The Best Foam Rollers

Foam rolling: These days, it seems like everybody’s doing it. A growing body of research and bodywork pros—physical therapists, massage therapists, and personal trainers alike—extol the soft-tissue benefits of self-massage for improvements in muscular flexibility and reduction in stiffness and even pain. Gyms and PT centers are strewn with them, but how do you know what products are best for at-home use? To find out, we went shopping for you, whittling hundreds of options to a top-selling selection of the most popular roller types, and enlisting a cadre of experts and their muscles for over 45 hours of kneading and compressing.

18″ Tiger Tail (The Classic) Portable firm foam. For portable SMR, Tiger Tail is a rolling massage stick with a plastic core encased in finely textured dense foam. It’s lightweight yet can really dig into tight spots.

The rolling-pin-like 18″ Tiger Tail (The Classic) is made of foam-covered plastic with comfy rubberized handles. Given its petite size, it’s great for travel and also for digging into smaller spots on the body, particularly the neck and calves. On the flip side, it’s not nearly as good at SMR for the larger muscle groups—you simply can’t get the same level of pressure or expansiveness as you can by lying on top of a large foam roller—so it’s best used as a supplemental product.