Regularly hitting the trails, road or weight rack? The right pair of recovery shoes can help your body bounce back between sessions. Just like massage, compression boots and other recovery techniques, these specialized shoes ease fatigue by boosting circulation and alleviating strain.
"Athletic shoes can be tight, and compression leads to foot irritation," Megan James, PT, DPT, an ultrarunner and lead pelvic floor therapist at Rise Physical Therapy in Arkansas, says.
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"It's not fun to put on socks when your feet are swollen or blistered from a race or hard effort," she says. "[Recovery] shoes allow for decreased compression on the foot and are helpful if you're dealing with foot pain or issues such as plantar fasciitis or metatarsalgia, or pain in the ball of the foot."
While the exact style comes down to personal taste, the best recovery shoes have feel-good features like increased arch support, wide toe boxes and plush footbeds that reduce impact on weary feet while allowing toes to spread and relax.
And nothing's worse than stuffing swollen, sore feet into another pair of tight shoes, so James recommends shoes made from breathable fabrics that don't irritate blisters or other hot spots and styles that are easy to slip on and off when sweaty or tired.
Can't decide between slides or sneakers, a slip-on or a clog? Here, James and other fitness experts recommend their go-to recovery shoes.
Best Recovery Shoes
- Best Overall: Hoka Ora Recovery Slide 3 ($60, Hoka)
- Best Value: Adidas Adilette Comfort Slides ($35, Adidas)
- Best Sandal: Oofos Ooriginal Sandal ($59.95, Oofos, men's and women's)
- Best Sneaker: Oofos Oomg Low Shoe ($139.95, Amazon, men's and women's)
- Best Slip-On: Hoka Ora Recovery Shoe 2 ($90, Hoka, men's and women's)
- Best Eco-Friendly: Kane Revive ($80, Kane)
- Best for Outdoors: Merrell Hut Ultra ($80, Merrell, men's and women's)
- Best for Plantar Fasciitis: Hyper Arch Motion Sneakers ($99.95, Hyper Arch Motion)
- Best Clog: Crocs Literide 360 Clog ($59.99, Crocs)
- Best Lifestyle Sandal: Vionic Tide II Toe Post Sandal ($74.95, Vionic, men's and women's)
- Best Slide: Oofos Ooaah Slide Sandal ($59.95, Oofos, men's and women's)
How We Chose
We talked to physical therapists, sports medicine doctors and everyday athletes to determine what you should consider when shopping for a pair of recovery shoes. Taking into account their recommendations, we chose the best 11 pairs based on the following criteria. You can learn more about how we cover products here.
- Available sizes and colors
- Stability and support
1. Hoka Ora Recovery Slide 3
James says she and other ultrarunners in her community reach for the Hoka Ora Recovery Slide after hours on the roads and trails. "They provide a lot of cushioning, and they're extremely comfortable and designed by some of the best in the shoe business," she says. "You will find me in them all weekend after my long runs."
While not exactly sleek, the shoe comes in fun colors like ice blue and lime green, with a wide, responsive platform and ventilated air flow channels — ideal for letting tired feet breathe and stretch out after logging long miles.
The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) agrees: It awarded these Hoka recovery shoes its Seal of Approval, a recognition for products beneficial to foot health. They come in unisex sizing from M3/W5 to M14/W16.
2. Adidas Adilette Comfort Slides
With a streamlined, timeless design and all-over foot support thanks to a wide, contoured footbed, the Adidas Adilette Comfort has been a go-to recovery shoe for athletes for decades.
Christy Fennessy, an Atlanta personal trainer, group fitness coach and founder of Strong for the Sport, a strength and conditioning program for youth athletes, says, "I spend as much recovery time in my Adidas slides as humanly possible. After a long day of training clients, teaching fitness classes and doing my own workouts, I want my feet to breathe and relax."
The easy, slip-on style offers all-over cushioning plus a durable and stylish design that transitions easily from the studio to the street — all in fun colors and unisex sizes from M 4.5/W 5.5 to M 13.5/W 14.5.
And at $35 per pair (and many colors on sale for even less), the price tag won't break your budget, so you can splurge on two pairs, like Fennesey: one pair for lounging indoors and one for post-workout errands.
3. Oofos Ooriginal Sandal
Pam Moore, CPT, a recreational cyclist, certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor in Boulder, Colorado, loves these thong-style sandals. "I've worn lots of different flip flops, including pricier brands, but this is the first pair I've found that offers legitimate arch support and makes me feel like I'm walking on a cloud," she says.
"Oofoam," the brand's proprietary technology, cushions feet with shock-absorbing support that reduces stress on weary knees, ankles and other joints by 37 percent. New York City–based actress and marathoner Meggin Stailey discovered Oofos Ooriginal Sandals at a race expo in 2011. They've stayed her faves ever since: "These are the only shoes I want to put on after a long run," she says.
Be mindful of wearing them to the beach or pool, though — the shoes don't have as much traction as other styles. And they only come in whole sizes, so size up if you normally wear a half size.
4. Oofos Oomg Low Shoe
For shoes that take you from workout to work, try these Oofos. Available in a range of colors, these shoes have a foam arch support and the same shock-absorbing insole as the brand's sandals for all-day comfort and relief.
The mesh, four-way stretch fabric adds breathability to the closed-toe style, while the elevated height makes it one of the best all-day recovery shoes for plantar fasciitis and other common foot issues. They even made our list for best shoes for heel spurs.
But that comfort comes at a cost: This is the most expensive pair of shoes on our list. But they are also one of the most versatile, fashion-forward styles on the market.
5. Hoka Ora Recovery Shoe 2
Get post-workout relief with the ultra-cushioned, slip-on Hoka Ora Recovery Shoe 2. Amanda Victoria, an avid runner and founder and CEO of Siponey, says the easy style is perfect for her mom-on-the-go lifestyle.
"I call them my raviolis because they feel so pillowy but are also very supportive," she says. "Plus, they're the only slip-on shoes I can truly break into a run to catch my toddler in!"
With a cushioned midsole, memory foam heel and collapsible mesh upper that makes them easy to stash in a gym bag or suitcase, these Hoka recovery shoes are lightweight and breathable — rare in a shoe that can double as sneaker.
The large elastic band provides walking ankle support and is tight enough for a secure fit but flexible enough to slip the shoes on and off quickly. While the shoes come in several colors, the women's version is only available in sizes 5 to 11, and they are more expensive than other Hoka recovery shoes.
6. Kane Revive
With unique features like rubber nodes in the footbed to promote circulation and recovery, this slip-on recovery shoe was developed by foot and ankle surgeon Daniel Geller, DPM.
The closed-toed, Crocs-like design has small holes for maximum breathability, plus a wide, cushioned platform and arch support for weary feet. That plushness comes from foam made from 75 percent recyclable Brazilian sugarcane.
Kane offers one of the largest size ranges of any of the best recovery shoes (from M3/W5 to M17/W19) and comes in several different colors. They are more expensive than other options, and some athletes may find them challenging to put on after a sweaty workout — but that also means they won't slip off while you're running errands.
7. Merrell Hut Ultra
Need a post-hike pick to wear at the campsite? Sports medicine physician Reuben Chen, MD says these recovery shoes from outdoor footwear maker Merrell have all the features he recommends to patients.
"They have a large toe box and provide support and good cushioning for the feet," he says.
Available in three styles (flip, slide and wrap) the plush recovery sandals have a cushy foam footbed and a gentle, supportive arch along with a breathable mesh upper for toes to spread out and relax after a long day of activity.
The shoes are durable and have great traction due to the grippy outsole the brand uses in its high-performance hiking and athletic shoes, so are great for active outdoor activities.
8. Hyper Arch Motion Sneakers
Dedicated arch support, memory foam insoles and breathable fabric make this style one of the best recovery shoes for plantar fasciitis. The rocker-shaped outsole is shock-absorbing and cushions tired joints, while a padded heel cup prevents blisters and chafing. And grippy soles give ample traction for running errands in wet or inclement weather or wearing to the beach or pool.
The slip-on design makes them easy to take on and off pre- and post-workout, but the shoes only come in a few muted colors. And plan to invest in your comfort — the shoes, available in women's sizes 5 to 12, start at $99.95 per pair.
9. Crocs Literide 360 Clog
These clogs have all the features of the classic — perforated holes for breathable, plus textured insoles that mold to the shape of your foot — as well as an ultra-plush foam layer for added comfort and post-workout relief.
The base adds arch support and reduces pressure on tired joints and feet, while the molded foam footbed features tiny pressure points that boost circulation and give feet a mini-massage while you walk.
The shoes are not as fashion-forward as other options, and the back strap of the full-sized shoes might not fit those who traditionally wear a half-size. But its restorative, supportive features and slip-on style make it a good alternative to full-coverage sneakers or airy slides.
10. Vionic Tide II Toe Post Sandal
Don't be fooled by the Vionic Tide II Post Sandal's stylish, minimalist look. Designed by a podiatrist, these recovery sandals feature built-in arch support, a wide footbed and an open design to relieve pressure from common foot issues like bunions and plantar fasciitis.
While the colors are limited, fun patterns like tortoise elevate them from traditional recovery slides, all while a springy, lightweight EVA midsole absorbs shock and reduces stress on feet, knees and ankles — and the shoe has received the APMA Seal of Acceptance.
The durable outsole tread provides more traction than traditional thongs and flip-flops, and the shoes are easy to clean with a damp cloth. Available in women's sizes 5 to 12 and men's 7 to 14, the shoes run large, so size down if you fall between sizes.
11. Oofos Ooaah Slide Sandal
Just like the company's other recovery shoes, these slides offer ample arch support and a foot-hugging mold to reduce stress on the lower body, especially for people with plantar fasciitis or high arches. This technology — which is bouncy and odor-resistant — is also APMA-approved, making this a top go-to slide for runners and athletes. Even better? They slides are machine-washable for simple and quick cleaning.
Steven Spitz, MD, an Atlanta-based neurosurgeon, relies on this model to help with plantar fasciitis from standing all day.
"I have tried so many different types of shoes in the OR and none of them helped with my plantar fasciitis until I found Oofos," he says. "I wear their clogs in the OR and the recovery slide while I'm at home. They provide ample heel cushion and arch support for someone who needs to be on their feet all day." (Indeed, they made our list of best sandals for plantar fasciitis.)
While the top band is wider than those on other slides, it's soft enough to prevent chafing and rubbing when walking and ensures a snug but comfortable fit. The size range — 5 to 16 for women, 3 to 14 for men — is more extensive than other brands, but be sure to snag your favorite colors quickly before they are out of stock.
4 Things to Consider Before Buying
1. Support and Stability
Our experts agree that the best recovery shoes have foot and ankle-stabilizing and comfort features like support arches, cushioned foam, molded footbeds and orthotics to ease stress on tired limbs and joints.
For both closed and open-toed styles, experts recommend a wide, foot-conforming bed that gives toes and the balls of the feet space to rest and reset.
Just like with your everyday workout shoe, it's important to invest in high-quality, durable recovery footwear that lasts for multiple wearings. Wondering when to replace shoes? If they start to lose traction, feel less cushy or responsive or show signs of extensive wear and tear, it might be time to invest in a new pair.
3. Fit and Style
When choosing from the variety of recovery styles — sneakers, slides, sandals and more — opt for what feels best on your foot.
Those with narrow heels might prefer a clog or sneaker with a snug midfoot strap or ankle support, while those with wider feet or bunions might be more comfortable with an open-toed sandal and generous platform. Whichever shoe you choose should fit snuggly but comfortably and be easy to slip on after your favorite workout.
While recovery shoes come in a wide range of men's, women's and unisex sizing, several are only available in whole sizes. So if your feet fall outside of these ranges, your options might be limited. And if you normally wear a half-size, it's best to read reviews to determine whether to size up or down for the perfect fit.