What shoes to wear before rowing

A question from the Masters Rowing International group

Old running shoes seemed to be ok for moving along a wet dock until last week when they were not any more and I got a very up-close look at what is in the Genesee River!  I would like to avoid a repeat performance and I am now looking at the myriad of athletic shoes (trainers) available. We are lucky to go from concrete at the boathouse on to metal or wooden ramps to the docks so I am primarily looking for a “grippy” sole on the wet dock. Trail running shoe? Cross trainers? Skateboard shoe? Thank you in advance for your input.

What a great question.  This is certainly a situation where I’ve experienced issues – since I prefer to go barefoot if I can, but even then you are not immune to feeling unsteady on wet and greasy surfaces.

Here’s a selection of recommendations from the Group

Any other suggestions?

  • Wear two old socks
  • I use sandals but find Columbia better grip than Merrell in the wet
  • Crocs that are made for kitchen workers have good non-slip soles. I’ve been wearing them for 20ish years. Also, a shoe called Anywheres are made for surgical folks – not as many fun colors.
    • Agree – plus they float! Crocs are good until the sole grips wear flat then are lethal. I get mine very cheaply from charity shops so not bothered if they need changing, get lost or float away😆
  • Neoprene dive booties (with soles) work well in cold weather
  • We launch in the water and a number of us find crocs work well. No problem with slipping as we haul our launches out the water on trailer up a boat ramp. I find Crocs Men’s Swiftwater Wave M Fashion Sneaker less ugly than other crocs; the heel strap keeps foot from sliding around. Bought mine on Amazon
  • Try ZEM shoes – they are extremely minimal, can go in the boat, or sometimes even inside the boat’s shoes instead of socks. They last about 1-2 seasons, and the soles have grippier rubber than running shoes.
  • Did someone suggest looking at Land&Sea Sports shoes. Have slots in sole for draining.
  • I’ve tried a few different shoes, but I’ve really only been happy with my latest purchase, Sperry water shoes. 
  • Sperry® Men’s H20 Escape Bungee Water Shoes : Cabela’s
  • Chacos – they fit great over your socks, are fully buoyant, and (with vibram soles) have really good traction. Also, since they are a flat sole with minimal straps, they fit nicely in the boat for emergency beaching when the weather turns and you can’t make it back to the dock.
  • My teammates and I wear Sloggers. It’s a gardening clog with a though waffle sole. About $30 in the garden section
  • I wear New Balance Minimus because sometimes our coach surprises us with a land workout. They work fine for me. My most recent pair is a special Head of the Charles Regatta edition. 

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