The Best Foam Rollers for Runners

Nithvik
8 Min Read

Hi Friends, We are going to discuss best foam rollers in 2021. If you are serious about your training, you need to be serious about your recovery. What you do in your downtime, science shows, has a big influence on how well you run. Sleep and fuel, of course, are the indisputable top recovery tools. But thanks to a growing body of research, foam rolling is now up there as a must-do recovery activity for athletes who want to feel better and run stronger. Check out below for great options.

Done before a run, it can act like a dynamic warmup—increasing circulation, loosening tight spots, and priming your body to move. After a workout, it can act like a sports massage—reducing muscular tension and lowering levels of the primary stress hormone, cortisol.

How to Pick the best foam rollers

There are several features you need to consider.

  • Firmness: For newbies, a too-hard foam roller may seem like a torture device. Digging into sore muscles after a tough workout session takes some getting used to, which is why the firmness of a foam roller determines how much oh-so-good pain you are willing to handle. While a very firm roller will better activate deep tissue, a softer foam can be best when just starting out.
  • Texture: Like firmness, the texture of a roller will determine the level of intensity. This can range from a perfectly smooth (gentler) surface, to a spiky (really intense) one.
  • Portability: If you’re looking to travel with your roller during your next race, you’ll want something that fits in a standard suitcase.
  • Tech Features: For an added level of muscle activation, many new foam rollers on the market now include vibration and even added heat.

Top 5 foam rollers in 2021

ULTIMATE SPINE MASSAGE

1. Roll Recovery R4

Roll Recovery R4
Roll Recovery R4

Best Foam Rollers: Pros:

  • Centers the spine and neck

Cons:              

  • Too intense for some

The R4 is a seriously firm roller that we love for its sturdy build and smart design to get the knots out of muscles that need more pressure, like the back and hamstrings. The alignment groove at the center cradles the neck and spine for more comfort when you’re rolling out on your back, and also helps target achy, sensitive areas of the Achilles tendon.

High-density EVA foam lets this roller really dig in for a foam-rolling experience. That may be a little too intense for newbies—or for those who want a more relaxed feeling on tender muscles after a hard workout—but does wonders for fighting a case of the DOMS. At 18 inches long and with a generous 6-inch diameter, it’s ideal for runners of all sizes and has the versatility to work out soreness in both hammies at the same time.

BEST PRICE TAG

2. LuxFit High-Density Foam Roller

LuxFit High-Density Foam Roller
LuxFit High-Density Foam Roller

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight

Cons:                                 

  • No grooves or textured features

If you want the benefits of a foam roller without making a big investment, give the LuxFit High-Density Foam Roller a try. It’s effective and durable. It’s affordable. The high-density black foam delivers a firm pressure to provide muscle and tissue release and relief.

While the foam does have a bit of give, it’s definitely on the harder side of the spectrum and may require some transition time if you are new to foam rolling. However, the smooth, even surface is less intense than rollers with nubs and grooves.

It’s extremely lightweight (6.7 ounces) and comes in four lengths (12-, 18-, 24-, 36-inch). The low price might make it possible for you to invest in more than one—12-inch is great for traveling or training at the gym where you have limited space. But the 36-inch is the most versatile and a good choice if you want to be able to use your roller to stretch your back.

Longer rollers also provide more stability than shorter rollers, which is a factor when you are rolling out your legs one at a time. LuxFit rollers also come with a three-year warranty and online instructional video for guidance.

3. TriggerPoint GRID

Best Foam Rollers
TriggerPoint GRID

Pros:

  • Beginner-friendly because it’s not too hard
  • Very durable

The multi-density exterior foam covers a rigid, hollow core, which means that the roller retains its shape, even with heavy use, over many years. A middle ground in firmness—not too hard, not too soft—which makes it a good introductory roller.

It’s available in two lengths (13- and 26-inch), and the hollow center construction also has an unintended benefit: If you are traveling, you can easily stuff your running shorts, top, and socks inside it.

BEST MIX OF PAIN AND RELIEF

4. RumbleRoller

RumbleRoller
RumbleRoller

Pros:

  • Finds and releases tight spots in your back
  • Nubs strike a nice balance between softness and firmness

The bumpy knobs on a RumbleRoller foam roller resemble a monster-truck tire and might give the impression that it’s a torture device. But any runner who has experienced the pleasure/pain dichotomy of a good sports massage will appreciate this roller’s unique design. The textured surface of this roller, which comes in three sizes (12-, 21-, 31-inch), features nubs that push into knots and pressure points deeper than traditional flat-surfaced foam rollers.

It’s designed to mimic the hands of a massage therapist. Indeed, our testers found the roller particularly effective at finding and releasing tight spots in crevices in their shoulders and backs. It’s worth noting that while the nubs are firm, they do have some give, which enables them to move around (and not dig into) bony areas, like shoulder blades or hips. Another feature: The surface is antimicrobial, which helps prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus. Key for households where there are multiple sweaty runners.

BEST FOR SHIN SPLINTS AND TIGHT CALVES

5. Rollga

Pros:

  • Targets pressure where you need it, not where you don’t
  • Weighs just one pound

This funky-looking bulbous roller is the brainchild of a marathon runner/foam-roller devotee who wanted to make his favorite recovery activity more effective and comfortable. The grooves in the Rollga cradle your body and enable pressure to go where you want it (muscles and connective tissue) and bypass the areas where you don’t (hips, shins, and spine).

This makes it particularly effective because if you’re comfortable rolling, it means you’ll do it longer and more often. Another perk is that the Rollga weighs in at just one pound and comes with a carrying strap, so it’s easy to take with you to the gym or on the go to races.

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