man in Men's Covelo Sandals

Recovery Sandals: 5 Tips for Post-Workout Foot Care

by Mark Paigen 11 minute read

It’s been a long week on your feet at work, or maybe a grueling weekend on the trail.

You want to get up and go about your day, but you might as well be stepping on lava, considering how much your feet protest.

Your feet take the brunt of every step, and without proper foot care, overworked muscles and joints can lead to injuries like plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis, impeding your daily activities or your next workout.

Enter recovery sandals.

As far as foot care tips go, recovery sandals are the support system that shores up all the other care techniques you might use, such as ice and heat therapy or deep tissue massage.

They do the hard work so that your feet can take a break.

By promoting proper alignment and arch support, recovery sandals reduce strain, tension, and fatigue. Additionally, they are lightweight and breathable, keeping your feet cool and dry.

You can minimize foot impact, accelerate recovery, and enhance your future performance by incorporating recovery sandals into your post-workout routine.

The Basics

  1. A post-workout routine that includes solid foot care steps is key for achieving healthy, pain-free feet.
  2. Apart from foot care steps like deep tissue foot massages, recovery sandals provide a support system for post-workout recovery.
  3. Recovery sandals designed with proper arch support and lightweight materials enable you to stay active post-workout so you can walk the kinks out of your muscles.
  4. Tread Lab’s Albion and Covelo sandals are both stylish and supportive with their soft knit uppers, microfiber suede footbeds, lightweight midsoles, and versatile colorways.
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Today, we'll provide you with five essential tips for post-workout foot care, including:

  • Foot care techniques that help prevent injury
  • The role of water in promoting a faster recovery
  • How recovery sandals ease pain, along with a guide on the best recovery sandals available

Did You Know: The foot is a complex structure made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments. No wonder it's so vital to take good care of them, especially after a hard workout or a long day on your feet!

Table of Contents

1 - Stretch the Post-Workout Aches Away

lady stretching her foot

Is there anything as soothing as a deep stretch after a workout? It’s like downing an icy drink on a scorching summer day.

Proper stretching helps with post-workout foot care in two ways:

  • It reduces muscle soreness by increasing blood flow to the muscle, which is essential for the muscle to heal itself after the damage caused by a workout.
  • It prevents further injury to your feet. For example, stretching your calf increases ankle motion, thus reducing the pressure and risk of injury on the plantar fascia. It can also loosen an inflamed Achilles tendon, often the cause of heel pain.

Here are three foundational stretching techniques to start you off on your foot care:

  • Calf stretch: Stand with your hands against a wall at eye level, and step one foot back, keeping it straight. Bend the front knee and lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in the calf of the back leg. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other leg.
  • Toe stretch: Sit on the floor with one leg straight out in front of you. Loop a towel or resistance band around the ball of your foot and gently pull the towel towards your body until you feel a stretch in your toes. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other foot.
  • Achilles tendon stretch: Stand on a step or curb with your heels hanging off the edge. Slowly lower your heels down until you feel a stretch in your Achilles tendon. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat.

Proper stretching techniques can help improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and improve circulation to the feet. They’re essential for a quick recovery after an exhausting workout.

What’s more, you can boost the effects of stretching by practicing active recovery, which involves light walking while wearing heel lifts, insole support, or sandals with adequate arch support, such as the Tread Labs supportive recovery sandals.

2 - Relieve Pain With Ice Therapy

There’s nothing quite like a run to clear the mind and get your blood pumping. That said, the impact of running can severely hurt your feet. This is where ice therapy comes in, providing immediate foot pain relief.

Icing your feet, particularly after high-impact sports, such as running, can help reduce inflammation and swelling, thus encouraging a faster recovery process.

The cold temperature causes the blood vessels in your feet to constrict, which helps to reduce blood flow to the area. This, in turn, decreases swelling, numbs the pain, and soothes the feet.

Definition: Ice therapy involves the application of cold to an affected area of the body to reduce inflammation, numb pain, or facilitate healing. It's most effective when used shortly after an injury or after a strenuous workout to help muscles recover and to reduce any potential swelling.

How to Ice Your Feet Properly

Icing your feet is an effective way to reduce inflammation and promote recovery after a workout. Here are the steps to properly ice your feet:

  1. Fill a bucket with cold water or grab a bag of ice cubes.
  2. If using a bucket of ice water, add a few handfuls of ice cubes to the water.
  3. If using a bag of ice cubes, wrap the bag in a thin towel or cloth.
  4. Immerse your feet in the ice water or apply the ice pack to the affected area.
  5. Keep your feet in the ice water or with the ice pack on for 10–20 minutes.
  6. Gently move your feet around in the water or massage them while they are submerged to help increase blood flow and promote healing.
  7. Repeat the ice therapy no more than three times a day.

To keep your feet healthy, you should avoid: 

  • Ice therapy before physical activity, which increases muscle stiffness and can make your pain worse.
  • Application of ice directly to the skin as it can cause tissue damage; instead, always wrap the ice pack in a thin towel or cloth before applying it to your feet.
  • Using ice if you have cold hypersensitivity, nerve dysfunction, broken skin, or circulation issues, such as Raynaud's disease.
  • Application of ice on areas that are numb or nerve-related, like the funny bone.

After treating your feet to icy rehab, you need to allow them to rest. Of course, the best way to do this is to put them up. 

However, if you still need to be on your feet for work or chores, take the pressure off them by wearing podiatrist-recommended recovery sandals.

3 - Improve Flexibility and Circulation With Foot Massage

lady massaging her foot

Picture this: after a long and intense workout, you slip on your ridiculously comfortable and supportive recovery sandals on your way to your sports massage.

Your feet may feel tight and sore, but they’re walking on a cloud on their way to a pamper session. Foot massage is effective in relieving tension and promoting relaxation and recovery of the feet.

But, the post-workout benefits of foot massage go beyond relaxation and include:

  • Increased circulation: Foot massage can help improve blood flow in the feet, which brings oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and promotes healing.
  • Reduced muscle tension: Massage helps loosen tight muscles and soft tissues, which can reduce pain and improve flexibility.
  • Improved range of motion: Massage can help improve the range of motion in your feet and toes, which can help prevent injury and reduce stiffness.

As a brand that prioritizes footwear comfort and over-the-counter orthotic solutions, we love that foot massage is a care tip you can easily engage in by yourself through self-massage.

When it comes to self-massage, there are several techniques you can try:

  • Tennis ball: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground and roll a tennis ball under your foot. Apply pressure where you feel tightness or discomfort.
  • Foot roller: A foot roller is a small, handheld device with raised bumps that can be rolled under the foot to stimulate the muscles and increase circulation.
  • Your hands: Use your fingers and thumbs to apply pressure to the bottom of your foot, focusing on the arch and ball of the foot. Be gentle wherever the pain is acute.

While self-massage can be effective, there are times when it is necessary to seek professional massage. 

If you have a foot injury or medical condition such as plantar fasciitis or arthritis, it is best to consult with a licensed massage therapist or a podiatrist who can provide targeted treatment and advice.

Additionally, if you experience severe or persistent pain, swelling, or redness in your feet, seek medical attention immediately.

Definition: A podiatrist is a medical professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions of the foot, ankle, and the lower part of the leg.

4 - Hydrate Your Way to Recovery

Staying hydrated is important for overall body health, but especially for post-workout recovery.

Proper hydration regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, and transports nutrients to the muscles. 

It also helps to flush out toxins and waste products that can build up during exercise.

It's important to listen to your body and drink water before you feel thirsty, especially during and after exercise. Thirst is often a sign of dehydration, which denies your muscles the necessary fluids for recovery.

To stay on top of your active lifestyle and recovery, here are a few tips for staying hydrated during and after a workout:

  • Drink at least 20 ounces of water 2 – 3 hours before your workout.
  • Drink enough water for your body weight, whether or not it’s a workout day, which works out to 0.5 – 1 ounce of water for every pound of body weight. 
  • Add electrolyte tablets to your water or drink a sports drink to replenish essential minerals lost through sweat, especially if you plan to work out for longer than one hour.
  • Avoid sugary and caffeinated drinks, which make you pass more urine and can dehydrate you.
  • If you're planning a longer workout, bring a water bottle or hydration pack with you.
  • Eat water-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to help supplement your hydration.

The table below highlights some water-rich food you can consider.

Food Approximate Water Content Additional Benefits
Cucumber 95% Rich in vitamin K, B vitamins, copper, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese
Watermelon 92% Good source of vitamins A and C, and also contains lycopene, an antioxidant
Strawberries 91% Packed with vitamin C, manganese, folate, and also high in antioxidants
Peaches 89% Good source of vitamins A and C, and dietary fiber
Oranges 86% High in vitamin C, and a good source of fiber
Skim milk 90% Good source of protein, calcium, and vitamins D and B12

5 - Pamper Your Feet With Proper Recovery Sandals

lady in Women's Albion SandalProper footwear is crucial for post-workout foot care and recovery. It not only feels amazing but also protects your feet.

When the muscles in the feet and legs are fatigued after a workout, they are more vulnerable to injuries because of impaired proprioception, coordination, strength, and reaction time.

Wearing the right footwear can help prevent injuries, such as sprains, strains, and blisters, and promote faster recovery.

In particular, recovery sandals are a great option since they provide firm support to tired feet, which can ease pain and discomfort.

Additionally, they allow the feet to breathe and promote airflow, which can help prevent fungal infections and other foot-related issues, such as blisters or athlete’s foot.

The best time to wear recovery sandals is typically within 30 minutes to an hour after your workout, for at least 15 - 20 minutes to give your feet time to rest and recover. For intense workout days, wear your recovery sandals for longer periods.

When choosing recovery sandals, it's important to look for certain characteristics to ensure they are providing the necessary support.

These include:

  • Arch support: Look for recovery sandals with a contoured footbed that conforms to the shape of your foot, such as the Tread Labs recovery sandals. Proper arch support helps to reduce tension and strain on your foot by distributing the weight of your body more evenly across your foot.
  • Breathable materials: Moisture-wicking and breathable materials keep your feet dry and comfortable, especially in the first 30 minutes after a workout and during the hot months. Microfiber suede, neoprene, EVA, and mesh are all moisture-wicking fabrics. 
  • Lightweight yet durable materials: You want recovery sandals that are light enough to reduce the strain on the foot but hardy enough for frequent and long term use. Our Albion and Covelo sandals combine both ultra-lightweight polyurethane midsoles and durable rubber outsoles with the ability to be resoled over time.
  • Adjustable straps: Recovery sandals with adjustable straps allow you to customize and enhance their support while being extremely convenient to slip on and off.
  • Versatile styles: The more versatile your recovery sandals are in terms of style and color, the easier they’ll pair with whatever you throw on as you go about your post-workout errands. 

With these characteristics in mind, let’s look at four of the best recovery sandals on the market.

Four Best Recovery Sandals to Choose From

The Tread Labs range of sandals are designed specifically for post-workout recovery, offering a combination of arch support and comfort.

These recovery sandals help reduce foot pain and discomfort caused by strenuous workouts, long hours standing, flat feet, plantar fasciitis, and other foot-related issues.

Let’s take a look at the four options available from Tread Labs:

  • Women's Albion Sandal: This is an incredibly lightweight option that features an anatomically sculpted footbed, catering to all foot shapes, including those with high arches.

    The knit uppers of the sandal offer a personalized fit, and the silky-smooth, moisture-wicking microfiber suede footbed makes it an ideal choice for hot and sweaty days.
  • Women's Covelo Sandal: With its easy slip-on design that provides exceptional arch support for flat feet, the sandal is both lightweight and stable, offering the perfect combination of comfort and firm support.

    The knit uppers are made entirely from recycled materials, making it an eco-friendly choice for those who are environmentally conscious.
“I love that these are so darn comfortable but also cute- I can wear them for long walks, or just out and about, or even to work. They feel supportive like sports shoes but can easily replace my go-to flip-flops with wearability.”
Robin, Verified Buyer, US
  • Men's Covelo Sandal: Like the women's version, the men's Covelo sandal offers excellent arch support, thanks to Tread Labs' expertise in semi-custom insoles.

    The sporty midsole and replaceable rubber outsole provide excellent arch support, making it perfect for those with flat feet.
  • Men's Albion Sandal: The sandals are designed with anatomically sculpted footbeds that deliver incredible arch support, providing relief to those who experience discomfort or pain.

    The ultra-lightweight polyurethane midsoles provide the resiliency and durability of PU while maintaining the weightlessness of EVA foam, making these the perfect recovery sandals.

“I've got Albions sandals for a month. I'm glad that I read all the reviews and bought 1 size up. The Albions fit my flat arch feet perfectly. I wear them for everything: table tennis training, walking, and hiking. I have a partially torn ACL and I feel much better when I wear the Albions. Highly recommended.”
Min Tran, Verified Buyer, Vietnam

Bonus Tip: Maintaining your recovery sandals is just as important as choosing the right pair. Regular cleaning not only prolongs their lifespan but also helps prevent bacterial and fungal infections.

The table below shows some foot problems that can be addressed by recovery sandals.

Foot Problem How Recovery Sandals Help
Plantar fasciitis Provides arch support to ease the strain on the plantar fascia
Flat feet Offer firm support that helps maintain the natural arch of the foot
Achilles tendonitis Enhances foot alignment, reducing strain on the Achilles tendon
Bunions Features such as adjustable straps help accommodate and ease discomfort for feet with bunions

Here is a video review of Tread Labs’ sandals from a happy customer.

Step Towards Recovery With Tread Labs

lady in Women's Albion Sandal

Your feet are the unsung heroes of any active lifestyle. They require proper post-workout foot care to recover from the stress and strain of exercise.

Apart from therapeutic techniques, such as ice therapy, stretching, and foot massage, recovery sandals are an excellent way to provide your feet with the necessary support and cushioning. 

By following the foot care tips we’ve shared with you, including wearing your recovery sandals at the right time and for the right amount of time, you can ensure that your feet remain healthy and pain-free. 

Give your feet the care they deserve with the four ridiculously comfortable recovery sandals from Tread Labs, and feel the difference in your post-workout recovery.

Women's Albion Sandal

Women's Albion Sandal

Women's Covelo Sandal

Women's Covelo Sandal

Men's Covelo Sandal

Men's Covelo Sandal

Men's Albion Sandal

Men's Albion Sandal

“I have bunions on both feet and also typically replace insoles in all of my shoes. Due to the style of these sandals, my poor bunions don't have to rub against a strap and the sandal actually minimizes the bunion's appearance. The arch support is fantastic. I'm very happy with this purchase.”
Marc Smith, Verified Buyer, US
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