I have to admit when I first got a pair of OOFOS recovery shoes sent to me for review, I was pretty skeptical. When footwear manufacturers make bold claims about 30% this and 30% that, it feels like they’re clutching at straws to find some point of differentiation – which they are to be honest.
BUT, and this is a big but… when I whacked a pair of Oofos on, I did think to myself. “OK, these things are damn comfy” and maybe there is something in this whole 30-odd percent benefit jargon they speak of.
As soon as you slide your foot into an OOFOS, you feel that immediate sense of sinking into the shoe. They are quite honestly the most comfortable things I’ve ever put on my ruined, ugly feet. Apparently this is due to the ‘technology’ (read foam) used which allows for far greater impact absorption (37% if you believe the stats! – Although no link to the study on the website), rather than when you wear a traditional shoe or thong, which pushes the energy back up to you.
Now I can see a bit of logic in this. Imagine the most comfortable bed or sofa you’ve sat or laid down in. That awesome sinking feeling as you snuggle on in away from the world to watch an entire series of whatever is trendy / cool on Netflix right now with a massive bar of chocolate. This is kind of how I think my feet might feel when I shove them into an OOFOS.
So what’s behind this rather stealth and extremely comfortable shoe? The true test for me is in the recovery, so as part of my training for the GNW 100 miler this year, I used them extensively post long runs and of course, after the big dance itself.
For those interested in the blurb, the OOFOS footwear uses a combination of ‘OOfoam’ technology and a patented footbed design to help activate and support the muscles of the feet, particularly in the arches. As mentioned, the foam technology offers more impact absorption than materials used in running shoes etc… Apparently when walking in OOFOS, it requires less power in the ankle joint, thereby, conserving energy. This means recovery begins immediately and continues while you’re wearing OOFOS.
Yeah OK, that’s the theory, but are they any good in the recovery? The short answer is yes. For me, after every long run, sticking these things on my feet was like a feeling of walking on air. If there’s such a thing. It does what it says on the tin. The whole walking thing after a big run does mean less effort on your behalf.
Apparently they also help to offer relief from the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. This is due to the increased impact absorption the shoes provide and the biomechanically engineered footbed. That helps increase circulation and provides greater arch support.
After I’d finished the miler at GNW, I was interested to see if they would make a different to my movement. Now of course, there are many other factors at play here when considering recovery from a big race. But in terms of walking and keeping moving after that run, these things certainly made life easier. Yes, my body still felt like it had been through the wringer, but walking did feel far more effortless and easier.
So far a pretty glowing report I hear you cry, surely there’s something wrong with them? Of course there is, but to be honest the benefits of these things far outweigh any minor issues. But it’s good to point them out to provide that little bit of balance.
First up is the price. $70 kangaroo dollars for a bit of foam on the feet is a steep price to pay I admit. The caveat I’ll throw into this review was that my pair were sent to me for gratis. But, removing myself that from the equation, would I be prepared to pay $70 for a pair of these? The answer would still be yes. The benefits you gain in the recovery post race or long run from these are certainly worth it. Look at it this way. If you pay for physio / massages as part of your running programme and training, these should be an extension. That would be my justification for the price.
The second thing I noticed was these could get a little sweaty. There was a little bit of rubbing on the sole of my foot at times, in areas where I know I’m prone to my feet cracking a little. Was this due to the footwear or the dryness of winter? As in my feet went from being sweaty after a run to open toe shoes and drying up. I’m not sure, but I did notice the onset of cracking feet a little more when wearing these. Jury is still out on that one – need to test these in the summer period to get a true reflection.
So all up, these get the thumbs up from me. Yes, they’re pricey, but I do think they’re worth it and play a big role in helping you recovery better.