Best Indoor Rowing Shoes


 

 
 

The fact that you are searching the web for the best indoor rowing shoes is a very positive sign!

Many rowers don't even wonder what they have on their feet before an erg session and that is a little worrisome.

While picking what rowing machine shoe to utilize could be difficult, it actually boils down to experimentation and personal preference.

There are a lot of different factors that come into play along with your own shoe will change based on the kind of training you are performing.

Many rowing practitioners will agree that it's better when it comes to indoor rowing shoes and this article can help explain why.

Why Indoor Rowing Shoes Matter?
There are 3 points of contact on the rowing machine: hands, buttocks, and feet. These have their own difficulties when it comes to shielding them, particularly the toes.

Unlike running, which can be high-impact, rowing has very low impact on the joints and feet. This is our first indication that what you wear on your feet running should likely not be exactly the same as what you wear into row.

Running shoes have thick, cushioned soles and are designed to absorb the effect of running on concrete. Although this cushion is fantastic for running, have you ever thought what it might be doing to your rowing stroke?

Extra cushion on your shoes may result in a less effective rowing stroke and also impact the angle of your toes, which may alter your bio-mechanics.

Styles of Rowing Machine Shoes
Have a look at the shoes below. Each shoe style has their own distinct features.

The design on the left has a thick heel pillow and becomes even thinner near the toes. We call this a large "Heel-to-Toe Drop". The middle shoe includes a thick shoe only but actually has a zero heel-to-toe drop. The shoe on the right has very little pillow along with a zero heel-to-toe drop.

Selecting between these 3 options of indoor rowing shoes can effect factors such as foot placement, shape, comfort, and strength.

Now if you're a casual rower who doesn't care about improving times or you enjoy running before or when you row, then maybe regular running shoes are fine (I speak about this below).

But if you want optimal performance when testing to a concept 2 rower, even the small details such as erging shoes may really make a difference.

I even talk about this because the "Law of Marginal Gains" within my best advice for rowing a 2K post.

I will talk about how rowing machines shoes can effect foot placement, comfort, form, and power below. I will then outline what makes a good indoor rowing shoe along with the best kind to buy.

Foot Placement
Where you place your feet at a rower may have a sizable effect in your rowing stroke along with your erging shoes have a big effect on your foot placement.

Bear in mind this article focuses mainly on Concept2 shoes and the effect it has on rowing.

When placing your feet on the footrests that you don't want your toes to be too high or too low.

Putting your toes too high won't allow you to move forward enough to execute a full stroke. High toes will make it tough to receive your shins vertical while in the "Grab" position.

When from the 'Grab' or forwards position, your shins must be vertical and knees Should be near your armpits.

Afterward, having your feet too low will make it possible for you to move ahead enough but will reduce the efficiency of your drive and cause bad shape in other parts of the row.

If you're worried about foot positioning you can read more about optimal foot position inside this Concept2 article or this Tabata Times post.

Depending on what type of rowing machine shoes you are wearing, will change the setting or hole of their foot cup. From rowing with jogging shoes to barefoot rowing, there is usually a 1 to 2 hole gap in placing.

The principal point of the section is to show that when jumping on an erg you need to give some idea to what shoe you're wearing along with your foot placement. If you jump onto any Concept2 rower and only start rowing you might not have your feet in the perfect position.

Should you change between barefoot and sneakers on your Concept2 just be certain that you adjust your feet in front of a workout.

Comfort and Leg Form
I know foot positioning, comfort, and rowing form are all inter-related but I needed some way to arrange this article!

Ok, so we already know that indoor rowing shoes can impact your foot placement which in return can additionally affect your comfort and form.

Placing your feet too high will limit your forward movement and cause incorrect rowing form. It will shorten your overall rowing stroke, not give you the forward reach which you want.

Placing your toes too low will cause improper leg drive and a feeble power position. In addition, it can put added stress on your lower back making for an awkward session.

A huge cushion and large "heel-to-toe fall" can also cause a change in the angle of the feet.

If you have a look at the foot-boards for the Concept2 shoe placement you may see it's put at roughly a 45 degree angle (+ or -- a few degrees). This is close to optimal for Pilates but may be adjusted when athletes reach more serious levels.

Depending on what indoor rowing machine shoe you wear can cause this angle to change. An erg shoe using a zero fall will have no effect but a running shoe with a large heel-to-toe drop will. See the photograph below.

While the diagram may not be ideal and some folks can believe "39 levels" is optimal, there's a lesson to be learned here. A shoe having a big heel-to-toe fall will decrease the angle that your foot pushes off the foot-board, which may result in comfort and form issues. An angle that is too shallow or small can also result in decreased power and efficacy which I mention below.

In case your flexibility and shape will allow a larger foot-board angle it may result in better erg times.

Other Comfort and Form Issues
Some shoes which are rigid can also lead to discomfort when attempt to get into the catch position. Your shoes should not get in the way of allowing your shins to be more vertical in the catch position.

Rowing is also quite strenuous so having hefty, thick clothed rowing shoes may cause your feet to sweat excessively.

Rowing machine shoes should also allow the user to "feel" the footrests so they can better comprehend what portion of the foot they're driving from. Shoes with thick soles are awful for "feeling" the footrests and should be avoided.

While all this information seems to be pointing towards "less is better" for erging shoes, you still need to pick something that will be comfortable in the foot cups. Many people who row barefoot find the rubbing and chaffing to create blisters, so a happy medium may be the best recommendation.

Power and Efficiency
The biggest and most important effect of erging shoes is the possibility of losing efficiency and power.

Using running shoes with lots of cushion could lessen the quantity of force being applied to a leg drive.

As I mentioned previously, it may impact the angle at which you push off the foot-boards that can lead to less power.

Another issue when you move to push off the footrests with running shoes is that the thick heel compresses and absorbs energy. This absorbed energy does not get moved into the leg drive and is never recovered during the rowing stroke.

While the quantity of energy may be small it may add up very quickly if you're doing long periods.

You can observe the amount of compression a running shoe has from photos taken before and after ground contact after running.

While this compression and absorption is fantastic for running it can lead to lost energy in rowing.

Running shoes also have an irregular sole which is created for compressing at different points throughout a running stride. This might cause the user to push off the foot board unevenly and have a less efficient stroke. A shoe with less padding and much more parallel "link" to the foot board will allow for a more powerful, more efficient drive.

I believe it's exactly the identical reason that cyclists and power-lifters additionally wear thin soled sneakers. They wish to have the smallest quantity of cushion between their own body and the object they are employing force to. This raises the efficiency of the energy transition and gives the athlete a much better sense for their form.

I read a great BodyBuilding.com article on minimalist shoes and strength training, take a look here.

Characteristics of Good Indoor Rowing Shoes?
Now that we understand how shoes can effect the way we row, lets discuss what makes a great rowing machine shoe.

To begin with, your indoor rowing sneakers must be lightweight, comfortable, and breathable. We don't need your foot perspiration too and prevent any blisters on long rows.

Secondly, your shoe also needs to be flexible so that your foot can readily be flexed in any position without restrictions.

Third, your shoe padding ought to be thin soled and flat. This will permit optimal efficiency of power transfer from the toes to the foot planks. It will also allow for the best "feel" for your stroke and drive.

Taking all this into account there are lots of shoes out there that fulfill those requirements. In addition, it depends on the sort of instruction you'll be performing.

Will you just be doing an erg session or will you do a Crossfit style workout?

I'll break down the finest indoor rowing sneakers into a few categories and urge some decent options for each.

1. Minimalist Training Techniques
Wearing a minimalist design running shoes is a excellent option for people looking to have a multi-use shoe. You may wear these shoes in the gym, walking in the supermarket, running, rowing, and nearly everything else .

They need to have a very thin sole without much padding but comfortable enough to workout in for extended sessions. This style shoe will also be lightweight, flexible, and breathable.

Buying a shoe with a "Low-Drop" or "Heel-to-Toe Drop" is also important. The "Drop" is the distance in millimeters that the shoe falls from heel to toe. Basically the amount of cushion on your heel.

You will find 1,000's of choices within this category of all shapes, sizes, and costs with each claiming to be the ideal. I picked a few popular choices but feel free to use any shoe that fulfills all of the needs of good erging shoes.

This kind of shoe might be a much more expensive option but it may be used for more than 1 activity.