Yes, Your Calves Need Their Own Foam Roller — & These Are The Best Ones

by Marisa Donnelly

You probably know that using a foam roller is super beneficial for post-workout recovery, especially if you're into high-impact workouts like HIIT or running. And certain muscle groups, like calves, are more prone to seizing up after an intense workout. For that reason, the best foam rollers for calves exist to truly target that leg area and loosen it up for optimal mobility during your next sweat session.

Foam rolling involves a myofascial release of tender or painful spots, and, according to a study in the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation, that release can help to increase flexibility, reduce soreness, and even break up scar tissue. Calf muscles are particularly difficult to roll out, because they're so dynamic with multiple muscles — including the Achilles tendon — occupying one compact spot. That's why they require a smaller foam roller, ideally with some texture, to really get in there and release the tension.

The best foam rollers to get the job done range in complexity from super basic models to ones that vibrate for a massage-like feel. Here, find a list of the must-have ones for calves that you can order on Amazon. Your calves and your workouts will thank you later.


The Overall Best Foam Roller For Calves Considering Price & Functionality

As the cheapest, simplest option on this list, the AmazonBasics' 12-inch foam roller is great for beginners and just so happens to be the cheapest, simplest option on this list. It's made of thick, slip-proof polyethylene foam that's firm enough to rehab your muscles (but slightly softer than other more advanced models on this list). Though the 12-inch size ($10) is perfect for hitting your calves and smaller muscle groups, it's also available in 18-, 24-, and 36-inch sizes should you want a bigger one for your entire body, too.


Also Great: A Slightly More Advanced Foam Roller With Tension-Busting Ridges

TriggerPoint's GRID foam roller is perfect if you're looking to target even more tension, as its made from foam-surrounded PVC pipe, which gives it a firmer, more durable texture. Plus, it has ridges that put a bit more pressure where you need it. Get it in five colors — black, camo, lime, orange, and pink — and prepare to watch the included free online instructional video if you're new to foam rolling.


A Deep-Tissue Foam Roller That'll Really Target Sore Calves

Recommended by athletes and consumers alike, RumbleRoller's waterproof massage roller is one of the firmest rollers out there. The 12-inch foam roller is covered in knobs and crevices that create a deep-tissue-massage-like feel and naturally resist odor and unwanted bacteria. However, don't expect it to be comfortable to use. While super effective, the added texture on this one will likely feel a bit painful passing over extra tight muscles. (It'll be worth it in the end, though.) It's available in black and blue and also comes in two larger sizes.


A Next-Level Vibrating Foam Roller With Lots Of Settings & Textures

If you really want to take foam rolling to the next level, opt for this vibrating one from Zyllion. Backed by a 90-day guarantee, it's made from high-density foam that's comparable to other options on this list. However, with three different surface textures and four different vibration settings, it's more versatile all things considered. It's cordless, rechargeable (a single charge lasts two and a half hours on the highest setting), and comes in three color combinations. The downside is that it's a bit heavier than the others, weighing in at 5.5 pounds. It does come with a carrying pouch, though!


Alternative: A Handheld Rolling Stick That's Even More Precise

This Elite Muscle roller stick is a fantastic alternative to a traditional foam roller. It weighs just 10 ounces and is thinner and lighter than the rest, but guess what? This foamless one provides even more precise calf-muscle-targeting, as its handheld, giving you total pressure control. It has no-slip handles and 2-millimeter gaps to prevent unwanted hair pulling. The best part is, it's only 16 bucks.

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