What to know about recovery shoes, according to podiatrists


If you’ve been on a long run or been in a tough training camp session, you might feel on top of the world, but your feet might not be as euphoric. In fact, they may be sore, tired, and achy, and your legs and calves may not feel so good either. So you resign yourself to the fact that you will still be in pain after hard training, and immediately sit down on the couch.

How about that for another scenario? As soon as you are done with your workout, you replace your sneakers with a pair of recovery shoes. Suddenly that pain in your feet goes away and you go about your day.

With the right pair of shoes, this is entirely possible, especially when recommended by experts like Dr. Marlene Reid of the Family Podiatry Center in Naperville, Illinois, and former president of the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association and the American Association of Women Podiatrists. , as well as Dr. Emily Splichal, functional podiatrist and human movement specialist.

Why are recovery shoes necessary?

“The general idea is that feet need to recover after hard training,” Reid said. “Many athletes, especially runners, find their feet tired or sore after a long active session, which puts excessive strain on their feet and legs. This is also true for anyone in a profession that requires long hours of standing and walking.

She explained that this pain is caused by muscle overuse in which the tendons are stretched beyond their normal capacity on uneven terrain or changing surfaces. Specifically, recovery shoes promote what’s called “active recovery” to “compensate for those painful results from the blows the athlete has taken to the feet,” Reid added.

Although Reid said it’s essential to prevent painful strains in the first place (this can be done by stretching, addressing your gait, or wearing shoes appropriate for the sport and for your foot type), the recovery is trending.

“Foot recovery in general is an increasingly popular concept with products such as foot massage tools, recovery socks, and now recovery shoes,” Splichal said. “Recovery shoes often include arch support, cushioning, and…softer fabrics meant to give feet a break.”

Splichal also observed that you don’t always have to be an athlete to benefit from recovery shoes. If you are someone who walks a lot or has been on your feet all day, you can also pull on a pair of these shoes.

“Many people choose to wear recovery shoes due to foot fatigue or pain, so it’s not always necessary to pair them after strenuous activity like exercise,” she said. .

As Splichal mentioned, recovery shoes offer better arch support, cushioning, and more comfortable fabrics than the average everyday shoe. But she said there actually wasn’t too much of a difference between traditional shoes and recovery shoes.

“It’s more the way the individual uses the shoes,” she pointed out. “If a person doesn’t normally wear support or flats, then putting on something with arch support and a cushion can be seen as a form of recovery from the constant stress they’re under.”

Reid believes that if a post-activity shoe is chosen specifically to overcome the negative effects experienced by an athlete, recovery shoes can be very helpful. She said that while you can certainly buy these shoes to wear after workouts, the preferred scenario is for you to have your feet evaluated by a podiatrist who will help you find a strategy to avoid or minimize these negative effects.

“These shoes are meant to provide temporary relief,” Reid said. “If the pain persists or you think you have suffered a more significant foot, ankle or leg injury after a particularly long and active session, such as running a marathon, do your feet a long-term favor and see a podiatrist. ”

While most recovery shoes offer arch support and cushioning, Splichal is “personally not a big fan” of these details when it comes to recovery shoes, opting for a more minimalist shoe instead.

“I believe in active recovery or sensory stimulation for recovery,” she said. Active recovery can be accomplished through muscle strengthening by wearing a minimalist shoe or via massaging insoles.

Footwear recommended by podiatrists to wear after workouts

adidas Adissage Slide Sandals

We bet you’ve probably owned a pair of Adidas slide sandals at some point in your life and, as it turns out, they’re great recovery shoes too. Splichal loves them for their “essential, nubby footbeds” that help restore and massage tired feet.

“Massaging the foot muscles can improve foot recovery and reduce foot and arch fatigue,” she said.

Revs Premium Massage Flip Flops

Splichal also loves the massaging soles of these sandals. She noted that massaging insoles can promote “good circulation and blood flow to the feet and body,” which is an important part of recovery since, as Splichal shared, about two-thirds of the muscles in the legs work together to pump blood to the heart. . The veins are concentrated in the soles of the feet and squeezing and stimulating them appropriately promotes blood circulation throughout your body.

Hoka Ora Recovery Slide

Hoka is a shoe brand that has become the holy grail for runners because it offers such supportive running shoes. In addition to their athletic shoes, the company manufactures recovery slides, which feature a soft surface, rocker sole, and optimal traction. Reid said that since many people have diminished fatty padding in both the ball of the foot and/or the heel, soft padding in these shoes after “pounding” on those areas “will definitely bring relief.” .

Hoka Ora Recovery Flip

Hoka also offers a “flip-flop” style of their beloved recovery sandals that still feature the soft cushioning and rocker sole they became famous for. In addition to wearing those particular recovery sandals that Reid recommends, she also advises wearing shoe inserts that absorb shock or custom orthotics that “unload the soles of the feet.”

Vionic Kiwi Slip-On Sandals

For a unisex option, Reid suggests these slide sandals from Vionic. Featuring soft, sporty padding, traction-enhancing tread, and a special design to “hugger your arches” as the product description says, these sandals come in multiple colors. And as many reviewers have shared, these sandals have dramatically alleviated their plantar fasciitis.

PR Soles La Jolla Recovery Adjustable Slide Sandals

Reid said she’s seen several recovery shoes that absorb shock with “massaging” textured surfaces, which is good for tired, sore feet. She considers these slides to be one of her top picks, with a structured, cushioned footbed. She said these types of shoes are helpful in the short term if you’re swollen after your activity, assuming the swelling isn’t due to injury. They also include adjustable straps, which Reid says are “useful for people who bloat after activity.”

Oofos Ooahh Sport Slide Sandal

Oofos is another brand loved by athletes for their quality recovery shoes. They also tend to be quite stylish, combining practical features like shock absorption and a proper footbed that reduces stress on the joints with a chic splashback design.

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