Footwear Forecast: The Future is Foam

Shrewd brands and retailers are already riding the wellness wave – but companies such as OOFOS, a recovery footwear brand, are a standout in the segment for their technology that delivers a gratifyingly effectual experience for the wearer.

Distinguished for its proprietary performance absorbent technology that cocoons the contours of a foot, OOFOS told FN that its footwear indeed possesses wholly unconventional properties. “Our proprietary OOfoam™ technology is what makes the experience of our products so indescribable and separates OOFOS from other performance and cushioned footwear.”

“OOfoam™ delivers enhanced impact-absorbing properties that have been shown in studies to reduce load, more effectively distribute pressure and alleviate stresses on the body – helping aid in recovery and eliminate asymmetry and imbalance.”

Considered by some to be a new category in footwear, the recovery sector includes well-cushioned shoes embedded with technical support, alongside other advantageous performance qualities. OOFOS’s technology absorbs 37 percent more impact than traditional foam footwear, positioning it as 
a prime choice for professional athletes, physical therapists and medical practitioners seeking products that alleviate stress on feet and joints.

“Technology is the thing that makes OOFOS different from other ‘comfortable’ footwear and elevates us to a scientifically proven recovery solution. It’s this technology that provides the perfect combination of soft and stable, enabling the feet & body to move more optimally – like it would on a soft, natural surface such as grass. It’s not just soft, it’s OOfoam™ and it’s only from OOFOS,” the brand said.

Reimagining Recovery

The only way to understand OOFOS’s unique performance qualities is to put them to the test, according to Arnie Kander, a physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach in the NBA, namely for the Detroit Pistons and “Bad Boys of Detroit”.

“In the sports world, any competitive edge – whether its one percent or more – is significant! We are always looking for the various things that can support those gains and often do not share this with the competitors to keep that edge to ourselves,” Kander told FN. “I really feel that OOFOS could be a game changer to not just high-level 
athletes, but anyone who slides them on their feet.”

Kander explained that in the sports sphere, it is common to see similar modalities and concepts in strength, balance, power, movement, and other aspects of performance. “Even in recovery, most everybody uses compression, stretching, soft tissue and fascial work, cryotherapy, acupuncture, infrared technology, and other modalities. One of the most missed concepts is what do we do to recover throughout the day. OOFOS helps to address this by creating the perfect shoe to assist with reducing the inflammatory burden as we are moving or standing which is one of the keys to optimize recovery.”

And OOFOS has been dedicated to the recovery cause since its inception, and its roots enable the brand to be uniquely positioned to lead recovery footwear innovation and trends in the sports performance space.

“OOFOS has been focused solely on recovery since the start when we launched The OOriginal – recovery footwear. Using a combination of our proprietary technology – specifically designed to support recovery – and combining it with a patented footbed design that maximizes the properties of OOfoam™, we laid the foundation for the broadest line of recovery footwear available,” the brand told FN.

Podiatrist and marathon runner Timothy Karthas, DPM, told FN that after trying hundreds of different shoes and sandals for recovery, OOFOS’s footwear were the only shoes he didn’t want to take off. “[OOFOS’s shoes] improved areas of chronic pain in my feet and ankles almost immediately. To this day, whether it is after exercising or just walking at home on hardwood floors, I’m hardly ever without a pair on my feet.”

And all this is due to the level of comfort that comes from the “combination of structure and cushioning that just feels good on tired and always injured feet like mine,” he explained, adding that in the recovery space, “there isn’t another sandal or shoe brand with this level of comfort and support, but what makes the OOFOS brand truly stand out is their determination to both improve and back up their products with research.”

Striking a Balance

Technically speaking, according to Karthas, accelerated recovery outcomes from OOFOS’s footwear is due to the elevated arch that is apparent when the shoes are first put on. “This allows for reduced pressure in the ball of the foot and the heel where injuries are common. It also helps to reduce excess motion and strain on the large tendons that help to stabilize the foot and ankle. After vigorous exercise, the muscles become fatigued, resulting in asymmetries and imbalances in gait and posture that can result in injury,” he said.

“By improving stability by design through arch support and a slight heel cup to stabilize the heel, the muscles are given less work to do which helps them recover more quickly and lead to less injury.” Karthas added that the material itself – its OOfoam™ that is “a perfect combination of feeling cushioned, but also stable” – allows for greater surface area of contact with the foot through cushioning while still holding its structure and preventing excess movement. “The result is more even pressure distribution and less stress to the joints and muscles, which can translate to better injury resistance and faster recovery.”

The brand noted that its unwavering consistency has allowed it to receive certifications such as the APMA seal of Acceptance across every product and be adopted by medical professionals, high-performing athletes, and artists such as NFL veteran Alex Smith; Olympic Gold-Medalist/World Ski Champion Ashley Caldwell; Professional Triathlete Matt Russell; Boston Ballet Principal Dancer Chyrstyn Fentroy; and Basketball legend Dawn Staley, among many others.

OOFOS told FN, “With our consistent approach of using the same footbed and OOfoam™ technology in every design – from sandals to clogs to boots and slippers – we are able to bring recovery into anyone’s life(style) with a proven solution.”

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