Recovery For All
Topo Athletic/Revive: This mule style offers a cozy 50% recycled polyester fleece upper to provide warmth in cooler environments. It is equipped with an OrthoLite 3D Wave Sense footbed, ensuring active recovery while on the move. The shoe also features Vibram outsoles, the same type found on the brand’s technical trail product, providing excellent grip and durability. MSRP $120.
Elite and everyday athletes can both benefit from footwear that enhances overall wellness. As more and more people have become aware and interested in the recovery category, and fallen in love with the products, some elements of the category have naturally evolved, as well. So, how has the recovery footwear category adapted to everyday athletes? And what are the differences between what an ordinary consumer is looking for in a recovery shoe as opposed to what an elite athlete might be looking for? Here, brand execs share their views on these questions regarding recovery footwear.

How has the recovery category adapted to everyday athletes?

“At VELOUS, we engineer for athletes of all levels, from professional to weekend warrior. The most significant change in the direction is the inclusion of full shoe styles, in addition to existing slides and flips.”
– Tim Bartels, CEO, VELOUS

“We have modified our mission as it relates to recovery to take aim at reinjury prevention. We’re offering products that treat common injuries, while also helping to ensure that injuries impacting the training cycle do not continue to happen. The PowerStep Dynamic Ankle Support Sock combines three braces into one while maintaining a slim profile that can fit in just able any athletic shoe.”
– Jay Cain, director of B2B marketing, Foundation Wellness

“The recovery category has enhanced people’s awareness around the importance of good, supportive footwear.  Post workout, or post all-day on your feet, a shoe that cushions the foot for comfort and supports the heel and arches is crucial. All of our shoes feature our TRUComfort insole, which has the cushion and support needed post workout.”
– Matt Dieckhaus, VP of sales and marketing, Latitudes Inc.

“For any recovery shoe to be successful, it needs to be comfortable and leave the athlete feeling better afterward. Recently, there has been continued demand for more stylish recovery options from customers who want to wear their recovery footwear in the workplace or out to meet friends. Brands have responded by introducing new materials, styles, and colors into products.”
– Russ Stevens, product manager, Topo Athletic

“The issue with this hot topic is, how is recovery defined? At Xelero, we define recovery as a balance of support, stability, and just the right amount of cushioning that working in conjunction to help recovery after running, and overcoming overuse injuries. The technology of Xelero TRU sandal sets us apart from all the rest.”
– Mike Arce, national sales manager, Xelero

“The foundation of the recovery category hasn’t changed so much as the amount of education and overall awareness of recovery footwear has increased. This year we’ll be introducing two products that straddle the fence of open/closed-toe product and fit the rising demand for a modern mule. Many of our consumers who first experienced OOFOS with our sandals and slides are coming back for newer styles, so they can implement Active Recovery into all aspects of their lives.
– Darren Brown, head of marketing, OOFOS

“The recovery category has shifted to cater to everyday athletes by emphasizing accessibility, affordability, and ease of use in recovery products. Brands have recognized the need to democratize recovery, making it more inclusive and relevant to the average consumer’s lifestyle.”
– Mark Paigen, founder, Tread Labs

VELOUS/Active Flip

Spring 2024 marks the launch of the Active Collection for VELOUS, which features a flip and slide. Both styles feature Tri-Motion Technology, which breaks down foot strike motion into three basic elements and provides a specific recovery solution for each part of the step, from stable cushioning and optimal arch support, to great forefoot flexibility. MSRP $59.95.

Powerstep/Dynamic Ankle Stability Sock

No, it’s not a shoe. But it is built for recovery. The Dynamic Ankle Stability Sock works as a system – elevating both the shoe and the brace. It is sleek enough to feel normal/natural inside the shoe, not affecting gait or healthy movement. The cage’s slight tack helps it to grip the inside of the shoe, allowing DASS and the shoe to move and work as one, enhancing the benefits of one another. The DASS can also be worn without shoes (around the house). MSRP $35.

What is the active consumer looking for in a recovery shoe and how is this different from what an elite athlete is looking for?

“The need is very similar, but how they look at it is quite different. An elite athlete wants to perform at their best the next day. Recovery is a key part of their overall training. The everyday athlete is looking to feel better as soon as possible and very much focus on comfort.”
– Tim Bartels, VELOUS

“Elite athletes and weekend warriors are learning that they are solely responsible for taking care of themselves. They have learned, sometimes the hard way, that without proper recovery, they cannot compete at a high level.” – Mike Arce, Xelero

“All athletes and active people want to get back into the activity that they love following an injury or ailment. Our Dynamic Ankle Support Sock allows for healthy movement of the ankle, not lock the ankle in place. This flexibility allows for proprioceptive therapy to continue and gives the athlete the confidence to get back into the game.”  
– Jay Cain, Foundation Wellness

“Each wants a product that is comfortable, stylish, and versatile, relieving stress on their body after a workout. Some professional athletes may be able to stay off their feet after their workout, but most other athletes will still go to work, run errands, or meet up with friends after a hard session.”
– Russ Stevens, Topo Athletic

“Both want real technology with proven benefits. It’s not enough for shoes to be comfortable. What is driving the growth of the recovery category is a desire for something that can truly help with workout recovery and provide relief from everyday soreness, aches and pains.”
– Darren Brown, OOFOS

“Everyday athletes prioritize comfort and practicality in recovery footwear, focusing on everyday wearability. They want cushioning, breathability, lightweight construction and adaptive support. Elite athletes may prioritize performance-enhancing features, such as energy return and stability, over comfort alone.”
– Mark Paigen, Tread Labs

“Post workout, athletes are looking for a shoe that provides cushion, support, ease of use and versatility.”
– Matt Dieckhaus, Latitudes Inc.


The mōshn Pulse offers versatility for post workout wear, while also being very easy to slide on and off.  Exclusive Dynamic Motion Technology provides stability while standing and an enhanced toe spring naturally moves the wearer forward. All of the brand’s shoes feature TRUComfort insoles, offering the cushion and support needed post workout. MSRP $170.

Tread Labs/Salinas

Execs at Tread Labs call this the “yes” sandal for good reason. This versatile offering features optimal arch support, is quick-drying and has a microfiber suede footbed that dissipates moisture, keeping feet comfortable throughout the day. Ultra-lightweight polyurethane midsoles deliver the resiliency and durability of PU with the weightlessness of EVA foam. Other super squishy make the feet and lower legs work harder to maintain stability. MSRP $130.

OOFOS/OOcoozie Sport

Designed for post workout, this breezy mule option offers a mesh upper for lightweight breathability and instant relief during active recovery. Like all OOFOS products, the OOcoozie Sport features the unique OOfoam technology that absorbs impact, reducing stress on joints and more evenly distributing pressure, allowing people of any activity level to be more active in their day-to-day lives. MSRP $114.95.

Xelero/TRU Sandal

The TRU Sandal is built on a contoured footbed with built-in posting to help those that suffer from supination and pronation issues. The stability tied into the control plate helps those suffering from plantar fasciitis. A metatarsal roll bar limits forefoot flexion. It makes for a lot of technology built into one thong (which retails for $89.99) or 3-strap sandal. MSRP $119.99.