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Casual footwear

We tried the recovery-boosting slides that Tiger Woods was spotted wearing

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August 04, 2022

In June, a photo circulated showing Tiger Woods’ injured right leg without a compression sleeve. The picture, which shows Tiger posing with a fan in Florida, is a glimpse into the severity of the damage sustained in his near-fatal single-car accident in February 2021. For most, Woods’ severely damaged right calf is the most intriguing part of the photo. But his footwear of choice also begs a double take: Woods is wearing a pair of Oofos, a casual shoe brand that runners swear by for additional foot support and a boosted recovery process.
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Since Woods’ accident and slow but exceedingly impressive progress in his tournament appearances, the 15-time major champion has been straying from his Nike shoe deal to experiment with what many suspect are models that better suit his foot and ankle support needs. At the 2022 Masters, Woods shocked the wider golf community by wearing FootJoy golf shoes, but the shift made sense. It seems now that Woods is making intentional footwear choices off the course as well, so we decided to try out the slide he’s been sporting.

In this particular photo, Woods is wearing the Men’s Ooah Slide Sandal in black, featuring Oofos’s signature Oofoam technology. Yes, you read that all of that correctly—the unconventionally named brand offers a wide array of casual sandals that are built to enhance recovery and give the ankle much more support than the average slide or flip-flop.

“The combination of an impact resistant material and a foot bed designed to support the arch can help return the body to a pre-competition or pre-injury state,” said Dr. Timothy Karthas, a podiatrist who works closely with the brand.

According to the brand’s website, Oofoam absorbs 37% more impact than other shoe technologies made from foam, and a 2018 University of Virginia School of Medicine speed clinic found that it lowers energy strain in the ankles by up to 47%.

Upon hearing the health benefits of Oofos, we understood why this might be Woods’ casual shoe of choice, especially considering his surgically repaired right leg and ankle. Naturally, we decided to get our hands on a pair of the same shoes to test out the technology for ourselves.

Slipping my foot into the Oofos sandal, my first observation was about the shape of the shoe: They’re larger than your average casual slide. They have a little bit of bulkiness to them, both in width and height. But the real test came when I started walking around. Immediately, you can tell these shoes are expertly crafted for medical needs. The arch support is apparent in every step, which was a surprising sensation for someone as flat-footed as me. The sides of the shoes curve upwards, creating a hugging effect around your foot, even though the sole is relatively wide.

Walking around in the Oofos before and after a round of 18 holes, I could feel the cushion technology in action. As your foot interacts with the ground at each step, you feel the surface of the shoe morphing to the soles of your feet, almost resulting in a massage-like effect. They are bouncy and soft, but supportive in the right places after a long day on the course. Plus, they don’t feel like they are going to slip right off your feet when you walk at a decent pace like some slides.
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Taking off a pair of golf shoes after walking a hilly course can be quite relieving, but it’s never a good feeling to walk in flat sneakers or unsupportive sandals afterwards. Putting on Oofos after my round, I felt a noticeable difference in how my feet felt in the ensuing hours after my round. According to Dr. Karthas, Oofos can help golfers start preparing their feet and joints for their next round of golf immediately after leaving the property.

“Golf requires increased strain on the muscles and joints of the lower extremity due to the torque of the swing and because it requires miles of walking on uneven terrain,” said Dr. Karthas, who is an avid player himself. “By the end of the round the body is weaker and more vulnerable to new injuries or increased pain from active problems such as tendonitis, arthritis, or plantar fasciitis. I recommend that my patients put on a pair of Oofos in the morning before the round and then after the round so that they can start the recovering process even while they continue to stand in the clubhouse or their own home.”

Bottom line, if you’re looking for a new shoe to slip on and off when you’re in transit to and from the golf course, Oofos sandals are a solid option with proven medical benefits — and who doesn’t want to be matching the GOAT?