Astral Brewer Water Shoes - Gear Review

Astral's Brewers in Black
It is no secret that I am a fan of water shoes, but the vast majority of them are incredibly purpose built.  They look like something designed for a jog on the moon, or glorified sandals.  That is fine, in most cases.  What Astral has done with their new Brewer shoes turns that all on it's head.

Take you favorite lounging sneakers, think Chuck Taylors or old school Simples, and build them to get wet and play in the mud.  Borrowing from their Life Vest technology, the uppers are made from a combination of Cordura and AirMesh fabrics.  This means they retain nearly no water when they get wet, and dry out almost as soon as your feet are back on dry land.  They act like water shoes, but look nothing like anything else in the category.

The insole is made from a soft closed cell foam with what Astral calls their "Balanced Geometry Midsole".  The feel against the foot is reminiscent of a pair of high end flip-flips, but with better support.  You can spend all day in these and foot fatigue is a non-issue.

Where they really got it right was in the rubber sole of this shoe.   When I first saw these come out of the box I thought they were going to be worthless on the trail.  Trying to portage a canoe in the mud and rocks with these little circles for traction was gonna be a nightmare.  Man, was I wrong.  The combination of the super sticky "Stealth" rubber and the circle tread pattern made me feel like Spiderman.  I wore these non-stop in the Boundary Waters for 5 days, at no point did I wish for more traction.  The slimy creek bed rocks, that normally make even the most sure footed feel silly, were super-glued to the bottom of my feet.  I was scaling granite boulders like a Billy Goat.

Once home from the woods, these have become my go-to kicks for outdoor casual wear.  From Saturday afternoons with the kids, to a weekend long music and camping festival, I just lace these up and head out the door.  Stomp around in a field, get them completely muddy or cover them in grass clippings, nothing fazes 'em.  When they look like they need to go in the trash, just throw them in the washer and they literally come out looking like brand new...

I have been sitting here trying to find a flaw with these shoes.  Any self respecting reviewer should be able to find something to complain about, but I got nothin'.  From style to performance to durability, I am impressed top-to-bottom.  Well done Astral, well done.

MSRP: $99.99

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