Recovery Time!


The recovery footwear category is reaching a new level. As recovery becomes a more significant part of daily life, “the need for different silhouettes has also increased,” comments Velous co-founder Brad Bischel. Offerings are being updated in new technologies and materials as consumers seek out recovery footwear with a “more casual, refined look… that doesn’t scream ‘plastic’,” notes Tread Labs founder Mark Paigen. “Athletes want to not only recover after exercising or their morning run, but all day while they are at work,” he adds.

Customers now expect their recovery footwear to be comfortable enough to feel good and aid in recovery after a workout, stylish enough to wear around town, and “functional enough that the customer can feel confident using the product in a variety of conditions,” says Russell Stevens, product manager, Topo.

Dan Werremeyer, president, Instride (Xelero) notes that consumers also want a shoe that can help them “pursue the ultimate goals of enhanced health and an elevated quality of life.” He says, “As the world of recovery and exercise footwear evolves, it’s not just about the shoes; it’s about the journey to a healthier, more fulfilling life.”

For runners, specifically, the sport “can take a toll on the body,” explains OOFOS head of marketing, Darren Brown. Wearing recovery sandals can help relieve sore muscles and reduce stress on joints. Podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab contributor, Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, explains that a textured footbed like Vionic’s can help massage the feet and increase circulation. This can, she notes, “reduce pain and minimize swelling after high impact workouts to help you recover faster.”

Recovery shoes can also contribute to injury prevention. “When your feet are properly aligned and cushioned, you’re less likely to experience overuse injuries, stress fractures and other common running-related injuries,” says Telic founder Aaron Azzarito. “The act of putting on recovery shoes after a run can also have psychological benefits. It signals the transition from intense exercise to recovery mode.”

Q. What are consumers looking for in a recovery shoe today?

“First and foremost, consumers look for comfort. With recovery shoes, that takes the form of relieving stress and pressure points on our feet. For us that means flexibility, optimal arch support and soft, but supportive, foam and uppers. We believe recovery footwear is more than just soft squishy foam and our goal is to provide the best solution. We divide the foot strike into its three main functions and provide three unique comfort solutions within one shoe. We call it TRI-MOTION.” – Brad Bischel, co-founder, Velous

“After a long hard, run or cycling session, athletes’ feet are tired, sore and begging for a breeze. Consumers are looking for footwear that is comfortable, supportive and super ventilated. There should be a generous fit with no pressure points, robust arch support to help the foot relax and an upper style that allows maximum ventilation. The arch support should not be too soft because a very soft midsole requires the small muscles in the foot, ankle and lower leg to fire to maintain postural stability” – Mark Paigen, founder, Tread Labs

“Gone are the days of one-dimensional footwear. We are offering ingenious solutions that empower consumers to stride toward complete wellness. The patented Xelero technology features a dynamic midsole that provides exceptional cushioning and stability, promoting a smooth gait and reducing the impact on joints. This unique innovation sets our recovery shoes apart, making them suitable not only for recovery or after exercise but also for daily wear.” - Dan Werremeyer, president, Instride Shoes

“Consumers are first looking for after-race immediate relief. No matter how long the race, the will to feel cocooned and comfort is top of mind. We have seen that comfortable lightweight non-compressive slippers are the solution to accompany sports men and women outside of their run.”  - Carl Sipos, global trail running product marketing manager, Salomon  

“Consumers are looking for a recovery shoe that not only feels comfortable but also looks good! We designed ours to look elegant, minimal, and feel like you’re walking on air.” – Sarah Humphries, director of marketing, Zensah

“Today’s consumers are looking for recovery shoes that blend comfort, style, and functionality. We blend all three elements together in our recovery line with the Rekovr and Revive. Both models have comfortable uppers that wrap and secure the foot over the midsole platform while our Ortholite 3D Wave Sense footbed delivers light stimulation underfoot. They both also feature Vibram XS Trek EVO outsoles which deliver excellent durability and traction on a variety of terrain.” — Russell Stevens, product manager, Topo

“Proper support, cushion, and breathability are three benefits the consumer looks for in a recovery shoe. Support is not just important under the arch; it is equally important in the heel to distribute weight properly. Cushioning is important for shock absorption and foot comfort. Finally, a clean and healthy environment is crucial to foot health. Having a shoe that is breathable post workout allows our feet to dry and prevents potential problems.”  - Matt Dieckhaus, VP of sales and marketing, Latitudes (mōshn)

“Consumers are looking for recovery footwear that provides soft but supportive comfort.” – Keith Shelton, merchandising and product development, Skechers Performance

“Most importantly, superior arch support. That’s the defining feature of this category. Secondly, a recovery shoe must be virtually weightless. Currently, the category is all about color treatment. We have had lots of success with fun and vivacious prints.” – Megan Gold, design director, Alegria

“We spend much of our time standing and walking on hard, unnatural surfaces. While performance foams may be getting softer and softer, they feature high-rebound energy return properties. That can be great for running and court sports, but for the majority of their day, it is more important to have footwear that can absorb impact. OOFOS feature OOfoam technology, which has a slower rebound and mimics what it’s like to move on more forgiving surfaces.” – Darren Brown, head of marketing, OOFOS

“Traditionally recovery was mostly geared towards intense sport activities, but we saw a need for the everyday person. While Rejuvenate and Restore were geared towards a sportier aesthetic, we thought how someone might not want the sporty look but want the benefits of our recovery series with silhouettes that they could wear throughout the day with any outfit. This is how we came up with Awaken and Activate.” - Scott Radabaugh, senior director of design, Vionic

“Although the recovery market is still dominated by spring and summer styles, we are seeing more and more that consumers want an option for colder months. Slippers, boots and closed-toe shoe options are starting to really gain traction. More traditional streamlined designs are giving way to extra thick soles as more and more people are seeing (and feeling) the benefits of beefy shock-absorbing midsoles.” – Aaron Azzarito, president, Telic


Built to aid in active recovery, as well as for everyday wear, the Revive’s slipper design features a polyester fleece upper for a soft and comfy fit. Designed to be worn without socks, the brand’s 3D Wave Sense insole gently massages the bottom of the foot. A Vibram XS Trek EVO outsole offers multi-surface traction and durability for year-round wear. MSRP $120.


Vionic’s recovery series features Vio-Motion technology and a softer density underfoot for maximum comfort. A firmer density outsole aids in stabilization. Adjustable front and ankle straps offer customization in fit. MSRP $119.95.

Xelero/Genesis II

Genesis II stands as a testament to Xelero’s commitment to holistic well-being, merging advanced technology with modern style. Designed to elevate post-activity recovery experience, the Genesis II harmonizes with the natural motion of your feet. MSRP $194.99.


In addition to having the benefits of Dynamic Motion Technology, Vigor also has a stretchy “yoga pant-like” upper that is breathable and feels great on a foot that may be swollen post workout. SmartKnit uppers are machine washable and are versatile enough for any après-sport activity. MSRP $170.

Salomon/Reelax Moc 6.0 Ciele

Created with Canadian running brand Ciele Athletics, this moc combines Fuzefoam, a soft and light foam, with a synthetic upper that hugs the foot, providing relief when switching from athletic footwear. This foam is significantly softer than those used in the brand’s road and trail running shoes. MSRP $90.

Telic/Apres-Ski Boot 2.0

Slip on after yoga, running or a long day at work; the lightweight, waterproof, and lightly insulated Après-Ski Boot 2.0 incorporates Telic’s Novalon Footstrike Technology. The shoe offers orthotic-grade arch support, energizing rebound and a stylish, athleisure design. MSRP $149.


The RecoverMe collection consists of shoes with great arch support and are super lightweight, making them a good recovery shoe not only post-workout, but also when healing from injuries. The Ode thong offers a rocker outsole to promote balanced pressure distribution. 3D sublimation printing keeps them on trend. MSRP $60.

Skechers/Hyper Slide – Revive

Incorporating the key elements of an effective recovery shoe, this slide has a HYPER BURST cushioning midsole that is responsive and lightweight. The resilient foam is created from spherically shaped cells compressed into the midsole with a contoured comfort footbed. An anti-slip Goodyear Performance Outsole delivers enhanced traction, stability, and durability. MSRP $65.

Tread Labs/Redway

Redway is an open toe sandal option with full adjustability at the ball and ankle. All Tread Labs sandals include Direct Attach construction with a long-lasting polyurethane (PU) midsole and a microfiber suede footbed. The microfiber is cooler and drier feeling than EVA or plastic, and can be machine washed weekly. MSRP $130.


Reposah features a seamless flexible upper, which cradles the foot but gives it room with a wide toe box for space that doesn’t feel restrictive. Made in Italy like the brand’s compression socks, this easy slip-on includes an upper fabric that is 90% recycled nylon. A structured heel will stay up (not fall or collapse down). A Vibram sole completes the package. MSRP $160.


This closed-toe shoe is built for post-workout recovery, but is equally ideal for casual wearers. The OOmg Sport LS design adds a tapered sidewall that provides both athletic styling and functional benefit. Paired with a unique 4-way stretch FibreFlex upper and an integrated lacing system, the OOmg Sport LS offers a sock-like fit that provides 360-degree distribution of pressure for superior foot mobility. MSRP $149.95.


The Skyline is a full lace up shoe that brings TRI-MOTION technology in the form of an athletic shoe. The foam is engineered to be much softer than in a running shoe to allow for comfort and relief in a walking stride, with less impact force. Skyline offers optimal arch support and forefoot flexibility for a nice underfoot stretch. MSRP $120.