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Best Foam Rollers for Runners in 2023


A foam roller is invaluable for any runner. Although they seem similar, not all foam rollers are the same. So, we’ve worked hard to find the best foam rollers for runners.

Foam rollers are simple and inexpensive, but they are ideal for working out knots, speeding up recovery, and helping you heal from injuries.

Our top pick is the TriggerPoint GRID. It’s versatile, features multi-density foam for ideal firmness, and has a unique design that makes it right for rolling different parts of your body.

But there are many good options, so browse through the full article to find the one that’s most suited to you.

Top 3 Best and Favorites


TriggerPoint The Grid


  • Mimics massage
  • Firm but not too hard
  • Compact size
Check Price


Pro-Tec Athletics Foam Roller


  • Well-priced and affordable
  • High-density foam
  • 18 inches long and 6 inches in diameter
Check Price


Hyperice Vyper 3


  • Vibrates for intense massage
  • More effective than standard
  • Rechargable batteries
Check Price

Best Overall

1. TriggerPoint GRID

We love this knobbly little foam roller! It’s the ideal size for home or on the go, thick enough for rolling out knots without pain, and the perfect design for reaching those tough spots.

What We Like

The TriggerPoint GRID is a fantastic choice for newbies and experienced runners alike. They’re super popular, so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding one, and it comes at a fairly affordable price point, too, which is appreciated for such a versatile tool.

You’ll find TriggerPoint GRIDs in many physio and trainers’ offices, so you know professionals trust this foam roller. After buying this foam roller, you’ll get access to a free online library of videos to help you use it correctly.

A hollow core gives it strength—so much so that it can handle up to 500 pounds. Around the core, you’ll find about a half-inch of EVA foam in varying densities.

It’s just 13 inches long and 5.35 inches in diameter, with a weight of 1.8 pounds, so you can use it at home, throw it in a gym bag for use after your workout, or even pack it in your suitcase when going on vacation.

Across the surface are sections of longer, smoother ridges ideal for bigger muscles. But it also features smaller, more knobbly sections, perfect for those deeper spots that need focused attention.

This design mimics fingers, palms, and forearms, so it feels like you’re getting a real massage. You may need to experiment a little to figure out how to use it best for you, but it’s an excellent choice, thanks to its versatility.

And as a lovely little extra, you’ll get a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty, which is appreciated, although it’s super durable. Keep in mind that you can also buy this in mini form (#9 on our list), if you want a more portable version.

Why We Like It

The TriggerPoint GRID is the perfect combination of foam densities, surface topography, portability, and durability.

What to Consider

Athletes with broad shoulders might find it to be a touch too small for easy rolling, but it can still be done. It may take longer and be a little more uncomfortable.


  • Unique, versatile design allows you to reach all those trigger points easily and use it for a variety of muscles
  • Travel-friendly size means you can take it anywhere with you, so you don’t need to forgo foam rolling on vacation
  • Multi-density foam features the ideal firmness for any knot or stiffness
  • 500-pound weight limit means anyone can use this foam roller


  • Those with broad shoulders might find it too small for their upper back

Top Value

2. Pro-Tec Athletics Foam Roller

For its price, the high-density foam of the Pro-Tec Athletics Foam Roller does a great job of easing up stiff muscles and getting your circulation flowing. Great budget buy!

What We Like

This foam roller is basic but works well. Unlike the TriggerPoint GRID, it’s not a hollow core but made of a thick, 6-inch-in-diameter foam piece.

It’s firm, made of high-density foam, and, thanks to its 18-inch length, easily rolls large muscles like shoulders and quads.

You’re slightly limited in color, with just blue and pink as your options. But it’s a tool for recovery, not a fashion show.

We love that it works great and doesn’t have a massive price tag. Sure, it’s more basic than others on this list, but as a budget buy, it gets our thumbs-up.

Why We Like It

The Pro-Tec Athletics Foam Roller does its job well, stands up to prolonged use, and comes at a nice price for those looking for quality without breaking the bank.

What to Consider

Some people, beginners especially, might feel that the foam is a little too firm to be comfortable.


  • Well-priced and affordable for almost every athlete as a recovery tool
  • 18 inches long and 6 inches in diameter makes it great for larger muscle groups like quads and upper shoulders
  • High-density foam increases the durability of the foam roller and provides a firm massage to ease muscle pain
  • Comes in blue and pink so you can choose which one you prefer


  • Some may find the foam to be a little too firm for comfort

Best Vibrating Roller

3. Hyperice Vyper 3

The Hyperice Vyper 3 is a sturdy foam roller with a powerful vibration that can reach deeper than the foam alone. It’s also fairly easy to travel with, which is a bonus.

What We Like

If you need a deeper massage than what a regular foam roller can provide, the Hyperice Vyper 3 is an excellent choice. This vibrating foam roller might be expensive, but you get a deep muscle massage that other foam rollers can’t compete with.

It’s pretty dense, so don’t expect a cushy feeling when you use it, but you can be assured of a good, solid massage. Rubber strips around each end keep it in place while you’re rolling.

Choose from 3 different vibration settings. Levels 1 and 2 are more practical, with level 3 only likely to be used by pro athletes who need some serious deep tissue work.

We love the accompanying app, which connects to the roller easily via Bluetooth. It’s user-friendly and super handy for keeping track of your rolling sessions, and you’ll also have access to guided rolling sessions, so it’s perfect for those new to foam rolling and experienced rollers.

We also like that it’s perfect for travel. With a compact size of 13 inches in length by 5.4 inches in diameter, it fits easily into a suitcase. And as a bonus, it’s TSA-approved for carry-on!

It also comes with multiple different plug adaptors, so no matter where you’re headed, you should be able to charge it up and use it when you need it. One charge lasts around 2 hours, so you should get many days of use from it.

Why We Like It

We love how convenient this vibrational roller is. Not only does it give you an excellent range of speeds and firm pressure, but it’s also travel-friendly.

What to Consider

You can’t replace the parts on this roller, so if the mechanicals inside fail, you’ll need to buy a new roller.


  • 3 different vibration speeds so you can cater your foam rolling session to your needs and feelings on the day
  • Compact size and TSA-approved for carry-on, making it an excellent choice for those who travel
  • 2-hour battery life allows you multiple foam rolling sessions between charges
  • Hyperice App gives you professional foam rolling advice, guided rolling sessions, and allows you to track progress


  • Parts can’t be replaced—so if the electrical board gets damaged, you’ll need to buy a new roller

Top Collapsible Roller

4. Brazyn Morph Trek Collapsible Foam Roller

The Brazyn Morph Trek is portable and yet as robust as it needs to be to give you a great rolling session. Great for traveling and worth having as a dedicated travel roller.

What We Like

The Brazyn brand is all about living life LOUD, whether you’re next to the pool, taking a run around the block, or climbing a mountain. Their foam roller is designed to go with you, ready whenever needed!

The surface is packed with EVA foam (latex-free so it’s suitable for everyone) and the roller itself is sustainably made from bamboo and recycled aluminum and foam.

At first glance, it might look like any other foam roller. At 14.5 inches long and 5.5 inches in diameter, it’s a decent size even for large upper back muscles. But it collapses into a small rectangle of 14 inches long, 6.5 inches wide, and just 1.9 inches tall.

This makes it super easy to slip into a suitcase, the bottom of a duffel bag, or a backpack. When you need to use it, simply pull firmly on the strings on either side, and it’ll pop open. Don’t think this makes it fragile—when open, this roller can comfortably withstand 350 pounds of weight.

It’s got pretty decent topography on the surface, with soft-but-not-squishy foam in knobbly lines across the length of it. It works great on large muscles, but is able to dig into the more specific knotty areas if necessary.

Why We Like It

We love that this foam roller collapses and opens easily without compromising its strength and durability. It’s an amazing choice for those who travel often and want to foam roll whenever, wherever.

What to Consider

The unique folding design does hamper the smooth rolling of this device just a little. But as long as you’re gentle, you should still be able to get a decent roll.


  • Folds flat with little effort for easy transportation and still holds 350 pounds without a problem
  • Latex-free EVA foam makes this foam roller suitable for even the most sensitive of skin
  • Made from sustainable materials, so you can feel good about investing in this foam roller
  • Good topography on the surface allows for effective rolling of large muscles but also gets into the smaller knots nicely


  • This roller doesn’t roll as smoothly as others, due to its unique design

Best Deep Tissue Roller

5. RumbleRoller Extra Firm

There’s nothing quite like a deep tissue massage to get knots out, and the RumbleRoller Extra Firm is the best non-vibrating roller to do just that, thanks to its extremely knobbly surface.

What We Like

It’s good to know upfront that the Extra Firm version of this roller is about 36% firmer than the Original RumbleRoller. So expect some seriously hard rolling with this device—ideal to get down to those deep knots and work them out.

Keep in mind that you won’t find this comfortable on larger muscles that are just stiff, or over bony areas. Lie on it, and you’ll feel those ridges press hard into the flesh, which can be very relieving if you’ve got hard knots you can’t reach in other ways.

We like that it’s waterproof. You can hop onto this foam roller right after a sweaty run and not even worry about damaging it. Plus, it has an antimicrobial coating, so bacteria won’t linger on it.

It comes in two sizes. The full-size roller is 31 inches long and 6 inches in diameter. The portable one is less than half the length, at just 12 inches, and 5 inches in diameter.

Why We Like It

You won’t get a deep tissue massage with any other foam roller like you do with the RumbleRoller Extra Firm. It’s specialized but well worth having in your recovery stash for when you just need that extra bit of knot-work.

What to Consider

While it’s designed to tackle small knots deep in your muscles, this roller doesn’t work so well on bony areas like the shoulders. It’s a roller with a specific job, so we recommend pairing it with a smoother roller so you can cover all bases.


  • Extremely firm foam with small, knuckle-like sections across the surface do wonders for digging into small knots
  • Available in two different sizes so you can choose which one would suit you better for your schedule and needs
  • Also available in Original, which is about 36% less firm than this one if you feel that this is too hard for you
  • Waterproof and contains antimicrobial technology, so you can sweat on it, and you won’t have to worry about damage or bacteria


  • May be painful on bony areas like the shoulders or stiff large muscles

Top Extra Large Foam Roller

6. TriggerPoint GRID 2.0 Foam Roller

When you need a longer foam roller, the TriggerPoint GRID 2.0 is our first choice. At 26 inches, it’s ideal for those big muscles and has a bunch of different surface textures, too.

What We Like

The TriggerPoint GRID 2.0 is a longer version of our top choice—twice the length, to be exact, at 26 inches. It’s perfect for those large, wide muscles, like lats, quads, hamstrings, upper back, and IT band.

But it’s not just a wide, flat roller, either. Like the standard version, it features excellent surface texture and multi-density foam, so you can truly get a versatile massage out of this roller.

The multi-dimensional surface has differently-sized ridges and knobs, so you can position yourself on the roller in various ways to get a more traditional muscle massage, or a real deep tissue stimulation for those tricky knots.

The hollow core adds to the strength of this device—it can easily withstand up to 500 pounds of weight placed directly on it. Almost anyone can use it, no matter your weight—and for the average person, it’ll last a lifetime.

Plus, it comes with a 1-year warranty and is available in a range of different colors, so you can find something that suits your personality.

Why We Like It

The GRID 2.0 is perfect for anyone who needs a bit more length on their roller, or just those who want the extra space for more versatility. Its surface is the perfect combination of long, flat sections and small, targeted sections so you can get the massage you really need.

What to Consider

The hollow design and smaller foam layer make it feel harder than regular all-foam rollers. Some people might find it to be too firm, especially beginners.


  • 26 inches in length and 5.5 inches in diameter makes this foam roller perfect for using on every muscle across the body
  • Can handle weight of up to 500 pounds being placed directly on it, without feeling unstable or changing shape
  • 3-D Distrodensity foam zones mimic the feeling of a hand massage, so you can get both surface and deep tissue stimulation
  • 1-year warranty lets you use the foam roller with complete peace of mind


  • May feel hard and uncomfortable, especially for beginners

Best Travel Vibrating Roller

7. TriggerPoint Charge Vibe Roller

Vibrating rollers can be cumbersome, but not this little device. The TriggerPoint Charge Vibe Roller is small but mighty, and its shape and size make it the perfect travel companion.

What We Like

This foam roller isn’t your conventional size and shape, but that’s exactly what makes it perfect. In terms of size, at just 7 inches long and 4 inches in diameter, it’s ideal for slipping into a suitcase.

A rechargeable battery gives you up to 2 hours of use on a charge. This is an excellent battery life and matches some larger vibration rollers.

Don’t let its size fool you—it’s got some power behind it. It uses TriggerPoint’s CHARGE pattern, a rhythmic “squeeze and stretch” motion to stimulate the muscles beneath. Choose from 3 different levels of vibration to suit you.

The innovative design features elevated edges and a valley in the middle of the roller, with small, shallow ridges along the surface. These work together to facilitate that massage motion, and you simply move around the roller to find the places it needs to work.

It’s perfect for smaller muscles like calves, biceps, triceps, and forearms, which some regular foam rollers can’t reach well. But it can also be quite effective for the quads, hamstrings, and back.

Plus, the 1-year manufacturer’s warranty covers you from defects and tech issues, so there’s nothing to lose by trying it out!

Why We Like It

We love that this little foam roller is small enough to be portable but packs enough power to give you a great massage. Perfect for traveling runners!

What to Consider

This little foam roller weighs 2 pounds, so it might mess with weight limits if you’re flying or throw you off balance if it’s in a backpack. Keep it in mind for traveling.


  • Portable size allows you to take it almost anywhere safely and easily, whether you’re going to the gym or overseas
  • Unique shape makes it an excellent choice for getting a real massage feel, especially on smaller muscles
  • Multi-speed vibration tech means you can vary the intensity of the massage depending on your needs on the day
  • Rechargeable battery included and it can last for up to 2 hours on one charge, which is on par with larger vibrating foam rollers


  • Somewhat heavy for its size, at 2 pounds

Top Heated Roller

8. Moji Heat Roller

We particularly like that the Moji Heat Roller combines foam rolling and heat therapy for better recovery. It’s of a good size to cover all muscles, and it’s also super easy to use.

What We Like

What better combination for recovery than foam rolling and heat therapy? The Moji combines them in the easiest, most convenient package ever with this unique roller.

The 13-inch roller splits into two sections, so you can easily place it in the microwave. Just 3 minutes and you’ll have a roller heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to experiment a little with how long you heat it to get the perfect temperature for you—take caution in the beginning so you don’t burn yourself.

It’s particularly good for back pain. The surface is flat with small ridges scattered across it, making it great for easing pain in larger muscles with more surface area.

In its full form, it’s great for back, quads, and glutes. Split it into 2, and you’ve got a smaller, easier-to-manage foam roller for things like the triceps.

And as extras, there’s a useful handle on one end, and it comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Why We Like It

We love the mix of pressure and heat this foam roller produces. Save time and boost recovery with this innovative device!

What to Consider

This roller is firm! Some people, especially those new to foam rolling, might feel it’s overly painful to use, even with the added heat.


  • 3 minutes in the microwave gives you 30 minutes of heat therapy at up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Innovative 2-piece design makes it easy to use and also easy to transport in a bag or suitcase
  • Flat surface with light ridging is perfect for easing up stiffness in large muscles without digging into knots
  • Backed by a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty for peace of mind and quality assurance


  • The roller is very firm, and might be too hard for comfort for some people

Best Portable Roller

9. TriggerPoint GRID Travel

If you aren’t so keen on the peanut-shaped TriggerPoint roller, we reviewed earlier but you travel a lot and still want to take something with you, the TriggerPoint GRID Travel could be your best bet. It’s compact, works well, and includes a video library for on-the-go referencing.

What We Like

The GRID Travel is just 10 inches long, making it easier than most to fit into a bag or case. It’s a smaller version of the original GRID (shorter and smaller in diameter), so you can expect to get the same features in a more compact package.

Its patented GRID pattern is made of sweat-resistant EVA foam, simulating various massage techniques. The flatter edges simulate a palm, while the longer ridges in the middle seem like fingers.

Also, in the middle, smaller bumps are designed to do the same job as a thumb or knuckle when working out smaller knots in the muscles.

A patented hollow-core design helps this sturdy little roller to maintain its shape use after use, and contributes to its impressive user weight capacity of 440 pounds.

Why We Like It

It offers all the benefits of the original GRID, just in a smaller package—the ideal choice for those who love the GRID design but need something more travel-friendly.

What to Consider

This little roller might not be the best choice if you need a wider roller to use on your back, lats, or quads.


  • 10-inch length makes it compact enough to be portable, no matter where you want to take it
  • Despite its smaller size, it can easily handle up to 440 pounds of weight without damage or buckling
  • Patented hollow core design makes it stronger than others its size and retains its shape use after use
  • Great combination of patterns on the EVA surface make it versatile enough for use on all muscles, stiffness, and knots


  • Might not be appropriate for large users

Top Foot Roller

10. ROLL Recovery R3

Runners’ feet take a beating, and sometimes a regular foam roller doesn’t work well on your feet. The ROLL Recovery R3 is perfect—its unique shape works with the curves of the feet, and it’s non-slip so that you can use it on almost any surface.

What We Like

This funky-looking little foam roller is designed specifically for feet. Runners know all too well the aches and pains your feet can suffer after a run, so having one of these in your tool kit is invaluable.

It features a unique asymmetrical shape, offering multiple different curves to roll your foot over; arch, ball, plantar fascia, heel, and even the outer parts of your foot. With two wide, stable edges, it stands secure on the ground as you use it, helped by the non-slip nature of the material.

At just 5.5 inches long and 2.5 inches in diameter, it’s easy to carry with you almost anywhere. Interestingly, if you suffer from foot issues, you might be able to get your podiatrist to prescribe one of these for you, as it’s an FDA-registered medical device.

Why We Like It

This little foam roller is ideal for runners to use on their feet. Portable, firm enough for a good massage, and able to be used on any surface, it’s well worth keeping around for those moments when your feet need some extra TLC.

What to Consider

For its size, this foam roller is fairly pricey. However, we believe it’s worth it for those runners whose feet need constant care.


  • Asymmetrical shape provides enough curve options to match almost every curve in your foot, giving you a well-rounded foam rolling session
  • Small size makes it super easy to take with you anywhere, so your feet are always covered
  • Very stable thanks to the shape and the non-slip material, which allows you to use it on almost any surface
  • FDA-registered medical device so you may be able to get a prescription for one of these if you need it for your foot health


  • It’s pricey for such a small foam roller

Buyer’s Guide – Foam Rollers


Also called firmness. Very firm, high-density rollers can be painful, especially for those who aren’t used to foam rolling yet. If there’s not much give to the foam, it can feel like you’re rolling on concrete.

But very soft, low-density rollers might not provide enough of a massage to actually benefit your muscles. Beginners should try a medium-density roller on a carpet or mat, and graduate to a high-density one once in a consistent foam rolling habit.


Some foam rollers are smooth and perfect for large, smooth muscles like the lats, shoulders, quads, and even calves.

Others are textured, with smaller sections and ridges designed to mimic fingers during a massage. This surface texture is great for digging into trigger points, which a smooth surface can’t do.

You can find foam rollers with large smooth sections and smaller ridged sections, ideal for all-round rolling. Beginners might prefer a smooth roller, as ridged ones are much less comfortable, although they do work well.


The size that’s best for you depends on what exactly you want to get out of your foam roller. Larger rollers are excellent for massaging more sizable muscles, like thighs and upper back. But they’re also not as portable, so they’re best for home use.

Smaller ones can get into the smaller knots, but they’re not great for larger muscle groups. They’re also easier to carry around with you, like if you want to use it at the gym or while you’re on vacation.

If you find well-priced ones, you can grab a large one and a smaller, more portable one.


Vibrating foam rollers aren’t necessary, but they can provide a deeper tissue massage than regular ones. The downside is that they cost noticeably more and are heavier, thanks to the battery and motor.

If you want to travel, these might be difficult to pack. If you’re on a budget, they’re also not the best option.


Not everyone will need a portable foam roller. Of course, no matter what size you get, you can always throw it on your back seat if you do want to take it somewhere. But if you travel a lot, a compact model could be a great asset.

Some foam rollers are collapsible, which makes them easy to pack and transport. However, this can compromise the strength and durability of the roller, so it’s up to you if you want to go this route or not.

You can find smaller rollers for travel, but they may not be large enough for the bigger muscles like shoulders. Alternatively, you could use a foam roller substitute to avoid this dilemma.


Are Foam Rollers Good for Runners?

Yes! As long as you use them correctly, foam rollers can be a great recovery tool. Every runner should have a great foam roller in their arsenal.

Is It Better to Foam Roll or Stretch After a Run?

Both foam rolling and stretching have their benefits. We recommend doing both—5 minutes of foam rolling and 5 minutes of stretching.

Foam rolling will ease knots and stimulate circulation, while stretching will loosen tightness and keep you flexible. Both have value. But if you have to pick just one—hopefully only on occasion—we recommend foam rolling.

Should Runners Foam Roll Every Day?

Foam rolling daily isn’t necessary, but it CAN help you recover faster. Make sure you’re foam rolling at the right pressure for you and for just a minute or two on each muscle, and you’ll get extra benefits if you complement your foam rolling with other recovery methods and a healthy diet.

If you run every day, you should definitely foam roll every day. But if you aren’t running every day, don’t feel pressured to foam roll daily. You can do it whenever you feel the need to.

Should You Foam Roll Right After a Run?

Foam rolling after your run can help ease knots that might already be forming and improve circulation so blood doesn’t pool and hamper your recovery. You can foam roll lightly within 5 to 10 minutes after your run, before you stretch.

Why Am I So Sore After Foam Rolling?

Applying pressure to stiff muscles can cause some pain, especially if the foam is high-density and firm. But the pain and discomfort should ease up when you’re finished foam rolling.

If the pain remains or worsens after foam rolling, you may have been rolling too hard or too long. Take a few days off from foam rolling, and when you do it next, make sure to roll lightly and for no more than 2 minutes per muscle.

Should You Warm Up Before Foam Rolling?

If you’re foam rolling almost immediately after a run, then there’s no need to warm up. But if you’re foam rolling cold muscles, 5 to 10 minutes of light cardio activity—a brisk walk—is advisable.

Foam rolling cold muscles can increase your chance of injury or pain, so make sure your circulation is optimal before getting on the roller.

When Should You Not Foam Roll?

If you’ve got an injury that isn’t healed yet, avoid foam rolling on that particular muscle. You might want to avoid foam rolling altogether if you have to position yourself on the roller in such a way that might aggravate your injury.

We advise waiting at least 2 weeks after an injury before you foam roll. Obviously, this depends on the injury’s severity, but if it’s mild, two weeks is a good waiting period.

If you experienced a sudden, sharp pain during your run or cross-training, we recommend not foam rolling afterward. If the pain subsides the following day, you can foam roll lightly, but you’ve likely injured yourself if it persists.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

The Wired Runner