What Shoes To Wear For Rowing

What Shoes To Wear For Rowing
What Shoes To Wear For Rowing


What Shoes To Wear For Rowing is a question most beginners have when entering the sport. Choosing the correct footwear will not only enhance your performance but also provide better safety while practicing or competing. Rowing, whether you are engaged in a club, trying it for fun, or it is your professional endeavor, demands high-focused precision in every stroke. Footwear can significantly affect your performance in rowing, not least because it’s where power is transmitted straight into the boat. In this guide, we’ll be looking at some of the key features to consider when choosing the right footwear for a rowing session. A useful pair of shoes can enhance your foot’s grip on the footplate and increase stroke efficiency, comfort, and safety.

Step Up Your Indoor Rowing Game With The Right Shoes To Wear For Rowing

Most gyms provide indoor rowing machines, creating another context to consider when selecting your rowing shoes. Here, you might not be facing the dangers of capsizing, water or rough weather, but appropriate footwear still plays an essential role in performance and comfort. Walking shoes, running trainers, or specialized rowing shoes best fit this environment; these should be slip-resistant and provide comfortable foot placement.

Indoor Training Shoes

When training indoors, ensure that your shoes provide flexibility for the backward and forward motion of your feet. These shoes should also maintain appropriate snugness to avoid unwanted shifting of your heels during your high-intensity workout.

Indoor Rowing Shoes

These are specifically designed for users who mainly perform indoor rowing. High-end models provide enhanced grip, structured supportive design, optimal comfort, and compatibility with different fitness machines. These shoes can enhance agility, balance, and transition between different rigorous training exercises.

Close-contact Running Shoes

Integrated minimal heel-toe offset in these shoes helps in driving more power to the rower while pulling and pushing the machine. These shoes optimize body alignment, subsequently improving the stroke quality and rowing formation. At the same time, high flexibility and foot mobility make it a good fit for pros doing cross-fit training.

Combined Gym Training Shoes

Combined gym training shoes are perfect for those who involve themselves in spherical and strength-based training methods but still aim to achieve excellent rowing performance. For them, the combined gym-workout-acceptable shoes can provide solid base interference and are beneficial for transferring force and support “from toe to head” efficiently.

Athletic Trainer Shoes

For informal, non-scull rowing, or off-water training, good quality athletic trainer shoes that provide strong grip and support are suitable. Opt for lightweight designs with rugged soles.

Specialized Rowing Shoes

For scull rowing and professional practice, it’s preferable to get specialized rowing shoes. They are usually attached to the pedals to assist you in achieving more power and precise control.

Water Shoes

In case the boat capsizes or in warm weather situations, water shoes can be a convenient option. They ensure good drainage, quick drying, and grip even in wet conditions. Unlike traditional shoes, these are not an obstruction if you need to abandon the boat, enhancing the rower’s safety.

Athletics Spikes

These are often used in sports-like races and come with replaceable spikes that can go underneath the sole for added foot grip. For those who row on a slippy or icy surface during winter sports, athletic spikes can prove to be highly effective.

Perfect Your Technique – Coursework Your Shoes To Wear For Rowing Challenge

What Shoes To Wear For Rowing

Great rowers do not flourish overnight; their skills mature by assessing the variation between the type of shoes they choose. Footwear is an essential yet frequently overlooked aspect of rowing gear. We’ve articulated above the factors key in deciding your footwear for varied rowing events.

Crossfit Shoes

Crossfit shoes are specifically designed for the inherent variability of workouts they will tolerate. They have a nice balance of comfort, weight distribution, grip, and flexibility – all features synergizing well with the needs of a professional rower. Whether it’s a competitive regatta or an onshore puddle jump, CrossFit shoes can maintain ground contact uniformly and prevent the foot from inside injuries due to harsh railing in professional events.

Barefoot Shoes

As odd as they may seem at first, barefoot shoes are an optimal choice if you prefer a “minimalist” route. These types of shoes mimic barefoot rowing while offering, in a subtle, minimalist method, the protection and traction required. Massive sectors of the rowing community appreciate their capacity to improve balance, increase proprioception, and enhance the natural function of the feet on the erg rower’s footplate.

All-Weather Shoes

As the name suggests, these shoes can withstand variant weather conditions, are water-resistant, and prove advantageous for outdoor rowing sessions. Their greatest advantage? Providing an unparalleled performance – rain or shine, freezing cold or hot and humid, these shoes will stand true to their promise of comfort and durability.

Wet Shoes

Wet shoes are built for soft-wet cases where you might find rowing on unresolved muddy or greasy surfaces. These typically have a mesh-like exterior that tends to keep draining water away continuously. Though these shoes are ideal during flood-like races, they are designed with quick-drying and non-slip matting structures for regular wet-to-dry, in/exterior sporting conditions.

Convertible Closure Shoes

It’s always perfect to have a pair of shoes that offer extensive control over tension levels based on morning or evening row rides such that you can adjust the tightness. Convertible closure shoes provide this feature; they come with easy-to-adjust pole interfaces like hook-and-loop, lace locks, or power belts. These offer ease of user handling and a snug fitting preferable in both indoor and outdoor flooring sets.

Factors To Consider When Choosing What Shoes To Wear For Rowing

What Shoes To Wear For Rowing

It’s essential to note that not all shoes will perform the same way on a rowing machine. Other criteria like heavy workouts, slippery settings, water scouting, and health conditions can affect the choice of shoes. Here are some additional factors that can guide you in determining what type of shoe would be best for you when using a rowing machine:


Ensure the shoes offer enough bend and flex during motion to accommodate your range of movement without restricting or causing discomfort. Rigidity may inhibit comprehensive strength exertion, while highly flexible shoes might miss delivering sufficient foot support. Thus, a careful balance needs to be maintained.


An excellent rowing shoe will provide a stable platform, not only to endure repetitive footprints but also to extend sustained ankle and arch support—a balance between flexibility and strength heightens the potential of your scoop strokes on the footplates.


While great functionality is a must, don’t overlook your comfort. Make sure your rowing shoes feel good when you wear them. They should allow for an easy and comfortable fit, with no rough interior seams or harsh textures that could irritate your skin. Be aware of the shoes’ insole feel – you may be spending heaps of time on them and would want an inflated environment.

Padding and Protection

Rowing machines will involve several movement forms; thus, comprehensive foot coverage comes inevitably. Shoes with sufficient padding shield the foot, protecting it from possible injury, abrasions, or blisters, especially after long rowing sessions. Proper cushioning helps in absorbing shocks and uncompromising compromise for long-term usage.

Heel height

A rowing shoe’s heel height can impact your rowing form. A slightly elevated heel can help ensure your feet stay firmly planted on the footplate. Likewise, it enables an easier capture phase in rowing. Beware of exaggerated heels – these might create a destabilizing effect or unnecessary strain.

Heel Backing

Another pivotal trait to seek when rowing indoors comes with heel backing. This refers to the heightened counter around the shoe heel bringing additional anchoring and enhancing posture and balance during vigorous tensile routines. This also minimizes sideways sliding of the foot inside the shoe.

Ease of wear and Removal

When moving in and out of the rower, quick-release systems make all the difference, diminishing hazardous buckles or inconvenient traditional laces. Search for shoes that have easy-to-release mechanisms such as adjustable Velcro straps, latched hooks, or flexible shoe bodies that can be put on and off in a matter of seconds. Speed is often of the essence in rowing – fast-securing footwear is a step closer to streamlined practice sessions or the racing track itself.

Appropriate Fit

Shoes that don’t fit properly can detract from your rowing experience and potentially lead to foot and ankle injuries. They can also absorb energy that should otherwise be directed to the footplates of the machine. Shoes for rowing should be snug but not excessively tight, providing adequate space for your toes to lay comfortably flat.


The last thing you want is for your shoes to fall apart amid an intensive rowing session or start wearing out sooner than expected. Therefore, the quality of the build and the strength of the materials used in your rowing shoewear are essential. Always look out for shoes that are known for their longevity and ability to withstand heavy-duty use.


A good pair of rowing shoes must offer sufficient ventilation. Since rowing is an extremely physical exercise, it’s natural for your feet to sweat. The best rowing shoes are designed with breathable materials to keep your feet cool and dry.


Grip is an important factor you shouldn’t overlook when selecting rowing shoes. The entire rowing stroke hinges on the pushing and pulling power exerted through your feet – so you want footing that can hold onto the footplate, regardless of sweaty or moist conditions. Not having strong grip shoes may lose of contact with footplates, jeopardizing balance, hindering motion momentum, and increasing the potential for accidents.

Internal Arch/The Canoe

The inside arch, or the canoe of the rowing shoe, matters to safeguard key sections of your feet. Extra paddings at high-pressure regions can protect the foot’s core layout, preventing foot cramps, restricting pressure pains, wrap-around foot bruises, numbing of nerves, or other foot conditions and instabilities. Materials like memory foam or strategically located gel inserts can add to the comfort and support the shoe provides.

Water Resistance

Although this depends on your rowing preference – indoor or outdoor, coarse or calm maritime conditions, the ability of shoes to repeal water infiltration cannot be disregarded. Check whether shoes are made of repellant materials or the external layers of the mesh display water-resistant architectures while buying.

Moisture Wicking

Sweat-absorbent shoes allow freedom from wet feet and foul foot odor, thanks to fabric layers capable of absorbing excess moisture while permitting ample air passage.


Even if mentioned previously, this feature should still be considered seriously as it drastically impacts user experience. Pores on the shoes’ surface or airy spaces anywhere create breathability, preventing your feet from overheating. Avoid shoes that cause dampening of feet – not only would that raise a stink but it could also lead to ranks of other unpleasant conditions like fungal infections. If you find yourself rowing in heat, humid, or sweaty conditions frequently, higher breathability must be your pick.


Choosing a pair of rowing shoes demands delicacy as it impacts your practice, performance, and overall rowing experience. Apart from your budget, focus on diverse factors such as support, comfort, padding protection, heel height, heel backing, ease of use, optimal fit, durability, breathability, grip, water and sweat resistance, and appropriate internal arch. Each feature has its edges and can refine and enhance your strides on the footplates. Recall that the prime function of your rowing shoes is to create a strong liaison between your lower extremities and the footplates, promoting a secure and fruitful rowing exercise.

FAQs: About What Shoes To Wear For Rowing

How important is shoe size when it comes to rowing shoes?

Shoe size is paramount when it comes to rowing shoes. Shoes that are too large or too small can lead to discomfort, blisters, and even more serious injuries. It’s important to find a shoe that fits snugly, but not too tightly.

Should one wear socks with rowing shoes?

Traditionally, rowers don’t wear socks. Nonetheless, personal preference has a part to play, and socks offer extra protection, can increase comfort, and help to limit friction between your feet and the shoes.

Can you row barefoot or in standard athletic shoes?

Although barefoot rowing is possible, it is not recommended due to minimized support and increased injury risk. Standard athletic shoes can provide the necessary comfort but may lack specific attributes essential for rowing movement dynamics and foot placement. Therefore, special rowing shoes provide superior security, comfort, and performance-enhancing potential.

Do rowing shoes require any maintenance?

Just like any athletic equipment, shoes necessitate regular maintenance as well. It’s recommended to keep them clean of any debris post-rowing routines and dry them properly to prevent foul odor or fungal intensities.

What should I look for in the material of rowing shoes?

Attention should be paid to the quality of the materials used. Most optimum rowing shoes use durable and breathable materials that can withstand continuous rowing, effectively release heat, resist water influx, and minimize foot sweat. In these shoes, woven or synthetic substances sometimes paired off with leather or similar endurance materials are usually preferred.

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