Guy Fieri is teaming up with Oofos, the recovery footwear brand that not only makes comfortable shoes but is also philanthropic.
Earlier this year, the Boston-based footwear company hit a major milestone of donating a total of $1 million to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute over the course of four years. Additionally, in April 2020, Oofos launched a project that set a goal of donating 1,000 pairs of its shoes to select first responders.
“They are the real deal,” Fieri told FN about Oofos’ philanthropy. And the Food Network star should know: With his Knuckle Sandwich team, Fieri raised more than $21.5 million to assist unemployed restaurant workers through his Restaurant Employee Relief Fund and continues to remain active in giving back.
Though Fieri is understated about his charitable efforts, it’s no secret that he’s a flip-flop fanatic who wears them while filming and cooking. But the “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” host told FN he’s always on the lookout for supportive footwear options and discovered Oofos while on a fishing trip to Hawaii after forgetting his favorite sandals at home in California.
“I always have to wear stuff with arch support [because] I’m on my feet a lot in the restaurant and TV business,” said Fieri. “I asked one of my buddies, who’s a ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ chef on the island, I said, ‘Hey, I need to get some flip-flops, what do I get?’ He goes, ‘Oh, you got to try Oofos.'”
Skeptical at first, Fieri went to the local surf shop to buy a pair. “I was like, ‘Bro, don’t sell me something goofy. Come on,'” said Fieri.
Once he slipped on the sandal, though, the chef had a hard time taking them off, thanks to the brand’s special OOfoam technology. Fieri told FN he wore his Oofos sandals so much that they broke after he slipped and fell down a hill at his lake house while carrying a heavy cooler. “Trust me, it was a steep hill,” Fieri said.
Upset he couldn’t wear his new favorite flip-flops anymore, Fieri asked his assistant to contact the company’s customer service — without using the famous chef’s name — and tell them what happened. A week later, a new pair of Oofos arrived. Surprised that the brand just sent a pair of shoes after his assistant contacted customer service, the chef was moved.
“This is my kind of energy, you know — a brand with a great story behind it and this is how they choose to handle business,” said Fieri. “So long story short, we got together, we started talking.”
As part of his partnership with the brand, the Food Network star will help to introduce Oofos to a wider audience. He’ll also join the brand’s Project Pink initiative that gives back to cancer research.
“Guy‘s experience goes to show how universal recovery is and how Oofos don’t just benefit runners and athletes who are looking to recover from their workouts,” said Oofos president, Steve Gallo. “They also help people who work on their feet all day, like chefs, restaurant workers, teachers, nurses, etc. At the heart of it, Guy represents anyone who wants to recover and feel better day to day, without having to slow down.”
So will there be a sandal collaboration between the brand and the chef in the future?
Fieri said that idea hasn’t been discussed just yet, but he told FN that the Oofos team sent sandals to his family and the entire “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” crew before the team went off to film new episodes in Hawaii.
In the meantime, Fieri is excited to not only represent the brand but be a part of Oofos’ test marketing team, lending his opinion on how the company can further make strides in the comfort footwear category.
Founded in 2011, Oofos has built a reputation for its recovery sandals. Some of its best-selling styles include the OOriginal sandal — a favorite of Fieri’s — and the OOahh slide. The brand also has seen a surge in interest recently for its clogs, and last fall it introduced boots. The line is available everywhere from running shops to REI and Nordstrom, as well as at Oofos.com.