The 11 Best Recovery Shoes of 2022

HOKA ONE ONE’s ORA Recovery Slides are comfortable, supportive, and breathable

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Recovery is an essential part of any well-rounded fitness routine. And while there are many ways to help your body recover from a workout, wearing recovery shoes—shoes that are designed to encourage post-workout recovery—is one great option. “Recovery shoes are typically worn after athletic activity as a way to encourage recovery, relax fatigued muscles, and support the foot and ankle,” Dan Geller, DPM, foot and ankle surgeon, says. 

Reviewed & Approved

Comfortable, supportive, and breathable, HOKA ONE ONE’s ORA Recovery Slides are padded for comfort, shaped for support, and designed to relieve stress as you walk. If you want a pair of recovery slides that don’t look like recovery shoes, we recommend the Birkenstock Arizona Birko-Flor.

The best recovery shoes have a few things in common. “They should have cushion and support, provide aeration that prevents moisture and heat buildup, and perhaps even stimulate blood flow,” Dr. Geller says. Put simply, great recovery shoes are comfortable, supportive, and breathable—and some use pressure points to stimulate your feet when you wear them.

To find the best recovery shoes, we spent hours researching best-in-class options, assessing them for comfort, support, breathability, and style. We also interviewed two experts—Dr. Geller and Danni Alderson, CPT, trainer at Rumble Training—for advice on what to consider when buying recovery shoes.

Based on our research, here are the best recovery shoes on the market.

Best Overall: HOKA ONE ONE ORA Recovery Slides

HOKA ONE ONE ORA Recovery Slides

REI

Pros
  • Plush foam lining

  • Rocker-style soles

  • Groove-lined insoles

Cons
  • Don’t look like normal shoes

There are lots of great recovery shoes out there, but HOKA ONE ONE’s ORA Recovery Slides handily earned our top spot. Why? The slides are comfortable, supportive, and breathable—everything great recovery shoes should be. Plus, they boast that cherry-on-top feature Dr. Geller told us to look for—a textured insole that stimulates your feet every time you take a step.

Made of rubber, the shoes feel sturdy and supportive. But since they’re lined with plush foam, they also cushion your feet as you walk and offer lots of arch support. Since the shoes are slides, they naturally give your feet plenty of air. And their rocker-style soles—which curl up at the ends instead of sitting flat on the floor—alleviate pressure as you walk, making it easier to transfer energy from the back of your foot to the front.

What really sold us on these shoes? Their insoles are lined with raised grooves, which stimulate your feet every time you slip on the slides. According to Dr. Geller, this feature is a nice-to-have—not a must-have. But since the shoes also ticked all the must-have feature boxes, they were a shoo-in for our top spot.

Price at time of publication: $55

Sizes: 3–14 | Color Options: 5 | Style: Slide

Best Budget: Beslip Orthotic Flip Flops

Beslip Orthotic Flip Flops

Amazon

Pros
  • Made of plush foam

  • Textured insoles

Cons
  • Semi-flat soles

Shopping for recovery shoes on a budget? We recommend Beslip’s Orthotic Flip Flops. While the shoes aren’t quite as feature-packed as some of the other options on our list, they’re still comfortable, supportive, and breathable—and they definitely get the job done.

The flip-flops are made entirely of EVA foam—a plush material that’s often used to line the inside of shoes. This makes the flip-flops feel extra soft and comfortable. But thanks to their sculpted insoles and anti-slip outsoles, they’re still sturdy, supportive, and great for post-workout wear.

Since the shoes are flip-flops, they’re easy to slip on and really great for airflow. And while their soles don’t curl up at both ends, they do curl up at the toe—giving you some of the pressure relief you’d get from a rocker-style sole. Also nice? The shoes’ insoles are lined with tiny raised diamonds, so they offer just enough texture to stimulate your feet as you walk. 

Price at time of publication: $22

Sizes: 6/6.5–10/11.5 | Color Options: 8 | Style: Flip-flop

Best Slide: Birkenstock Arizona Birko-Flor

Birkenstock Arizona Birko-Flor

Amazon

Pros
  • Stylish

  • Contoured foam-latex footbeds

  • Adjustable fit

Cons
  • Flat soles

Birkenstocks may not be the first shoes that come to mind when you think about fitness footwear. But the brand’s Arizona Birk-Flor slides are some of the best recovery shoes around. 

The slides are designed with Birkenstock’s signature cork-latex footbeds, which are contoured to make your feet feel supported and comfortable. The shoes are indented in the back to cradle your heels, raised in the middle to support your arches, and curved on the sides to stabilize your feet. They’re also designed with raised strips in the front, which fill in the space between your toes and the balls of your feet—making the slides easier to grip.

Because the shoes are slides, they offer plenty of airflow. And since they’re lined with suede and designed with adjustable straps, they’re some of the most comfortable shoes on our list.

Of course, the thing we love most about these slides is that they don’t look like recovery shoes. This makes the shoes easy to wear outside of your workouts—and great when you need to run errands after hitting the gym.

Price at time of publication: $100

Sizes: 4/4.5–12/12.5 | Color Options: 3 | Style: Slides

Best Splurge: OOFOS OOmg Fiber Low Shoes

OOFOS OOmg Fiber Low Shoes

Amazon

Pros
  • Thick foam footbeds

  • Rocker-style soles

  • Machine-washable

Cons
  • Less breathable than open-toe shoes

OOFOS’s OOmg Fiber Low Shoes are easily the most expensive recovery shoes on our list—but they’re worth every penny. The slip-ons are remarkably comfortable and supportive. And despite their closed-toe design, they’re still breathable enough to wear after a workout.

Unlike many of our other top picks, these shoes aren’t slides or sandals. Instead, they’re closed-toe slip-ons—and if that sounds like a recipe for dank discomfort, don’t worry. Since the shoes are made of mesh, they’re stretchy, breathable, and easy to move around in. They’re also machine-washable, so you can toss them in the laundry if they ever start to stink.

But what really sets these shoes apart? Their signature OOfoam footbeds. The extra-thick footbeds are made of impact-resistant foam, so they feel plush, bouncy, and supportive. And they curve at the sides to cradle your feet as you walk. Even better: These footbeds sit on top of rocker-style outsoles, which curl up at the toe and heel to relieve pressure as you walk. This combination of features makes for a seriously supportive shoe—and one you’ll be excited to slip on every time you finish a workout.

Price at time of publication: $150

Sizes: 5–12 | Color Options: 4 | Style: Slip-on sneaker

Best Flip-Flop: OOFOS OOriginal Sandals

OOFOS OOriginal Sandals

Amazon

Pros
  • Made of plush foam

  • Rocker-style soles

  • Textured insoles

Cons
  • Slightly pricier than our favorite

  • Don’t look like normal shoes

OOFOS’s OOriginal Sandals are so great that we almost made them our Best Overall pick. The flip-flops are comfortable, supportive, and breathable—and they even boast those textured insoles Dr. Geller told us to look for. In the end, our decision came down to price. The HOKA ORA Recovery Slides are a little less expensive than these OOFOS flip-flops. But since the difference is minor, we wouldn’t fault you for picking these over the HOKAs—especially if you prefer flip-flops to slides. 

From top to bottom, these flip-flops are made of OOfoam—the impact-resistant foam OOFOS has become known for. This material makes the shoes feel sturdy but bouncy, giving you the blend of comfort and support you want from a recovery shoe. 

The flip-flops are also packed with features that make them great recovery shoes. Their insoles are molded to give you lots of arch support. Their open-toe design is great for airflow. And their rocker-style soles cut down on joint strain, making it extra-comfortable to walk. The shoes are even designed with textured insoles, so every time you slip them on, you can expect tiny raised diamonds to stimulate your feet.

Price at time of publication: $60

Sizes: 6–15 | Color Options: 6 | Style: Flip-flops

Best Sandal: Crocs Sexi Flip

Crocs Sexi Flip

Amazon

Pros
  • Stylish

  • Sturdy but bouncy soles

  • Textured insoles

Cons
  • Semi-flat soles

  • Not very cushioned

Crocs’ Sexi Flip sandals are the cutest recovery shoes we’ve seen. The shoes are comfortable, supportive, and breathable, so they cover all your recovery shoe bases. But they’re designed to look like a sleek pair of sandals, making them cute enough to wear anywhere—and a great pair of recovery shoes to have in your collection.

Like many of Crocs’ other shoes, these sandals are made of Croslite, a closed-cell resin material that feels sturdy but bouncy. This material makes the sandals great recovery shoes—and their shape makes them even better ones. The sandals curve up at the center of the insole to give you lots of arch support. And since they curl up at the toe, they also offer some of the pressure-relieving benefits you’d get from a rocker-style sole.

Though the shoes are cute enough to pass as ordinary footwear, they boast a classic recovery shoe detail: Their insoles are lined with tiny raised nubs. These nubs massage your feet every time you wear the sandals, giving you the stimulating feel of recovery shoes anywhere you go.

Price at time of publication: $43

Sizes: 4–11 | Color Options: 4 | Style: Sandals

Best Mule: Merrell Encore Breeze 4

Merrell Encore Breeze 4

Amazon

Pros
  • Versatile

  • Removable foam footbeds

  • Rocker-style soles

Cons
  • Don’t look like normal shoes

  • Less breathable than open-toe shoes

Combing through this list, you’ll find a lot of slides—and a handful of sneakers. But what we love about Merrell’s Encore Breeze 4 mules is that they offer the best of both. Their closed-toe design makes them easy to wear during everyday activities, and their open heel offers the airflow you want after a workout. They’re also packed with supportive features that make them great recovery shoes.

Though the shoes are already breathable, they’re covered with stretchy mesh—a material that offers even more airflow. And they’re lined with plush foam footbeds, which you can swap with your own orthotics. At the base of the shoe, you’ll find a grippy rubber outsole—which is raised to offer arch support and curved to relieve pressure as you walk. That sole is also cushioned with pockets of air, which make the shoes feel bouncier and even more comfortable.

Thanks to that well-rounded feature set, the shoes became a fast favorite of ours—and an easy addition to our list. We also love that they come in medium and wide widths, as well as a range of colors and sizes. Because that makes it extra easy to find a pair worth investing in. 

Price at time of publication: $100

Sizes: 5–12 | Color Options: 6 | Style: Mules

Best Clog: Crocs LiteRide 360 Clogs

Crocs LiteRide 360 Clogs

Amazon

Pros
  • Plush foam lining

  • Rocker-style soles

  • Pressure-point-lined insoles

Cons
  • Not the most stylish option

Classic Crocs are great recovery shoes. But Crocs’ LiteRide 360 Clogs are even better ones. Like their classic counterpart, the clogs are supportive, breathable, and lined with textured insoles. But they’re also cushioned with a layer of plush foam—a detail that makes them perfect for post-workout wear.

While most Crocs are made of Croslite, Crocs’ signature stiff-yet-bouncy resin, these are made of three different materials. The base is made of Croslite, which is sculpted to offer arch support and relieve pressure as you walk. And the top is lined with Matlite, a flexible material lined with airflow-friendly holes. The inside of the shoe is cushioned with LiteRide foam, a soft material that contours to your feet every time you wear the clogs. And since those footbeds are also textured with tiny pressure points, the shoes boast every single feature experts told us to look for.

Price at time of publication: $60

Sizes: 6–15 | Color Options: 11 | Style: Clogs

Best Slip-On: Kane Revive Active Recovery Shoe

Kane Revive Active Recovery Shoe

Kane

Pros
  • Made of plush foam

  • Rocker-style soles

  • Nub-lined insoles

Cons
  • Don’t look like normal shoes

Kane’s Revive Active Recovery Shoes were designed in collaboration with Dr. Geller himself. So it should come as no surprise that they meet every requirement on his list. The shoes are supportive, comfortable, and breathable—and they’re textured to stimulate your feet every time you wear them. This well-rounded feature set left us seriously impressed. In fact, we added a “slip-on” category to our list just to be able to include them.

The slip-ons are made of injection-molded foam, so they feel cushioned and supportive. And though they’re closed-toe shoes, they’re covered with airflow-friendly holes that keep them nice and breathable. Like all good recovery shoes, the slip-ons offer ample arch support—and their soles curl up at the toes and heels to reduce pressure as you walk. And they’re designed with textured footbeds, which massage your feet as you walk around in the shoes.

Those features make the slip-ons some of the most well-rounded recovery shoes on our list. And the fact that they come in 15 different colors? Well, that only sweetens the deal.

Price at time of publication: $75

Sizes: 5–19 | Color Options: 15 | Style: Slip-ons

Best Sneaker: Topo Athletic Vibe Recovery Shoe Vibe Recovery Shoe

Topo Athletic Vibe Recovery Shoe

Amazon

Pros
  • Sleek design

  • Sneaker-like soles

  • Machine-washable

Cons
  • Semi-flat soles

  • Less breathable than open-toe shoes

Topo’s Athletic Vibe Recovery Shoes are the perfect recovery shoes to wear on your days off. Sure, they may not look as breathable or plush as some of our other top picks. But they’re sleek enough for everyday wear and sturdy enough to walk around in—making them a useful pair of recovery shoes to have in your collection.

The shoes are made of breathable mesh. So while they don’t offer as much airflow as a pair of classic slides, they still give your feet plenty of room to breathe. They’re also machine-washable, which is always a win. And they’re surprisingly stretchy and comfortable, so they’re easy to slip into—even when your feet are tired.

By far, our favorite thing about these sneakers, though, is their soles—which combine the sturdy feel of a sneaker with the support of a recovery shoe. Thick and grippy, these soles are great for outdoor strolls. But they curl up in the front to relieve pressure as you walk. And they get narrower in the back and wider in the front to stabilize your foot without squeezing it. 

Price at time of publication: $110

Sizes: 6–8 | Color Options: 3 | Style: Slip-on sneakers

Best Lace-Up: Under Armour Unisex UA Recover LCE Shoes

Under Armour Unisex UA Recover LCE Shoes

Under Armour

Pros
  • Sleek design

  • Cozy, sock-like feel

  • Rocker-style soles

Cons
  • Less breathable than open-toe shoes

Lace-up recovery shoes are surprisingly hard to find. In our hours of research, we came across tons of slip-ons. But Under Armour’s Unisex UA Recover LCE Shoes were some of the only shoes that looked like traditional sneakers. This made the shoes a standout find—but their supportive, breathable feel is what makes them worth the buy.

The shoes are made of a knit material, and they’re designed to feel like socks. So they’re stretchy, cozy, and easy to slip on. And they’re remarkably breathable compared to classic lace-up sneakers. The insides of the shoes are padded with plush foam, making the sneakers feel comfortable inside and out. And their thick soles curl up at the toes and heels, encouraging you to rock forward as you walk instead of putting undue stress on your muscles.

As you can probably tell from this feature set, these aren’t the kind of sneakers you want to wear during workouts. But they’re an incredibly cozy option for everyday wear—and they’re some of the most versatile-looking recovery shoes that made it onto our list.

Price at time of publication: $100

Sizes: 5.5–19.5 | Color Options: 1 | Style: Lace-up sneakers

How We Selected the Best Recovery Shoes

To find the best recovery shoes, we interviewed two experts: Dan Geller, DPM, foot and ankle surgeon, and Danni Alderson, CPT, trainer at Rumble Training. They told us that great recovery shoes cushion your feet, offer plenty of support, and provide lots of airflow—and that some are even textured to stimulate your feet when you wear them.

As we researched dozens of top-rated recovery shoes, we kept this advice in mind. Every pair of shoes on our list is comfortable, supportive, and breathable—and some are even lined with textured insoles, too. We also paid attention to style, variety, and overall value, favoring shoes that were sleek-looking, available in a range of colors and sizes, and on offer at a great price.

What to Look for in Recovery Shoes

Support

Great recovery shoes support your feet. And to assess support, you can look for a few key features. First, make sure the shoes you’re eyeing offer ample arch support. Then, look for rocker-style soles. Rocker-style soles curve up at the front and back, making it easy to rock from your heels to your toes. This gives you what experts call “smooth heel-to-toe transfer,” reducing muscle stress as you walk. Finally, look for raised heels. When your heels are higher than your toes, it’s easy to shift your weight forward. So raised heels can give you the same easy heel-to-toe transfer you’d get from rocker-style soles.

Comfort

Recovery shoes are supposed to feel comfortable. So when shopping, Alderson looks for shoes that are padded and roomy. “I want to take as much stress out of each step as possible post-workout, so a high level of cushioning is key,” she says. “I also look for shoes that allow my feet to splay out and relax after being trapped in tight trainers.” Make sure the shoes you’re eyeing are cushioned with padding or made of a plush material (like foam). And be sure the shoes are the right size and width for your feet.

Breathability

After a workout, your feet can get hot and sweaty—so finding breathable recovery shoes is key. Open-toe shoes are naturally breathable. So if you stick with slides or sandals, your feet should get plenty of airflow. But closed-toe recovery shoes can also be breathable. Just make sure the shoes are made of breathable materials (like mesh) or ventilated with airflow-friendly holes and cutouts.

Textured footbeds

In order to be good recovery shoes, shoes need to be supportive, comfortable, and breathable. But one nice-to-have feature you might also want to look for? Stimulating footbeds. According to Dr. Geller, some recovery shoe footbeds are lined with “small pressure points to help stimulate blood flow and help relax tired foot muscles and fascia.” And while these textured insoles won’t make or break your recovery shoes, they can certainly make them better.

Style

Recovery shoes come in a range of different styles—and some look more stylish than others. So consider where you plan to wear your recovery shoes and invest in a pair you’ll feel comfortable wearing. “Think about where you’re going to wear your recovery shoes—immediately after a race, out and about, or just at home,” Alderson says. “And look for a shoe that you will wear! It sounds silly, but if you don’t want to rock the socks and sandals look post-run, maybe go for a closed-toe shoe.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a recovery shoe?

    Recovery shoes are exactly what they sound like: They’re shoes designed to help your body recover from a workout. “Recovery shoes assist in the active recovery phase of fitness,” Dr. Geller says. “By providing support, cushion, and easy transfer from heel to toe, recovery shoes lower stress, increase blood flow, [and] help fatigued muscles recover more effectively.”

  • Can/should you wear recovery shoes all day?

    Most people wear recovery shoes right after a workout, but you can technically wear them all the time. “A recovery shoe is for all the hours after a workout—and beyond—to offer support when your muscles are recovering,” Alderson says.

    If you’re looking for recovery shoes you can wear as everyday shoes, try to find a pair that’s sleek enough to pass as normal footwear. Recovery shoes come in many different styles, and some are more stylish than others.

  • Can you walk in recovery shoes?

    You can definitely walk around in recovery shoes. In fact, recovery shoes are designed to make walking more comfortable by reducing pressure on your feet and ankles every time you take a step.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Lindsey Lanquist is a contributing writer for Verywell Fit with seven years of experience in the health and fitness space. As an avid exerciser, Lindsey understands the importance of post-workout recovery. And since she knows bad recovery shoes can actually be counterproductive—making your body feel more tired—she made sure all the shoes she featured were supportive, comfortable, and breathable (key criteria experts told her to look for).