Contributing Gear Editor
Support our work! The Inertia may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn more about our gear review policy here.
Danner's Rivercomber water shoes walking on a rocky coastline

Hopping between land and water is what the Danner Rivercomber does best. Photo: Steve Andrews/The Inertia

The Inertia

Very few water shoes can hold their own on land. Sometimes they just aren’t supportive or durable enough. Often they are simply too strange-looking for daily wear. But when compiling our extensive Best Water Shoes roundup, I found an excellent water shoe that defies the norm — the Danner Rivercomber.

The Rivercomber checked important boxes for comfort, durability, support, and transitions to land-based adventures. While it doesn’t have the epic grip of something like the Salomon Techamphibian 5, the Rivercomber still provides decent traction underfoot.

I’ve been testing the Rivercomber for the past month in the Pacific Northwest — home to mountain peaks, valleys, and waterways galore. The area also hosts an untamed coastline, rocky and tumultuous. It’s the kind of place that requires solid footing to navigate hazards safely.

In my testing, the Rivercomber quickly became a go-to for light hikes, scrambles, and any type of activity where water crosses my path.

Pros Cons
Debris stays out Takes a while to dry
Grippy Vibram sole Laces can get undone/caught up in snags
Excellent comfort Pricey

Danner Rivercomber Water Shoes: First Impressions

danner rivercomber water shoesWeight (pair): 22 oz
Upper Material: Cordura nylon
Sole: Vibram Rivercomber
Closure: Laces
Best For: People who spend a lot of time crossing streams or navigating rocky coastlines
Maybe not for: People who just want a casual beach shoe that they can slip on and off, dedicated scramblers needing a more technical shoe

The Rivercomber’s weight (or lack thereof) was the first thing I noticed. The shoes are light at 22 oz for the pair. That’s impressive, considering they are closed-toe, lace-up numbers with a Vibram outsole. The outsole is unique to the Rivercomber and features non-marking rubber and a tread pattern meant to push water away in a hurry.

After putting the shoes on for the first time, I immediately noticed the comfort provided by the Ortholite footbed. The Rivercombers truly felt like a premium pair of shoes without any significant break-in period needed. The comfort came from the footbed, thin-yet-sturdy outsole, and soft Cordura nylon upper, all working in concert.

So, the Danner Rivercombers checked the comfort box big time. But how did they perform in the field?

Check Price on Amazon

Notable Features of the Danner Rivercomber

The Cordura upper stretches to form a tight fit above the ankle, keeping debris out but letting water flow in and around the shoes. This helps to make the shoes snug yet still allows for drainage and quicker drying times than non-water shoes.

Although mentioned earlier, the Vibram Rivercomber outsole is worth bringing up again. Its tread pattern is specifically designed to help sluice water away, not unlike all-weather tires.

The technology seems to work — the shoes provided excellent traction both in and out of the water. Bonus points for non-marking soles, ensuring boat adventures will be free of embarrassing scuffs that would cause you not to be asked back onboard.

Finally, the Rivercomber’s casual styling means you can wear it out and about without getting strange looks.

an underwater shot of the Danner Rivercomber outsoles

The grippy vibram outsole came in handy while navigating across riverbeds. Photo: Steve Andrews/The Inertia

Drawbacks to the Danner Rivercomber 

The shoes are comfortable and durable enough to feel solid on a hike and over varied terrain. But beefy construction comes at a price, especially when it comes to water shoes. Thicker materials mean longer dry time. So transitioning from a water-borne adventure to, say, an errand at your local bank might involve more squelch than you’d want.

The Rivercombers also have a lace-up closure that’s easy to tie and creates a dialed-in fit. But flopping laces can pose a threat underwater if you’re in an area with sticks or other potential snags. Not many water shoes have laces that tie, presumably for this reason.

A final drawback is the price. At $160, the Danner Rivercombers are the most expensive water shoes I’ve tested to date. But if you are using them as a quiver-killer, you’ll have fewer shoes to buy.

a close-up look at the Danner Rivercomber water shoes underwater

While the laces make a nice snug fit, they have the potential to get caught on snags underwater. Photo: Steve Andrews/The Inertia

Final Thoughts on the Danner Rivercomber

Danner Rivercombers are more than just water shoes. They are great for light hikes, cruising around town, and all kinds of general summer adventures. But their functionality in the water adds a cherry on top of an already comfortable, lightweight, go-anywhere shoe sundae.

I wouldn’t want to do a big hike with a heavy pack in them, and the price will be a turnoff for some.  They do take a while to dry out, so in colder climates or when the sun isn’t shining, you might want something else.

But for summer fun on land and water, Danner Rivercombers are a solid choice to help you bounce around rocks, slay some trails, and cruise through streams and rocky coastlines.

looking downward at the Danner Rivercomber water shoes while walking through a river with a rocky bottom.

Danner Rivercombers look great, feel great, and will open up fun new adventures for you. Photo: Steve Andrews/The Inertia

Editor’s Note: On the hunt for more traditional hikers? Peep our guides for Best Hiking Boots and Best Hiking Boots for Women. For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

a man walks across a rocky ocean bottom in water shoes
The Best Water Shoes of 2024
We tested the best water shoes, from sandals to active hikers, classic clogs to hybrids. Check out our favorites based on performance, comfort, and style. Read more…
The Salomon Techamphibian is Our Favorite Quick-drying, Ultra-Grippy Technical Water Shoe
We reviewed the Salomon Techamphibian 5 water shoes in a variety of conditions in the Pacific Northwest. They were excellent for grip and versatility. Read more…


Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.