Best 7 Recovery Shoes for Runners in 2024

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Recovery‘ is that essential phase of training when your focus switches from smashing goals to allowing your body to rest and recuperate from previous exertions.

While we all put a lot of thought into choosing marathon running shoes, for example, or race-day footwear, recovery shoes never get quite as much attention.

Yet finding the right footwear for training on those easy days is equally important.

To keep your feet feeling fresh and happy from start to finish, you’ll need well-cushioned, plush shoes, capable of effortlessly soaking up every step, mile after mile.

To make it easier for you to find the perfect footwear to recover in comfort, we’ve put together this handy guide.

First, we’ve taken a brief look at the things to consider when choosing the best recovery shoes for your needs. Next, we’ve included a selection from each of the most popular brands, along with their pros/cons, and the reasons we recommend them.

So let’s get started!

Recovery Shoes for Runners

Best 7 Recovery Shoes for Runners

Things to Consider When Choosing Recovery Shoes

The most important consideration when looking for a good pair of recovery shoes is great cushioning.

Well-cushioned footwear will be soft and welcoming to your tired feet, reducing muscle fatigue and absorbing shock to protect your joints from impact forces.

At the same time, it’s important that you also get support where you need it, along with the stability to run with confidence.

Ideally, the upper will be made with a soft, flexible material that promotes natural movement.

It should also be very breathable to prevent the build-up of heat and moisture – key to keeping you cool and comfortable during recovery runs.

When it comes to the fit, make sure you have a bit more room than usual to move around so that your foot can splay out naturally.

Woman resting after a workout

The 7 Best Recovery Shoes for Runners

#1. Best Recovery Shoes for Runners from Asics:
Gel Nimbus 25

Stack Height: 41.5 mm, Heel Drop: 8 mm, Weight: 10.2 oz, Category: Neutral

Asics Gel Nimbus 25
Premium build qualityLess responsive than some competitors
Soft, stretchy upper fits well and feels amazing
Grippy, durable AHA rubber outsole

This is ASICS’ premium neutral cushion shoesoft, plush, and with a high stack of cushioning for an incredibly comfortable ride.

With this version, the brand has simply taken everything good about previous iterations and enhanced them to make a shoe that’s better than ever!

You now get 20% more lightweight and energetic FF BLAST PLUS ECO foam in the midsole, while the previous visible GEL technology has been replaced with softer, lighter PureGEL hidden in the heel for superior shock absorption and improved transitions.

Despite all that bouncy cushioning, this remains a stable shoe, partly thanks to the wide base but also because your foot sinks right into it for a ‘cradled’ effect.

It’s also ideal if you have a wide foot and is available in wide 2E, wide, and 4E extra wide sizes. Sadly, though, this only applies to the men’s version – there are no wide options for women.

Find out more in our video review of the ASICS Nimbus 25

#2. Best Recovery Shoes for Runners from New Balance:

Stack Height: 38 mm, Heel Drop: 6 mm, Weight: 9.2 oz, Category: Neutral

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 V13 Running Shoe
Smooth, energized rideOutsole lacks durability
Very soft yet stable
Supportive upper with a second skin fit

A longstanding favorite, the 1080 is New Balance’s premium, neutral cushioned shoe.

This is its most recent iteration – released in November 2023 – and subsequently (at the time of writing) the newest shoe in this guide!

I’m pleased to report that it’s also the best 1080 to date and one of the most lightweight, plush, and cushioned shoes you’ll come across for your recovery sessions.

The deep, Fresh Foam X cushioning is softer than ever and so comfortable you feel as if you could run all day, but it still provides enough energy return to add some spring to your step.

That’s enhanced by the mildly rockered outsole, designed to encourage forward motion for a more propulsive toe-off.

The engineered mesh upper has been updated, too, with its improved structure and extra padding in the tongue and heel tab giving it a more premium fit and feel.

#3. Best Recovery Shoes for Runners from HOKA:
Bondi 8

Stack Height: 39 mm, Heel Drop: 4 mm, Weight: 10.8 oz, Category: Neutral

HOKA Bondi 8 Sneaker
Loads of colors to choose from, even in wide/extra-wide versionsMay be too bulky for some
Plush tongue and heel collar
Loads of colors to choose from, even in wide/extra wide versions

If you’re hoping for the unmatched comfort for which the HOKA brand is famous, you won’t be disappointed by the Bondi 8 – it has one of the deepest stacks of cushioning of any HOKA shoe.

Made with a softer EVA foam than previous generations to protect tired feet during recovery runs, it also features a billowed crash pad in the heel to help reduce impact load.

The classic meta-rocker platform helps limit strain on the foot – easing you along the road – while the midsole grooves provide a very flexible feel.

This is a great shoe if you suffer from mild to moderate pronation – the mesh upper and internal heel counter hold your foot securely in position, guiding it effortlessly through each stride, and the wide platform gives a nice feeling of stability.

#4. Best Recovery Shoes for Runners from Nike:
Invincible 3

Stack Height: 40 mm, Heel Drop: 9 mm, Weight: 10.9 oz, Category: Stability

Nike Invincible 3 Road Running Shoes
Excellent shock absorptionA little bulky
Supportive and bouncy
Comfortable upper with strategic breathability zones

The Invincible 3 boasts a deep stack of ZoomX foam – the same material that Nike uses in its racing shoes.

This means that it’s not just one of the softest shoes you’ll ever wear, but it’s also highly responsive, offering fantastic energy return and providing a bouncy sensation that makes your recovery runs more enjoyable.

Nike classes this as a stability shoe, although the amount of support it provides is questionable – indeed, its softness and high stack permit a little more pronation than a true stability shoe should.

But that’s not to say it won’t be ideal for most runners – the new geometry through the midfoot, wider base in the heel and forefoot, and precisely placed heel clip all combine to give a welcome feeling of stability despite the generous, soft cushioning.

Want to know more? Check out our video review of the Invincible 3 here!

#5. Best Recovery Shoes for Runners from Saucony:
Triumph 21

Stack Height: 37 mm, Heel Drop: 10 mm, Weight: 9.8 oz, Category: Neutral

Saucony Triumph 21 Sneaker
Great combination of softness and responsivenessHighly breathable upper offers little protection in very cold weather
Plush, luxurious upper
Seamless heel lining for a chafe-free fit

With a premium, deep stack of soft cushioning, the Triumph 21 – Saucony’s range-topping neutral running shoe for more than 20 years – has the luxurious feel that you’re looking for in a good recovery shoe.

The durable PWRRUN PB (PEBA-based) midsole foam is highly responsive and puts a real pep in your step, while the upper has a premium feel, its new flat-knit construction and redesigned lacing system keeping your foot comfy and secure.

You’ll also love the toe box – it’s roomy enough to easily spread your digits, which can be a welcome sensation during recovery runs.

This is a durable shoe, too, with an XT-900 Carbon Rubber outsole that feels grippy on a range of surfaces, both wet and dry.

#6. Best Recovery Shoes for Runners from Mizuno:
Wave Sky 7

Stack Height: 41 mm, Heel Drop: 8 mm, Weight: 10.6 oz, Category: Neutral

Mizuno Wave Sky 7 Running Shoe
Perfectly combines softness with stabilityMay not suit very narrow-footed runners
WAVE plate disperses shock through the sole
Durable and grippy carbon rubber outsole

Mizuno’s range-topping cushioned shoe, the Wave Sky 7 gives you the wonderful feeling of almost ‘floating’ along the road, which is exactly the sensation you want for those recovery runs.

The stretchy upper is made from a highly flexible woven fabric that allows your feet to breathe, while the soft and resilient ENERZY Foam midsole feels insanely comfortable.

But it’s nice and springy, too, thanks to the middle layer of ENERZY Core – the brand’s most responsive material.

The Wave Sky 7 also features MIZUNO WAVE plate, a proprietary technology designed to provide dynamic support that keeps your foot stable and guides it forward.

Add to this the pleasantly spacious toe box that gives you plenty of room to splay your foot and you have one of the best shoes out there for logging long, easy miles.

#7. Best Recovery Shoes for Runners from Brooks:
Glycerin 20

Stack Height: 29 mm, Heel Drop: 10 mm, Weight: 10.01 oz, Category: Neutral

Brooks Glycerin 20 Running Shoe
Premium construction with a supportive, well-made upperTongue slips a little
Very durable cushioning
Wide, stable platform

Last but not least we have the Glycerin 20 – the latest version of Brooks’ most popular cushioned shoe, built with nitrogen-infused DNA LOFT v3 foam.

It’s every bit as soft and bouncy as it sounds, making the shoe comfortable from the moment you pull it on, yet still with enough responsiveness for a fun and lively ride.

The fit is perfect for recovery runs – supremely comfortable at all points and wide across the forefoot to allow your foot to spread naturally – while the breathable upper flexes easily with your movements and uses a 3D saddle to help lock in the midfoot securely.

You’ll also love the OrthoLite sock liner – it’s so soft and comfortable that you can easily run sockless if you choose.

The sole is great, too, with grooves under the midsole to provide flexibility and help with smooth transitions, plus a super grippy blown rubber outsole that performs well on a variety of surfaces, both wet and dry.

The 7 Best Recovery Shoes: Key Takeaways

A good pair of recovery shoes is an important part of your running gear, keeping you comfortable and well-supported as your body repairs itself and ultimately improving your performance in the future.

I hope you’ve found this guide

Man recovering on a bench

Photo of author
Christine Albury is a dedicated runner and fitness nerd and certified personal trainer: when she's not working out she is studying the latest fitness science publications, and testing out the latest running gear!

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