. It’s designed to be durable and will provide you with a high-quality massage after every intense workout session.

2. LuxFit Foam Roller

Our rating: 9 / 10

LuxFit Foam Roller

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Pros:

  • Durable and heavy duty
  • Ultra high density cover, tear-resistant, and washable
  • Comfortable and safe grip with extra long handle
  • Professional grade – designed for clinics and rehabilitation centers
  • Available in 5 sizes to suit your body weight, height, and martial arts needs
  • 100% guaranteed by the manufacturer
  • The foam rollers are very well constructed with a solid plastic core and a thick foam layer.
  • Each neon yellow foam roller is made with high-quality foam which is tough enough to stand up under years of abuse.

Cons:

  • The roller was not firm enough for me, but it might be ok for someone else.
  • I’ve got a few ongoing niggles with my knees, back and hips, and I had some basic hopes that this workout tool could help.
  • As it turns out, I’m no kind of expert and I’m finding this tricky to use.

3. RumbleRoller Gator

Our rating: 9 / 10

RumbleRoller Gator

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Pros:

  • Boredom Buster
  • Cheap and easy to bring along
  • Lots of add on accessories
  • Can keep it in your car for on the go roller relief
  • Provides a good massage
  • Relieves muscle tension
  • Can be used in combination with a lot of exercises
  • Doesn’t break the bank

Cons:

  • Watch out for overstretching
  • Sticky surface
  • Some may not find this comfortable

Using a foam roller is an exercise and workout in and of itself. Foam rolling is a form of soft tissue therapy that can be used by everyone to massage tired muscles and reduce soreness.

Foam rollers are known for their large size, allowing you to get a good limbering of the muscle. This large size can however be difficult for some to use and then there is the possibility of causing pain instead of reducing pain, since some are not familiar with how to use them correctly.

4. TheStick Travel Stick

Our rating: 9 / 10

TheStick Travel Stick

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& Sub-Acute Recovery, Professional Grade.

You can travel with this The Stick since it folds up nicely and fits into a gym bag. Plus, you can extend it to a very high length, so it can be used for athletes who are 6 feet or taller.

It can be used for so many different muscle groups and works well for tight calves, hamstrings, lower back, quads, and shoulders.

5. Original Tiger Tail Massage Stick

Our rating: 9 / 10

Original Tiger Tail Massage Stick

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Pros:

  • Has a wood-like quality.
  • Sturdy and very long lasting. Is not easily bent.
  • Black color is attractive with yellow stripes.
  • The price is relatively low.
  • Fits in most bags and traveling gear.

Cons:

  • Not very good for everyone.
  • It doesn’t produce soft foam. It’s too hard for some people to use.
  • Some people complain that the wood is sticking out and is uncomfortable.
  • If you are looking for a softer roller, this massager is not for you.
  • May also cause some skin irritations which can make you feel uncomfortable.

This Blue Tiger Massager is a useful kind of roller. It can relieve aches along your back and shoulders, relieve tight neck muscles and of course massages your back in a different way.

It allows you to choose the pressure you apply so you don’t have to suffer from extra pressure. It’s very simple to use, very easy to clean and carry around. It’s easy to roll up and down any part of your back including your back, calves, and neck.

6. SPRI Foam Roller High Density Closed Cell EVA Foam

Our rating: 8 / 10

SPRI Foam Roller High Density Closed Cell EVA Foam

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Pros:

  • Travel friendly
  • Has stickiness on the ends
  • Flattens out well

The SPRI self-massage roller depends on a firm foam design to go deep into the muscle to soothe any soreness.

The foam is denser because it features closed cell eva foam, which has better shock absorption over time than regular open cell foam.

The 72-inch length will give you enough rolling range to release the back of your calves down to your heels.

7. Idson Muscle Roller Stick

Our rating: 8 / 10

Idson Muscle Roller Stick

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Pros:

  • Works great on any sore spots you have.
  • This package maintained its promise of fast and free shipping.
  • It’s a quality roller that is easy to use.
  • Great for workout lovers.

Cons:

  • This is not a small roller.
  • The foam cover is a bit thin.
  • It has a strong rubbery smell.
  • The hollow interior is a bit thin.

This roller is ideal for stretching and massaging. It provides the ability to engage the core while getting a deeper stretch.

The designer appears to be experienced in designing massagers.

The foam is high-quality yet soft enough to massage the muscle tissue without it being too hard to do so.

8. Reehut Foam Roller –

Our rating: 6 / 10

Reehut Foam Roller -

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Pros:

  • Suited for various muscles specific to physiotherapy and training.
  • Unique high density cylindrical foam texture surface.
  • Firm & comfortable to use.
  • Coverage on a roller works well for a wide range of areas.
  • It's large enough to massage your whole body.
  • Bi-directional surface.
  • Includes a detailed guide to training with a roller.
  • This foam roller is available in 4 other sizes.
  • Available in Natural (yellow/orange), Black, Blue, Pink & Purple

Cons:

  • This foam roller is not suitable for athletes looking for a hard core training.
  • It's capacity is good for solo use, but if you're buying this roller for daily home use. You'll have to take time to clean it after every use.

This compact cylindrical roller is comfortable and convenient to use anytime, anywhere. You can roll it all over your body to apply traction to your muscles.

It can be used to work out the kinks in your the IT band and the legs, but you can use it to roll out larger muscle groups as well.

The Reehut Firm High Density Round Roller is highly affordable compared to similar rollers from other brands. It is worth more than its price, especially when it comes with a free online muscle roller guide.

9. Rollga Foam Roller

Our rating: 6 / 10

Rollga Foam Roller

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Pros:

  • It’s a pretty balanced and firm foam roller, but it’s not hard/stiff at all so rolling is not an issue.
  • It’s the perfect size, almost small enough to be portable but still large enough to feel like it gets the job done, especially in the upper back.
  • Easy to store when not in use.

Cons:

  • The material is slippery, so the foam roller will slide along the ground when rolling, so this one is best suited to be used on carpet or another soft surface.
  • A tad wider than I’d like for the price, but it’s almost as wide as my usual foam rollers, so it’s not a deal-breaker.
  • You don’t get much bang for your buck with this foam roller; in fact, I think I got a better deal on a foam roller that’s, sadly, no longer available on Amazon.

This is not the best foam roller for most runners, as the material is a bit too flexible but if you are just into rolling various sore muscles for recovery purposes then this is a very decent foam roller.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best foam rollers for runners?

Foam rollers and massage sticks are good for runners because they are excellent for working out the muscles all along the back of your leg. The IT bands and the calves on the back of your legs are often problematic for runners and bringing them on with a foam roller can increase flexibility, prevent injury and help you run faster and smoother.

The truth is that there are no bad foam rollers because they're all good in their own way. Many of them, though, are very specialized. If you just want simplicity and don't need all of the fancy features like a massage bar and heat, stick to the basic roller. If you do need all the bells and whistles, then get a roller that offers them to you.

Are foam rollers good for runners?

Runners, especially long distance runners, need to do something called self-myofascial release, or SMR for short. This term simply means that you need to release the tight muscle tissue and connective tissue in your body. Foam rollers have really come on strong as a way for runners to perform this important self-massage.

A foam roller is a soft cylindrical piece of foam that is generally rolled up and down your legs and back to work out the tissue and keep it limber. It’s not rocket science but it does work, and foam rollers are cheap enough that it doesn’t seem to matter if you lose or break one. They’re also lightweight enough that you can take one with you when you travel and they’re a great addition to a gym bag.

Which is better foam roller or stick?

Foam rollers and massage sticks are pretty similar. They both are used to roll over muscles to get rid of knots and help with flexibility. The difference is fatter rollers are more effective for large muscle areas while the thinner sticks can be used in smaller muscle areas.

A roller is good choice for the calves, quads, IT bands, hamstrings and glutes, and a massage stick is good for smaller muscle areas like shoulders, back and IT bands.

Choosing between them is almost entirely a matter of personal preference, and it is very easy to add both to your gym bag if you have room.

What is the best muscle roller stick?

The stick is the easiest and most convenient way to release muscle tension. You just have to remove the cap, then squeeze your muscle, run the stick over the area that hurts and you’re done. If you are good, with some practice, you can obtain a deep tissue massage in little time.

If you are thinking about a foam roller, just buy it. Buy two of them if you have the space because you are going to thank me later for telling you to buy a foam roller. You may be thinking at this point that a foam roller is not your thing, and that’s fine, you can still benefit from using a foam roller.

Conclusion

A foam roller is a rectangular, cylindrical piece of rounded foam. Also referred to as "rolling pins," these devices are primarily used to ease muscle aches and joint pains, improve blood circulation, and increase the range of motion of certain joints.

Many physical therapists, sports trainers, and coaches use foam rollers with their clients. They are widely available for purchase from sporting goods stores, the Internet, and equipment stores, and can be used in the comfort of your home.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
TriggerPoint GRID Foam RollerBest OverallTriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
Idson Muscle Roller StickBudget PickIdson Muscle Roller Stick
RumbleRoller GatorUpgrade PickRumbleRoller Gator