Sunday, October 7, 2012

Product Review - Astral Brewers Paddle Shoes

Born on the banks of the Green River Narrows, we bring you a versatile shoe from a kayaker's point of view. The upper is built to last with many of the same durable and fast-drying materials as our lifevests including Cordura® and AirMesh fabrics. Our Natural Balance™ midsole securely cradles your foot, providing stable navigation through unpredictable rocky terrain. For the bottom we use state of the art Stealth® Rubber for unsurpassed traction on wet rocks. Technical performance and classic style are blended perfectly to bring you the shoe whitewater kayakers have been waiting for.

I was really excited when I got my hands on a pair of these Astral Brewers. I had been looking for a paddle/water shoe that looked like a regular shoe for awhile now.  I came across the this particular shoe and company while reading the Summer issue of the Paddle Sport Magazine. They had a full page ad for their new shoe, but when I went to search for the shoe online it was no where to be found.
I went ahead an shot over an email to the company asking about the Brewers that I had seen in the magazine and was told they were a brand new product that had only been released in that magazine, so I was pretty lucky to have found them. I put in an order for a pair as soon as I could knowing they wouldn't be resleased and shipping for a little while longer. 
Unfortunately, the original color I wanted (Black and Blue) was on back order so I audibled and got the gray, black and lime color above.
I have testing these shoes pretty well.
I've biked in them to work and back.
Worn them out to the bars in Annapolis.
Pedaled my mirage drive of my Pro Angler for hours.
Worked a 12 hour shift at work on my feet most of the day.
They would probably be great for sailing on my Hobie 16 also, but I haven't had them out on it yet.
I must say I'm very impressed. I have owned a pair of Columbia water shoes that were in the similar price range that I really like for the longest time, but now comparing them to the Brewers, which have an MSRP of $99,  I like my new Brewers more.
Style - I love the fact that they look more like a normal shoe than your standard water/paddle shoe.
Cost - $99 might seem excessive for a shoe made for kayaking, but I think it is a very reasonable price for a product that can be worn for many different activities and most specifically for all my kayak fishing needs. These are not your standard only for water activities shoes.
Comfort - The rubbery insole took a little getting used to because it has small dimples on it, but after few wears it has become extremely comfortable for barefoot use or with socks. They also fit true to size in my opinion.
Water Usage - These things are great!! They dry very quickly as they are made of mesh and canvas, just like a life vest. They also have a silt drain at the heel which is great for draining water and sand.
Traction - The soles are great, non-slip, and they don't weigh you down while submerged.
Overall : 5 out 5
I love these shoes and they will now be a standard item in my kayak fishing arsenal! Please check out Astral Bouyancy if your looking for some awesome shoes for paddling or pedaling your mirage drive!! They have great customer service and truly run a great American Made company!!
Thanks Kevin and Bryan for the opportunity to get my hands on the shoes as early as possible!!

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