The brainstem plays a key role in the central nervous system, but its proximity to the oral cavity and physiological noise sources constitute major limitations for EPI imaging. We compared image quality from full and reduced-FoV spin-echo EPI sequences at ultrahigh field. Compared to standard EPI acquisitions, reduced-FoV techniques confer considerable benefits for brainstem imaging in terms of shortening TE, increasing signal-to-noise ratio and mitigating distortions. We exploited these advantages for 7T distortion-matched functional and diffusion imaging of the brainstem using ZOOM-EPI. A finger tapping task resulted in significant activations in regions corresponding to the cuneate nucleus and the pyramidal decussation.