Rafting Shoes: the good, the bad, the flip flops

So you’re going whitewater rafting. The packing list says to wear sandals with a heel strap. What exactly does that mean?

Here’s our recommendations for our favorites, shoes that will work, and shoes that should be banned from wearing on rafts.

The BEST Rafting Shoes

If you’re looking to buy a new (or used) pair of water shoes, these babies are our favorites.


These are the guide favorite of river shoes. They are super comfortable and versatile for going from rafting to light hiking. Just be sure to wear them a few times before your river trip. They can take a little getting used to but all the straps are adjustable so pop them on and start getting that classic river foot tan.


These classics are still just that, classic. They’re great when you don’t want the toe strap that Chacos have, but they are a little less sturdy.

River sneakers are great. They are the best of sneakers but are quick draining and drying. You can also accidentally kick rocks without bleeding. (Always a plus.) These are perfect if you’re looking for a versatile shoe that you can wear on the river trip and then wear on the ride home.