What do your feet feel like after a long run? I suppose it depends on how long the long run was…10 miles ok? 15? What about a 20 miler on an uneven towpath?
Last year at about this time I was at the business end of training for the Rome marathon, and my feet were not thanking me for it. They were usually perfectly fine until I got to about 15 miles on a run, anything over that and they started to hurt in a way that felt like they were fearing for my sanity and trying to do their best to make me stop what we were up to.
This was a bit of an issue, so I investigated ‘recovery footwear’. I ordered a pair of OOFOS OOriginals and started wearing them after long runs. I remember taking them along to the aforementioned 20 miler down the towpath (the excellent Clapham Chasers annual Thames Riverside 20 training run) and being eternally grateful for my own good sense.
My feet were in pieces after that run – I was nursing a bout of peroneal brevia strain which affected my right foot and the shoes I was using at the time were just not sitting quite right. I’m not great with uneven, rocky ground and that combined with it being the first time I’d run 20 miles meant that taking my trainers off and putting these lovely cushiony flip flops on felt like the best decision I’d ever made, it was that much of a relief!
They soon became a staple of my post-run recovery and I really like my battered old OOriginals – I wear them around the house instead of slippers so they’ve taken a bit of a beating in the last year.
I had the chance recently to try out and review a similar pair from the Spring 2017 collection of OOFOS running range.
They have the rather lovely name of women’s ‘OOlala’ in Sunset. I like the funky colour, they are as comfy as the OOriginals, and don’t they look nice with these snazzy Japanese socks I got specifically to wear with them (I love my recovery flip flops but in the winter my feet get cold – these solve the problem)!
But do they actually do what they say they do? Let’s look at the claims from the OOFOS website and see how things stack up.
Absorbs more shock than similar foam; reduces stress on sore feet, knees and back
OOFOS say that where athletic shoes are designed to rebound and therefore propel you along, the ‘OOfoam’ in these flip flops does the opposite and absorbs 37% more shock, meaning they are very supportive and may help alleviate the symptoms of running related foot conditions like the dreaded plantar fasciitis.
Clearly I don’t run in them so they can’t be compared on that front, but they are extremely cushioned and soft on your feet. I also find that everything basically just aches less when I wear them, not just my feet and not just after a run.
Particularly during marathon training and especially these days with this ongoing lactic acid condition, quite often when I wake up in the morning it would be easier to tell you which bits of my legs don’t hurt. If I walk about first thing in bare feet, I’ll walk very stiffly and things will be an effort. If I put my flip flops on it genuinely makes a difference – I can walk normally and the stiffness and pain does feel much reduced.
So yes, on balance I do agree with these claims; they are ridiculously comfortable and they do feel like they reduce stress in your legs and feet when you walk in them.
Cradles your arches; enables more natural motion
Part of the reason I got my first pair last year was because I was trying to find something which supported my feet properly for after a run (the brevia pain was referring into my foot and I was terrified I was developing plantar fasciitis). I don’t think it’s very sensible to take off your trainers, which you might be desperate to get off but will have kept your feet supported during your run, and stick something completely flat on. I would never recommend whacking a pair of normal flip flops in your bag for after a race. The change in support and difference in heel drop would be an issue for me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
The OOFOS design is really good in this regard, because it’s supportive in the arch but it’s still soft. Have you ever tried a pair of orthotic insoles for arch support but felt them digging in? I’ve experienced that lots of times, and it’s not pleasant. These give you the opposite – comfy support which helps you to walk properly after a hard run. The arch support feels like it fits to your foot, possibly because the foam is so squidgy that your weight allows them to form fit.
I also think it’s probably fair to suggest they help you walk more naturally as well, or at least correctly. They certainly stop me from shuffling about overpronating all over the place when my legs are tired.
OOFOS also claim that the toe post won’t chafe, that the cushioning will last, and that they are so light they float.
Now I’ve got very oddly shaped feet which chafe all the time from shoes, and I rarely blame the shoe. Both my OOriginals and these new OOlala’s do have a tendency to rub my feet very slightly if I walk quite far in them, but not on the toe post. They catch me on the outside, where the upper starts to curve into the sole. Actually the new ones are a little worse for that, but I think that’s because they are a size bigger than my OORiginals and again, I’ve got weird feet so that’s not going to be an issue for everyone. The toe post doesn’t chafe, they are absolutely right there and that’s a good touch – it’s not easy trying to stick a plaster on a blister between your toes, we’ve all been there!
To test out the cushioning claim I tried my OOriginals on one foot and the new OOlala’s on the other. I’ve had my old ones well over a year now and have worn them daily during that time – not for long distances, but enough. I wear them when I’m pottering about, cleaning the house or as I’ve said just generally at home instead of slippers so they get a lot of use. I couldn’t tell the slightest difference in the cushioning between the brand new ones and the year old ones.
That they are extremely light isn’t even up for question – they weigh nothing. You could stick them in the bath to test the floating theory if you want but I’m sure you have better things to do with your time.
I’ve long been a convert to these flip flops. They are without a doubt the most comfortable shoes I own.
I love my old ones and the new ones are just as good, and I like the mix of colourways in the new range. My only gripe with the OOlala’s is that whilst the sole is identical to the OOriginals, the upper straps are thinner and I personally like the way the OOriginals feel very secure on the instep because of the sturdy design. But that’s not an issue really and the fact that these came in such a nice bright colour makes up for the different shape.
Actually that’s not my only gripe – my real gripe is that I wish they would make a pair which it would be appropriate to wear to the office, since I have terrible trouble finding anything other than my trainers which support my feet in the same way. They have a clog style, but I don’t reckon these quite fit with a corporate dress code, do you?
Does What it Claims? Yes – 9/10
Useful for Runners? Yes. They let me walk rather than hobble when I’m DOMS ridden and pathetic – 9/10
Value for Money? I initially balked at £40 for a pair of flip flops but for me they are worth it. Think of the money you’ll save on foot massages! 8/10
Will I keep Using Them? Absolutely. Even if the foam does last forever, there are too many colour choices not to keep switching them up occasionally!