From massage guns to foam rollers, there's a plethora of options to get you back to feeling fine after a hard day's workout. But these methods require a little involvement from the user — you have to navigate through a percussive therapy session or roll out aching muscles. And, if we're being honest, asking for more activity after intense training is something we're just not eager to sign up for every night.
Recovery boots, on the other hand, take the reins from the athlete, providing intermittent pneumatic compression to targeted areas all while you sit back, relax and catch up on your Netflix queue. You've probably seen these space-suit-like devices at the physical therapy office or cloaked over your favorite professional athletes, but there's one key factor that's left many unwilling to grab a set for themselves: they're expensive.
Well, the recovery experts at Hyperice may have removed that final roadblock with the launch of the all-new Normatec 3 recovery boots. Featuring pro-level functionality at a lower price point than previous models, these new recovery boots take a direct shot at one of compressive recovery's biggest problems: accessibility.
2+ years of development went into the Normatec 3's design
The Normatec 3 marks the first new iteration of the air compression therapy device since the Normatec brand was acquired by Hyperice in 2020. Gilad Jacobs, Normatec founder and Hyperice Chief Innovation Officer, says that no stone was left unturned in developing this latest generation. The result of those two years? A smaller, more lightweight and more efficient machine that gives users everything they need — and nothing they don't.
"We spent a lot of time on user experience. While the former device had kind of a pseudo-touchscreen on it where you would touch passive buttons, [the Normatec 3] strips out all the really crucial pieces of information that you need to input," says Jacobs. "We really streamlined everything."
With only six buttons in total, the device's user experience has been simplified from the varying menus that required specific button cadences and inputs. To operate the Normatec 3, you simply push the on/off button at the side, toggle to the appropriate attachment selection, choose your desired pressure level and treatment time, then hit the start/stop button.
There's also a ZoneBoost button, which adds an extra 60 seconds of massage time and 10 mmHg of pressure to one of the boot's five available zones. The ZoneBoost feature — a carryover from previous Normatec models — can provide that extra bit of attention that particularly troublesome areas need during a recovery session.
In addition to the streamlined user experience, Hyperice also boosted the battery power of the Normatec 3 by over 50 percent percent over past models. According to Jacobs, you can now run the device at the highest, most intense settings with roughly three hours of battery life, an hour longer than previous iterations.
The Normatec 3 lets you recover like a pro
Normatec devices have been a favorite recovery method for professional athletes for a while, with Jacobs saying Normatec was once dubbed the "secret recovery weapon" for the athletic upper echelon. (Admittedly, he may be a little biased.) And while the technology has reached the consumer level over the years, there has still been a divide in how the device was being used between the parties.
"We noticed a trend over the last number of years that the best athletes in the world were buying our Normatec 2 Pro device," Jacobs says. The Pro model allowed for more recovery versatility; you could customize the experience zone-by-zone rather than just overall pressure as the device worked through the brand's patented algorithm.
"We realized that we needed to find a way to unlock that for the everyday person who didn't want to have to spend an extra five, six, seven, eight hundred dollars. So, we made a decision early on...to create a device that is one piece of hardware that you can unlock for free via the app, to get pro functionality if you wanted."
This pro-level support without a premium upcharge has been a driving force, according to the brand, in developing the latest Normatec iteration. "If you can give the user the best possible experience and the most bang for their buck, that was our mission and I think we hit it nicely," Jacobs says.
The Normatec 3 makes compression therapy more accessible, but it's still an investment
With its new facelift and pro-grade functionality, the Normatec 3 comes in at just under $800 — which is still a hefty cost to accept. But, when compared to previous Normatec models — the Normatec 2 is currently on sale for $699 — this is a much more approachable sticker price.
"You go back a year or two ago, and definitely two plus years ago before the acquisition of Normatec by Hyperice, and you're looking at...$1,400 dollars," Jacobs says. "The fact that we've been able to go smaller, lighter, better looking and [with] more performance at a lower price point is a testament to the work that we've put in from an engineering perspective, but also just trying to be smart and trying to be the best that we can possibly be for the consumer."
The basic Normatec 3 package includes the revamped head unit and two boots, but according to the brand, the latest iteration will also offer lower body (hip) and arm recovery modules to suit any athlete's needs. Additionally, all boots, regardless of size, will feature five recovery zones, an issue that Jacobs says hindered the experience with shorter boots of iterations past.
Recovery boots are a premium product, and the Normatec 3 is no different. But, if you have the extra bread to spend and want a high-quality air compression device, this latest innovation could be the ticket you've been waiting for. The playing field has been leveled, and while general admission is still a little pricey, the seats have gotten a whole lot better with this generation.