We offered a free pair of Kenkoh Massage Sandals to a local avid runner to get his opinions on them. Here is what he had to say:
I’m an avid distance runner with a seemingly countless number of races under my belt, spanning from quick 5ks up to marathons. Depending on what goals are on the horizon, I might clock anywhere between 20 and 50 miles in a single week. To put it simply: My feet frequently take quite the beating.
So, when I was given the opportunity to try out a new approach to recovery, I jumped at it. Less than a week later, a new pair of black Kenkoh Spirit V sandals showed up at my doorstep, and I got ready to give them a spin.
At first glance, these sandals evoke memories of those once-trendy Adidas Adissage slides all of the cool kids wore back in the 90s for no other reason than that they were considered stylish. (Bonus points if you wore your socks with them.) They may have been touted as massage sandals, but let’s be real: They were flat, supportless, and ultimately just a very confusing trend.
Comparatively, Kenkohs aren’t that much better to behold from a fashion-forward perspective … but that’s okay! We’re here for function over aesthetics; I cared less about what they looked like and more about whether they actually worked.
Though these are intended to be worn daily for maximum results, I took a decidedly different approach; one that seemed more fitting to my actual needs as a runner in search of an expedient post-run recovery time.
Despite my best efforts to avoid sounding like a midnight infomercial salesman, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say: When it comes to recovery efforts, I’ve tried just about everything, including percussion massagers, spiked balls, foam rollers, massage sticks, and more.
Though most of these work in their own ways, the biggest setback is that they are all active methods. That is to say, I have to be making a constant, manual effort to benefit. Conversely, what I like most about Kenkohs is that they are passive. I just need to remember to slide them on; they do their thing as I go about my day walking around. Whether I’m out running errands or just puttering around at home, the effect is the same. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.
After receiving my sandals, I eased into things, just wearing them for a couple of minutes each day (as I was advised) to allow my feet to get acclimated and for the footwear to adjust to the unique shape of my feet. The effect was almost immediate. Where these sandals truly excel is in the generous central arch. After slipping them on, the massage effect was near immediate and almost to the point of discomfort, but in that way that a deep-tissue massage is simultaneously uncomfortable and euphoric. The two feelings go hand in hand, working symbiotically to ultimately deliver tremendous relief.
The day I most noticed just how well Kenkohs are for recovery was after a 15k (9.3-mile) run along Tampa’s waterfront. It was my longest run in quite some time, and because of that, I expected at least a day of soreness to ensue. The only routine change that took place was that I packed my new sandals for the drive home, whereas normally my running shoes would stay on until I got home. I also continued to wear them for an afternoon of post-run errand-running. My feet were on cloud nine. The myriad rubber massage “fingers” worked their magic, leaving me without the slightest reminder that I pushed my body so hard just a few hours prior. Even the next day, when I typically anticipate the worst of my body’s soreness to rear its ugly head, I felt nothing. Needless to say, I was (and continue to be) impressed.
Now, while I can’t speak to any of the health-benefits claims made by Kenkoh, I can say that for me, they do seem to have made a positive impact … and not just for the longer runs. I’ve gotten into the habit of sliding these bad boys on even after a quick 4-miler. And I’ll certainly be keeping them in my repertoire of effective solutions to help fend off soreness so my oft-abused feet are feeling as fresh as possible.
Kenkoh Spirit Black