If you’re going on a white water rafting trip you need to be dressed properly. We wouldn’t recommend just wearing any tennis shoes. Your shoes could stay soaked for hours leaving you uncomfortable and exposing your feet to blisters. Instead, we recommend either river sandals or water shoes. Here we will take a look at some of the best water shoes to wear on the raft.
Best Shoes for White Water Rafting
- PENGCHENG Mens Womens Water Sports Shoes Quick-Dry
- L-RUN Athletic Hiking Water Shoes Mens Womens
- Mens Womens Water Shoes Quick Dry Barefoot for Swim Diving Surf Aqua Sports Pool Beach Walking Yoga
- ALEADER Men’s Stylish Quick Drying Water Shoes
- DOUSSPRT Women’s Water Shoes Quick Drying Sports Aqua Shoes
Brand Name: PENGCHENG
Material: Spandex, rubber, lycra
Colors: 40+ color options
Sizes: Men’s 3-13.5, women’s 4.5-14.5
We highly recommend when going river rafting to wear something on your feet that will dry quickly, and the PENGCHENG Quick-Dry Water Shoes are exactly that. The upper part of the shoe is made with lycra which makes the shoes extremely breathable and fast drying. The bottom of the shoe also features drainage holes so water can quickly exit your shoe. The shoes also feature a shock-absorbing ergonomic toe which makes them great for taking out of the water too. Finally, the shoes have a non-slip rubber skid-resistant outsole for traction on slippery surfaces. Overall, these are really well-made water shoes, at a really good value.
Brand Name: L-Run
Material: Textile, rubber, elastic
Colors: 39 color options
Sizes: Men’s 3-14, women’s 4.5-16
The L-Run Athletic Hiking Water Shoes are another excellent choice for shoes to wear on your river trip. These are unisex shoes designed to fit both men and women. The shoes themselves have a breathable fast-drying upper section which makes them great for any water activity. The bottom of these shoes is designed with thick padded protection with traction designed bottoms so that your feet stay protected on rough rocks and have a good grip on slippery surfaces. These shoes also feature drainage holes for quickly removing water from your shoe.
3. Mens Womens Water Shoes Quick Dry Barefoot for Swim Diving Surf Aqua Sports Pool Beach Walking Yoga
Brand Name: Mishansha
Material: Spandex, rubber
Colors: 40+ color options
Sizes: Men’s 3-13.5, Women’s 4.5-15
Another great option when it comes to water shoes is the Mishansha Quick-Dry Water Shoes. These are another unisex style water shoe that is very similar to the previous models we already covered. The shoes are lightweight, flexible, and easy to pull on and off. They have a secure lacing system for keeping them snug on your feet. They also have extra padding on the bottom for comfort and foot protection along with a grip bottom for traction in slippery terrain. Like the two previous models, they also have the drainage holes. Overall this is another really solid value for water shoes to take on your river rafting trip.
Brand Name: ALEADER
Material: Synthetic, fabric, rubber
Colors: 16+ Color Choices
Sizes: Men’s Sizes 7-14
If you’re shopping for something a little more durable than your average aqua shoes, you may be after the ALEADER Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Shoes. These are built tougher than the traditional water shoes you will find on the market, without sacrificing any of the fast drying breathability. They have a mesh upper which is designed to drain water fast while keeping your foot breathable, and a bottom traction sole for grip on slippery surfaces. They also have drainage holes in the bottom of the shoe for quick draining. Lastly, these shoes have a cushioned support liner for added arch support and comfort. The only drawback with these is that they are men’s shoes only. They don’t currently offer these for women, but I’m sure they would still fit if you found the equivalent men’s shoe size in a women’s size.
Brand Name: DOUSSPRT
Material: Fabric, mesh
Colors: 11 color choices
Sizes: Women’s 6-11
The DOUSSPRT Women’s Water Shoes are an excellent choice if you’re looking for something a little more durable than your typical water shoe. In addition to being extremely durable, these shoes have a breathable upper mesh for comfort and quick drying ability, drainage holes, and traction designed bottom. These shoes hit all the points that you would expect from a good water shoe, which makes them excellent for your white water rafting trip. One thing to note though is that these are women’s shoes only. If you’re after a men’s river shoe that is like these, the ALEADER brand is very similar.
White Water Rafting Shoe Buying Guide
With all the options for river shoes out there, you may have trouble trying to find the perfect shoe to take out on the water. There are a couple of key elements that you want to look for in river rafting footwear. Here are 5 important things you may want to consider when shopping for your shoes:
- Quick Dry Material
- Secure Lace System
- Traction Designed Bottom
- Drainage Holes
- Cushioned Support
How to Choose River Rafting Shoes
1. Quick Dry Material
When you go white water rafting your feet are probably going to get wet. That’s inevitable. That’s is why we recommend a shoe made of fast-drying material. If you wear traditional tennis shoes your feet might stay soaked for hours which can cause discomfort, blisters, and other foot issues. But when you have shoes that are made from polyester, lycra, or another quick-drying synthetic fabric you will be a lot more comfortable out on the water.
2. Secure Lacing System
Another thing we always recommend for river rafting shoes is that they have some kind of lace system. If you have slip-on water shoes and they fit tight and secure, then it will probably be fine. But we want to avoid is loose-fitting shoes that might slip off in rough rapids. A lacing system is not a must-have, as long as your shoes fit secure, so keep that in mind when making your choice.
3. Traction Designed Bottom
No matter which shoes you buy, you want to make sure that they have a bottom that is designed for traction on slippery surfaces. When you go river rafting you’re bound to be around some slippery areas eventually, and having a shoe that can withstand this wet slippery terrain is important. This is also especially important if you’re going on a rafting and hiking trip where you may be hiking in your shoes too. Keep that in mind, because you don’t want to slip and hurt yourself.
4. Drainage Holes
Even if your shoes are made from quick-drying material, you will still want them to have drainage holes. When your shoe gets drenched, and water gets in the shoe, even quick dry material will take a long time to dry if the water does not have a way to flow out of the shoe. This is where drainage holes come in. All good water shoes will have holes in the bottom designed for water to flow out when the shoe gets soaked. Always look for this feature when shopping for shoes for the river.
5. Cushioned Support
Another you might want to look for in your shoe is some kind of cushioned support or arch support. Especially if you’re going on any kind of multi-day rafting, camping or hiking trip. A shoe with comfortable support to walk around in will definitely be something you want to look for. This isn’t really a must-have if you’re just going on a rafting trip and won’t be walking much on the shoes. But you don’t want to go hiking for over an hour in shoes that aren’t comfortable.
That completes the river shoe guide. If you’re looking for more ideas and clothing to wear, remember to check out our full rafting clothing guide.