The 10 Best Recovery Shoes for Runners in 2023
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The 10 Best Recovery Shoes for Runners in 2023

Mar 28, 2024

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Heal your heels, toes, and soles naturally with the best post-run footwear.

RUNNING CAN be demanding—brutal, even—on the mind and body. But, avid runners know the physical act of running isn't always the hardest part. It’s deciding on all the pre- and post-run gear that can really complicate things. There’s choosing the right protein powder, compression socks, headphones, smartwatch, running belt, foam rollers, CBD salves, massage guns—the list goes on. Of course, that’s in addition to finding the best running shoes to fit your foot anatomy and running style.

A good pair of recovery shoes is a must-have, too. Running is tough on your back and legs but your feet most of all, especially after long-distance treks or races when they’re crammed into a shoe space for hours. The right recovery shoes allow your toes and midfoot to spread out comfortably during your post-run wind-down, and packs extra cushioning to support your heels and tired leg muscles. Typically, almost any pair of sandals or slip-on shoes that’s breathable with a wide footbox and a supportive sole will do. But, for serious recovery, you'll benefit greatly from dedicated recovery footwear. We’ve done the heavy leg work (pun intended) of rounding up the 10 best recovery shoes to buy in 2023. Take a look, your feet will thank you.

Best Running Shoes | Best Shoes for Men | Best Running Shoes for Wide Feet | Best Sandals for Men

Nothing beats a wide-open slip-on sandal for recovery. HOKA embraces the simple, tried-and-true design with its Ora Recovery Slide. At the end of a hard race day, these slide over your feet with zero effort to keep them cradled and supported with an oversized midsole design.

Read more: Best HOKA Running Shoes

The plastic water shoe aesthetic of Kane’s Revive Active Recovery Shoe has all the sex appeal of an OG pair of Crocs. But, you won’t care when you realize how comfortable and supportive these feel after a long run. Bonus: They’re sustainably made in Brazil from sugarcane-based EVA foam.

Read more: Best Running Shoes

OOfos’ OOriginal sandal is a cult favorite among hardcore runners. The featherweight recovery sandal pampers your feet with a streamlined, one-piece design that slides on with minimal effort. Plus, the next-gen foam footbed eases stress on your back, joints, and feet.

Read more: Best Sandals for Men

Part slipper, part sneaker, all recovery. The Ko-Z Snpr Low Slip-on from Deckers X Lab is the plushest, most comfortable recovery slip-on on this list. That’s thanks to a memory foam insole and EVA foam midsole that, together, cradle your feet with the perfect anatomic design.

Read more: Best Shoes for Men

This recovery slide is specifically designed for post-race recovery, with a focus on comfort and support. It features a soft top layer of EVA foam with a textured footbed for enhanced comfort and traction.

The midsole is made of HOKA's signature oversized EVA foam, which provides exceptional cushioning and support. A highly durable rubber outsole that offers excellent grip and traction on various surfaces makes this one of the easiest to wear closed-toe options.

Read more: Best Massage Guns for Recovery

The PR Soles Original Sandals from Gone for a Run are like foam rollers for your feet. The raised and ribbed soles activate nerve endings to provide the perfect post-run massage. Plus, they’re among the cheapest option on this list.

Read more: Best Summer Shoes

OOfos proves that clogs aren’t just for nurses and line cooks. The ultra-streamlined design glides on easy around your feet, while a next-gen foam footbed cups and supports your heels, soles, and toes for maximum recovery.

Read more: Best Slip-On Shoes

Topo Athletic elevates the ordinary recovery shoe with its Rekovr 2. These premium kicks offer a cushier footbed that massages and stimulates the soles. The wool/polyester upper means they’re designed to be worn without socks so your feet can stretch out and breathe after a hard race.

Unlike a lot of recovery footwear out there, they're also great for outdoor use, thanks to a Vibram XS Trek EVO outsole with ultra-grippy multi-surface traction.

Read more: Best Running Shoes for Wide Feet

This no-frills option from Chaco is the most open and flexible of any on this list. The polyester webbing expands to accommodate even the widest feet, while an EVA midsole keeps your heels and toes well supported.

Read more: Best Compression Boots

OluKai’s ‘Ohana Flip-Flips aren’t technically billed as recovery shoes. But, the anatomical design and soft nylon toe post are so damn comfortable, you won’t care. They’re built to take a beating too, should you decide to wear them well past your post-workout recovery.

Read more: Best Flip Flops with Arch Support

Choosing a proper pair of recovery shoes can really benefit any runner looking to recover quicker and more comfortably. Consider these factors when shopping:

Cushioning and support: This is#1 for recovery shoes. Look for shoes with ample cushioning that will absorb shock and reduce impact on your joints. Though you won't be covering large distances in your recovery kicks, they should be supportive your foot type, too.

Breathability: After logging some miles, we know your dogs are barking. So opt for shoes that will let your feet air out and cool down. Breathable materials like mesh or perforated leather are good choices to help keep your feet cool and dry, reducing the risk of blisters and other foot irritations.

Flexibility: The best recovery footwear is flexible enough to allow your feet to move naturally and without constraints. This can help improve circulation and reduce muscle soreness.

Style: There are a few different styles of recovery shoes out there, each with its own features and benefits. Consider whether you want an open-toe style like slides or flip flops. Or a closed-toe model like clogs or slip-ons, which can provide a little extra support and protection.

Size: A well-fitting pair of recovery shoes should have a roomy fit without being too loose. There should be about a thumb's width of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Check the width, too. Make sure the shoe is wide enough to accommodate your foot without constricting it on the sides, midfoot, or heel, especially for non-sandal models.

Durability: While recovery shoes won't take a beating like your running kicks do (and aren't designed to), it's still important to look for shoes made from high-quality materials that will last. This is especially important if you plan to wear them frequently or outdoors.

For the past two years, we consulted with Men's Health's fitness team to find the best recovery shoes for runners. Experts including our fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., and senior fitness editor Brett Williams, NASM, tested the top models to evaluate comfort and effectiveness. We also considered feedback from certified buyers on e-commerce sites we trust via reviews.

Talene Appleton is a fitness and food writer and editor, certified personal trainer (NASM-CPT), and former professional dancer based in New York City. Passionate about both exercise and cuisine, she merges her fitness, nutrition and culinary expertise with the goal of motivating others to embrace balanced healthy living. Her work has appeared in Men’s Health, General Surgery News, The Food Institute, The Nessie, and more.

Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South Africa, and survived a near-miss great white shark attack in Mexico. His travel advice has appeared on the websites for Forbes, Travel + Leisure, CNET, and National Geographic. He loves the great outdoors and good bourbon, and (usually) calls Tulsa, Oklahoma home. Mike also enjoys speaking in the third person.

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RUNNING CANBest Running Shoes Best Shoes for MenBest Running Shoes for Wide FeetBest Sandals for Men Read more: Best HOKA Running ShoesRead more: Best Running Shoes Read more: Best Sandals for MenRead more: Best Shoes for MenRead more: Best Massage Guns for RecoveryRead more: Best Summer ShoesRead more: Best Slip-On ShoesRead more: Best Running Shoes for Wide FeetRead more: Best Compression BootsRead more: Best Flip Flops with Arch SupportCushioning and supportBreathabilityFlexibilityStyleSize: SizeDurability