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If you’ve gone for a long run or participated in a tough boot camp session, you may feel on top of the world — but your feet may not feel quite so euphoric. In fact, they might be achy, tired and sore, and your legs and calves aren’t feeling so great either. So, you resign yourself to the fact that you’ll just always be in pain after a hard workout, and you immediately hit the couch.

How about this for another scenario? As soon as you’re finished with your workout, you switch out of your sneakers into a pair of recovery shoes. Suddenly, that soreness in your feet disappears and you go about your day.

With the right pair of shoes, this situation is entirely possible, Kizik Shoes  especially when they’re recommended by experts like Dr. Marlene Reid of Family Podiatry Center in Naperville, Illinois, and former president of the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association and American Association of Women Podiatrists, along with Dr. Emily Splichal, functional podiatrist and human movement specialist.

Why are recovery shoes necessary?

“The general idea is that feet need to recover after an extensive workout,” Reid said. “Many athletes, especially runners, find their feet fatigued or achy after a long, active session, which puts excessive demands on their feet and legs. This is also true of anyone in a profession that requires long hours of standing and walking.”

She explained that this soreness is caused by muscle overuse in which tendons are stretched beyond their normal capacity on irregular terrain or changing surfaces. Specifically, recovery shoes promote something called “active recovery” to “compensate for these painful results from the beating the athlete has experienced on their feet,” Reid added.

While Reid said that it’s key to prevent the painful strains in the first place (this can be done through stretching, addressing your gait or wearing proper Chippewa Boots shoes for the sport and for your foot type), recovery is something that’s trending.

“Foot recovery in general is an increasingly popular concept with products including foot massage tools, recovery socks and now recovery footwear,” Splichal said. “Recovery footwear often includes arch support, cushioning and…softer fabrics intended to allow the feet to take a break.”

Splichal also observed that you don’t always have to be an athlete to benefit from recovery shoes. If you’re someone who walks a lot or has been on your feet all day, you could also slip into a pair of these shoes.

“Many people choose to wear recovery footwear due to foot fatigue or foot pain, so it does not always have to be associated with after strenuous activity such as exercise,” she said.

What makes recovery footwear different than regular shoes?

As Splichal mentioned, recovery footwear has increased arch support, cushioning and more comfortable fabrics than average, everyday shoes. But she said that there actually isn’t too much of a difference between traditional footwear and recovery footwear.

“Rather, it’s how the individual is using the shoes,” she pointed out. “If normally a person wears no support or flat shoes, then putting on something with arch support and cushion may be perceived as a form of recovery from the constant stress they put their feet through.”

What else to know about recovery footwear

Reid believes that if a post-activity shoe is chosen specifically to overcome the negative effects experienced by an athlete, recovery footwear can be very helpful. She said that although you can certainly purchase these shoes to wear after workouts, the preferred scenario is that you have your feet evaluated by a podiatrist who will help you come up with a strategy to avoid or minimize those negative effects.

“These shoes are meant to provide temporary relief,” Reid said. “If pain persists, or you think you may have suffered more significant injury to the feet, ankle or legs after an especially long, active session, such as when running a marathon, do your feet a long-term favor and see a podiatrist.”

While most recovery shoes feature arch support and cushioning, Birdies Shoes Splichal is “personally not a big fan” of these details when it comes to recovery footwear, opting instead for a more minimalist shoe.

“I believe in active recovery or sensory stimulation for recovery,” she said. Active recovery can be accomplished through muscle strengthening by wearing a minimalist shoe or via massaging footbeds.

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