The 6 Best Recovery Sandals & Shoes for Runners

Research supports that fatigue is reduced and runners experience faster recovery when they wear a good recovery shoe. I think every runner should own a good pair of recovery shoes. Below are the top 6 recovery shoes for runners–ranging from slides to shoes to slippers. My absolute favorite are the Oofos flip flops which help my feet and legs feel markedly better after a long run. Read my full review below!

Overhead shot of one foot in a OOFOs sandal and the other in a Hoka slide.

Updated January 13, 2024: As a master’s runner and injury-prone runner, I need to recover as hard as I train. And one key aspect of recovery I’ve discovered is wearing recovery slides for runners. You know, key aspect isn’t the right term—game-changer is better. 

I started wearing a pair of recovery sandals after I tore my plantar fascia in the summer of 2021. The recovery slides were the only shoes I could walk in. I am being totally literal here. It still hurt to walk but it was much better than even wearing my running shoes or carbon fiber racing shoes.

Related: Do PRP Injections Heal a Plantar Fascia Tear?

Until I realized I had a tear in my plantar fascia, I wore OOFOs religiously—around the house, to a concert, even to a wedding! Once I realized I had a tear, I started wearing a boot. But even after I was approved to transition out of the boot, I put my recovery slides back on as they were the best for my achy feet.

recovery shoes pin
Pin these recovery shoes for runners review for later!

I became attached to my OOFOs but wanted to know what the best recovery slides were. As you know, I don’t do anything half way so I ordered 2 of the other most popular options for recovery sandals and shoes and wore each religiously for a week. 

From my experience, I created this full review of my 6 top picks for recovery shoes and slides. In addition to my experience, I gathered feedback from fellow runners and scoured product pages and online reviews. 

But first: I always recommend checking with your doctor or physical therapist before changing foot wear or treating an injury. This post should not be taken as medical advice; always consult your medical care provider for any issues regarding your health. \

Why does recovery matter?

Simply put, recovery is when your body rebuilds and actually gains the fitness and strength you’ve been working so hard to build (source). The key tenants of recovery are physical rest, nutrition, hydrating and stretching.  

Though a dedicated rest day is a good idea for most recreational runners, active recovery can be a good consideration, as it encourages blood flow that removes muscle waste (source). Active recovery comes in many forms – stretching, walking, swimming, yoga, and other low-impact and low-intensity cardio. 

Active recovery can even be compromised of usual active day-to-day activities, such as walking the dog or playing at the park with the kids. That is where these recovery slides and running recovery shoes come in.  Though you can go for a brisk walk or light jog in the kanes, most of sandals and slides (as well as other brands of recovery sandals and shoes) are made to wear in usual daily activities, or even around the house, encouraging improved active recovery.

A photo of my family in Charleston.
I wear my OOFOs everywhere! Here I am in Charleston, SC rocking them with no shame!

Why should I wear recovery shoes?

If you are looking to improve your workout results, are looking to speed up your recovery, or are simply looking for a more comfortable sandal or shoe option, recovery sandals or shoes are a great idea to consider. 

Research supports that fatigue is reduced and muscle recovery is enhanced when you wear recovery shoes.  I’ve seen these results first hand: by wearing the best recovery shoes for runners, I’ve noticed a marked difference in my muscle recovery. My legs, feet, and back feel much more sore the day after a long run when I don’t wear my recovery sandals.  Additionally, when the soles of my feet start to get tender from high mileage marathon weeks, my running recovery sandals have been some of the only ways I have been able to to relieve the pan. 

Recovery shoes for runners enhance recovery by taking the stress off your feet and legs through cushioned yet supportive material and a spacious shock-absorbing design that often includes a design to reduce the force needed to walk. Most of the recovery footwear for runners are slip-ons made of a plastic or foam-like material. Some, like the Kanes, are made with a foam made from Brazilian sugarcane, making them a favorite for sustainability.

Bonus: If you want to really optimize your recovery process, pair good recovery shoes with compression socks to increase blood flow. This duo is a great combo to pack in your marathon bag drop. Put them on immediately for the walk back from the finish line to get recovery started stat!

Related: How to Recover Faster from Your Marathon

What should I look for in a recovery shoe?

The best recovery shoes and sandals have:

  • Arch support 
  • Cushioned sole
  • Good air flow 
  • Soft material
  • Spacious toebox or open-toe
  • Shock-absorbing and energy-efficient design to minimize stress on your feet and legs 

Overall, whether you are wearing recovery flip flops or recover shoes, they should feel as comfortable (if not more so) as your running shoes, though they will likely be more spacious.

Can I wear recovery shoes all day?

A pinterst pin for the best recovery shoes for runners.
Pin these recovery shoe reviews for later!

You most certainly can wear your recovery shoes all day. Though you don’t have to wear them every time you are on your feet, you will likely get more benefit from wearing them and there certainly isn’t more harm in wearing them more frequently. 

I wear my recovery shoes all day every day, especially when I am injured or training for a marathon.  I don’t just wear them after a long run or speed workout day. I wear them any time I can get away with it—and even times when I can’t, like when I wore them while injured at a wedding– but they really are more for casual wear. I love wearing recovery shoes for runners when running errands, doing chores in the house, walking the dogs, and even driving. 

Related: Hoka Running Shoes: The 7 Best Running Shoes for Runners

Do recovery shoes really work?

Yes, many recovery shoes do help you recover faster from your runs. I know this firsthand from my experience, my friends’ experiences, and my athletes. 

Research backs this up. According to OOFOs, a 2018 study by the University of Virginia School of Medicine Speed Clinic found that the recovery sandal OOFOS absorbed 37 percent more impact than traditional foam footwear materials and required 47 percent less of energy exertion, 

I have found that a good recovery sandal cuts my recovery time in half after spending long hours on my feet running. My legs feel fresher the next day when I wear my recovery sandals after my long run. They are the perfect tool to add to your passive recovery alongside an ice bath, foam rolling, stretching, and a massage gun.

Related: Your Ultimate Marathon Checklist

How long do OOFOS shoes (or any recovery shoe) last?

The more you wear any of these sandals or shoes – and if you are like me, you will want to wear them all the time! –  the sooner you will need to replace them. 

OOFOs reports that their customers get new sandals every 8-9 months, though they recommend replacing the as often as you replace your running shoes if you are wearing them regularly (source). 

I refreshed my OOFOs exactly one year after purchasing my first pair because the foam started to get so flimsy that it would fold underfoot, causing me to trip. 

6 Best Recovery Shoes for Runners Review

Now that we’ve gotten into the nitty gritty, let’s get into the fun part: reviewing the most popular recovery shoe models for runners on the market! I hope this list helps you get all the info you need so you can find the best recovery shoes for you!

OOFOs Ooriginal Sandal — $59.95

OOFOs recovery sandals on grass.
I wear my OOFOs almost all the time because they make my legs and feet that much better.

We are starting with the mother of recovery sandals, the OOFOs sandals. These sandals are proven to ramp up your recovery so that you can bounce back and nail your next run. 

They have proprietary OOfoam™ technology that absorbs 37 percent more impact and reduces ankle energy exertion by almost 50 percent than traditional foam footwear materials and competitors. 

Indeed, if you compare them to other comfort sandals like Crocs you will feel that the foam is much more cushioned without compromising arch support. Unlike the rigid material of Crocs that can tire muscles, OOFOs reduce the stress on your knees, ankles, and joints. 

Related: Hoka Bondi 7 vs. 8: An Honest Review

OOFOs are also a great pick for those suffering from plantar fasciitis. They have a footbed that cradles and supports your arch. 

As noted, I became reliant on my OOFOs when I had intense foot pain from plantar fasciitis and a plantar fascia tear. When I began running again, I continued to wear my OOFOs sandals to keep my plantar fasciitis from flaring. Eventually, I noticed how much better my legs felt post-run and transitioned to wearing them consistently, regardless of plantar fasciitis pain. 

OOFOs sandals have the ultimate cushion and shock absorption. They feel bouncy yet supportive and the footbed is soft. Indeed, I have never worn a more comfortable shoe.

Overhead shot of feet in grey oofos flip flops.
Comfort over style when it comes to my OOFOs.

Even with all of these benefits, they aren’t perfect.  OOFOs has new designs that are more attractive than the sandals in my opinion (like the OOahh OOFos recovery slides or the OOmg EeZee Low Shoe)—but they still aren’t pretty (aka not suitable yet for weddings!). And when they wear down, the sole will become flimsy and fold under putting you at risk for falling.

Pros:

  • Optimal blend of plush cushioning and stability
  • American Podiatric Medical Association (AMPA)-approved
  • No rubbing or chaffing of straps
  • Incredibly comfortable and easy to put on
  • Easily rinsed off if they get dirty
  • Perfect for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis
  • Last up to a year of regular use
  • Don’t get sweaty or hot
  • Scientifically proven to increase recovery

Cons:

  • Not attractive
  • The color coating can peel off the colorful models
  • The foam on the sole can get flimsy and fold underfoot

Key specs:

  • Type: Flip-flops
  • Color: Comes in various colors
  • Weight: 4 oz.
  • Drop: NA

Note: If you aren’t into flip flops, the OOFOs recovery slides are also a fantastic recovery sandal for runners.

Hoka ORA Recovery Slide — $55

Another shoe I became reliant on when I had my plantar injury was Hoka shoes. I realized the hard way that Hokas shoes are the only running shoes I can log high mileage in and stay injury-free. (Read my Hoka Rincon review, noting that the Rincon is the best Hoka model for plantar fasciitis).

 Related: When to Replace Your Running Shoes

An overhead shot of hoka slides on grass.
Hoka slides support your feet well and reduce fatigue.

My amazing experience with Hokas made me excited to try their recovery slides as a my post-run recovery shoe. As expected, I loved the feel of the Hoka ORA Recovery Slides. They are shoes like OOFOs; they fit my feet like a glove, making them feel extra supported, and the slides even have a somewhat similar appearance to the OOFOs ones. 

The Hoka signature meta-rocker helped propel my feet forward requiring my legs to use less energy to move. Wearing the Hoka shoe slides after my runs made my legs feel less worked but not as recovered compared to my OOFOs sandals. I think it is because the material in the Hoka recovery slides is more rigid so each step, while supported, wasn’t as springy or bouncy.

What I loved most about the Hoka vs. OOFOs recovery sandals was that they held my feet in place. I felt more supported to do things like walk my energetic dogs without tripping or sliding. 

Related: How to Prevent Common Running Injuries 

Pros:

recovery-shoes-for-runners
Recovery shoes for runners are proven to enhance your recovery and reduce fatigue.

  • Rocker-style soles conserve the energy of your movement
  • wide footboy
  • Foot-cradling comfort with optimal support
  • Supportive sole with Good arch support
  • Various colors
  • Easy to clean
  • Doesn’t get hot
  • Makes your legs feel less worked
  • Comes in a sandal option
  • The material lasts longer than a year
  • Less expensive than OOFOs

Cons:

  • Not as cushioned or as soft of a sole as OOFOs
  • Looks like an athletic shoe so doesn’t go with “street clothes”

Key Specs:

  •  Type: Slide sandals
  • Color: Various colors and two patterns
  • Weight: 6.6 oz.
  • Drop: 6mm

Note: If you are more interested in the flip-flop design Hoka, now has recovery flip-flops. They have the same rocker and anatomically-friendly fit but improved toe straps to eliminate chafing and discomfort.

Kane Revive Active Recovery Shoe — $75

If the Hoka slides are good for walking the dog, then Kane’s Revive Active Recovery Shoe is great for jogging with your dog. Indeed, these closed-toed shoes are “active recovery” shoes, meaning they are meant for you to be up and moving around versus lounging or leisurely walking.

For this reason, these recovery slip-on shoes are not recovery sandals or slides. They fit around your whole foot and resemble Crocs—but with an edgier and cooler design (though my kids who love their Crocs and their Jibbitz charms may disagree). 

I loved that my feet felt supported and massaged in these shoes. The footbeds have rubber nodes that massage pressure points in your foot, activating blood flow according to the Kane website.

The Kane review shoes on the grass
The Kane Revive Shoes are active recovery shoes that support your feet so you can be active on your rest days.

I didn’t love how rigid the material felt or the way the cut rubbed into the side of my foot giving me a mild blister. I have not heard other people complain of this so it is likely just my foot anatomy! For this reason, I wore these shoes for walks with my dogs and errands like to the mall with my kids, but I didn’t wear them around the house like I did with the OOFOs and Hokas.

Related: 9 Steps to Return to Running After Injury

Overhead shot of the kane revive shoes.
Kane Revive have little massaging nodes inside to activate blood flow in your feet, according to the company.

Pros:

  • 10mm heel-to-toe drop that reduces strain on the Achilles and assists natural stride
  • A wide toe box to accommodate for post-workout swelling
  • Excellent arch support, great for plantar fasciitis
  • Raised nodes on the sole to stimulate blood flow and massage feet
  • Stays put so you can be active
  • Easy to rinse and clean
  • An array of attractive colors and styles
  • Made of eco-friendly material and 100 percent recyclable

Cons:

  • Rigid material that wearers say needs to be worn in for optimal comfort
  • Can get hot and sweaty
  • Can rub the foot below the ankle

Key Specs:

  • Type: Slip-on
  • Color: Various colors and patterns
  • Weight: about 9 oz.
  • Drop: 10 mm

PR Soles Sconset Recovery Flip Flops – $39.99

If you want a recovery shoe that massages your feet as you walk, and doesn’t cost a lot of money—then the PR Soles flip flops are for you. The PR Soles recovery shoes are designed by runners (Gone for a Run) for runners. They feature the patented Acupoint massaging footbed with massaging nodules on the insole to help reduce pain and recovery time, and promote blood flow. The trigger points help break up lactic and uric acid in your feet and the cushioned foam is soft underfoot, lightweight, and durable for the money.

PR SOLES® Sconset Recovery Flip Flops in pink
PR SOLES® Sconset Recovery Flip Flops massage your feet after they have worked hard.

Pros:

  • Massage nubs stimulate blood flow
  • and nerve endings in feet
  • Durable, soft and lightweightVarious colorsNon-slip30-day return
  • Extra great for tired feet or sore feet

Cons:

  • Run small!
  • Massage bumps could hit feet wrong and actually hurt
  • Some users said showed signs of wear after 6o days
  • Design helps feet recover, but not legs

Key Specs:

  • Type: Flip-flops
  • Color: Comes in various colors
  • Drop: NA

Related: 7 Best Hoka Running Shoes for Long Distance

Hoka Bondi 8 – On Sale $131.99

Yes, the Hoka Bondi is a running shoe but it is also one of the, if not THE, most cushioned running shoe out there. And for that, it can qualify as a recovery shoe. In fact, that is how I wore my Hoka Bondis. While many people LOVE the Bondis for running, especially long runs, they felt cumbersome and clunky on my feet. So, I relegated them to recovery shoes. And they make for great recovery shoes!

I wore them after long runs and hard ones, and on easy shakeouts and they made my feet and legs feel oh so good. The Bondis are perfect for active recovery (light exercise that gets the blood flowing to the legs and feet) such as walks and easy runs.

bondi-7
You won’t find a more cushioned running shoe than the Bondi 8. But it is clunky!

What makes the Hoka Bondi one of the most comfortable shoes is it offers maximum cushion with a thick sole that absorbs impact, stability, neutral yet firm and wide sole, 4mm heel drop that limits stress on your plantar fascia, heel counter that cradles your foot, further limiting stress to the plantar fascia, Hoka’s signature metarocker that helps with heel-to-toe propulsion, and a roomy wide base for natural foot placement. If you run in your Bondis and then wear them as recovery shoes, be sure to keep track of your mileage! 

Related: When to Replace Your Running Shoes

(Read my full review of the Hoka Bondi here).

Pros:

  • Maximum cushy comfort with its ultra-soft memory foam
  • Great support for a neutral shoe
  • Signature meta-rocker technology for optimal propulsion
  • Wide base for stability
  • Internal heel counter cradles foot

Cons:

  • Heavy and clunky
  • Narrow midfoot
  • Not an easy slip-on
  • No as cushy as some of the flip flips and slides

Key Specs:

  • Type: running shoe
  • Width: Comes in various widths
  • Weight: 10.7 oz.
  • Drop: 4mm

Related: The 12 Best Running Shoes to Try in 2024

Topo Athletic Revive Recovery Shoes — $89.95

If you’re wanting a soft slipper to wear around the house that also aids in recovery, then the Topo Athletic Revive Recovery Shoes are your shoes. They are fuzzy slippers that with a sole designed for active recovery. No need to fuzzy socks, slip these puppies on and then feel the 3D wave sense gently massage your feet as you walk around the house—or our and about. The sole is a Vibram tech so it has grippers for outdoor walking as well.

Topo Athletic Revive Recovery Shoes in pink
Topo Athletic Revive Recovery Shoes are multi-tasking slippers.

But wearers I surveyed loved putting these on after a long run and then doing chores around the house—felt like a multi-tasking spa day. Some even said it helped with arthritis of the foot. The low drop also allows for natural foot placement which can aid in recovery—less added stress on the muscles.

Pros:

  • Fuzzy and cozy
  • Underfoot aids in recovery of feet
  • Massaging
  • Washable
  • Vibram outsole
  • Wide toe box and natural drop

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Insole is not fuzzy. But you can buy fuzzy insoles if that’s what you like.

Key specs:

  • Type: slipper
  • Color: Comes in three colors
  • Weight: NA
  • Drop: 3mm

I feel certain you will find the right recovery shoes for you from this list go read options! Happy running!

If you want guidance with your training, check out my run coaching services. Also, be sure to check out my free training plans:

 

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