Here Are the 10 Best Shoes For Rowing Machines

Using the right shoes when using a rowing machine is super important. Not only can it improve your performance and comfort, but it can also prevent injury.

When rowing, your feet are your support base and the connection point between you and the machine. If your shoes don’t provide the proper support, your feet can slip around on the foot pedals, throwing off your form and putting you at risk of injury.

So, what kind of shoes should you wear when using a rowing machine? Running shoes or cross-trainers are a good choice, as they offer support and flexibility. Ideally, you want a pair of shoes with a firm, non-slip sole that will keep your feet in place on the foot pedals.

Avoid wearing shoes with a lot of cushioning or a raised heel, as these can throw off your balance and make it harder to maintain proper form. And if you’re serious about rowing, consider investing in shoes specifically designed for the sport. These shoes often have a stiff sole and a strap that secures your foot to the pedal, providing even more stability and power transfer.

In short, wearing the right shoes when using a rowing machine can significantly improve your performance and safety. So take a few extra minutes to choose the right pair, and you’ll be on your way to a more effective and enjoyable workout!

In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best shoes for rowing machines.

Whether you’re a seasoned rower or just starting out, the right pair of shoes can make a huge difference in your comfort, performance, and safety on the machine. From cross-trainers to specialized rowing shoes, we’ve got you covered with options for every budget and level of experience.

Get ready to kick back, relax, and uncover the ideal pair of shoes to help you crush your next rowing machine workout!

1. Nike Metcon 8 – Best Overall Shoe For Rowing Machines

Although the Nike Metcon 8 is promoted as a women’s training shoe, Andy Hoang, a devoted rower and CEO of Aviron claims it is the finest Nike shoe for rowing. He elaborates, “The Metcon is an exceptional rowing shoe with a cozy heel design that fits snugly in the foot cradle. Its sole is firm, flexible, and long-lasting, making it breathable and featuring a flat profile that maximizes force on the footplate.”

All in all, the Nike Metcon 8 is an ideal shoe for rowing machines. It features a reworked upper around the toe box, providing extra durability, while the Nike React foam gives the forefoot a responsive feel. The stability of the Metcon 8 is ideal for rowing, and the lateral and medial outsole wraps on the midfoot provide additional grip to ensure a secure ride.

The blocky heel is also perfect for rowing as it helps absorb shock and reduce fatigue. With its lightweight construction and superior cushioning, the Metcon 8 will make any training session more comfortable and enjoyable. 

2. Converse Chuck Taylor Low Top – Best Budget Shoes For Rowing Machine

The Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star is a classic shoe perfect for rowing. Its timeless design and durable canvas upper provide stability and comfort during long rowing sessions. Its flat sole construction gives it a zero-drop, ideal for rowing as it helps keep your feet closer to the ground. 

The Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star is an affordable and reliable shoe that will help you reach your rowing goals. Its minimalist design allows for better foot contact with the rowing machine, which benefits power and speed. Its rubber sole also helps to provide traction and grip, giving you an edge at the gym.

With a price point of around $65, these shoes are perfect for those who want to get a good training shoe without breaking the bank. With their dual-functionality for training and daily wear, Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars offer great value for their price.

3. WHITIN Women’s Barefoot & Minimalist Shoe – Best Barefoot Shoe For Rowing Machine

The WHITIN Barefoot shoe is a great budget-friendly option for those looking to experience barefoot shoes. This shoe is an all-rounder – perfect for trail running, working out, and even casual wear. Plus, it comes at an incredibly reasonable price of around $40. It is a good entry minimalist and barefoot shoe for those new to this type of footwear, as it fits relatively snugly and has enough material under the foot to provide a protected ride. 

The WHITIN performs well on light and easy terrain, although it is not ideal for technical terrain. It is also suitable for recreational lifting, rowing, and daily wear. It features an elastic drawstring and a single strap with velcro to provide additional support. While it is not the most durable shoe, it is perfect for those looking for the best shoes for rowing machines. 

4. Vans Core Classics – Best Flat Shoes For Rowing Machine

Vans Core Classics are some of the most iconic shoes on the market, offering classic silhouettes worn by generations of skateboarders and trendsetters. The shoes feature a vulcanized construction with a waffle-patterned outsole for enhanced grip and durability and a canvas upper for breathability. As a result, these shoes are ideal for use on rowing machines, as their construction ensures that your feet will remain comfortable through every stroke. 

The midsole cushioning also helps absorb shock and protect your feet from fatigue as you row. Furthermore, the rubber outsole is designed to last and provide maximum traction on any rowing surface. With so many features, it’s no wonder why Vans Core Classics are one of the most popular rowing shoes around.

5. Reebok Crossfit Nano 9 – Best Multi-Purpose Shoe For Rowing Machine

The Reebok Crossfit Nano 9 is a training shoe designed specifically for Crossfitters and other athletes involved in high-intensity workouts. It features a wide toe box and low heel drop for stability, a Flexweave upper, an extended Ropepro midsole wrap, and a 4mm heel drop.

It is constructed with a new foam for enhanced cushioning and support, and the outsole is made of two different colored tough rubber pieces for increased flexibility. The laces are wide and flat to stay in place, and the padded tongue ensures a comfortable fit.

Finally, the Metasplit grooves on the shoe’s outsole help promote toe splay and improve stability on a rowing machine. All of these features make the Reebok Crossfit Nano 9 a great shoe for anyone looking to get into rowing.

The Reebok Nano 9 is more expensive than a traditional training shoe due to the technology used to make it durable, stable, and comfortable.

6. Reebok Nano X2 – Best Cross Trainer Shoe For Rowing Machine

The Reebok Nano X2 is perfect for those looking for an all-around, reliable shoe for various activities. Its lightweight cushioning and EVA Floatride Energy Foam allows it to absorb shock and provide optimal energy return.

Its wide toe box will enable you to splay and grip your toes during lifts, while the 7-millimeter heel drop helps to propel you forward during running and plyometric movements. The molded arch provides support without being too stiff, and the upper is durable and breathable. 

This makes it an ideal choice for rowing machines, as it provides stability and support needed to perform the exercise correctly. Additionally, the cushioning and responsiveness of the shoe provide comfort while rowing, while the breathable upper helps to keep your feet cool.

7. APL TechLoom Tracer – Best Stylish Shoes For Rowing Machines

The APL TechLoom Tracer is the perfect combination of style and performance. Created by brothers Adam and Ryan Goldston, this sleek, low-cut style is designed to meet the needs of those wanting a shoe for HIIT workouts, classes, recreational lifting, and athletic-style activities.

This minimalist shoe features familiar materials from the APL product line but with a modern, performance-driven design. Ideal for functional training, these shoes provide excellent stability and comfort to ensure you can give it your all. Not only does the TechLoom Tracer offer great performance, but it also looks stylish and is sure to turn heads. With its fashionable design and comfortable fit, the TechLoom Tracer will surely be a hit with any sneaker lover.

It is lightweight, with good responsiveness due to its Propelium midsole construction. Additionally, the TechLoom upper is breathable and does a good job of locking the foot down for plyometrics, agility work, and multi-directional training. 

The APL TechLoom Tracer is a good option for those wanting an athletic fit for versatile training activities. The Tracer is best for HIIT workouts, classes, recreational lifting, and athletic-style training but falls short for heavy lifting and CrossFit-style exercises. It is also priced at $250, which may be too expensive for some athletes and lifters.

8. Rykä No Limit Training Shoe – Best Women’s Snug Fit Shoe For Rowing Machines

Rykä is a shoe brand that caters exclusively to women, and every pair of shoes is meticulously crafted using the brand’s groundbreaking technology, which is based on the “Q ANGLE.” This refers to the internal angle of the quadriceps muscle, which is 3-4% higher in women than men, and impacts their posture and weight distribution while standing. 

Rykä offers a range of shoes for various activities, including walking, running, cross-training, hiking, and dancing. The No Limit Training Shoe, in particular, is ideal for rowing due to its flat sole and lower drop, which allow for a more robust and connected push-back during rowing.

9. Vibram FiveFingers KSO – Best Grip Shoes For Rowing Machines

The Vibram Five Fingers KSO is a great option for individuals who desire the sensation of barefoot running while working out on a rowing machine. Its lightweight design and hook-and-loop closure system ensure a secure fit and prevent rocks and sand from entering the shoe.

The 3.5mm outsole is slightly thicker under the ball of the foot, providing extra protection from thorns and sharp rocks. Its non-marking rubber outsole is tacky enough for any gym floor, allowing for enhanced grip and flexibility. 

Despite its simple structure, the KSO is incredibly durable, making it a great value for money. Furthermore, its stretchy, polyester upper is designed like a water shoe and dries quickly. These features make the Vibram Five Fingers KSO an ideal choice for anyone looking to train on a rowing machine.

10. Lululemon Chargefeel – Best Cushioned Shoes For Rowing Machines

The Lululemon Chargefeel is a revolutionary workout shoe designed to provide support and stability for various activities. It boasts a dual-density foam midsole, with a top layer to absorb the impact of training and a bottom layer to provide the energy return needed for running. 

It is lightweight at 9.4 ounces and can be used for HIIT sessions, dance, boxing, running, and walking. It is also designed to fit the female foot with a snug fit and flexibility. It is available in two styles – the Chargefeel Mid, with a mesh upper and cuff for extra support, and the Chargefeel Low, which is more like a typical cross-training shoe. It comes in various colors and retails for $138-$148.

It is important to note that the sneakers are constructed with fabric uppers with a texture similar to the brand’s Align leggings. As a result, if the rower straps are dirty, they may leave marks on the sneakers. In this scenario, the brand advises against washing the sneakers and recommends spot-cleaning them. 

Best Types Of Shoes For Rowing Machines

Appropriate footwear can significantly impact your performance and overall experience while using a rowing machine. In this guide, we’ll go over the types of shoes suitable for using a rowing machine and what to look for when choosing the right pair.

Indoor Training Shoes

Indoor training shoes are perfect for using a rowing machine. They have flat soles, which provide stability during the rowing motion, and are lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. Many of these shoes possess remarkable grip, so you won’t need to worry about slipping. Look for shoes that are designed specifically for indoor training or weightlifting, as they will offer the necessary support and stability.

Cross-Training Shoes

Cross-training shoes are also a great option for using a rowing machine. They are versatile and designed to provide support and stability for various exercises, including rowing. Cross-training shoes typically have a slightly higher heel than indoor training shoes, which can help with posture and alignment during rowing. When searching for workout shoes, prioritize those that offer ample arch support and cushioning to safeguard your feet during extended exercise sessions.

Running Shoes

While running shoes are not the best for rowing, they can still be used in a pinch. Running shoes typically have thick, cushioned soles, making it more difficult to maintain proper form while rowing. Additionally, the curved shape of the sole can cause instability during the rowing motion. If you have no other option but to use running shoes, look for a pair with a flat sole and minimal cushioning.


Some rowers prefer to row barefoot. This is perfectly acceptable as long as the rowing machine has a comfortable footrest. However, it’s important to note that rowing barefoot may increase your risk of injury, as your feet are not protected from impact and friction. Additionally, rowing barefoot can make it more difficult to maintain proper form, as your feet may slip around on the footrest.

When choosing shoes for rowing, it’s important to prioritize comfort, stability, and support. Look for shoes with a flat sole, good traction, and minimal cushioning. Additionally, ensure the shoes fit properly and are not too tight or loose. With the right shoes, you’ll be able to row comfortably and safely and get the most out of your workout.

Why Is Wearing The Right Shoes Important For Using A Rowing Machine?

Wearing the right shoes is crucial when using a rowing machine because it can impact your performance and safety. When rowing, your feet are secured in the machine’s footrests, and the movement involves pushing off and sliding forward repeatedly. Therefore, wearing shoes that provide adequate support, stability, and grip is essential to prevent slipping, discomfort, and injury.

Wearing the wrong shoes can lead to issues such as unstable footing, foot cramps, blisters, or even falls. For example, shoes with thick soles or high heels can make it difficult to achieve proper foot placement, resulting in an uneven stroke and less efficient movement. Similarly, shoes with inadequate support or cushioning can cause foot fatigue and discomfort, affecting your endurance and performance.

To avoid such problems, wearing shoes specifically designed for rowing or cross-training is recommended. These shoes typically have a thin, flat sole to provide a stable base and enhance your connection with the footrests. They also offer ample cushioning and support to reduce the impact on your feet and joints and a non-slip outsole to prevent slipping during the stroke.

In summary, wearing the right shoes is vital when using a rowing machine, as it can improve your performance and protect you from potential injuries. So, invest in a good pair of shoes that provide the necessary support, stability, and grip to maximize your rowing workout!

Buying Guide For The Best Shoes For Rowing Machines

Here’s a guide to help you find the best shoes for your rowing machine workouts.


Comfort is among the crucial factors to consider when selecting shoes for a rowing machine. You want a shoe that fits well and won’t cause blisters or discomfort during your workout. Look for shoes with padding and support in the right places, and make sure they fit snugly but not too tight. If possible, try on the shoes before you buy them to ensure they’re comfortable.


Traction is also important when it comes to rowing machine shoes. You want a shoe that provides a good grip on the footrests of the rowing machine, so you can push off with maximum force. Look for shoes with a non-slip sole that provides good surface traction.


Your feet get hot and sweaty when working out on a rowing machine. That’s why choosing shoes that are breathable and allow air to circulate around your feet is important. Look for shoes made from lightweight, breathable materials like mesh or synthetic fabrics.


Rowing machine exercises can be quite taxing on your footwear. Hence, it’s crucial to pick resilient shoes that can endure the wear and tear of frequent usage. Look for shoes with sturdy construction and high-quality materials that can withstand repeated use.


Weight is another important factor when choosing shoes for rowing machine workouts. While the weight of your shoes may not seem like a big deal at first, it can significantly impact your performance.

Heavier shoes can make lifting your feet more difficult and slow down your overall rowing stroke. On the other hand, lightweight shoes can help you move more quickly and efficiently on the rowing machine, allowing you to get the most out of your workout.

Sole Thickness

The thickness of the sole can affect your balance and stability on the machine, as well as the amount of force you can generate with each stroke.

Thicker soles can provide more cushioning and support for your feet, which can be beneficial if you have flat feet or need extra arch support. However, thicker soles can also make it harder to feel the rowing machine’s footrests, making it more difficult to maintain proper form and technique.

On the other hand, thinner soles can provide better sensitivity and allow you to feel the footrests more clearly, which can help you maintain better balance and generate more power with each stroke. However, thinner soles may provide less cushioning or support, which can be a concern if you have foot issues or need extra support.

As with other factors, the ideal sole thickness depends on your preferences and needs. It’s important to try on different shoes and test them on the rowing machine to see which thickness feels most comfortable and provides the best performance.


While less important than the other factors on this list, style is still something to consider when choosing rowing machine shoes. After all, if you wear these shoes regularly, you want them to look good! Look for shoes in a style and color that you like and that will match your workout gear.

In summary, consider comfort, traction, breathability, durability, and style when looking for shoes to use on a rowing machine. Considering these essential factors, you can discover the ideal footwear for your rowing machine exercises, guaranteeing a pleasant and productive workout every time. Happy rowing!

Final Words

Selecting the appropriate shoes for rowing can significantly impact your workout experience. The best shoes for rowing machines should provide support, stability, and comfort to your feet. From our list of the top 10 best shoes for rowing machines, you can choose the one that fits your style, budget, and preferences. Whether a beginner or a pro, investing in the right shoes will improve your performance and reduce the risk of injuries. So, put on your new shoes, hop on the rowing machine, and get ready to row your way to a healthier and fitter you!


 What Kind Of Shoes Should I Wear For Rowing?

Choosing the proper rowing shoes is vital to maximize the benefits of your rowing machine workout and attain optimal results. Whether using a Nordictrack RW900, a Proform rowing machine, a Hydrow rower, or a Peloton rower, selecting the right rowing shoe is important for optimal performance. Rowing shoes should be lightweight, flexible, breathable, and comfortable. The sole should be flat with minimal cushioning so you can feel the push of the footpad/pedal as you drive through with your legs. Popular rowing shoe brands include Nike, Allbirds, NOBULL, Adidas, Reebox, and Converse. Additionally, wearing cooling rowing socks can help keep your feet comfortable and dry during workouts.

Do You Need Special Shoes For A Rowing Machine?

The short answer is yes. While regular athletic shoes can be used for rowing, they may not be ideal. Special shoes designed specifically for rowing machines provide a better fit and can help improve your performance. Shoes designed for rowing machines typically have a flat sole and low drop, making them more comfortable and allowing for more power on the footplate. Some shoes, like the Kizik Lima, also feature hands-free designs, making them easier to take on and off. Irrespective of the shoe type, it’s crucial to ensure that it fits snugly in the foot cradle for optimal comfort and performance.

Should You Wear Shoes While Rowing?

Regarding the usage of a rowing machine, there might be some ambiguity about whether one should wear shoes. Any fitness or running shoe is appropriate. However, it’s best to use shoes with a lower heel and less cushioning to maximize power. If someone is comfortable without shoes, that’s fine too. Bare feet can provide a better connection to the footplate. The priority is to keep the feet comfortable and protected while exercising. For outdoor rowing, shoes protect the feet from harmful surfaces, while a durable shoe is a must for indoor rowing. Ultimately, wearing shoes on a rowing machine is a matter of choice. If someone is comfortable and their feet are protected, they can row with or without shoes.

What Kind Of Body Can You Expect From Rowing?

Rowing is an excellent way to get a full-body workout to help you build muscle, burn fat, and improve your cardiovascular system. The rowing stroke activates nine muscle groups: legs, back, shoulders, torso, neck, hands, and chest. With each stroke, you are engaging all of your major muscle groups, making it an efficient and effective way to gain muscle mass while also burning calories. As an added benefit, rowing is low-impact and non-weight-bearing, so it’s an ideal option for those looking to exercise but is restricted due to joint pain. With regular rowing workouts, you can expect to build strong and lean muscle while reducing your cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Does Rowing Slim Stomach?

Yes, a rowing machine can help slim your stomach. It helps burn fat, build endurance, and reduce knee joint pressure. It also targets major muscle groups such as the transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, and pyramidalis muscles. For the machine to be effective, users must learn about proper posture and have a suitable diet that meets their needs. Additionally, it is important to start with a warm-up and do 30 strokes or less per minute. Additionally, it is important to avoid unhealthy foods such as french fries, candy bars, ice cream, alcohol, and pizza. With the right technique and effort, you should start seeing results within three weeks of training.

Why Am I Gaining Weight Rowing?

Gaining weight while rowing can occur for a variety of reasons:

  1. You may be consuming more calories than you’re spending. Over-eating after a hard workout and taking in too many pre-workout calories can lead to weight gain.
  2. While rowing, you might be shedding fat and building muscle, which can increase weight, as shown on the scale.
  3. If your workouts are the same every time, you may not be challenging yourself enough to burn the necessary calories to lose weight.
  4. If your objective is weight loss, then your diet has a more significant impact than exercise and should be the central aspect of your plan.

To optimize your weight loss goals, it is important to mix up your routine and pay attention to your diet and workout.

Which Is Better, Treadmill Or Rower?

When it comes to choosing between a treadmill and a rowing machine for your workout, it really depends on your desired outcomes. A rowing machine is the better option if you’re looking for a full-body workout that will build muscle and burn calories. It activates far more muscles than a treadmill and provides an excellent cardio workout. However, running on a treadmill is still the best choice for pure calorie-burning potential. Additionally, running is a higher-impact exercise than rowing, so if you’re looking for something low-impact, rowing is the way to go. Ultimately, both machines have their own benefits and can be used to achieve an excellent workout.

Is Rowing Better Than HIIT?

Rowing and HIIT offer a great way to get a challenging workout in a relatively short time. Both activities are great for weight loss and cardiovascular health. However, depending on your goals, one may be better. Rowing is a low-impact exercise that can be performed at any level and is excellent for enhancing cardiovascular health and endurance. On the other hand, HIIT is a high-intensity workout that can be done quickly and is better for burning calories and building muscle fast. Ultimately, your best choice depends on your goals, fitness level, and available equipment.

Is Rowing Better Than Lifting Weights?

A rowing machine is an excellent choice if you want to boost your endurance and strengthen your muscles. While lifting weights is great for building specific muscles quickly, rowing provides a full-body workout that targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Therefore, rowing is an excellent option if you want to make the most of your workout and enhance your overall fitness. Don’t get us wrong, lifting weights can be great too, but rowing offers a different kind of workout that can be just as effective in achieving your fitness goals.

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