5 Best Shoes for White Water Rafting Reviewed with Buyer’s Guide

  • By: Edmond Clark
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​Recently, I was reading an article on Rivervalley.co.nz.

I found some interesting facts and figures about number of injuries or fatalities that happen during white water rafting trips.

The research data says that approx. 179 people out of 100000 participants get injured while doing white water rafting.

Now this figure can make many of us worried and stressed out.

I know there are many families out there who go on such adventure tours just for having fun and thrills.

I don’t oppose going out on such rafting tours.

But at the same time, as a responsible family member, you should also take some safety precautions before going out for such tours.

You have to carry important safety gear with yourself before you go for such adventurous activities.

One of the most important gears that are required for safe white water rafting is the good quality water shoes.

By wearing right water shoes, you make sure that your feet remain safe and injury free.

These shoes specially protect your feet from sharp rocks. They also prevent accidental slippage on rocks in the river.

This is why you and your friends as well as family members definitely need to wear the best shoes for white water rafting tours.

Today, I want to recommend you some of the best footwear options for you which will be helpful during these adventurous rafting activities.

Before you check out the actual reviews, let me provide you some important tips for choosing the most reliable footwear for these rafting sports.

So, kindly pay attention now.

​My 3 Favorite ​White Water Rafting Shoes

Boot BrandMain FeaturesMy RatingPrice
No. 1: Justin Boots Women’s Classic Western Boot​​​​Excellent for Female Bike Riders, Well Cushioned and Comfortable Midsole, Durable Leather Material9.5 / 10Click Here to See Price and Customer Reviews
No. 2: ​​​​​Tony Lama Boots Women’s Stallion 7906L Western Boot​​​​High Construction Standards, ​Comfortable Leather Material, ​​Higher Arch Support 9 / 10Click Here to See Price and Customer Reviews
No. 3: Justin Boots Women’s Bent Rail 11 Inches Broad Square-Toe Cowgirl Boot​​​​Perfect for Narrow Feet Ladies, ​Comfortable & Durable by Nature, ​Handcrafted in USA and Stylish Construction8.5 / 10Click Here to See Price and Customer Reviews

​Buying Guide for Selecting the Best Quality Shoes for White Water Rafting Excursions

​What Gear Should I use for Mild and Wild Rafting Tours?

White River Rafting Gear

​If you are planning for an adventurous white water rafting trip, then you should prepare yourself well in advance.

Your preparation starts with getting the right gear for you, for your friends and family members.

In order to make this a truly exciting and safe adventure of your life, you will have to wear important clothing items.

Some of the most essential ones are life jackets, helmets, water shoes or strapped closed toe sandals, water socks, sunglasses, sunscreen lotion, water bottle, etc.

What you should not wear is loose flip flops or sandals. Because they can come off very easily when you roam into the rivers for rafting excursions.

I strongly recommend you to wear good quality, durable and water proof clothing when you go for these types of adventure activities.

Give preference to wearing clothing that is made from waterproof material such as polypro, polyester, microfleece, wool, etc.

One really important thing to mention here that the above described material types are usually quick drying in nature.

They dry off quickly once you get out of the water.

If your clothing material is made from cotton, then they will not dry faster and there is high chance that you might get sick.

So, to avoid these issues, always wear clothing which is water proof and fast drying in nature.

​Do You Really Need Special Shoes for White Water Rafting?

​Now there are lots of folks out there who ask about what types of shoes to wear for whitewater rafting excursions.

There is nothing awkward asking about this query.

In fact, you should better know what kind of shoes you have to wear for these types of adventure tours.

But the main question is do you really need to wear any special footwear for these rafting activities.

The answer is surely “Yes”. You definitely require good quality, waterproof and quick drying water shoes for such tours.

If you are thinking of wearing your regular house sandals or flip-flops then just stop there.

Don’t even think about bringing them with you when you visit these amazing rafting locations.

Although, you can bring them with you and just put them in your car while you perform river rafting. Later on, you will need them to wear.

​What Types of Shoes Should You Wear for River Rafting?

​The best types of footwear that are ideal for white river rafting are the ones that are waterproof, quick drying and offers good comfort for your feet.

Some of the most important requirements you should look for in your shoes are as follows.

1. Better Grip: Your shoes must offer the best grip and traction on slippery grounds and in river water.

Therefore, opt for shoes that have reliable tread and non-marking rubber outsole.

2. Good Foot Balance: Your feet must remain steady and firm when you raft in the water.

This is where a footwear with good support and foot stability plays a pivotal role.

3. Secured Fitting: The foot should be properly secured in the shoes when you perform river rafting.

This is why your shoes must provide secured fitting and proper lock down of your feet.

4. Proper Breathability: Your river rafting footwear should have a breathable material.

A good breathable shoe keeps your feet warm and properly ventilated when you raft in the rivers.

5. Comfortable Sizing: Also, look for the proper size and width of your shoe.

Your shoes should not come off easily when you enter into the raft or when you fall down into the river by mistake.

These shoes must be properly and securely fit your foot.

6. Good Arch Support: Having a reliable arch support is equally important.

Your feet will thank you when you wear water shoes with good arch support.

These footwear definitely provide more comfort and reduces the chances of foot pain.

7. Quick Drying: Quick drying water shoes are important for such excursions.

Look for the shoes that come with mesh upper and quick draining feature.

They help water to quickly drain out and your feet become dry faster.

This is important to keep your feet warm and infection free when you get out of water.

​What Shoes Should You Avoid to Wear When Going for White River Rafting?

​There are some footwear choices that you should completely avoid when going for adventurous rafting tours.

Some of the shoes types that you should stay away are as follows.

1. Common Flip-flops: Avoid wearing flip-flops or general use sandals for these tours.

They easily come off your feet when they are exposed to high water currents.

Even Crocs footwear are not good options when you go out for these tours.

They easily slide on slippery grounds and you really don’t want to have any accidental slips or slip injuries for sure.

2. High Heels: Avoid using high heels or any other open toe shoes.

These types of footwear types expose your toes and other foot parts.

Your feet have high chances of getting injuries due to poor foot stability and support when you raft in high current rivers.

You definitely need the shoes that are more stable and highly supportive in nature.

​So, What is the Best Footwear Choice for River Rafting Tours?

​The best option for you is of course wearing good quality and supportive water shoes.

Water shoes usually come in closed toe format.

This is why they provide good support and protection for your toes.

These shoes also provide secure and comfortable fitting for your feet.

They do not get loose and come off easily when exposed to high current water in the river.

They are also highly breathable which keeps your feet warm and adequately ventilated in the water.

Plus they provide really good protection for your feet.

In the river, your feet could get injuries due to the exposure to debris, dirt and rocks.

The water shoes with closed toes offer excellent protection and support in these conditions.

​Review of Top 5 Footwear for White Water Rafting Adventure

​No. 5: Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoe

Zhuanglin Men's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

​At no. 5 comes Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoe with lots of good features suitable for river rafting trips.

The main features that I liked about this shoe are as follows.

The upper of this Zhuanglin water shoe is made from open mesh material.

It is highly breathable and quick water draining in nature.

So, obviously your feet will remain dry and infection free when you enter into the water with these shoes on your feet.

There is a ComfortDry Sockliner which is in-built in this shoe.

This type of sockliner gives your feet proper cushioning and comfort when you raft in the rapid and turbulent water flow.

The outsole of this shoe also has lots of holes for faster water draining. So your feet will remain comfortable and moisture free for long period of time.

I also loved its Solyte midsole which is very light weight and comfortable to use. Plus the shoe is equally lightweight in terms of its overall weight.

It is extremely adaptive and supportive as far as your foot fitting is concerned. Other worth mentioning features of this shoe are its comfortable flex grooves and midfoot webbing system.

The thing that I disliked about this water shoe is its internal elastic strap.

This strap goes way over the arch of your foot and it limits your foot movements to a certain extent.

One more thing I would like to mention here is these shoes are not for everyday usage.

The sole of the shoe is not that durable and might peel off easily if you use these shoes on a regular basis. So, my recommendation is to use them only for the purpose of river rafting.


a. ​Highly affordable price range

b. ​Very comfortable and well cushioned

c. ​Lightweight and highly adaptive fitting

d. ​Breathable mesh upper with lots of drainage holes

e. ​Good arch support


a. ​Not ​very durable sole

b. ​Internal elastic strap restricts your foot movements

Click Here to See Price and Reviews of Men’s Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoe.

Check Out Reviews and Price of Women’s Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoe.

​No. 4: Aleader Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoe

ALEADER Men's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes Blue 10.5 D(M) US

​Aleader is a good quality brand when it comes to purchasing a reliable water shoe.

Particularly, Aleader Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoe is best among all of their water footwear models.

The shoe is very similar to Zhuanglin shoes in terms of its features and benefits.

I liked its outsole which has lots of water draining pores.

In wet and slippery environments, you really need such shoes having good traction and water draining capable soles.

Another good thing is its air mesh upper.

It is highly breathable and durable in nature.

Its mesh design keeps your feet properly ventilated and free from any infections.

Then there is ComfortDry sockliner that offers higher cushioning and comfort for your feet.

In white water rafting, your feet require good comfort and protection.

Shoes such as this, offer good protection for your toes, heels and ankles as well.

Its Solyte midsole is extremely lightweight and gives your feet lightness and comfort while walking on trails and in the running water.

Plus this is a vegan friendly footwear which looks really stylish and fashionable as well.

The thing that I really don’t like about this shoe is its flimsiness.

They are extremely soft and flexible which is the reason you can not use them harshly.

You can not wear them for long distance trailing tours or through solid rocks and debris.

These are good fit only for water rafting.

Another drawback of this shoe is its eyelets. After few days of usage, you will see rust stains near the eyelets.

You need to wash your shoes properly in order to get rid of these rust stains.

Kindly read our guide on how to wash your shoes in the washing machine to know more about the shoe washing procedure.


a. ​Lightweight and durable in nature

b. ​Vegan friendly and highly comfortable to use

c. ​Quick drying capability and offers good cushioning as well

d. ​Highly breathable air mesh upper

e. ​Good arch support


a. ​Accumulates rust stains near eyelets easily

b. ​Extremely soft and flimsy in nature

Click Here to See Price and Reviews of Men’s Aleader Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoe.

​Click Here to See Price and Reviews of Women’s Aleader Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoe.

​No. 3: Keen Newport Hydro Sandal

KEEN Men's Newport Hydro-M Sandal, Dark Olive/Antique Bronze, 11 M US

​There are basically two major features of Keen Newport Hydro Sandal that makes it one of the best shoes for whiter water rafting.

Those features are as follows.

First feature that I liked about this Keen sandal is its non-marking rubber outsole.

This sole is best in preventing skidding and accidental slippage in slippery water and rocks around the river.

This sole also offers really good grip and traction which is must have feature for any river rafting footwear.

Another good thing about this sandal is its closed toe protection.

It offers excellent protection for your toes.

Many rafting instructors emphasize the importance of having closed toe footwear for such excursions.

This is the reason, you need to opt for such types of water rafting shoes.

The webbing upper is highly breathable and easily washable.

Its compression molded EVA midsole provides really good cushioning and comfort for your feet.

This Keen sandal comes in almost 8 different colors and looks stylish and attractive too.

But one thing that I don’t like about it is its quality of stitching in the back.

It seems that the stitching in the back of the sandal is not done properly.

It comes off abruptly after few days of heavy usage. But it could be the case for few defective pieces.

Another thing that I noticed about this sandal is it is ideal for folks having narrow feet or normal width feet.

But it could be misfit for wide width feet.

So, I recommend to measure your foot size first and if your feet are wide, then go for the other shoes in this list.


a. ​Lightweight and highly comfortable to use anywhere

b. ​Midsole is well cushioned and comfortable too

c. ​Outsole offers great traction and slip resistance

d. ​Closed toe protection

e. ​Breathable and properly ventilated sandal


a. ​Not suitable for wide feet folks

b. ​Stitching in the back needs to be more durable

Click Here to See Reviews and Price of Men’s Keen Newport Hydro-M Sandal.

Click Here to See Reviews and Price of Women’s Keen Newport Hydro-W Sandal.

​No. 2: Teva Omnium Sport Sandal

Teva Omnium Slate 8.5 B (M)

​Again, this particular Teva Omnium Sport Sandal offers some of the ideal solutions that every water rafting lover requires for their foot safety.

Some of those important features are mentioned as follows.

The first important benefit of this sandal is that it comes with closed toe protection.

Plus, it has quick dry mesh lining which keeps your feet dry and moisture free when you come out of the water.

Its multiple drainage ports do a good job of keeping water out of the sandal.

These sandals are perfect for men and women who don’t want water to remain inside their shoes while rafting in the rivers.

There is a Shoc Pad technology in the heel which gives you decent shock absorption.

There is a nylon shank that comes with this sandal.

It offers the best foot stability on uneven slippery rocks.

Its elastic gore conforms to your foot size and provides more comfort and flexibility for your feet.

Plus, it comes with bungee lacing system.

This lacing technique offers more comfortable fitting.

And finally, the non-marking rubber sole offers good amount of traction and slip resistance on slippery grounds in the river.

But there are few things that I would like to mention here.

If you are planning to use these sandals for hiking, then I would not recommend to do so.

Because on high rocks, its sole tends to slip out quickly.

So I would avoid wearing these sandals specially for hiking activities.

One more thing to mention here is if you buy tight fitting sandal, then avoid it wearing at all cost.

Because so many folks have complained about getting blisters on their feet after wearing tight sized sandal.

But there are solutions available to make any shoes or sandals bigger to avoid such blisters.

Check this guide to learn how you can make your small sized sandals bigger in size at your home.


a. ​Excellent choice for river rafting, kayaking, and canoeing

b. ​Nice closed toe protection

c. ​Extremely lightweight and comfortable to use

d. ​Quick drying mesh lining keeps your feet warm and moisture free

e. ​Outsole offers decent foot grip and slip resistance


a. ​Not a good choice for hiking activities

b. ​Tight sandal can cause blisters

Click Here to See Price and Reviews of Men’s Teva Omnium 2 Sport Sandal.

Click Here to See Price and Reviews of ​Women’s Teva Omnium 2 Sport Sandal.

​No. 1: Astral Loyak Everyday Outdoor Minimalist Sneaker

Astral Women's Loyak Everyday Outdoor Minimalist Sneakers, Lightweight and Flexible, Made for Water, Casual, Travel, and Boat, Gray/White, 7 M US

​Finally, at no. 1; I have ranked Astral Loyal Minimalist Sneaker as our most recommended shoe for white water rafting.

Its some of the best features are mentioned as follows.

First thing that I liked about this shoe is that its upper is made from hydrophobic canvas material.

It has an air mesh panel which is good for internal ventilation and offers good breathability for your feet.

Its EVA foam midsole is highly well cushioned and offers good comfort for your feet.

What I more liked about this Astral Loyak sneaker is its excellently crafted outsole.

Its rubber outsole gives much better grip and slip resistance for your feet.

At the same time, it conforms to your foot size and gives much better cushion.

Its footbed provides the best bio-mechanics and foot balance while you perform river rafting.

They look stylish and come in 4 different color combinations.

Its lacing offers more secured fitting and they don’t come off easily even when exposed to high water currents.

You can walk in these shoes all day comfortably without getting tired.

The only thing that I don’t like about this sneaker is its overall quality of fabric.

It is not the best but  not that bad too.

Another thing that I noticed is its thick seam inside the toe box.

It somehow rubs your little toe which could be uncomfortable experience for some people.

I recommend you to read this guide to learn how to stop your shoes rubbing your little toes.

If you face this situation, then you can deal it safely by using these simple methods.


a. ​Footbed offers the best foot balance and bio-mechanics

b. ​Ideal for casual boating, travel and water rafting activities

c. ​Non-marking rubber outsole offers good grip and slip resistance

d. ​Well cushioned and comfortable EVA midsole

e. ​Air mesh panel in the upper provides high breathability


a. ​Thick seam inside the toe box rubs your little toe

b. ​Quality of fabric must be improved

​I recommend to take a close look at the following video review to understand the unique features of this shoe up close.

Click Here to Read Reviews and See Price of Men’s Astral Loyak Minimalist Sneaker.

​Click Here to Read Reviews and See Price of Women’s Astral Loyak Minimalist Sneaker.

​Wrapping Up

​So, these are my top 5 favorite shoes for white water rafting trips.

I recommend you to first read the buying guide to clearly understand what you should look for while purchasing these kinds of footwear.

Then choose any one of the above 5 shoes that fits your tastes and preferences.

Try them on for few days, test them out on your rafting tours.

You will get to know how these shoes actually performs in real life.

Don’t forget to share your experiences here at VBMBestReviews.com. Good luck.

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