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Are you a runner, gym rat, bodybuilder, HIIT enthusiast, or just serious about strength training? What you do to help your body recover is just as important as what you do to build strength and endurance. Aside from stretching, rest, nutrition, and hydration, a foam roller can help you release muscle tension and alleviate stiffness.
The condensed foam cylinder can be used for self-myofascial release, which essentially means smoothing and releasing the connective tissues around your muscles. Most rollers have a relatively straightforward design, but you'll find options in varying densities and sizes, as well as gridded, hollow, and vibrating rollers.
Here are the best foam rollers you can buy today.
Best Overall: Trigger Point Performance GRID Foam Roller
Favored among athletes, the Trigger Point Performance GRID roller is notably hard but not uncomfortable. The gridded exterior is wrapped in EVA foam, making the surface extra-firm and effective at relieving muscle tension and targeting trigger points.
Though it has a hollow core, this foam roller is extremely durable and can support up to 500 pounds of weight without losing its shape. It's 13 inches long with a 5.5-inch diameter and comes in a handful of colors and patterns.
Best Budget: AmazonBasics High-Density Foam Roller
For a more wallet-friendly pick, check out this roller from AmazonBasics. Made of high-density, super-firm foam with molded edges, its no-nonsense design gets the job done.
This foam roller is 18 inches long with a 6-inch diameter and weighs just a few ounces. It comes in a few solid colors, as well as some fun sparkly, speckled options.
Best for Beginners: p.volve Precision Foam Roller
If you're new to foam rolling, we suggest the p.volve Precision. This hollow roller has a firm surface with divots for targeting various muscle groups before, during, or after a workout.
It's 13 inches long, 5.5 inches in diameter, and weighs just over 2 pounds. The versatile, user-friendly design is perfect for beginners, but it can be used by people of all fitness levels.
Best for Back: Acumobility Ultimate Back Roller
Massaging your own back is nearly impossible—unless you have the tool for it. The Ultimate Back Roller from Acumobility is the perfect solution. This hollow wheel is 11.3 inches in diameter and 7.5 inches thick, allowing you to access all hard-to-reach areas on your upper, mid, and lower back.
It has a special therapeutic bump pattern, which glides over your muscles as you roll back and forth. And thanks to a thoughtfully designed gap down the middle, the bumps won't hit your spine. This unique back roller is also impressively strong—it can support as much as 1,000 pounds of weight.
Best for Legs: Gaiam Restore Compact Foam Roller
Sore, stiff legs? Reach for the Gaiam Restore roller. This compact foam cylinder is designed for rolling out one leg at a time. You can glide over it to release tension in your hamstrings, quads, calves, or hips.
It's lightly textured with a dotted pattern to prevent slipping as you work out your muscles. And since it's just 12 inches long and 4 inches in diameter, it's perfect for travel.
Best for Runners: Nike Recovery Foam Roller
For runners and joggers, we recommend Nike's Recovery Foam Roller. With an ultra-firm, tire-like texture, it offers the intense, targeted pressure you crave. This 13-inch roller has a hollow core and is light enough to take on the go.
Best Deep-Tissue: 321 STRONG Foam Roller
If you're partial to deep-tissue massages, we think you'll love this foam roller from 321 STRONG. The gridded exterior has three different massage zones that mimic the pressure of a person's thumbs, fingers, and palms.
With medium-density construction, it targets the soft tissues of overworked muscles but isn't uncomfortable to use. Rolling out your muscles before or after a workout can help release lactic acid and increase blood throughout your body. Measuring 12.75 inches long and 5.25 inches in diameter with a hollow core, it's lightweight and travel-friendly.
Best Vibrating: Therabody Wave Roller Smart Foam Roller
If you want to take your at-home physical therapy up a notch, you should definitely consider this vibrating foam roller from Therabody (formerly Theragun). With asymmetrical, wavy grooves across the high-density foam surface, it delivers a perfect level of pressure.
But that's not all. This Bluetooth-enabled smart gadget goes the extra mile with customized vibration therapy through the Therabody app. It has five modes of intensity and works through your muscles with a smooth, quiet purr.
Best for Travel: Brazyn Morph Foam Roller
The Brazyn Morph is made of durable, eco-friendly materials, including bamboo and recyclable foam. Choose from the standard-density Bravo or the deep-tissue Alpha, which has foam nubs that knead sore muscles and relieve trigger points.
What really makes this foam roller stand out is its collapsible design. It flattens into a 2-inch-thick packable rectangle and expands instantly, making it the perfect travel companion for athletes.
We chose the Trigger Point Performance GRID Foam Roller (view at Amazon) as our number one pick based on its effective, durable design and gridded surface for targeted relief. That said, if you're open to splurging on the Therabody Wave Roller Smart Foam Roller (view at Amazon), you'll enjoy professional-level relief with deep-tissue pressure and vibration therapy.
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This shopping guide was written by Theresa Holland, a freelance writer and exercise enthusiast specializing in wellness and home goods. You can read more of her writing on Byrdie, Verywell, MyDomaine.