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Taking the time to properly recover after being physically active is one of the most important aspects of any fitness routine. Fitness goals aren’t just achieved by doing physical activity but also by correctly recuperating after a workout.
The options for post-workout recovery are nearly endless, too, including everything from protein shakes and ice baths to massage guns and a good night’s sleep.
But one of the most overlooked recovery techniques has to do with the kind of footwear you choose to wear between workouts. Not all footwear is designed to provide active recovery benefits, so it’s important to choose wisely. Just like you wouldn’t wear a pair of vans to run a marathon, you shouldn’t turn to any random pair of foam shoes to help your body recover.
At the forefront of comfortable recovery footwear is a brand named oofos. With a proprietary foam material called oofoam, oofos designs and manufactures active recovery footwear that achieves two basic goals: its shoes take pressure off a wearer’s joints while supporting the arch and shape of their foot. The company’s footwear aims to lessen tension and help properly align a wearer’s knees, hips, and spine, ultimately reducing foot pain and allowing for natural recovery.
Though that reads like some sort of brand mission you’d find on the oofos website, it’s far more than just a company shtick to sell shoes. Whether you’re a former professional athlete or someone who just wants to give their tired feet some r&r, oofos shoes (and the oofoam in them) truly work.
How recovery footwear helps prevent injuries
I asked dr. Velimir petkov, a podiatrist based in new jersey, his thoughts on the benefits of recovery footwear and how significant of an impact it can have on the wearer.
“it’s important for people to wear arch support at all times,” he told insider. “footwear like oofos absorbs more of the g-forces that occur upon impact on each step and that absorption of energy reduces the amount of exertion that occurs in foot and ankle joints, as well as tendons and muscles. Over time, wearing recovery footwear can prevent long term injuries and arthritis.”
According to internally commissioned lab tests from oofos, its footwear was found to help relieve foot ailments such as plantar fasciitis and showed a significant positive impact in recovery for athletes experiencing lower leg pain, recovering from a lower leg injury, or who are at risk of injury.
When asked about those claims, dr. Petkov pointed out that an ailment like plantar fasciitis occurs as the primary result of not having enough arch support. He told insider that supportive footwear like oofos’ can be beneficial for anyone, whether they’re an athlete or someone who’s not regularly active.
The Deion Sanders connection
Today’s professional athletes already spend inordinate amounts of money on their bodies in hopes of never losing the ability to perform at peak levels, and oofos shoes are yet another resource for doing so.
In an interview, nfl hall of fame defensive back and oofos brand partner, deion sanders, told insider about his experience with its footwear and how it positively affects his day-to-day.
For sanders, an athlete who built his career around speed and quickness on the football field, foot pain became a normal aspect of his daily life. With three toe surgeries under his belt and the prospect of a fourth on the horizon, his need for relief was immense. Though he credits oofos with helping him find that relief, his introduction to what its footwear could provide happened almost out of thin air.
“two years ago, after coaching one of my son’s 7-on-7 football games, someone approached me with a pair of slides from a brand i’d never heard of,” sanders told insider. “after getting home and trying them on, i instantly tracked him back down to ask what they were and how i could find more.”
That kind of relief is central to what oofos intends to provide wearers and is vital in terms of achieving adequate recovery. During his playing days, sanders wasn’t privy to footwear like this, instead relying on weekly massages or pedicures for comfort between nfl games. Though he’s not competing at that high level anymore, he understands how important it is to take care of his feet and, ultimately, how much it impacts his wellness.
“comfort is everything to me regarding my feet and if they’re hurting or sore, it disrupts my whole day, my plan, my attitude, everything,” sanders said. “having the kind of comfort i’ve found with oofos is extremely important. Recovery is right near the top in terms of importance in an athlete’s life and i’m even seeing how crucial it is to me right now.”
Oofos footwear benefits non-athletes, too
An insider colleague of mine, malarie gokey, who says she is “by no means a professional athlete,” had a similar experience with oofos. She discovered the brand at a shoe store in new york city while looking for some comfortable house shoes. She tried the oofos ooahh slide sandals on in the store, and was impressed by their high level of arch support and comfort. Years later, she still wears them every day and has given several pairs as gifts to friends and family.
“i’ve had my pair of oofos sandals for years now, and they’re still the most comfortable shoes i own,” gokey said. “i truly look forward to coming home, stepping out of whatever fancy shoes i was wearing to go out on the weekend or to head to work during the day, and stepping into my oofos. They give excellent arch support and absorb any shock my feet feel from walking on hardwood. I feel instant relief.”
Insider reviews deputy editor, les shu, discovered oofos through his work as a product reviewer, and he recalled how distinctly unusual they felt when he first put them on.
“my first pair was the oomg low shoe from oofos and they required some getting used to,” shu said. “as opposed to a standard shoe where your feet remain flat on the ground, the foam technology design in the footbed means you always feel like you’re in some sort of back-and-forth rocking motion.”
Shu equated the feeling to “walking on air,” a cliché he recognizes but an analogy he felt perfectly encapsulates what it’s like to wear a pair of oofos shoes. He may not spend his sundays playing professional football but he still reaps the benefits of oofoam — and says they’ve done well to relieve joint pain from his feet on up to his lower back.
There really is no perfect wearer of oofos footwear. You could be an athlete in need of active recovery between matches and practices, someone who’s recovering from a lower leg or foot injury, or a person with chronic foot and lower back pain.
Achieving active relief through footwear may sound strange, but just because it’s unusual doesn’t mean it’s any less impactful. Based on our personal testing and interviews with both a podiatrist and a professional athlete, it’s clear to us that oofos footwear is well worth the money.
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