The 10 Best Rowing Shoes for Men and Women
Workout Comfortably With the Best Rowing Exercise Shoes We Reviewed for 2021
Unlike running, rowing has very little impact on the feet and knees, especially when done correctly. Therefore thick outsoles are not required. Indeed, shoes with flat soles and less cushioning are preferable and more comfortable for rowing machine exercise shoes. All rowing gear needs to be comfortable and breathable and allow the wearer freedom of movement.
For anyone with existing joint problems or those who are overweight, the high-impact exercise regimes may well be nigh on impossible to perform. Rowing exercise machines are a great way to get fit and offer a realistic exercise method for those who cannot undertake weight-bearing exercises like running or even walking.
The water rowing machines are carefully designed to exactly mimic rowing boat rowing and when done correctly there is no strain or impact on the feet. If when you try a rowing exercise machine and have any problems with your feet it may be that you need to change your footwear for indoor rowing machines.
The selection of rowing machine shoes here are for men and women and even cater for those with foot problems because no two pairs of feet are the same. The best rowing machine shoes should have the following attributes: Lightweight, Comfortable, Breathable, Flexible, Thin soled, and Flat or minimal drop. Considering these features, we picked and reviewed 9 of the best home rowing machine shoes for men and women.
Comparison Chart Based on the 6 Attributes:
|Merrell Men's Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Shoe||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Thine||Zero|
|Merrell Women's Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Shoe||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Thine||Zero|
|Reebok Men's Crossfit Nano 8.0 Flexweave Shoes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Thine||Zero|
|Reebok Women's CROSSFIT Nano 8.0 Flexweave Shoes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Thine||Zero|
|New Balance Womens Minimus Running & Rowing Shoes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Thine||Zero|
|Voovix Women & Mens Barefoot Athletic Trail Shoes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Thine||Zero|
|Troadlop Mens Hiking Quick Drying Trail Shoes||Average||Yes||Yes||Yes||Thine||Zero|
|ASICS Womens Gel Kayano Running & Rowing Shoes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Average||Thick||11MM|
|ASICS Gel Kayano 25 Comfortable Rowing Shoes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Average||Thick||10MM|
|Nike Men’s Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer Shoes||Yes||Yes||Average||Average||Thick||10MM|
Writer’s Notes on Rowing Exercise Shoes!
Based on the check boxes above the “Merrell Women’s Trail Glove 3” and “New Balance Women’s Minimus Shoes” come out top with 6/6 each. The best men’s indoor rowing machine shoes are “Merrell Trail Glove 3”, “Troadlop Men’s Hiking Quick Drying Trail Shoes” and “Reebok CROSSFIT Nano 8.0” all with a score of 5/6.
However, whilst the six points above are important attributes of good rowing machine shoes, each of us has slightly different requirements from our shoes and depending on our individual needs different shoes will suit different folks.
An important aspect of the choice for those with flat feet, high arches or other considerations is how the shoes will fit with the particular requirements of the individual’s feet. For that reason, the scoring here and the attributes may well pale into significance for those that require the additional comfort and support that the ASICS Gel Kayano gives.
In short there is not much to choose from and with regard to the Men’s Reebok, Troadlop and Merrells above it may come down to availability and choice. Of course each of those dropped a point on a different attribute and in the case of the Merrells some wearers find them very comfortable and others cannot wait to get them off; so I suspect that comes down very much to foot shape.
The Reebok’s are not thin soled, but they are designed with crossfit in mind and that includes rowing exercise machine, so if an all-round crossfit shoe is required you may decided they are your best option. The Troadlop are an excellent choice if you don’t mind the extra weight and with the sizing chart that make a massive difference if you are ordering on-line as it massively increases the likelihood of getting the right fit first time.
The Troadlop have to just about come out on top of the Men’s shoes. Indeed with their sleek styling there is no reason why these would not be an excellent choice for women as well.
Of the women’s top two shoes there is very little to choose from, even the 5/5 Amazon ratings are similar at 69% and 70% of reviewers. However, remember many of these are based on running not rowing. The styling is similar in both brands of shoes, however, read the review, the Merrell’s just pip the New Balance with no apparent “cons”.
Quick Overview of Best Indoor Rowing Shoes:
- Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Shoe
- Merrell Women’s Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Shoe
- Reebok Men’s Crossfit Nano 8.0 Flexweave Shoes
- Reebok Women’s CROSSFIT Nano 8.0 Flexweave Shoes
- New Balance Womens Minimus Running & Rowing Shoes
- Voovix Women & Mens Barefoot Athletic Trail Shoes
- Troadlop Mens Hiking Quick Drying Trail Shoes
- ASICS Womens Gel Kayano Running & Rowing Shoes
- ASICS Gel Kayano 25 Comfortable Rowing Shoes
- Nike Men’s Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer Shoes
Our Picks of Top 9 Rowing Machine Shoes:
1. Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Shoe
Merrell Men's Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Shoe
The Trail Glove 3 Minimal shoes are aimed at the running market, but there is no reason why they will not work as rowing exercise shoes, especially as the main selling point is the glove like fit. The 100% textile uppers are Mesh and TPU material and the sole is rubber. A precise glove-like fit is achieved by the Omni-fit lacing system and the shoes do have a reflective detail if you are planning to use them for running as well as shoes for rowing machine exercise.
Coming up true to size they are available in sizes 8-14. They are offered in four colorways: black and blue; black and grey, orange and navy and blue and lime green. Comfort and freshness is provided by the M Select™ FRESH treatment to help reduce odors and the fixed foam footbed and they also have a lightly padded tongue and collar.
Many people rave about the original trail glove running shoe and the reason that they do is because of the minimalist style and the actual fit like a glove, but by the time of this third-generation, the shoe has a much more mixed reception from runners.
With some saying they are as good or better as the original and others saying that the addition of a rigid metal arch support makes them uncomfortable. The requirements for rowing are slightly different though and there are many reasons why these are one of the best rowing shoes not least the zero drop. Overall, they are great shoes for Concept 2 rower and any other indoor rowing machine model.
Weight is 9 oz and the measurements for a size 12 are 3mm lug depth and 0 mm drop and 10.5 mm stack height. NB the measurements may vary by size.
- The shoes are lightweight and stylish, true to size and the four color ways gives consumer choice.
- They are quite lightweight at 9oz.
- I couldn’t find any.
2. Merrell Women’s Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Shoe
Merrell Women's Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Shoe
Sold in US sizes 5 to 11 these are designed as a minimal trainer designed to give real feel with little between your feet and the ground. Although they do.
However feature the TrailProtect™ pad to give underfoot protection, the design means that as indoor rowing shoes there is good feel and with zero drop you maximise the efficiency of power transfer from your feet onto the foot boards.
These shoes feature the Vibram TC5+ sole, a rubber sole with that is durable, slip-resistant, and made from recycled materials. The upper is manmade material and mesh with traditional style lace closure.
For comfort they have a breathable mesh lining. The Merrell shoes for home rowing machine workout are highly flexible and feature the Omni-fit lacing system for a flexible fits like a glove type fit. They are available in nine color variations, so there is bound to be something there to suit everyone. The shoes are also 100% vegan friendly.
The stack height heel to toe measurement is given as: 6.5/6.5mm and the foot-bed as : 0mm; insole: 3mm; with a midsole: 0/0mm; sole: 1.5 web, and with 2mm lug depth. All in all, it would be a great addition to your home rowing clothing.
- Designed to give good underfoot feel.
- Zero drop, which is ideal for rowing exercise shoes.
- I cannot find any.
3. Reebok Men’s Crossfit Nano 8.0 Flexweave Shoes
Reebok Men's Crossfit Nano 8.0 Flexweave Shoes
These are designed for crossfit with input from the crossfit community and are therefore created for the specific requirements of crossfit athletes and that includes rowing machine exercise.
This version is designed to surpass the previous models and has been re-engineered to incorporate Flexweave upper for breathability, stability and durability as well as target support.
That’s not all that’s new there is a new heel bootie construction that Reebok say ‘provides ultimate performance comfort’, and their toe tection that provides protection to the toe area for sport activities. The Men’s Crossfit Nano 8.0 are constructed with synthetic materials and have high abrasion rubber outsoles.
The outsoles are nice and stable, solid, but flexible enough to be agile. The Reebok rowing exercise machine shoes have seven eyelets for accurate fit. They do make a good pair of shoes for rowing machine exercise. They are available in 19 colors and sizes from 6.5 to 14.
TPU heel wrap, they have a wide toe box, 10oz weight and a 4mm drop.
- Designed with crossfit in mind the Reebok Nano 8 have a wide toe box, minimal drop outsole and the Flexweave upper.
- Sizing, you may need to order a half size up.
- Not a particularly nice to look at rowing exercise shoe.
4. Reebok Women’s CROSSFIT Nano 8.0 Flexweave Cross Trainer
Reebok Women's CROSSFIT Nano 8.0 Flexweave Shoes
The re-engineered Flexweave technology is designed to provide stability, breathability and flexibility. The system allows the shoe to flex more in some places whilst being more rigid in others and creates a good comfortable fit for all shapes of foot.
The material is lightweight and resilient to give stretch and support and the Women’s CROSSFIT Nano 8.0 Flexweave Cross Trainer also feature low-cut styling designed to increase ankle mobility.
Reebok have also created new heel bootie construction that also has added cushioning for added comfort that together with the very stable cushioned sole gives support to help prevent shin splints and cramps.
The shoes also have the Reebok ‘Toe Tection’ for increased durability. Thanks to the flexible rubber sole the shoe grips well and feels stable when used as rowing exercise shoes. The Reebok Women’s version of the Nano 8 comes in twenty one attractive color ways and come up true to foot size.
Weight of the shoes is just 8oz and they have a 4mm drop. Reebok’s Flexweave Technology actually weaves fibers into a figure-8 shape to create a strong, flexible upper.
- The shoes really hug the feet and the generous toe box ensures good toe comfort when flexing the feet.
- They provide a good grip and the heal doesn’t slip.
- These points ensure that these are one of the best rowing shoes.
- Couldn’t find any
5. New Balance Womens Minimus Running & Rowing Shoes
New Balance Womens Minimus Running & Rowing Shoes
The shoes are designed as a minimalist lightweight running shoe for off road trail running however with the superior grip from the Vibram® rubber soles and a low drop ensures that they work well as rowing exercise shoes.
The uppers are a flexible synthetic mesh mix and a mid foot leather wrap is included to keep the feet firmly in position and making the NBs one of the best shoes for indoor rowing.
Color wise they are less inspiring that some other rowing exercise shoes available. They do offer a choice of six color ways, but these are all based on black.
The Minimus V10 V1 is offered in sizes 5 to 12 and in a choice of standard and wide fittings. ACTEVA midsole cushioning for versatile, flexible support.
To help keep the shoes fresh they have an Antimicrobial treatment that resists odors. The shoes have a 4mm drop and weigh just 6.3 oz so are the lightest shoes of the selection.
- Offered in standard and wide fitting, so a definite pro for those with wider feet.
- Low drop and the lightest weight offering under review.
- Sizes run small, so order a half size or even a full size larger than normal.
- The laces don’t slide at all and need manually feeding through each hole every time they are put on and taken off.
- Limited color choice, especially if you don’t like black.
6. Voovix Women & Mens Barefoot Athletic Trail Shoes
Voovix Women & Mens Barefoot Athletic Trail Shoes
Designed with extra flexibility, the Voovix shoes are suitable for most types of exercise. Thanks to its lightweight and breathable knit fabric and rubber sole, these rowing shoes are very comfortable and also non-slip.
Additionally, they are easy to slip on and off due to the high level of flexibility. Voovix provides a size chart, so that you can measure your feet for the perfect size prior to ordering, which is a great advantage over other shoes that have buyers returning and purchasing larger or smaller sizes.
The toe box is carefully designed to give toes wriggle room too. There is a massive choice of 11 colors and these are a really good variety to suit all tastes of men and women.
The workout shoes feature drainage holes for runners, are highly breathable and washable which contributes in making this pair one of the best shoes for rowing machine workout.
They do come up lighter than most competitors with the size 11.5 weighing 10oz, so they are much lighter than some other rowing exercise shoes. However, the Voovix women and men’s Hiking Barefoot Athletic Shoes are flat-zero-drop gaining them further favor as rowing machine shoes.
- A size chart to choose the correct size is a useful addition to help with buying.
- The Voovix rowing shoes are flexible and easy to wash and are quick to dry.
- They are zero drop and come with soft comfortable insole.
- Not as durable as other brands such as NB.
7. Troadlop Mens Hiking Quick Drying Trail Shoes
Troadlop Mens Hiking Quick Drying Trail Shoes
Designed to be more flexible for any form of exercise the lightweight and breathable knitted fabric is highly flexible as is the rubber sole, which is also non-slip.
They are easy to slip on and off due to the high level of flexibility. Troadloup provide a size chart, so that you can measure your feet for the perfect size prior to ordering, which is a great advantage over competitors that have people returning and purchasing larger or smaller sizes.
The toe box is carefully designed to give toes wriggle room too. There is a massive choice of 26 colors and these are a really good variety to suit all tastes.
The shoes feature drainage holes for runners, are highly breathable and washable which contributes in making this pair one of the best shoes for rowing machine workout.
They do come up heavier than the competitors with the size 11.5 weighing 12oz, so they are not as lightweight as other rowing exercise shoes. However, the Troadlop Men’s Hiking Quick Drying Trail Running Shoes are zero drop gaining them further favor as rowing machine shoes.
- A size chart to choose the correct size is a useful addition to help with buying.
- The Troadlop home rowing shoes are flexible and easy to wash and are quick to dry.
- They are zero drop.
- Heavier than the competition.
8. ASICS Womens Gel Kayano Running & Rowing Shoes
ASICS Womens Gel Kayano Running & Rowing Shoes
The Asics Gel-Kayano comes up in a search as suitable for rowing machine use and on the face of it there are some endearing features to these shoes for rowing at home. They come in a choice of 21 color ways which features everything from black on black to fluorescent color schemes.
They feature a rear foot and forefoot gel technology that is designed to improve the gait of runners and their other unique selling point is ASICS SpevaFoam 45 Lasting, for improved comfort by providing a soft platform feel. Although not promoted as non slip their non slip properties are good.
Careful construction techniques ensure that they are seam free to avoid pressure points and chafing and the dispersal of the eyelets is designed to ensure a more even pressure distribution over the lacing and for a custom-fit feel.
The ASICS Women’s Gel-Kayano 25 also features an internal elastic sleeve to fit snugly around the feet like a sock providing breathability and moisture management. Available in sizes 5 to 12 the ASICS indoor rowing footwear run a little small and are narrow, so it is advisable to go up a size for a wider fit and at least half a size for length.
With a heel height of 24mm and a forefoot height of 11mm the drop is 13mm. Not ideal for rowing machine unless you have flat feet for which they are ideal as they offer good support. They weigh 9.8 ounces.
- With a choice of 21 colors to choose from there is sure to be something for everyone or a color for different outfits.
- Good for those who have flat feet or require additional foot support from their rowing exercise shoes.
- 13mm drop.
9. ASICS Gel Kayano 25 Comfortable Rowing Shoes
ASICS Gel Kayano 25 Comfortable Rowing Shoes
The men’s Gel-Kayano 25 is designed for improved levels of heal holding. They also have the ASICS FlyteFoam Lyte technology in place to offer support and with a spacious toe box for comfort.
They have carefully dispersed eyelets that give a custom-fit experience and even the pressure distribution over the lacing. An internal elastic sleeve fits snugly around the foot like a sock and provides breathability and moisture management.
The upper is manmade and mesh, the Gel-Kayano 25 are available in 14 color schemes and in sizes 6 to 15 with width choices including wide and extra wide. They do run a little small and it is advisable to buy a half size larger than usual.
With a lot of attributes being to do with gait efficiency these shoes are a good choice for runners who require gait support and who utilize rowing exercise machines as well as running, and who require shoes that will work for rowing and running.
Ortholite X-40 sockliner is key feature which offers the twin benefits of performance and comfort. The Heel Height is 22mm and the forefoot Height is 12mm, giving a drop of 10mm. They weigh 11.4 ounces.
- Good support.
- 10mm drop.
10. Nike Men’s Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer Shoes
Nike Men’s Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer Shoes
The Air Monarch IV Nike rowing shoes is the only selection here that has a leather upper. The leather is perforated which along with the lightweight foam midsole and the encapsulated full length air sole unit to cushion is designed for comfort and breathability.
They are designed for cross trainer use, yet are widely worn as daily general footwear and have a reputation of being very comfortable.
Size wise there is plenty of choice as they come in 3.5 to 13 and a good variety of width sizes as well and they come up true to size. The Nike shoes for home water rowers are available in 8 color schemes based on black and white.
The sole is solid rubber and designed for durability and to provide traction, they have a drop of 10mm and these offer good arch support and also a reasonable level of flexibility.
They feature Nike’s full-length Air-Sole unit for lightweight cushioning over a multi-pattern rubber outer sole with flex grooves to give multi-surface traction and durability and enhanced flexibility.
- Shoes from Nike that are known to be comfortable to wear all day long, so if you want shoes for rowing machine exercise that you can also use for general wear these are a safe bet.
- They offer good arch support for those who need it.
- At 10mm the drop is quite high.
There you have it. Our list of the best indoor rowing shoes for men and women that won’t break your bank account and offer tons of value and comfort. As always, keep in mind what sort of aspects you want in your indoor rowing equipment and clothing and read rowing machine shoe reviews to really make sure the size is true and the toe-box width fits your feet shape.