Best Foam Rollers for Runners in 2021

Natalie Cecconi
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Are you a runner? If so, then you have most likely heard of foam rollers. Foam rollers are commonly used by people who practice yoga, pilates, and now exercise after a quick Google search. The foam roller can help you stretch out your muscles, relieve pain, and speed up injury recovery (if used properly).

You can pretty much use a roller for anything you want since the greatest strength lies in creativity. You can use it for pummeling your knots, self-massage, enforcing your back and other muscles, and even deploy them while you stretch out your leg. Foam rollers can also help you address trigger points and pain on the legs.

All these benefits are staples in a runner’s life. Use a foam roller for full-on workout, after a workout, and even before a workout. Choosing the best foam roller for runners in 2021 is not the easiest task. Below are a few foam rollers that will definitely suit your needs.

NameCategoryProduct
TriggerPoint GRID Foam RollerBest OverallTriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
Pro-Tec Foam Roller 6"X18"Budget PickPro-Tec Foam Roller 6"X18"
Hyperice Vyper 2.0 High-Intensity Vibrating Fitness RollerUpgrade PickHyperice Vyper 2.0 High-Intensity Vibrating Fitness Roller

1. TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

Our rating: 9 / 10

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

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Pros:

  • Available from a width of 1 inch to 4 inches
  • Very durable foam
  • Comes with online instructional videos
  • Many color options
  • One-year warranty

Cons:

  • No fitness or weight support
  • Not designed for high-impact activities

Foam rollers are a super inexpensive way to make sure your legs, ankles, and hips are functioning optimally. They stretch muscles and improve overall range of motion. They are also useful for breaking up scar tissue after recovery from injuries.

Rolling pin massage therapy with a foam roller is called self-myofascial release (or SMRF). It’s just another different name for foam rolling. There are many different foam roller brands, but our favorite is the TriggerPoint GRID. It’s made from 100% pure EVA foam which makes it firm and durable.

Choosing the right type of foam roller can be overwhelming, but we’ve helped narrow down the best options for you. Uniquely designed with grid-like perforations, self-massage will be more effective with the TriggerPoint GRID roller. TriggerPoint recently released a free online video series which covers all of the techniques you need to know to use this roller correctly and safely.

2. Brazyn Morph Bravo Foam Roller

Our rating: 9 / 10

Brazyn Morph Bravo Foam Roller

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Pros:

  • Ergonomic foam roller
  • Doesn’t curl up when you’re using it
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Quick and easy setup
  • Good for long distance runners and athletes
  • Very durable
  • Great for back pain release and muscle recovery

3. RumbleRoller – Textured Muscle Foam Roller Manipulates Soft Tissue Like A Massage Therapist

Our rating: 8 / 10

RumbleRoller - Textured Muscle Foam Roller Manipulates Soft Tissue Like A Massage Therapist

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The RumbleRoller is a textured foam roller that works like a massage therapist. It is good for large muscles and tight joints.

When compared to other foam rollers, this has much more surface area. The cross hatch pattern is effective at loosening up fascia ‗ the connective tissue that binds your various muscles together. The claw-like prongs are also effective at targeting pressure points deeper in muscles. And unlike yoga foam rollers, this one doesn’t compress, so you can target the muscles more effectively.

The weight is the biggest disadvantage of this roller. It weighs about 12 pounds, so it’s tough to move it around when you need to. You’ll need two hands to squeeze the roller close so you can roll around the area. Be sure to place the roller on a carpeted or other soft surface for maximum effectiveness.

4. TriggerPoint CHARGE VIBE Three-Speed Ridged Vibrating Portable Foam Roller

Our rating: 8 / 10

TriggerPoint CHARGE VIBE Three-Speed Ridged Vibrating Portable Foam Roller

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TriggerPoint make some of the best massage products in the world for professionals. And their TriggerPoint CHARGE VIBE Three-Speed Ridged Vibrating Portable Foam Roller is the best foam roller in their lineup. It has a contoured shape and grooved surface that helps to relieve tightness in your muscles.

The CHARGE VIBE comes with a dual speed motor that offers two frequency settings. One is particularly great for sports injuries since it is a fast-paced vibration that targets areas with knots or trigger points. The slower mode is really useful in rolling out your shins and calves. The roller is powered by a replaceable battery that lasts for about 15 minutes on a single charge.

A neat feature that the CHARGE VIBE features is a instant, on-demand vibration mode that is triggered when you squeeze a small trigger on the handle. The vibration is surprisingly powerful and helps you to break up tight areas that are really hard to work on.

5. WODFitters T-Pin Double Bubble Foam Roller

Our rating: 8 / 10

WODFitters T-Pin Double Bubble Foam Roller

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Pros:

  • A great recovery tool that makes your muscles feel better
  • Extremely sturdy
  • Can hold up to 500 pounds
  • Extra-long handle for reaching your back and neck
  • Useful as a pressure point device
  • Better than a lacrosse ball for self-massage
  • Great gifts for athletes
  • Work well with any fitness level
  • Good for stretching and foam rolling
  • Helps you feel better, faster

Cons:

  • Takes some practice to use the T-Pin effectively
  • It’s not the most comfortable to use on your back or chest
  • Excessive use may lead to bruising
  • Takes a long time to roll out all your muscles

If you’re suffering from knots, tight muscles, and other repetitive strain injuries, then the WODFitters T-Pin may be your ticket to recovery. The reason it’s an effective choice is because it can reach your muscles in places where other foam rollers and lacrosse balls can’t. WODFitters calls their t-pin a ‘therapy tool’ because it’s a great aid for loosening muscles and restoring range of motion.

6. Hyperice Vyper 2.0 High-Intensity Vibrating Fitness Roller

Our rating: 8 / 10

Hyperice Vyper 2.0 High-Intensity Vibrating Fitness Roller

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Pros:

  • Great for getting rid of tight muscles
  • 2-year warranty
  • 2 flexible silicone padded rollers
  • Good balance of vibration and softness
  • 6 vibration modes

The Hyperice Vyper 2.0 is a high-intensity vibratory fitness roller. It can provide a deep-tissue massage, relieves muscle tension, and increase blood circulation.

Vyper 2.0 has a 2-year warranty and it comes with 2 flexible silicone padded rollers. The roller uses patented One Motion Control technology to provide a more intense and effective workout.

Vyper 2.0 has 6 vibration modes: Rolling Wave, Extreme, Roller Derby, Full Body, Massage, and Electro Muscle Therapy. Allowing you to target specific muscle groups. The vibrating intensity is adjustable as well.

7. Moji Heated Foam Roller

Our rating: 8 / 10

Moji Heated Foam Roller

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Pros:

  • The heat therapy roller is versatile
  • It has a soft and firm option
  • The soft texture is good for beginners
  • Helps with circulation, relieves muscle tension, and improves flexibility
  • The heat options are great for sore muscles and joints
  • Has a firm texture for those looking to firm up
  • The heat lasts for up to 30 minutes

Cons:

  • The low setting is really low
  • The high setting is somewhat weak
  • It’s not flexible for people with arthritis who have a hard time keeping it up
  • There’s a slight burning smell
  • Some users complain about the low quality, but these reviews are rare

The Moji Heated Foam Roller works perfectly for multiple sports and exercises. All of its heated features help with massage and recovery for all kinds of muscle pain from beginner yoga users to athletic runners.

It gets even better when you add Moji’s free app for maximum results. The heat lasts for up to 30 minutes on each setting and even works while using the app.

8. Pro-Tec Foam Roller 6"X18"

Our rating: 7 / 10

Pro-Tec Foam Roller 6"X18"

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Pros:

  • Provides top level stability
  • Comes assembled and ready to use
  • Thickness is comfortable for pressure release
  • Includes 2 pieces of 2.5" and 2 pieces of 6" for all situations
  • Colorful and easy to use
  • Large size perfect for a full body roller and targeting the back
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Made in the USA
  • Many pieces available to target areas on the back and legs

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Availability dependent on running season
  • When using on the floor, foam roller can be unstable due to its large size
  • Need to buy two pieces for the lower back, otherwise it's impossible to target the glutes
  • Not replaceable

When we compared the Pro-Tec Foam roller vs others, we discovered that the Pro-Tec Foam Roller was the best in its size category in both size and overall price.

9. TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller

Our rating: 5 / 10

TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller

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Pros:

  • Available in 4-6 inch thickness
  • Great for self-myofascial release and core work
  • Easy to use and place anywhere
  • Affordable
  • Fun videos to watch for stretching

Cons:

  • The roller is sticky and can stick to gym mats
  • The roller can be too heavy for use in water
  • The handles can be too thick for some
  • With time, the roller becomes flat

Our pick for the best foam roller for runners is the TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller with Free Online Instructional Videos, 4-inch. This is the perfect roller for runners and other athletes seeking a versatile yet affordable solution to self-massage.

The foam roller is an ideal tool for self-myofascial release which is a popular treatment for many muscle aches and pains. The TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller comes in two sizes – the 4-inch and 6-inch. Plus it offers a free access to instructional videos and sports massage tips.

The surface of the foam roller is covered with the painful looking circular patterns called “Gator texture.” This is the part of the roller that feels incredibly good when you roll over it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which foam roller is best for runners?

Although runners are sometimes skeptical about using foam rollers, they can provide some excellent benefits for those who run frequently.

A foam roller is used to massage muscles using your own body weight. It helps to break down scar tissue and knots, and reduce pain and soreness in the muscles. Foam rolling before a run can help to loosen up and reduce stiffness in the muscles, which can make the runner feel more flexible and more able to run pain-free.

There are many benefits to using foam rolling. These include working out stiffness before a run, reducing recovery times after a run, and helping injured runners maintain their fitness levels.

Are foam rollers good for runners?

Foam rollers are very popular among professional athletes in all sports. That is because they are very effective at alleviating muscle tension and soreness.

A foam roller is basically a cylinder (usually made out of foam) with a flat surface and a handle in the middle. You use the foam roller by rolling your muscles on top of it with body weight or a stationary position. If you are new to foam rolling, it can be a painful experience.

Foam rolling can help with a number of ailments in addition to just extreme muscle tension and soreness. These include but are not limited to:

  • Increasing range of motion
  • Relaxing muscles
  • Helping eliminate swelling
  • Reducing post-workout soreness
  • Increasing flexibility

Is it better to foam roll before or after a run?

Foam rolling is a very popular physical therapy tool that has proven tremendously useful for athletes. Its only downside is that foam rolls are relatively short and not especially comfortable to lay on so it can be difficult to keep the position long enough for it to be effective for releasing muscle knots and lactic acid.

Many people like to roll before and after they exercise. The idea here is that you can loosen your muscles before your sweat causes them to tighten, and then loosen them again after your workout.

If you are serious about fitness, however, you might want to consider investing in a longer foam roller. These rollers cover much more of your body more deeply than a shorter one will, so you can stretch your muscles in less time.

Conclusion

The top foam rolling experts agree that the best foam roller is all about applying just the right amount of pressure. Too little and it’s useless. Too much and it hurts, and can even cause more damage than good. Luckily, the best foam roller for runners enables you to apply just the right amount of pressure – according to the experts – by just using your own weight to press against it.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
TriggerPoint GRID Foam RollerBest OverallTriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
Pro-Tec Foam Roller 6"X18"Budget PickPro-Tec Foam Roller 6"X18"
Hyperice Vyper 2.0 High-Intensity Vibrating Fitness RollerUpgrade PickHyperice Vyper 2.0 High-Intensity Vibrating Fitness Roller