Gear

The Best Shoes For Runners When Just Chilling

The seven best recovery shoes for runners, with a style and feel for any taste.

After a year of staying home, when we wore relaxed clothing and went barefoot enough that stubbed toes and plantar fasciitis flare-ups skyrocketed, it is time to look to comfortable footwear that helps our feet chill while also letting them unwind from runs with support, protection, comfort and style. These seven “recovery shoes” help you train when you aren’t running and offer such a wide spectrum of styles and food-coddling strategies you’re sure to find a pair you’ll want to slip on after a workout, or have by the door to step into when you’re just stepping out.

Crocs LiteRide Clog | $60

Crocs Literide clog recovery shoe
Photo: 101 Degrees West
Ease of Entry: 5
Creature Comfort: 4
Support: 3

The Crocs of yesteryear are evolved. Now they feature LiteRide foam footbeds that weigh less and are sink-in soft yet bounce right back, and uppers that are both secure and easy on the skin, even when worn with bare feet. The outsole provides dependable grip and the optional ankle strap is there for additional hold if you want — when you don’t, you can rotate it forward and out of the way when you slide right into these sporty clogs.

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Dansko XP 2.0 Black Waterproof Pull Up | $145

Dansko recovery shoes for runners
Photo: 101 Degrees West
Ease of Entry: 5
Creature Comfort: 3
Support: 5

With low expectations from what, at first take, looked like heavy, clunky clogs, these turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. The XP 2.0 clog is lighter in weight than other Danskos. It elevates with its considerable stack height 1.75” and features an ergonomically design, rocker bottom, removable dual density PU footbed, memory foam and Natural Arch technology, all of which had our testers’ feet craving time in them. The clogs are durable, waterproof, have slip resistance and are incredibly supportive and comfortable with a wide toe box and leather uppers.

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Deckers X-Lab KO-Z SNPR Low | $120

Deckers X-Lab KO-Z SNPR Low
Photo: 101 Degrees West
Ease of Entry: 3
Creature Comfort: 5
Support: 3

The fact that Deckers owns Uggs shines through in these “performance slippers,” footwear especially suited for colder temps, where the sheepskin and 10mm wool interior and water repellant treatment help with warmth and dry comfort. The well-cushioned, rocker geometry and EVA foam midsole give athletic elements and recovery foot support to what could otherwise pass as fashionista comfort shoes or house slippers on ‘roids.

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HOKA Ora Recovery Shoe | $80

HOKA Ora recovery shoe
Photo: 101 Degrees West
Ease of Entry: 4
Creature Comfort: 4
Support: 3

It only makes sense that the company that brought us marshmallow maximalist cushioning would make a lofty recovery shoe. The Ora uses HOKA’s thick EVA cushioning and an early stage rocker for roll-through walking or even light running. HOKA integrated grooves to make the Ora more flexible and add traction. The upper is stretchy, breathable and comfortably accommodating, with a soft mesh heel that you can collapse to slide into the shoe like a slipper, or fully deploy it for a more secure hold.

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On Cloud | $130

On Cloud all-day shoe
Photo: 101 Degrees West
Ease of Entry: 4
Creature Comfort: 3
Support: 3

On didn’t have to do much to change its light performance running shoe into a comfort shoe, what they call “Active Life” all-day footwear. The CloudTec mid/outsole Cloud element technology has been slightly reshaped and they’ve tweaked the fit of the upper, plus used a stretchy, speed-lacing system for slip-on-and-off ease. The feel is light and breezy while still athletic, as if a race is eminent  — you could, in fact, lace these up completely and use them as flats. The breathable antimicrobial mesh upper makes them excellent for warmer weather and all-day wear, especially when traveling. We found the Cloud runs small, so consider sizing up a half step or trying on before purchase.

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Oofos Oomg eeZee Low Shoe | $120

Oofos Oomg eeZee Low recovery shoe for runners
Photo: 101 Degres West
Ease of Entry: 4
Creature Comfort: 5
Support: 4

A hit in many categories, the Oomg eeZee was a favorite because it just begged to be on our testers’ feet. Or was it our testers’ feet that begged to be in the eeZees? The OOfoam footbed did, indeed, feel like a bed for one’s feet, a shock-absorbing mattress that was also firm enough that it provided solid arch support. The 4-way stretch woven canvas-like material upper was both comfortable and conforming enough that it embraced the foot and held securely without strangling. A bonus: the closed-cell foam is machine washable and designed to fight odor.

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Topo Rekovr 2 | $115

TOPO Athletics Recovr 2
Photo: 101 Degrees West
Ease of Entry: 4
Creature Comfort: 5
Support: 3

With the traction and durability of its Vibram outsole, the Rekovr 2, is well suited for indoor or outdoor wear. The wool upper keeps your foot temps regulated and resists odors while the contours of the Ortholite footbed stimulate and massage your foot with a relaxing, soothing touch. As a bonus, the Rekovr 2’s clean looks are good enough they can even pass in more formal settings in a post-pandemic world.

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