What Shoes To Wear Rafting: A Comprehensive Guide [FAQs]

What Shoes To Wear Rafting

When it comes to rafting, having the right shoes is crucial. Not only do they need to provide the necessary grip and support, but they also need to be comfortable and able to withstand the wet and wild conditions of the river. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about choosing the best shoes for your next rafting adventure.

Factors to Consider

Before we dive into specific shoe recommendations, it’s important to understand what factors you should consider when selecting footwear for rafting. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Water Resistance

Since you’ll be spending the majority of your time on the water, it’s important to choose shoes that are water-resistant. Look for materials like neoprene or quick-drying synthetic fabrics.


You’ll likely encounter slippery rocks and surfaces, so having shoes with good grip is essential. Look for shoes with rubber soles or specialized traction systems.


You’ll be on your feet for hours at a time, so it’s important to choose shoes that are comfortable and provide adequate support. Look for shoes with cushioned soles and good arch support.


Make sure your shoes fit well and aren’t too loose or too tight. You don’t want your shoes slipping off in the middle of the river or causing blisters.

Recommended Shoes

Now that you know what to look for, here are some of our top picks for rafting shoes:

Water Shoes

Designed specifically for water activities, water shoes are a great choice for rafting. They’re typically made of quick-drying materials and have good grip.

Hiking Shoes

If you’ll be doing a lot of hiking to and from the river, hiking shoes with good grip and support are a good option. Look for shoes with breathable materials to help keep your feet dry.


While not ideal for all rafting conditions, sandals with good grip and adjustable straps can be a comfortable and practical choice for milder rapids.


What should I avoid wearing when rafting?

Avoid wearing cotton clothing or shoes with heavy, non-breathable materials. These will trap moisture and can make you uncomfortable and even hypothermic in colder water.

Can I wear my regular sneakers for rafting?

We don’t recommend it. Sneakers aren’t typically water-resistant and may not provide adequate grip on slippery surfaces.

Do I need to wear socks with my rafting shoes?

It’s up to you, but we recommend wearing socks to help prevent blisters and keep your feet comfortable.

Can I wear flip flops for rafting?

We don’t recommend it. Flip flops don’t provide adequate support or grip and are more likely to slip off your feet in the water.

Can I rent shoes for rafting?

Many rafting companies offer shoe rentals, but we recommend bringing your own if possible to ensure a proper fit and optimal comfort.

What should I do if my shoes get wet?

Take them off and let them air dry as soon as possible. Stuffing them with newspaper can help absorb moisture and speed up the drying process.

Do I need to break in my shoes before rafting?

Yes, it’s a good idea to wear your shoes around for a few days before your rafting trip to ensure they’re comfortable and won’t cause blisters.

What if I have foot problems or wear orthotics?

Consult with your doctor or podiatrist for recommendations on appropriate shoes and any necessary modifications.

Pros of Wearing the Right Shoes

Wearing the right shoes for rafting can make all the difference in your comfort and safety on the water. Here are some of the benefits:

– Better grip and traction on slippery surfaces – Protection from sharp rocks and other hazards – Comfort and support for all-day wear – Reduced risk of foot injuries or blisters

Tips for Choosing the Best Shoes

Here are a few additional tips to help you choose the best shoes for your rafting adventure:

– Try on shoes with the socks you plan to wear on your trip – Look for shoes with adjustable straps for a customized fit – Research the rapids and water conditions you’ll be facing to choose appropriate footwear – When in doubt, opt for water shoes or hiking shoes with good grip and support


Choosing the right shoes for rafting can make all the difference in your safety and enjoyment on the water. Look for water-resistant materials, good grip and support, and a comfortable fit. Avoid cotton and heavy materials, and consider renting or purchasing specialized rafting shoes if necessary. With the right footwear, you’ll be ready to tackle any rapids that come your way.

Was this article helpful?