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12 Best Ice Packs for Runners Tested

last updated Nov 28, 2018
When it comes to healing injuries, your body deserves better than a bag of frozen vegetables. If you have a recent injury where swelling is an issue, ice is widely known to be the best treatment for not only decreasing your pain but also reducing inflammation and speeding the healing process.

The companies who make the ice packs on our list employ experts who conduct extensive research to ensure the design and application will give you the maximum benefits of ice without doing any damage.
Researched Sources
14
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1200
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
13
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
12
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By EJ Callanan:

In our most recent update, information was added to give you a better feel for the best ice packs available on the market. Pop on down to the FAQ section to review some of the most commonly asked questions by consumers and runners!

Sorting Options
Materials Durability Ease of Use Versatility By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Materials
95%
Durability
97%
Ease of Use
95%
Versatility
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$7.15
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Materials
95%
Durability
94%
Ease of Use
90%
Versatility
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$9.06
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Materials
94%
Durability
92%
Ease of Use
91%
Versatility
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$99.00
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Materials
87%
Durability
86%
Ease of Use
90%
Versatility
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$18.71
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Materials
90%
Durability
89%
Ease of Use
85%
Versatility
84%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$21.61
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.5
Materials
82%
Durability
85%
Ease of Use
90%
Versatility
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$15.95
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.3
Materials
86%
Durability
86%
Ease of Use
90%
Versatility
83%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$18.01
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.3
Materials
86%
Durability
82%
Ease of Use
85%
Versatility
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$24.99
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.3
Materials
81%
Durability
80%
Ease of Use
87%
Versatility
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$11.97
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Materials
82%
Durability
81%
Ease of Use
87%
Versatility
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$14.99
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Roscoe Medical Hot & Cold Reusable Gel Pack
  • CryoCup
  • Moji MK2 Knee Ice Wrap
  • Pro-Tec Athletics Hot/Cold Therapy Wrap
  • Polar Ice Foot and Ankle Wrap
  • Thrive Cold Therapy
  • TheraPearl Shin Wraps
  • The Coldest Water
  • Core Products ACC-551
  • FlexiKold Gel Cold Pack
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 12 Picks

1. Roscoe Medical Hot & Cold Reusable Gel Pack

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Roscoe Medical Hot & Cold Reusable Gel Pack
Materials
95
Durability
97
Ease of Use
95
Versatility
96
best offer for today
$7.15
Pros:

Helps assist with a variety of aches/pains in different body parts

Good for sprains, contusions, headaches, and even toothaches

Three convenient sizes

Won’t freeze solid like a block, maintains flexibility

Cons:

Has a chemical smell at first

There is nothing fancy about this ice pack but it’s a good place to start from. Everyone should have a couple of these handy packs around due to their versatility and effectiveness.

Read more

These type of packs are pretty common, but we included the one made by Roscoe Medical because of the strength of its seams. One drawback of these types of packs (especially with heavy repeated use) is that the seams can split leaving you with blue goo all over you and the couch. With the Roscoe Hot & Cold Pack, this should not be an issue.

2. CryoCup

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
CryoCup
Materials
95
Durability
94
Ease of Use
90
Versatility
94
best offer for today
$9.06
Pros:

User friendly, convenient, self-icing tool

Plastic handle does not conduct cold temperature leaving your hands unaffected; simply fill cup with water and put it in the freezer

Can be used for sensory stimulation, splint cooling, or general muscle work

Reusable (eco-friendly) and easy to clean

Easy to use

Cons:

May start to crack after long use, due to repeated hot/cold transitions

This is a handy ice massage tool that can breath new life into tired and sore legs.

Read more

Research (and our own experience) shows that icing can be more effective when a good bit of pressure is applied. Add in the motion of moving the CryoCup around and it’s easy to understand how this method can reach deeper into the muscle tissue and achieve better results. One point of caution, however: when applying ice directly to the skin, be sure not to overexpose one area as this can result in frostbite. On the plus side, your fingers won’t freeze when applying the ice and this product is much more eco-friendly than throwing away a bunch of Dixie cups every week. If you’ve never tried it before, an ice massage can be life-changing!

3. Moji MK2 Knee Ice Wrap

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Moji MK2 Knee Ice Wrap
Materials
94
Durability
92
Ease of Use
91
Versatility
92
best offer for today
$99.00
Pros:

2 part compression wrap made from pliable material

Adjustable closures for variable pressure

Convenience and mobility

Contours to the knee and stays in place

Consists of 18 individual cells that secure the gel packets in place

Cons:

Some wished it was a bit larger

Moving to a slightly higher therapeutic grade option, we have the Moji MK2 Knee Wrap. This product consists of a compression knee wrap and a cold cell that is specifically designed to fit around your knee.

Read more

The knee is a tough body part to ice due to its irregular shape. This isn't an issue for the Moji MK2; the cold compression getting just where it needs to go. Each Moji cold cell is soft and flexible straight out of the freezer, and it stays chilled for the duration of a standard 20-minute icing protocol. If you suffer from any knee issues, the MK2 is certainly worth considering.

4. Pro-Tec Athletics Hot/Cold Therapy Wrap

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Pro-Tec Athletics Hot/Cold Therapy Wrap
Materials
87
Durability
86
Ease of Use
90
Versatility
92
best offer for today
$18.71
Pros:

Deep cold or heat compress for therapeutic uses

Is form fitting but does not constrict when applied

Dual-strapping system holds the pack firmly in place

Best for knees, ankles, feet, wrists, and elbows

Comes in two convenient sizes that will fit most people

Cons:

A few reviewers felt it could be a bit wider

If you’re looking for something a little bit less specified that can be utilized for multiple purposes the Pro-Tec Athletics Therapy Wrap is a good pick.

Read more

The wrap affords a snug, comfortable, and direct ice/heat compress to a variety of body parts. The wrap comes with a hot/cold compress which easily slides into a pocket in the wrap — this ensures that it will never slip out of place. The wrap itself is easy to adjust and remains flexible even when in a fixed position. In terms of universal wraps, this is simply one of the best options out there.

5. Polar Ice Foot and Ankle Wrap

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Polar Ice Foot and Ankle Wrap
Materials
90
Durability
89
Ease of Use
85
Versatility
84
best offer for today
$21.61
Pros:

Great for cold therapy after surgery

Build to articulate perfectly around the ankle

Has hook & loop closure straps

Surface has soft fleece covering to protect skin

Cons:

It could be a bit more pliable

For any type of soft tissue trauma in the foot or ankle area, strapping on the Polar Ice Foot can be a great first step in healing the injury. Reduce swelling, control pain and get yourself back to full speed as soon as possible.

Read more

This is another custom designed icing implement that will more thoroughly cover your ankle than an all-purpose pack ever will. On the interior, the Polar Ice foot has encapsulated ice packs filled with purified water. On the exterior, you have a soft fleece that is easy on the skin and protects from frostbite. Combine the two with a smart design and you’ve got a winning ice pack.

6. Thrive Cold Therapy

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.5
Thrive Cold Therapy
Materials
82
Durability
85
Ease of Use
90
Versatility
89
best offer for today
$15.95
Pros:

Well priced product

Doesn’t leak

Very durable

Cons:

For some users, the pack isn’t flexible enough

The gel ice compress from Thrive will be useful for many different sports and also for injuries.

Read more

It’s made of nylon and vinyl fabric, it’s filled with non-toxic gel. If you put it right after the injury, the inflammation will be minimized. There’s also an additional storage bag. It’s very convenient if you want to take the packs on travel. It will cool you down for around 30 minutes. There are two sizes to choose from. Users praised the pack for being very flexible. It’s easy to use it for a neck. The ice pack is very soft to touch. According to the reviewers, the pack is very durable but it’s also soft in touch. It can be used dozens of times. It’s also advisable to put the towel on it before putting on the skin.

7. TheraPearl Shin Wraps

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.3
TheraPearl Shin Wraps
Materials
86
Durability
86
Ease of Use
90
Versatility
83
best offer for today
$18.01
Pros:

Perfect for shin splints, stress fractures and more

Holds temperature for the medically recommended period of time

Simply pop in the freezer or toss in the microwave

Made from non-toxic materials

Latex and BPA free

Cons:

Some wish that they would adjust tighter

The shins are one part of your body that can take a real beating when it comes to running. Shin splints, calf strains, stress fractures, you name it. Why not give them a bit of TLC?

Read more

The TheraPearl Shin Wraps are a great way to do this. They smoothly envelop your calves and shins and provide a calming chill or an invigorating burst of warmth (depending on what you need). These wraps have a double velcro adjustable strap set which makes sure that they stay in place. They also are guaranteed to hold their therapeutic temperature for a minimum of 20 minutes. Don’t let shin issues keep you out of commission, fight back with TheraPearl Wraps!

ProTip: These wraps are slim enough to fit underneath your pants, so if you want you can put them on at the office and take a load off your shins while you work.

8. The Coldest Water

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.3
The Coldest Water
Materials
86
Durability
82
Ease of Use
85
Versatility
88
best offer for today
$24.99
Pros:

Retains the cold for a long time

Soft fabric covering

Cons:

It’s definitely on the more expensive side

If you’re looking for something bigger, you should definitely check out The Coldest Water ice pack. It’s 15.2 x 11.7 inches so it’s one of the biggest on our list.

Read more

It was specially created for people who play sports. If you want to recover faster, this product will help. It’s great for fast pain relief. If you have any ankle sprains, back pain, or any other muscle pain, this pack will minimize it. The pack molds really well to the shape of your body, and provides relief to the appropriate area. However, for some users, the pack was too stiff and they felt there was a lack of flexibility. The material is very comfortable on the skin and you don’t feel like you're putting plastic on your body. Users were also amazed by the temperature of the pack. It retains the cold so well that some users described it as the coldest pack they had ever used. Even after 20 minutes of use, it stays cold. Another nice thing is that don’t need a towel to use this pack.

9. Core Products ACC-551

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.3
Core Products ACC-551
Materials
81
Durability
80
Ease of Use
87
Versatility
89
best offer for today
$11.97
Pros:

Comes in many sizes

Great fit

Cons:

It’s a little bit heavy

The next product on our list will give you a lot of relief. It’s hard to find a product that is flexible even after many hours in the freezer, this product is still elastic enough to mold to the shape of your body.

Read more

It can be used for hot or cold therapy. The pack provides relief for sprains, tendonitis, and many other injuries. The compress keeps warm or cold for a long time. The ACC-551 is also totally biodegradable so it's nature-friendly. It’s also non-toxic and totally safe for your skin. Users said that they didn’t have any skin irritation during or after use. Also, you won't need a towel while using this ice pack, another nice feature.

10. FlexiKold Gel Cold Pack

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
 FlexiKold Gel Cold Pack
Materials
82
Durability
81
Ease of Use
87
Versatility
86
best offer for today
$14.99
Pros:

Covers a really wide area of the body

It stays cold for hours so you can sleep with it

The material is easy to clean

There are many sizes available

It’s perfect to use on your back

Cons:

Buyers complained about not enough gel moving from side to side

Taking cold therapy with this product gives you refreshing pain relief. It's double sealed in order to prevent any leaks.

Read more

The product is quite thin since there’s not a lot of gel in it, but it still gets super extra cold. As there’s less gel than in other products, it is more flexible and pliable. Helps with inflammation, swelling, and muscle pain. The nylon cover is smooth to the touch and much more comfortable than the plastic ones that come with many other products. There’s also a neck contour version available, specially designed for neck pain. A very durable and excellent product for frequent use. It’s more expensive than some of other products on our list but it’s totally worth it.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

The material the ice pack is made of should be high quality, durable, and pliable in order to fit to your body correctly. Seams must be well-made and they can’t split or you and your clothes may be colored by the gel or whatever substance is used in the pack. After taking it out of the freezer, the gel or any other substance should be flexible to easily fit the shape of your body. Avoid products in which liquid substances stays only on one side of the pack. The majority of the ice packs that you buy may or may not have warning labels on them. Be sure to check over these ice packs, prior to use, to see if the inner material is dangerous.

Durability

Obviously the durability of the ice pack is a really important factor to consider. You want something that you can use again and again, and not fail when you need it the most.

We considered over 1300 reviews to see what users had to say about the durability of various products we were considering for our list. Some of the products are more durable than others, but we didn't include any that had a ton of complaints about the durability.

Ease of Use

In all honesty, there shouldn't be too much thought that goes into the use of an ice pack. The aim is to relieve pain and stress by simply applying it and relaxing. Because of this, one of the most important aspects of a well-made ice pack is how easy it can be used in order to bring about this relief. Ice packs that offer specialty uses, such as those that target specific areas of the body, are easier to use for these specific injuries but may not be easy to use overall. The same is true for ice packs that double as heat packs; so long as they can be easily heated and/or chilled, their versatility shouldn't effect their ease of use.

Versatility

While choosing the best product, you should consider what’s the aim of its usage. If you’re going to use it on small parts of your body like knees or hands, you don’t need to purchase a big one. It’s a different story if you're looking for relief for your back, shoulders, or arms. You must be aware that an ice pack must fit around the whole area of the arm, leg etc. It’s usually better to buy a bigger one because while it may be a little heavier than a small, it will still work with smaller parts of the body, whereas small packs won't work for larger body parts. Remember also that even for the back, a product shouldn’t be too heavy because you may have a problem with keeping it in the freezer. Another thing to consider is the shape of the ice pack. The majority of ice packs that you buy may be shaped the same but in the event that you run into an oddly shaped ice pack, it may be more difficult for you to use on different parts of your body.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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Follow the RICE Protocol

There's an effective method to treat most minor to moderate injuries that are encountered when running known as the RICE protocol. This is an acronym that stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Essentially, you should immediately stop using the affected body part, apply ice to the hurt area, provide some compression, and keep the affected limb elevated. In most minor cases of injury, this is the most effective and time-saving method of treatment.

Don't Use Ice For Too Long!

Although the numbing effects of an ice pack on an injured area can be soothing to the point that you'll want to wear it for a long time, the truth is that you should only ice the body for twenty minutes at a time; failing to remember this rule can result in moderate to severe skin damage and increased pain.

Other Factors to Consider

Value

On one hand, you can't put a price on effective injury treatment supplies. But on the other hand, no one wants to pay out the nose for an ice pack of all things! Some of the products on this list are certainly on the higher side of the price spectrum. However, all of the products listed here will provide real relief and treatment for serious injuries, which more than justifies the price in our eyes. Still, you may want to be mindful of the cost for each product when making a purchasing decision.

Compression

Some of the ice packs listed here also offer the ability to provide compression to the affected area. This can be a useful design aspect since it allows for you to handle another important part of the typical treatment process when handling the vast majority of running injuries. However, compression isn't always the correct way to handle some running injuries, so it's worth considering whether or not you want to invest in a product that always compresses the affected region.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Who developed this technology?
a:

Cryotherapy is a technique that was developed by Japanese scientists to treat patients with arthritis. It has gained popularity and been studied further throughout Europe and the Americas.

q: How exactly does cryotherapy work?
a:

Cryotherapy utilizes the gaseous form of nitrogen to cool a person’s skin to a temperature that is thirty to fifty degrees lower than normal for approximately two to three minutes. There is no actual contact between the person and the nitrogen gas. The gas is only used to cool the chamber. When the skin begins to feel the extremely cold temperature, the brain begins to fire regulatory functions and also releases endorphins and natural anti-inflammatories.

q: What is the benefit of icing an injury?
a:

While there are many benefits to icing an injury, one of the main reasons ice is used as a go-to is because it just feels good. With that being said, there are also facts behind why icing is beneficial. Icing helps minimize swelling and also can reduce bleeding in the tissue, muscle spasms, and pain.

q: Can ice packs go bad?
a:

While some ice packs do have an expiration date, you do not always need to follow it. Icing can be done with an expired gel ice pack with no repercussions. When you start to ice, it works generally the same as a new, used, or expired ice pack. The dates that are listed on these ice packs are more of a recommendation date rather than an expiration date.

q: What should I consider, prior to purchase?
a:

Depending upon what you are looking for in an ice pack, there are several things to consider. The shape forming gel ice packs may be more beneficial for multi-purpose use, whereas hard ice packs will be difficult to use when icing around the wrist or other rounded body parts. These harder or firm ice packs can burn the skin by being too cold. With that said, think about what kind of injury that you are trying to heal.

Sources

  1. Runner's World, Runner's World, Running Publication, Dec 01, 2009
  2. CWI Medical, CWI Medical, Clinical information,
  3. Runners Connect, Runners Connect, Running information,
  4. Competitor.com, Competitor, Sports & Fitness publication, Mar 14, 2011