We study here experimentally, numerically and using a lubrication approach, the shape, velocity and lubrication film thickness distribution of a droplet rising in a vertical Hele-Shaw cell. The droplet is surrounded by a stationary immiscible fluid and moves purely due to buoyancy. A low density difference between the two media helps to operate in a regime with capillary number
is built with the surrounding oil viscosity
, the droplet velocity
and surface tension
. The experimental data show that in this regime the droplet velocity is not influenced by the thickness of the thin lubricating film and the dynamic meniscus. For iso-viscous cases, experimental and three-dimensional numerical results of the film thickness distribution agree well with each other. The mean film thickness is well captured by the Aussillous & Quéré (Phys. Fluids, vol. 12 (10), 2000, pp. 2367–2371) model with fitting parameters. The droplet also exhibits the ‘catamaran’ shape that has been identified experimentally for a pressure-driven counterpart (Huerre et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 115 (6), 2015, 064501). This pattern has been rationalized using a two-dimensional lubrication equation. In particular, we show that this peculiar film thickness distribution is intrinsically related to the anisotropy of the fluxes induced by the droplet’s motion.