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5 Best Foam Rollers for Runners (2020 Review)

If you don’t have time to read the entire review and just want to find out what the Best Foam Rollers for Runners (2020 Review) is, then we recommend the LuxFit Premium High Density Foam Roller as the best choice.

There’s no way to put into words the feeling that you get the very first time you ever experience the phenomenon known as a runner’s high. That feel good rush of endorphins is downright addicting, as anyone who makes running or jogging a regular part of their lifestyle can tell you. 

However, there’s a certain amount of wear and tear that can come with running. One of the best ways to work out the minor aches and pains that come from running is to use a foam roller, which is why we’ve compiled this list of the best foam rollers.

Indeed, one of the best ways to work out the minor aches and pains that come from running is to use a foam roller. However, there are literally hundreds of options available on the market — it can be incredibly difficult, especially for novice runners, to know where to begin. 

In an effort to encourage everyone to lead a more active, healthy lifestyle we have compiled a list of the 5 best foam rollers for runners in 2020. Not only will we be going in depth on what makes each of these 5 picks so great, but we’ve even taken the extra step (pun intended) of sorting them into categories for your benefit. Below you will find our picks for everything from the best overall foam roller to the best type of grid foam roller.

In this post, we’ve reviewed the Best Foam Rollers for Runners (2020 Review). These are:

A Brief Guide to Foam Rolling for Runners

To the uninitiated, the hype surrounded foam rollers can definitely seem a little odd. After all, many of them quite closely resemble those long colorful pool noodles that you see kids play with at the beach. 

Truth be told though, they’re a clinically proven way to supplement the work usually done by deep tissue specialists. The way that they work is through a method known as SMR — self-myofascial release. 

As a matter of fact, the simple of act of regularly incorporating foam rolling into your fitness routine offers up quite a few great benefits for your muscles, including:

  • Improved range of motion
  • Increased flexibility 
  • Increased blood flow and circulation
  • Breaks up tense trigger points
  • Soothes tight fascia
  • Assists in returning muscles to normal, healthy functioning after periods of inactivity

Foam rolling doesn’t just benefit runners though — although they arguably stand to gain the most from regular usage. Foam rolling and SMR are also ideal for individuals who have lived rather sedentary lifestyles. After all, it’s widely known that spending prolonged periods of time sitting down too much can have horrendous consequences on your health. 

For runners specifically, foam rolling is a great way to relieve tense and overworked muscles. It’s also great to assist with injury recovery, whether your injury was caused accidentally or by not stretching enough.

Perhaps the main reason most runners choose to use a foam roller is because of something called adhesion. This occurs when fascia and underlying muscle tissue within the body become stuck together and is also commonly referred to as knots or trigger points. 

Left untreated, adhesion can result in severely restricted muscle movement. Many runners report reductions in both flexibility and muscle efficiency, which further increases the likelihood of injury. 

Foam rolling works by breaking up these knots and trigger points and soothing tight fascia in your legs. Along with that come the myriad of muscular benefits that we briefly mentioned above.

Which Muscles to Foam Roll for Runners (And How To Properly Do It!)

It’s certainly possible to use a foam roller on any part of your body. However, since we’re focusing on the muscle groups that most commonly affect runners, there are a few key areas in particular that you’re going to want to focus on. In no particular order:

  • Feet
  • Quadriceps
  • Hip flexors
  • Adductors
  • Tensor fasciae latae (TFL)
  • Iliotibial band (ITB)
  • Glutes and piriformis
  • Hamstrings
  • Lower back

As for how exactly to foam roll, the exact technique will be different depending upon which muscle group that you’re targeting (YouTube is a fantastic resource for specific ‘how to’ videos), but in general, there are a few key universal points to keep in mind:

  • Roll the entire length of your targeted muscle for between 8-10 repetitions
  • Return to any areas that are overly tender and apply a consistent (but not too hard) amount of pressure
  • Breathe deeply (inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth) for 45 seconds
  • When you notice a gradual decrease in pain or tenderness, move on to the next affected area

It might all seem like a lot to take in, but we promise that it’s a lot less complicated in practice than in theory.

With all of that being said, it’s time to finally dive in and reveal our picks for the best foam rollers for runners in 2020.

Top 5 Picks for Best Foam Rollers for Runners in 2020

1. Best Overall Choice for Runners: LuxFit Premium High Density Foam Roller 

If you’re the type of person who just wants to get straight to the point and go for the cream of the crop, then you’re probably going to want to go with the LuxFit Premium High Density Foam Roller. It’s our top overall pick for runners in 2020, and for good reason.

As soon as you hold the LuxFit in your hands for the very first time, you’ll immediately be able to notice its outstanding high quality design. Not only is it available in three different sizes (6”x36”, 6”x18”, and 6”x12”), but it also comes in varying price ranges due to that. The good news is all of the options are incredibly affordable.

The LuxFit is made out of a molded polypropylene foam that provides 2 lb. per cubic foot of density. That’s precisely what gives it such an extra firm feeling to the touch, and exactly what made us love this foam roller so much. It just feels great to use when you’re dealing with tired, achy muscles after a lengthy run. 

The superior design of the LuxFit has demonstrated time and time again that it’s capable of withstanding the rigors of just about any workout environment. Not only is it a great choice for SMR therapy for your legs (it’s great for developing lower body balance), but it’s also ideal for developing overall core stabilization and stamina.

The only recommendation that we would add is that if you’re mostly going to be foam rolling the muscles in your legs, it’s probably a wise decision to go with the 6×18 size — it’s large enough to get the job done for your legs, while being small enough to avoid being too unwieldy.

PROS

  • Multiple size and price options available
  • High quality molded polypropylene design

CONS

  • Perhaps a little too firm, especially if you’re trying out foam rolling for the first time

2. Runner-Up Choice for Runners: Physix Gear Muscle Roller Leg Massager

If you’re looking for a foam rolling option that’s a bit more compact than the LuxFit, then we’re certain that you’re going to absolutely love the Physix Gear Muscle Roller Leg Massager. 

Thanks to its small, lightweight design, the Physix is a perfect choice for nearly instantly removing compressed nerves, knots, achy joints, and stiff muscles. It’s also ridiculously versatile — it’s super easy to use on hamstrings, thighs, quadriceps, and calves for runners in particular, while also being ideal for releasing tension in the neck and shoulder region as well.

The Physix weighs in at only 11.2 ounces with molded nub handles that place an emphasis on ergonomics, meaning it never feels like anything less than an absolute pleasure to use for foam rolling out your sore and tense muscles. 

Using the Physix for only 5 minutes per day on your trigger spots will produce results in an unbelievably quick amount of time for most runners — as a matter of fact, we were completely hooked on it after the very first try.

As with the LuxFit option, the Physix is also available in a few different options, albeit they are cosmetic only — you can either pick up a Physix in blue, green, or red. The good news is each option also comes with a bundled-in e-book guide that will help you get started quickly and easily even if you’re a novice foam roller.

PROS

  • Very sturdy thanks to combination of metal and rubber design
  • Includes free e-book guide
  • Backed by a 100% money back guarantee

CONS

  • Rollers are prone to locking up on occasion

3. Best Grid Foam Roller for Runners: Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller

Grid foam rollers are usually reserved for runners who are no stranger to the motto “no pain, no gain.” They’re definitely not the right option for anyone who is just getting started with foam rolling — unless, that is, you’re absolutely certain you’re willing to endure pain at around a 7 out of 10 scale to work out knots and kinks.

With that in mind, the Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller is our preferred pick for the best grid foam roller for runners. As with our other top picks, it’s available in a few different color options — orange, black, lime green, pink, and camo. 

This foam roller features a rather unique patented design that offers up a complete three dimensional surface. This helps to ensure that additional blood flow and oxygen are able to reach your muscles while you’re foam rolling, which in turn helps to minimize recovery times and reduce muscle soreness.

It’s also quite a firm option compared to many foam rollers on the market, thanks to the hollow core covered in EVA foam. This also makes it an ideal choice for pretty much all levels of foam rolling experience; you’ll love the Trigger Point whether you’re a novice or someone who has been foam rolling for years. 

The only conceivable downside to the Trigger Point Grid is that it’s noticeably more expensive than some other foam rollers on the market — but don’t let that put you off. When you’re talking a difference in price that can come down to $25 for a quality made grid foam roller like this one or $10 for more basic options, the $15 difference is easily worth it.

PROS

  • Unique design
  • Very firm
  • Durable material
  • Backed by a one year warranty

CONS

  • More expensive option compared to others on our list

4. Best Physical Therapy Foam Roller for Runners: Rolling With It Therapeutic Grade Premium EVA Foam Roller

Some foam rollers are designed to really dig into your muscle tissue, such as the Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller. Others are designed primarily with physical therapy in mind. 

Enter the Rolling With It Therapeutic Grade Premium EVA Foam Roller. Or rather, more specifically, their smallest 13”x 6” foam roller option. We absolutely love it for physical therapy foam rolling because it’s so small and compact, yet it delivers results in a huge way. 

This foam roller is made with professional grade EVA foam that will have you feeling relief from those achy knots and muscle tension in no time at all. There’s a reason why foam rollers made by Rolling With It are vouched for by pro chiropractors, pro athletes, personal trainers, and massage therapists. 

Part of the reason why this foam roller is so popular is that unlike the other options we’ve covered today, this one is backed by lifetime customer support and extremely rigorous third party testing. They stand behind their product so much that if any point, ever, you are unhappy with the product, they will refund you your money. How’s that for risk free?

You’ll be receiving multiple benefits when using therapeutic foam rollers like this EVA foam roller, including better sleep, myofascial relief, increased flexibility, chronic pain relief, relaxed muscles, core stabilization, and improved mobility. 

PROS

  • Quality you can trust
  • Backed by an astounding lifetime guarantee
  • Rigorous third party testing

CONS

  • A lot firmer than other options

5. Best Vibrating Foam Roller for Runners: HyperIce Vyper Vibrating Foam Roller 2.0

Last but certainly not least for our top picks of the best foam rollers for runners in 2020 is the HyperIce Vyper Vibrating Foam Roller 2.0. It’s a cutting edge foam rolling product that is exceptionally popular among foam rolling enthusiasts — and for good reason.

The HyperIce Vyper 2.0 features three adjustable speed vibration settings with an all-digital circuitry control. It’s also designed with a rugged exterior that features 16 small ridges — perfect for really digging into soft tissue. The polypropylene outer shell is also ideal for transferring the maximum amount of vibration. 

The Vyper 2.0 also comes with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that offer up over 2 hours of usage with each charge; that means a single charge will offer plenty of time for daily 5-10 foam rolling sessions after your runs.

Perhaps the most glaring downside to the Vyper 2.0 is the fact that it is far and away the most expensive foam rolling option on our list. The trade-off is that you’re definitely getting a ton of bang for your buck with this foam roller. If you have the budget for it, and you want something that’s guaranteed to deliver big time, then this is undoubtedly the best vibrating foam rolling option out there for runners.

PROS

  • Digital circuitry control with 3 adjustable vibration settings 
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries
  • Dual-zone exterior

CONS

  • Can be quite loud (especially on the third vibration setting)
  • Most expensive foam rolling option on our list by far

Final Thoughts

If you’re beginning to notice the typical wear and tear associated with running accumulating, then it could definitely be time for you to begin exploring at home self-myofascial release with foam rolling. 

If you aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to shopping for foam rollers, hopefully the 5 picks presented above have helped you to narrow down your choices and find the right foam roller for you.

We genuinely feel there’s something for everyone to be found with this list of the 5 best foam rollers for runners, whether it’s our top overall pick with the LuxFit or the rather expensive but undeniably high quality HyperIce Vyper 2.0. 

Muscular aches and pains are a fact of life that everyone who has been running for any extended length of time will have to deal with. Thankfully though, with only 5-20 minutes of time per day, and the right foam roller, you’ll be able to work out those unpleasant knots and trigger points, all the while remaining injury free.

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