We all understand the importance of good running shoes and take the time to choose ones that offer support in all the right places. But do we pay enough attention to our post-run gear too?
Running is a demanding activity that can take its toll on your feet, back, and legs. In order to support your recovery after every session, it’s important to choose post-run footwear that relieves pressure on your tired feet.
Recovery sandals for runners are designed to do just that. A good pair will reduce or prevent pain and discomfort in your feet, joints, and muscles.
There are quite a few on the market so it can be tough to decide which to choose. To make things easier, we’ve pulled together this list of our top 8 running recovery flip-flops, slides, and sandals.
But before we get to them, let’s take a closer look at just how recovery shoes for runners actually help.
The 8 Best Running Recovery Sandals In 2023
Why Buy Recovery Sandals?
A good pair of recovery sandals for runners will allow your toes and the bones of your feet to spread comfortably – just what you need after a long-distance run where your foot is confined by a restrictive shoe.
With more well-placed cushioning than a regular sandal, they will reduce pressure on your feet.
Standard flip-flops force your feet and toe flexors into a continuous isometric contraction but running recovery flip-flops come with a lot more built-in support to prevent fatigue.
Finally, recovery sandals and slides are open-toed, promoting air circulation around your feet and allowing them to breathe.
The soles are often thicker than usual to absorb impact, and many recovery shoes feature curved backs for additional comfort.
The 8 Best Recovery Sandals For Runners in 2023
– Lightweight, foam sole, and patented foot bed design
– Best choice for good arch support
These sandals are backed by the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association. This means they are recognized as being beneficial to foot health and of real value when used as part of a daily foot care program.
Made with OOfoam Technology, these slides absorb significantly more impact than comparable products (up to 37% more, claims OOFOS).
The result is noticeably less stress on your feet, joints, and back.
The design of the foot bed is excellent. It cradles and supports the arches to such an extent that any energy exertion in your ankles is minimized. This makes them feel incredibly comfortable after a tough run and helps give your recovery time a boost.
The closed-cell foam is designed to minimize odor and these slides are machine-washable, so keeping them clean and fresh is a breeze.
– Meta-rocker sole, plush cushioning, and grooved foot bed
– Ideal for slight underpronation
Hoka’s recovery slides for runners combine everything that you need for a good recovery shoe – a wide platform with lots of wiggle room, ultra-soft cushioning, and fantastic arch support.
Indeed, if you’re looking for a shoe so comfortable that you feel like you’re walking on a cloud, you’ve found it!
The oversized design of the midsole has a cradling, supportive effect, which can be useful in relieving the pain of plantar fasciitis.
Yet despite all the cushioning, these slides are incredibly lightweight, making walking effortless.
The sole is typical of Hoka, with an early-stage meta-rocker design.
This curved shape propels you forwards easily and makes the transition from heel to forefoot very smooth. This gives your thigh and calf muscles a break, helping with recovery even when you’re active.
These slides may not be the cheapest on the market, but they’re highly durable and worth the investment.
They’re also easy to clean, so they will stay looking good well into the future!
– TPR footbed with massage nubs, quick-dry bandage lining, and lightweight EVA outsole
– Most versatile choice
A common complaint with many recovery sandals for runners is that they LOOK like recovery sandals!
If you want something that feels comfortable and soothing but looks stylish enough for all-day wear, check out these affordable slides from Adidas.
Whilst they may not be marketed as recovery footwear, they do a pretty decent job.
The 100s of nubs across the thermoplastic rubber footbed massage your feet yet stimulate them at the same time, so you feel simultaneously soothed and invigorated.
Meanwhile, the plush midsole is made with the signature Adidas Cloudfoam, designed to give you the feeling of walking on air.
Lightweight and durable, these slides feature a bandage-style upper that is easy to adjust for a custom fit. For women’s sizing, order 1 to 1.5 sizes down.
– Water-resistant, with an anatomically designed foot bed and molded EVA midsole
– Best recovery sandals for a barefoot feel
OluKai’s Ohanas were not originally designed as recovery shoes for runners. Nevertheless, their comfortable construction has led to their growing popularity as post-run footwear.
This is mainly down to the contoured foot bed. It is designed to replicate the shape of a wet foot in the sand, and therefore molded to follow the sole’s natural curves.
Well cushioned, it absorbs shock well and offers great support for your arches. It also gives a real feeling of stability, which makes these great for all-day wear if you spend a lot of time on your feet.
Because of their intended purpose as beach sandals, these have great grip on wet surfaces – ideal if you spend a lot of time poolside.
They are also durable, with OluKai offering a one-year guarantee against frayed/loose stitching, or straps pulling out in the absence of excessive wear to the sole.
Consider sizing down, as these sandals tend to run wide.
– Molded foot bed, 1.75 inch platform, and multiple color options
– Best recovery sandals for all-round comfort
They may not be the most stylish in town, but if pillowy-soft comfort is your priority then you can’t go wrong with these affordable slides from Cushionaire.
The thick platform protects your feet and joints from impact, whilst the molded footbed provides some support (although we did notice this is lacking in the arches).
Incredibly lightweight, soft, and flexible, this waterproof sandal has a grippy sole, so it’s as great around the pool as it is for daily wear.
We wouldn’t recommend this sandal if you have a wide foot as there is not a lot of ‘give’ at the front.
– Lightweight and durable, with ACUPOINT soles for massaging action
– Best budget recovery sandals for runners
The innovative sole of these sandals is designed to conform to the shape of your foot.
This makes it super comfortable and helps activate the nerve endings in your feet, enhancing circulation and helping to break up and disperse the lactic acid that can accumulate after exercise.
These sandals are very breathable, with a toe band made from neoprene lined, sport scuba material. It is comfortably stretchy, too, so you are assured of a good fit.
The grippy outsole is durable and provides cushioning, protecting your tired feet from impact after your runs.
On the downside, there is no arch support with these – the therapeutic focus is firmly on massaging your feet.
– Cushioned arch support, contoured cork foot bed, and durable rubber sole
– Helpful for relieving plantar fasciitis pain
Without specifically designing it for recovery, Birkenstock has created the perfect therapeutic footwear with its classic sandal.
Unlike typical recovery shoes, Birkenstocks have a cork sole. This gives them the firmness needed to promote good circulation, whilst simultaneously molding to fit the contours of your foot.
The sole also features a layer of strategically placed super soft foam cushioning, resulting in a sandal that supports your heels and arches effectively.
The suede-lined toe-box is soft and comfortable, whilst the very open design maximizes airflow and allows your feet to breathe. With heaps of colors to choose from – along with width options and half sizes- it’s easy to find a pair that suits your aesthetic and fits well.
– Fibreflex fabric construction, odor-minimizing closed-cell foam, approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association
– A good choice for active recovery
If you are looking for an alternative to recovery sandals more suited to everyday wear, the OOFOS OOmg is ideal.
The foam foot bed uses the same patented footbed geometry as all OOFOS shoes. This means that it supports the arch and effortlessly absorbs impact to protect your body from stress.
The upper is made from a highly breathable mesh that stretches 4 ways. Easy to slide on and off, the shoes give you complete flexibility for natural movement.
Since these shoes are machine washable, they are easy to keep clean, and thanks to the lightweight construction of the uppers they dry quickly too.
Our only complaint? The outsoles could be a bit more durable, especially given the hefty price tag!
The best Recovery Sandals For Runners: Key Takeaways
Comfort is key when it comes to choosing recovery shoes. The right pair will ease any pain or stiffness you experience right after exercise, promoting repair so you’re ready to run again.
Whether you’re looking for a massaging shoe like the Adissage Slides or need the superior arch support provided by OOFOS, we hope you’ve found something suitable in our guide.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how effective recovery improves your performance in the long term.
Did You Know That Active Recovery Can Help You Recover Faster?
Because it increases the flow of blood through your muscles, active recovery can help them offload waste products far more easily, meaning you feel less fatigued.
Find out more with our 15 Active Recovery Workouts For Runners