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Are Barefoot Shoes Beneficial for Active Recovery?


In the past few years, “recovery” has become a buzzword, as the need to take care of our well-being is paramount, whether you’re an athlete, a parent, an executive, or simply someone who appreciates comfort.

Any product or service that helps us cope with daily stressors is now considered a form of “recovery.” We often underestimate the importance of allowing our feet the time and space to recover. However,  Google “recovery shoes,” and you’ll find lists of highly cushioned shoes and sandals, some made almost entirely of foam.

But what if there’s a better way to recover?

In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of foot recovery and how Xero Shoes can be a tool for recovery.

Why Are Barefoot Shoes Good for Recovery?

Our feet bear the brunt of our daily activities, yet they are often the most neglected part of our body. With 26 bones in each foot and more than 200,000 nerve endings, it’s time we optimize our feet for recovery. Traditional shoes can restrict natural foot mechanics, like impeding your feet’ natural flexion and extension. The shoes themselves can also have a narrower fit due to tighter. 

Xero Shoes are designed to facilitate natural movement, providing your feet with the freedom they crave. Traditional shoes can impede your feet’ natural flexion and extension, hindering recovery. With Xero Shoes, you’ll experience a liberating sensation that encourages a more natural gait, promoting better blood circulation and aiding recovery.

Dr. Alissa (2)

A Podiatrist Recommends Barefoot Recovery Shoes

Dr. Alissa Kuizinas, DPM, is a podiatrist passionate about natural foot function. Here’s what she says about the benefits of wearing barefoot shoes. 

“Going barefoot allows your feet to feel and interact with the ground surface, allowing for improved muscle reactivity and postural changes, along with adaptation of the foot muscles and strengthening.”

The foot-shaped design of barefoot shoes also aid in active recovery, allowing your feet to activate while still feeling comfortable. Dr. Kuizinas agrees,

“Since the shape of the shoe accommodates the toes and the natural splay and expansion that occurs with walking, they often allow for better shock absorption and better use of the muscles of the feet and legs. They prevent the compression and restriction to the front of the foot that occurs with traditional shoes.”

What to look for in recovery shoes:

Natural Comfort – A barefoot shoe design encourages a more natural gait, reducing the impact on joints and muscles. This can be especially beneficial for recovery after intense workouts or long periods of standing.

Lightweight and Flexible Design –  A pair of recovery shoes should not feel constricting on your feet. Look for shoes with a roomy toe box that lets you wiggle your toes or scrunch your feet. The feather-light feel and flexible design of Xero Shoes make you feel barefoot. The best sensation is when you forget you’re wearing your recovery shoes.

Breathability – Just as you want your feet to relax, you also want to ensure they’re getting proper airflow. Look for shoes constructed with breathable materials, like mesh, hemp, or cotton, that ensure your feet stay cool and dry. Breathable shoes benefit post-exercise recovery, preventing moisture buildup and potential discomfort.

Versatility – Recovery doesn’t mean compromising on style. Whether relaxing at home, weightlifting at the gym, or running errands, you can do so in style while prioritizing your foot health. A good pair of recovery shoes or sandals don’t have to look like they’re for recovery. 

A bonus: any pair of Xero Shoes is designed with your feet’s comfort in mind so you can pick from over 50 shoes, boots, and sandals. 

Your feet are the foundation of your mobility, and their well-being should be a priority. Letting your feet recover is not just a practice. It’s a holistic approach to recovery that enhances your daily life.


What Athletes Say About Barefoot Recovery Shoes

Xero Shoes Partner, Pilobolus Dance Group 

“At Pilobolus, we work our bodies hard in rehearsals and performances, and to do this, we need maximum movement and mobility for our feet. Wearing Xero Shoes when we are off duty or on rest days allows us to continue to move with the same mobility as our usually bare feet, with comfort and ease.” 

  • Emily Kent, Education Director

Xero Shoes Partner, Team Novo Nordisk Cycling Team

After a 5-6 hour ride, I put on my Xero Shoes and my feet can breathe. They feel freeing and give me so much support when I’m walking. It’s amazing, especially after wearing tight cycling shoes.” 

  • Jan Dunnewind, Pro Team Cyclist 

“When I first put on Xero Shoes I was surprised with how they felt because my feet could actually move and spread out. They feel really great for recovery after a long day on the bike. From the first day, I knew these were the shoes I want to use and don’t want to switch back to any other shoes.” 

  • Przemysław Kotulski, Development Team Cyclist

Your Post-Activity Recovery Partner