Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots review TL;DR: awesome but expensive massage tools to boost leg recovery.
For someone working out as often as I do, the concept of Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots is very appealing. I'd go as far as calling it a game-changer for people who need an effective recovery tool and are too busy to use other massage tools to ease stiffness and release tension from their lower limbs.
It's all well and good but do the Jetboots work? Should you invest in these not-so-cheap tools? What are they best used for? How should you use them correctly? I spent a few weeks with the JetBoots, and I think I know the answers to these questions.
Did you know? The Therabody RecoveryAir Jetboots won the Best Fitness Innovation category at the T3 Awards 2022!
Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots review: Price and availability
There is a cheaper model called RecoveryAir Prime that has the pneumatic compression not integrated into the boots. It sells for $699/£599.
The top-tier model is called RecoveryAir PRO, and it's aimed at professional athletes and sports organisations. This is the most customisable model with a PRO Mode with which you can adjust every parameter of your recovery experience. The PRO retails for $1299/£1129.
Neither RecoveryAir models are available on Therabody's Australian website but you can browse the previous generation models here.
Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots review: How does it work?
The JetBoots are part updated RecoveryAir line, a range of recovery products from Theabody that uses compressed air to speed up recovery. A fully wireless device, the JetBoots' pumps are integrated into the bottom of the boots. Previous models, and even the Prime and PRO models, use a separate compression unit to pump air into the boots.
The pumps use pneumatic compression, a form of pressure massage in which a garment completely covering the legs inflates and deflates in a cyclical pattern. The process is said to "flush out" fluids containing metabolic waste and ushers in fresh, nutrient-rich blood to the limbs, as the official Theabody communication explains.
This is similar to blood flow restriction training (BFR), but the difference here is that the whole lower limb gets compressed instead of just a section of the limb.
One of the most significant innovations of the RecoveryAir range is said to be the FastFlush Technology that can complete one entire cycle in just 60 seconds (in lower compression settings), which is two to three times faster than other pneumatic compression boots.
The JetBoots also have a more hygienic design that uses non-porous medical grade material combined with overlapping internal chambers that provide one smooth surface - you can wipe them clean with a damp cloth after each use.
Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots review: Ease of use
RecoveryAir products are what Dr Jason Wersland, founder of Therabody, calls a "passive modality", meaning they can work their magic without you having to put in any effort. You sit, relax, preferably breathe and let the JetBoots do their magic.
Once both boots are turned on, they connect automatically to each other, so you don't have to set the same program on the two control panels separately. You can also use one JetBoot at a time if that's what you want.
The lack of cables and external units make the JetBoots extremely convenient to use. All you have to do is slip into the boots, and you're ready to go. Setting the program is also straightforward; control freaks might not like the lack of customisability options, but if that's what you're after, I recommend the PRO model instead.
There are four compression modes (25%, 50%, 75% and 100%) and four timeframes (20, 40, 60 minutes and infinity) to choose from. Once you select the desired options, press start and... do whatever you want to do. Both the level of compression and time can be changed during the massage session, and it can be aborted anytime.
Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots review: Recovery performance
I mainly used the RecoveryAir JetBoots for running and strength training recovery and as a general mindfulness device. Shortly after receiving the review unit, I decided to do a gruelling leg day workout and see if the JetBoots could help me recover faster.
They didn't at the time, but it's worth noting that I used different settings and times to see how they felt instead of focusing on my recovery. After the initial test, I started running more, did more workouts (not all leg stuff, though), and used the JetBoots on the highest setting (100%), usually for 40 minutes straight after the exercises ended.
I repeated my leg day workout to see if using the JetBoots properly would help me with DOMS. Well, it does help to a certain extent, but I can definitely feel the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness despite using the boots twice since the workout. I guess I can stand, which is an improvement but my hamstrings and quads are pretty sore.
I found them particularly helpful for running recovery, though; the JetBoots did an excellent job helping me run more often but without the leg pain. I popped them on at least once a day and used them while I had my lunch or working on the laptop. The whole "passive modality" aspect of the device is a massive help in integrating it into your everyday life.
After a week of use, having a JetBoots session became second nature and even when I didn't feel like I needed recovery, I used them to relax. For these sessions, I used the lower settings (50-75%) for anything from 20-60 minutes. Interestingly, my other half, Sophie, who's not too interested in testing every single fitness tech I drag home, joined in, and we ended up using the boots after each other, as a family activity, while we watched Hail, Caesar! on Netflix (fantastic movie).
Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots review: Verdict
When it comes to recommending the Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots, I'm in a tricky situation. On the one hand, I can wholeheartedly recommend them as they are superb recovery tools that also work as a kind of meditation/mindfulness device. For endurance type training such as running and cycling, using the JetBoots can provide you with tangible benefits.
On the other hand, the JetBoots are expensive, way more costly than even top of the range massage guns. They aren't the same products, of course, and the JetBoots can also be used for relaxation and passive recovery, so one can argue it's more versatile than a massage gun or a foam roller. It's bulkier than almost all other tools you can use for either massage or recovery.
All that said, I love the Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots. As I said, it's now second nature to use them, mainly due to them being so convenient to use. If you can justify spending this much on a recovery product, I can't imagine you won't enjoy using the JetBoots.
Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots review: Also consider
The Recovapro Air might not be the sexiest-looking recovery tool in the world, but these compression boots can provide an ample amount of pressure and, most importantly, variety in your sessions, thanks to the six pre-set programmes and adjustable pressure/time settings. Not to mention, they are cheaper than the Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots. Read our full Recovarpo Air review.
The Hyperice Normatec 3 sits somewhere between the Therabody JetBoots and the Recovarpro Air and provides a very decent recovery experience due to its dynamic compression system and ZoneBoost feature that increases the pressure in one of the five zones in the boot, further accelerating leg recovery. Read our full Hyperice Normatec 3 review.
We can all agree that the best massage guns are some of the most amazing massage tools to batter away workout pain or ease up stiff areas. Massage guns are "active modalities", as Dr Jason would call them, but thanks to the powerful motor and the variety of massage heads usually included in the box, you should consider them for day-to-day muscle maintenance.