Unfortunately the rate of injury in the running community remains pretty high.
Whether you’ve had a bad run, suffering with a longstanding running injury, or you’re recovering from an injury, a good pair of recovery shoes can do wonders to fast track your recovery.
Luckily there are lots of recovery shoes, sandals slides and flip flops to choose from on the market nowadays, with more and more retailers realising the benefits that these products offer.
The bottom line? If you have a pair of road running shoes, you need a pair of recovery shoes.
But what exactly are the best recovery shoes for runners and how do they benefit you? How do Oofos slides and Hoka slides compare?
In this guide we’ll explore:
- What are recovery shoes for runners?
- What are the benefits of wearing recovery shoes?
- What to look for in a good pair of recovery shoes?
- When should you wear recovery shoes?
- How long should you wear recovery shoes?
- Do recovery shoes really work?
- The best recovery shoes for runners: Oofos slides vs Hoka slides
- What other recovery shoes for runners are there?
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What are recovery shoes for runners?
Recovery shoes are comfortable shoes that support your feet after a long run or workout.
They work by reducing the pressure and demand on your feet, helping to alleviate fatigue, pain and tightness.
Running is a high impact sport – it places stress on your feet, legs and back over many miles which cause tiny microtears in your muscles.
That’s why it’s even more important to take recovery seriously, and take time away from running to allow your body to heal and repair itself.
As such, recovery shoes are designed to be worn after a run or workout.
They come in many different shapes, colours and sizes from shoes, sandals to slides/flip flops.
Related: How to recover after a bad run
What are the benefits of wearing recovery shoes for runners?
Many runners swear by recovery shoes to help them recover after a particularly gruelling run.
Recovery shoes for runners help to:
- Enhance recovery after a run or workout
- Reduce pain, fatigue and tightness in the feet and legs
- Reduce stress and demand placed on your feet and legs
- Increase foot motion when walking
- Improve ankle plantarflexion
- Help to ease the pain associated with injuries such as plantar fasciitis
What to look for in a good pair of recovery shoes?
The best recovery shoes for runners will offer the following features:
- A spacious, cushioned sole
- Arch support built into the sole or footbed of the shoe for structure and support
- A spacious or open toe box for breathability
- Soft materials like foam
- A shock absorbing design
You’ll also want to consider how and when you’re going to wear your recovery shoes, as this will determine which recovery shoes you buy.
For example, if you’re planning on wearing them on active recovery days (when you do easy, low intensity exercise like walking and yoga) then choose a shoe that is designed for that type of activity.
If you’re just going to be wearing them on passive recovery days (when you will just be resting), then pick a shoe that is tailored for this.
When should you wear recovery shoes?
Recovery shoes are typically worn after a run or workout.
After a run your feet will likely be hot, sweaty and swollen so slipping on a pair of recovery shoes will allow them to breathe and relax.
You can also wear recovery shoes throughout the entirety of a rest day if you’re going to be lounging at home or doing simple active recovery activities.
Related: What to do after a running injury
How long should you wear recovery shoes?
There is really no time limit when it comes to wearing recovery shoes.
Many runners opt to wear them all the time when they’re at home because they’re so comfortable!
Related: How to recover after a long run
Do recovery shoes really work?
Despite the marketing claims, there isn’t scientific research that shows that recovery shoes make a difference.
This is largely down to the fact that there is no real way to measure “recovery”.
There is a study in progress that is looking at the impact of recovery footwear on lower extremity comfort and biomechanics, using Oofos slides, sandals and closed top shoes for research purposes.
Unfortunately, the results of this study haven’t been made available yet, but the study will look at things like calf strength, gait mechanics and pain and injury levels once the participants have worn the recovery shoes
The bottom line? Your lower body is designed to deal with ground forces and take pressure off your feet.
Recovery shoes can certainly help to relieve some of the pain and discomfort associated with post-run recovery, but they are by no means essential.
The best recovery shoes for runners: Oofos slides vs Hoka slides
Brands like Oofos and Hoka offer some of the best recovery shoes for runners.
For the purposes of this review, we compared the following recovery shoes:
- Oofos Oolala Luxe Sandal
- Hoka All Gender Ora Recovery Slides
Oofos were one of the first retailers on the market selling recovery slides, and have been joined more recently by brands like Hoka in the recovery shoe market.
Here are the pros and cons of each slide, starting with the Oofos slides first.
Oofos Oolala Luxe Sandal ($75)
- A curvy, contoured footbed – good for runners with high arches
- APMA approved
- Made of odour-resistant, machine washable foam technology
- Toe strap doesn’t rub or chafe
- Designed specifically for the feminine foot
- Toe strap can peel after a few washes
- Foam sole can become flimsy over time
- Higher price point
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Oofos slides use patented OOfoam® technology which absorbs 37% more impact than traditional footwear.
The footbed design of these slides also reduces the amount of stress on ankles, knees and other joints.
These Oofos slides have even been given the seal of approval by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).
Hoka All Gender Ora Recovery Slide ($55)
- Easy to slip on and off
- Lots of cushioned support
- A wide platform
- More arch support compared to a flip flop style slide
- Lower price point
- Loose fit (if you have slim feet this can be tricky)
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The Hoka All Gender Ora Recovery Slides feature Hoka’s signature oversized midsole and meta-rocker sole.
This slide also has a soft top layer and a resilient midsole/outsole for durability and stability, as well as grooves for optimal comfort and traction.
What other recovery shoes for runners are there?
A range of brands offer recovery shoes – from shoes and sandals to flip flops and slides.
Revs Acupuncture Sandals ($70)
These are acupuncture and reflexology sandals designed absorb shock and provide orthopaedic support.
They have a massage footbed which is scientifically designed to boost blood flow and circulation.
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Adidas Adissage sandals ($25)
If you’re looking for a cheaper recovery shoe, then the Adidas Adissage is for you.
This sandal comes in a range of different designs and features a hook and loop strap with a quick drying bandage lining.
The TPR footbed with massage nubs are combined with a Cloudfoam midsole and outsole.
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Salomon Reelax Recovery Shoes ($70)
If you’d prefer a closed shoe design, then these recovery shoes from Salomon have got you covered!
Developed by the biomechanics experts at Salomon, these shoes hug your feet in all the right ways with EndoFit technology.
They also come in a variety of colours.
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