While river training structures are important tools to provide solutions to river engineering problems, conventional structures can be expensive and can create adverse environmental impacts. There is a need to develop affordable permeable river training structures. Jack jetties have been in use in the USA for various purposes, although there was no scientific methodology to support design of the structures when used for river training works. Therefore, laboratory studies have been carried out to develop this design methodology, which was verified by field-testing. Trail dykes were also tested in a similar fashion. Both types of structures show promise for use as inexpensive river engineering works. © 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Singapore.