Welcome to our buyer’s guide to the best recovery shoes, sandals, flip-flops and shoes for runners, which is based on our years of experience as endurance runners.
Here at Trail & Kale we consider effective post-run recovery as being essential to being a happy, healthy and successful runner – which is why taking the time and care to look after your body and aid in post-run recovery is a key element of our running training plans (which are free to download, by the way!).
Recovery shoes or sandals are one way you can help your feet and legs recover, and should be considered by all serious runners, especially if you’re working through an intensive training block or build-up to run your next half marathon, marathon or ultra-marathon.
Before we get to our recovery footwear recommendations, here’s what you need to know about how to choose the best pair of recovery shoes for your specific needs.
What are recovery shoes?
Recovery shoes are specially designed footwear crafted with the runner’s post-run needs in mind.
This includes recovery sandals, slides, flip-flops, as well as low shoes, which are designed to provide additional support and cushioning to help rejuvenate your tired feet.
They’re not your typical pair of running shoes. They’re like the comforting friend that pats you on the back after a grueling race, saying, “Hey there, feet and legs. Relax. You’ve done well.”
When would you wear recovery shoes?
So, you might ask, “When would I wear recovery shoes?”.
Well, recovery shoes are typically worn after running or other intense workouts. But honestly, any time I’m not running, like when I’m running errands, walking around the house, or taking a casual stroll in the park, I opt for recovery footwear.
Over the last few years recovery shoes have become a staple for many runners, helping us keep our feet happy and healthy.
Why wear recovery shoes, sandals or slides?
These shoes are designed to support your feet, reducing the stress on your feet and legs. Wearing them is intended to help speed up the recovery process, with the aim of helping you bounce back quicker for your next run.
How can wearing recovery slides help reduce your injury risk?
Wearing recovery slides and other types of recovery footwear can reduce a runner’s injury risk simply by helping you to look after your feet and lower legs when you’re not training.
It is generally accepted and supported by various studies that properly designed footwear can help with weight distribution and pain alleviation, and so it follows that wearing recovery shoes that do so can also aid in relieving tension and stress on our feet and legs.
Key features when choosing the best recovery shoes for you
Finding the best recovery shoes for you involves considering several key features:
Type of Footwear
Whether you prefer a recovery shoe, sandal, slide, or flip flop, choose what feels most comfortable for you. Slides are popular with people who want the easiest-on option, that you can also wear with socks (if that’s your thing).
A good pair of recovery shoes will offer excellent arch support, helping reduce foot fatigue.
Cushioning and Comfort
The best footwear in this category, like the Hoka Ora recovery slide or the OOFOS OOahh slides, feature superior cushioning. It’s all about comfort for your tired feet.
If you plan to wear them a lot, and for long periods of time or a lot of walking, go for shoes that are sturdy and can withstand frequent use.
Brands like Kane offer the Revive Active Recovery shoe made from sustainable materials.
Ease of Use
Recovery shoes should be easy to put on and take off. After a hard run, the last thing you want is a wrestling match with your footwear.
The best recovery sandals for runners offer good breathability, keeping your feet cool and dry, which can help hot, tired and sweaty feet recover quicker.
Active vs. passive recovery
Recovery shoes can be used for both active recovery and passive recovery. Active recovery shoes like Kane’s Revive Active Recovery shoe are perfect for when you’re going for a gentle walk or running errands. They support your feet while still allowing movement.
Passive recovery shoes, on the other hand, are great for those recovery days when you’re kicking back and resting. Brands like Hoka have excellent options for both types of recovery shoes.
In the end, remember, what matters most is to find the best recovery shoes that meet your needs. Your feet will thank you. So, next time you lace up your running shoes, remember to have a pair of recovery shoes waiting for you at the finish line. Your tired feet will appreciate the change, trust me.
Here are our top-rated recovery shoes and sandals for runners that you might want to consider.
Hoka Ora Recovery Slide ($60)
- Type: Slide (also available in a men’s and women’s flip-flop version)
- Material: EVA foam, including sugarcane-based EVA in the midsole
- Price: $60
- Sizes: Unisex
- Choose if: you want an affordable slide with superior midsole cushioning and durability.
The Hoka Ora recovery slide is a popular choice for runners who want the cushioned support of a recovery shoe in a slide format – these shoes deliver splendidly in this department. The plush, max cushioning provides a cloud-like feel that your feet will thank you for.
These slides feature an oversized midsole and Meta-Rocker geometry, which Hoka’s running shoes are well-known for. It offers a smooth and comfortable foot transition, and it’s also very supportive, especially under the arch.
The slide design makes them versatile for wearing in different contexts, including running errands, chilling at home, or heading to the beach, and they’re available in a variety of fun, bright colors as well as plain black, white and grey.
Durability is another major plus. These slides are built to last, promising you a long-lasting relationship that won’t require you to replace them anytime soon.
While the Hoka Ora Recovery Slide might not win any fashion awards, its functional design and the comfort these slides offer more than compensate!
Kane Revive Active Recovery Shoe ($75)
- Type: Shoe / slip-on sneaker
- Material: Sugarcane-based EVA-foam
- Price: $75
- Sizes: Unisex
- Choose if: you want full foot coverage, active recovery stimulation and superior breathability.
The Kane Revive Active Recovery shoe is an eco-friendly choice made from sugarcane and recycled materials.
They’re designed for active recovery, providing support and comfort while you’re on the move. They’re lightweight, breathable, and easy to slip on and off.
The Kane Revive is known for the unique sensation that you get from the raised nodes on the footbed, which adds a stimulating touch that makes wearing these shoes a truly unique experience.
Another significant advantage is the EVA-Foam midsole. It’s superbly cushioned, providing excellent comfort that allows you to wear these shoes all day long without any discomfort. If you’re someone who values comfort, these shoes are definitely worth considering.
An added bonus is that these shoes float, don’t absorb water, and are waterproof. So if you’re into watersports like stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking, these shoes would be a great fit.
Read our in-depth Kane Revive review to learn more.
Lululemon Restfeel Slide ($58)
- Type: Slide
- Material: Foam
- Price: $58
- Sizes: Men’s and Women’s
- Choose if: Good looks and plush foam comfort for passive recovery are a priority over durability and long term wear.
If you’re looking for the most stylish recovery slides currently out there, then look no further than lululemon’s Restfeel Slides.
With a sleek design, soft foam strap and dual-density cushioning in the footbed, they offer plenty of support and comfort for tired feet, and the rubber sole provides decent traction for wearing them out and about.
Available in a range of colors (including light pastels, white and black), and size options for both men and women, these are the recovery shoes to go for when you don’t want to look like you’re wearing bulky rubber recovery shoes or sandals, and don’t need the added durability that those styles have to offer. Tip: choose black or another dark color if you plan to wear them outdoors and don’t want them looking dirty too quickly.
The Restfeel Slides are one of Lululemon’s range of running and athletic shoes, which you can learn more about in our lululemon shoes buyer’s guide.
OOFOS OOahh Slides ($60)
- Type: Slide
- Material: Foam
- Price: $60
- Sizes: Unisex
- Choose if: You want a recovery to wear post-run (or just everyday around the house) that has plenty of cushioning and you can easily wash to keep clean and fresh. They’re also popular among people suffering from plantar fasciitis.
OOFOS offers a range of different recovery slide styles, with the OOFOS OOahh Slide being a popular choice for runners and other active people seeking a recovery shoe that offers exceptional comfort, support, and a unique feel.
They’re well known for the stand-out comfort levels they offer, which can help soothe and rejuvenate your feet after a long run or workout.
The slides are also highly supportive. The design allows for excellent arch support, which aids in the recovery process and can help alleviate pain from conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
You may also appreciate the durability of these recovery slides. They are made to last and withstand daily wear and tear, making them a great investment for anyone needing a reliable pair of recovery slides. Plus, they are machine washable, so it’s easy to keep them fresh and clean.
On the downside, they’re not necessarily the most stylish option out there (but then who cares, if they feel so good on your feet?!).
Olukai Ohana Flip Flops ($75)
- Type: Flip-flops / thongs
- Material: EVA midsole, strap material varies by style – most are synthetic leather
- Price: $75
- Sizes: Men’s and Women’s
- Choose if: You want to wear comfortable slip-ons that will support your feet and aid recovery… without looking like traditional recovery shoes.
While not officially marketed as being recovery flip flops, the popular Olukai Ohana flip flops are, however, great recovery shoes.
With an anatomically-contoured footbed that’s significantly more supportive and comfortable than a basic pair of sandals or flip flops, they’re a great option to slip on post-run, and they come in a range of tasteful colors and men’s and women’s sizes so you may get more versatile wear out of them throughout summer, too.
To learn more about these flip-flops and check out more photos, read our in-depth Olukai Ohana review.
When choosing the right recovery shoes, consider your needs, your lifestyle, and, most importantly, what feels best for your feet. If you plan to wear them for active recovery, make sure they offer the support and comfort needed.
On the other hand, if you’re going to wear them for passive recovery, look for something that will offer maximum comfort and relaxation for your feet.
Remember, your running shoes are the heroes that carry you across the finish line, but it’s the recovery shoes that get you ready for the next race. So, invest in a good pair , because our feet deserve the best.