There are three types of runners in this world; those who have had plantar fasciitis, those who have suffered alongside a running bud with plantar fasciitis and those still to suffer through the injury. It’s a common ailment and annoying as hell. If you’ve never had it, imagine biting pain firing through your foot for no real reason except your foot hates you. Something that can help with relief from this pain? I figure this would be a thing most runners would be interested in hearing about.
I hadn’t heard even a whisper of OOfos Recovery Footwear until their first email dropped in my inbox. As you’d expect the first thing I did was hit up the website where I read that the product only launched in Australia in January 2014 and before that only got off the ground in the US in 2013. The website notes that, ‘Initially OOfos was intended as Recovery Footwear, especially for Runners’, and anything out there ‘especially for runners’ is off on the right foot by us, so to speak.
The basic assertion is that the OOfos range of foot wear gives your feet a rest from weight bearing by absorbing impact while supporting you, in an adapting/shaping to each individual’s foot kind of way. They claim a ‘patented foot-bed’ design and unique OOfoam™ technology that ‘absorbs 37% more shock than any other material found in footwear’.
These are the tech claims straight from the OOfos website:
“Technical Advantages of OOfoam over traditional cushioning materials:
- Significantly more comfort, cushioning and natural articulation
- 37% more impact absorption
- Longer lasting support and cushioning
- Arch support for most foot-types
- Durable wear
- Machine washable”
Tech speak aside, if you’ve been running for a while and have therefore run your way through several types of shoes you’ll be used to branded tech talk. You’ll also know the true test of any footwear isn’t the claims they make, but how it feels and works for you, the individual. The real intrigue for me was whether there was any real relief from foot pain associated with injuries like plantar fasciitis.
I wasn’t hoping for a cure. Shoes aren’t the cure. I was wondering if there was legitimate relief from this demon injury that causes strife well beyond the pain itself.
While I have suffered from heel bruising and plantar fasciitis in the past, it’s been many years since injury like that has been a concern for me. With pain relief being my major interest I sought out a current suspected plantar fasciitis sufferer to test OOfos alongside my own wear and trial.
Thoughts from the non injured
As mentioned I don’t have any current injuries or ailments yet I still got to play with a pair of OOfos Slides. They certainly do feel different to most thongs, flip flops or sandals I’ve worn before. There is a noticeable softness about them and the arch is most definitely supported. They’re interesting to walk and hang out in and sure, they feel great on a tired foot. Did they have magic-type impact or do anything astounding for me? Not especially.
While I don’t mind the look, I can’t help but see a certain chunkiness to them. Overall, they’re light, soft and yeah, they felt pretty nice.
Thoughts from the suspected plantar fasciitis sufferer
However, far more interesting was what my suspected plantar fasciitis sufferer test subject thought. This person is a member of the fitness facility I own and operate, chosen to test the OOfos product due to a long standing battle with foot pain. I’ve withheld their name for privacy reasons. They got to wear a pair of OOfos Ooriginal Thongs (and keep them) and provided the following response:
“Initially the Thong, perhaps due to colour and sheer bulkiness, put me off. However, once I tried them on they were very good. I have a particularly high arch, which often feels very unsupported in shoes, and these thongs felt terrific with the inner arch supporting my foot perfectly. In fact, perhaps the most support I’ve ever felt. The cushion-like feel of the thong was also quite nice and took impact with the ground very well.
With my existing injury to my foot I felt after a hard session at the gym that they were my first go to as soon as I got home and sometimes I don’t think I could have walked the rest of the day without the arch support they provided.
The down sides are they are a little to generous in their sizing and sometimes the toe section did rub, much like most thongs. I also feel that in warmer weather they would become sweaty and the foot would slide around.
Other than that, they are a useful ‘go to’ when my feet are needing help.
Would I buy them for myself? Yes. Maybe in black :)”
I didn’t really gain much for myself from the Slides. They’re comfy and without a doubt feel different to most foot wear I’ve worn. What I was happy to hear was that my foot pain sufferer found some sweet relief from the incessant, nagging pain that comes with foot injuries like plantar fasciitis.
OOfos isn’t a cure. It isn’t meant to be a cure. For my tester they did provide real relief and some sane moments where they weren’t burdened by frustrating biting spots of demon hurt in their foot. If that respite means you have some hope of pain free running, and drives you on to get on with fixing yourself up, there’s some great good to be derived from the OOfos range.