Why NFL Star Derek Carr Decided to Invest in Oofos

The Oofos athlete ambassador roster has a new addition.

The latest athlete to ink a deal with Oofos is star Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who has entered into a multiyear partnership with the active recovery footwear brand. Aside from his role as an ambassador, Carr has also become an investor in the company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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“Everyone I’ve talked to there is so first class. I’ve been wearing Oofos for years, and not only am I in love with the product, but from the top down everyone is treated the same. It’s a beautiful thing,” Carr told FN. “We’re going to go forward, we’re going to go far and we’re going to go together.”

Although deals between athletes and brands are fairly common, the partnership between Carr and Oofos is a personal and organic one. The 31-year-old quarterback has a long history with its products, and said its footwear has changed his life for the better.

In December 2016, Carr suffered a broken fibula in a game against the Indianapolis Colts. After the injury, the team’s head trainer, Chris Cortez, gave a pair of Oofos slides to the recovering quarterback. Carr said the impact of wearing Oofos was felt as soon as he got out of the walking boot.

“If I was walking barefoot, I felt like a three out of 10. Then I’d put the slides on and I felt like a six or seven out of 10. It didn’t make sense to me. All I knew is that I felt better,” Carr said.

Six years later, Carr — who admitted to owning at least 20 pairs of Oofos slides, which are scattered throughout his home — continues to make the brand a part of his daily routine.

“When I wake up in the morning, literally the first thing I do after I pray is put these on and go. They’ve changed my life. They’ve literally been a game changer,” Carr said. “During the season, if I’m not working out in the gym or with my cleats on, I’m wearing my slides. I have a whole bunch of shoes that I never wear because Oofos is what I wear every day.”

He continued, “When I wake up in the morning, especially after playing on artificial turf, your ankles and feet and joints hurt so bad. The next morning you walk like your ankle has no flexibility, you walk like you’re on nails or tacks. Without the slides, after a few hundred steps the soreness goes away, but if I throw those slides on right away I’m past that, so I feel like I’m getting an advantage from the get go.”

Derek Carr in the Oofos Ooahh Sport Flex Sandal. – Credit: Courtesy of Oofos

Courtesy of Oofos

In the years since Cortez gave Carr his first pair of Oofos, even before investing in the brand, the athlete has gifted his fair share to others.

“I bought them for my mom and my dad. There are hardwood floors in the house so I bought them both a pair,” he said. “My dad, he was a hooper, he was a basketball player his whole life. His feet and ankles, he’s rolled them and broken them. He says he literally slides his feet in them, goes about his business all day and then walk to his bed and slides them off.”

Carr’s teammates have also been on the receiving end.

“I had a teammate from back in the Oakland [Raiders] days and he was like, ‘Dude, my heels, I can’t even walk.’ I said, ‘Have you ever worn these?’ I was sitting at the breakfast table, I took my Oofos slides off and said, ‘Put your foot on that.’ He puts his foot on it and said, ‘Oh my gosh, what the heck is this?’ I went on Amazon, bought him some right there, had them shipped to my house and brought them to him a couple days later,” Carr recalled. “Four years later, he walked in the locker room in Vegas. I said, ‘Are those the ones I bought you?’ He said, ‘Yeah bro, I haven’t taken them off in four years.’ Those stories let me know that this is something that can really help people.”

Because his connection to the brand is deeply personal, the quarterback’s story is an easy one to tell.

“From our first conversations with Derek, the relationship has been extremely collaborative and we look forward to working closely together to support Derek’s performance on the field, as well as educating both athletes and the broader population about the benefits of active recovery,” Oofos president Steve Gallo told FN. “We plan to bring this to life through a cross-channel media campaign that features intentional storytelling and authentic communication of Derek’s daily product use.”

Carr’s investment in Oofos comes at a time when pro athletes, such as NBA star LeBron James, are openly discussing recovery and the millions of dollars they spend to stay healthy. With this topic becoming more prevalent and young sports fans paying attention, Carr believes Oofos could become an integral part of the recovery journey for both pro athletes and everyday people alike.

“You’re starting to see the top athletes speaking out about it and they’re performing at a high level later into their career. I’m 31 years old and I feel better now than I did at 21, and I can tell kids at [my alma mater] Fresno State and at my high school, ‘Here’s why,’” Carr said. “If we don’t take care of ourselves, at some point, our bodies are just going to break apart. As we get older, our bodies won’t be able to do things that we used to do. But can we push that timeline back? I think that we can push that number back with the knowledge, with the studies and with the products that are out there for us.”

NFL star Derek Carr, the newest Oofos ambassador and investor. – Credit: Courtesy of Oofos

Courtesy of Oofos

Aside from Carr’s deal with the brand, Oofos has also become the official recovery footwear of the Raiders. The brand will partner with the franchise to support it through the demands of the grueling football season. As part of the sponsorship, Oofos will supply footwear for the organization to help promote recovery, and its footwear will be sold in select Raider Image retail locations. Also, there will be an integrated media and marketing campaign centered around educating fans about the benefits of the footwear, which includes on-site experiential activations at select events.

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