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Buying Rowing Shoes: A Guide

Why do I need to buy my own rowing shoes?​


"Rowing is one of the few sports where we have normalized sharing footwear that is not regularly disinfected, with as many people as possible."  - Pretty much every rowing shell rep, ever

For as long as DC Strokes has existed, the club orthodoxy was to buy shoes that lived with the boats until the shoes or the boats were worn out. This led to a number of problems:

  • Single pairs of shoes that had to fit as many people as possible This left a lot of people at the extreme ends of foot sizing out in the cold. Engagement at the catch when you either have too much space in the shoe or are crammed in is distracting at best, painful at worst.

  • Time-consuming shoe swaps Getting a station the right size shoes involved having multiple footplates and swapping them out with inaccessible nuts and bolts, taking precious time away from launching or getting out of practice.

  • Shoe sanitation How many people do you think use a boat in a day? How many times do you think clubs (ourselves included) spent time disinfecting shoes while they were installed? More news at 11.

  • Expensive club shoe purchases Like shoes you use to walk/run/cycle, the fit of shoes is rather personal. What the club buys is a single brand to take advantage of shipping and economies of scale. Everyone is unhappy with what the club buys and it adds to inefficient use of club funds.

The Takeaway: DC Strokes is transitioning recreational and development sweep, advanced sculling, and independent sculling members to personally-owned shoes and the Bat Logic clip-in shoe system.

Wait, what's Bat Logic?

Without getting too into it, it's a clip-in system for racing shells that allows rowers to quickly swap shoes. It'll help with making sure you get the right fit in whatever lineup you end up practicing or racing. It consists of a cleat that is installed in the boat and a shoe plate that is attached to your rowing shoes, similar to cycling shoe systems. Shoes just click-in and click-out!

Does this mean I have to purchase the shoe plate part with my shoes? 

Yes, they will be attached to your shoes. Strokes will buy these components in bulk and charge back to consolidate shipping costs. 

Recommended shoes

You have a lot of options, but the shoes and brands recommended below have been vetted for durability, performance, and compatibility with Bat Logic cleats.


The club nor the board of directors receives compensation from any of the companies or products mentioned below. These are just the recommendations of the operations director who obsessively bought or dealt with these shoes.

Bont BR3

Bont BR3 is the best bang for the buck, easy to use with a single velcro and tongue-less upper design. Water repellent inner foams dry fast and keep the shoe less gross. If you have wide feet, size up a couple (European) sizes.

Bont size chart (runs small about 1-2 EU sizes)

Buy the Bont BR3 (direct from Bont Rowing)

Against U2

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The Against U2 has uprated materials similar to the Bont BR series in slightly different areas and has 3 straps to customize the width and fit along the forefoot.


Shipping is free if you buddy up with someone on an order, but make sure you use a creidt card with no foreign transaction fee since it's charged in euros.

Against size chart (runs 1 EU size small or close to size)

Buy the Against U2 (direct from Against Rowing)


For further questions about this initiative, contact the operations director at

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