Alex Smith, the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, stepped away from pro football in April. And he has just entered into a partnership with recovery footwear company Oofos that should keep him comfy in retirement.
Today, Oofos announced that it has entered a strategic brand partnership with Smith. Now aligned with the company, Oofos said the athlete will help educate others on the benefits of recovery, and how it can help both healthy and injured athletes.
“I’ve done a lot of endorsements over the years, and because I’m older, I’m so much more particular on who I do something like this now, because I want it to be authentic to me,” Smith explained to FN. “I got to meet the people at Oofos, and they absolutely matched up with everything that I’m about. With everything that I’ve gone through in my life, and especially the recovery, makes this just an amazing partnership. It’s a product I believe in wholeheartedly.”
In November 2018, Smith suffered a gruesome leg injury on the field, putting his playing career in jeopardy. After the initial surgery, the athlete’s leg became infected with a flesh-eating bacteria, making a comeback even less likely.
However, Smith persevered, and after 17 surgeries and two years of rehab, he was back under center with the Washington Football Team.
“I was off my feet for a long time, and slowly I was working on being able to stand, taking baby steps, and as you can imagine I was dealing with a ton of soreness and pain. So I found myself constantly in the Oofos,” Smith said. “I had to convert from the flip-flops to the slides because I had to wear this compression [sleeve] on my foot, but I was constantly wearing them. I would go really hard in my physical therapy sessions trying to get back, and as you can imagine, you just deal with soreness the rest of your day because of it. It just kind of became this regiment — I would go hard in PT and then come home and get into my Oofos as fast as I could.”
Although the deal with Oofos is new, he did not just discover the brand. Smith said he discovered Oofos while on vacation in Hawaii during his playing days with the Kansas City Chiefs, and was immediately sold. He loved the footwear so much that he bought pairs for some of his teammates.
What’s more, Smith — before signing with Oofos — was wearing the brand’s Ooahh slides in an emotional video shared on social media in August 2020 where his family showered him with champagne after Washington cleared him to play football once again.
“I made the 53 man roster this last fall, and that’s something that I never thought was actually attainable. I came home from practice that day and my wife and kids were here, and my sister and brother in law, and they had a surprise celebration for me,” Smith recalled. “They called me out of the house, into the driveway, and I got doused with a champagne shower. I come out of the house and, of course, I’m wearing my Oofos. My wife posted the video on Instagram, and that’s the first time a connection was made. Oofos reached out to her on social media because of the post.”
Now retired from the game, Smith said he hasn’t slowed down a bit, which makes recovery — and the Oofos deal — even more important.
“When I came to the conclusion that I was going to retire, I did it on the side of a ski hill. I was snowboarding with my two boys, they were both skiing, and my dad,” Smith said. “I hadn’t been [on the mountain] in 17 years because of football, and I never thought I’d be able to do it again because of the injury. It was an amazing moment that I realized I want to do more of that, I want to do more with my kids. I want to do more with them and say yes to more, and I put off a lot because of football.”
He continued, “Because I’m retired football, I think I’m even more active and doing more. For me, [wearing Oofos] is a lifestyle thing, and it’s such an easy thing just to have a pair. I wear the flip-flops walking around the house, they help me take a load off as I walk around. They help me be able to do more every day, I get a little bit more out of every day.”