Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Tried and Tested: Astral Brewer Shoe

Our staff are active paddlers, this series of articles is for us to tell you our personal opinion on some of the kit we have been using.

For the most this will be equipment we (personally) have bought for ourselves, which normally means we already think highly of it, but this is our chance to tell you how it's holding up and what we like or don’t like about the product.

River footwear is an underestimated bit of kit in general. I do get annoyed when paddling with people and they're hobbling around on the river bank in neo socks. I want to know they can run over rough ground and wet rock with confidence when I take my next swim or that if we have to walk out, they have kit up to the job. So I have always been an advocate of good footwear on the river

I've been using the Astral Brewers since January. I was guiding out in Ecuador with Small World Adventures last Winter and had to do a lot of walk ins, a lot of running down banks and a lot of white water safety rescue practice. I was stupid enough not to bring a brand new pair of river shoes out and after a while mine died, so I was left with none.

    (Top boater Michael Williams heading into the Jungle)    

Lucky for me though, my good buddy Michael left after his months paddling and managed to forget his month old Brewers. This was the first time I’d seen the Brewers. In all honesty, I wouldn't have picked them off of the shelf, they looked too much like funky bowling shoes rather than sturdy boating shoes.

So by chance I ended up with a pair. They were a touch big, but I needed something.

After two months solid use they were still looking great and I think the best river shoes I've had. I was won over. I liked them so much, that when I got back to the UK and we got them here in stock at AS Watersports, I bought myself a pair that fitted. I’m wearing them a lot for work and play, a lot of customers have bought them and we have had great reviews. 

    (Staff member Liam trying and testing!)

      (Sticky Sole)
Lets summarize what we love about them here at AS Watersports:
  • Low profile. These are slim shoes so will hopefully fit into most peoples boats. We get a lot of people with big feet who can’t get their larger shoes into their boat. If you're one of these people then come try these on in store and sit in a boat to see. Alternatively, they will fit in the smaller boats easier too.
  • Super Sticky. Not exaggerating! These shoes are using the same stealth rubber that Five Ten shoes are famous for. They stick to wet rock as well as any other shoe we have tried.
  • Durability. This is where they have proven great. The construction is simple, the body is made primarily out of Cordura. There is very little material to ‘wet out’ this means they dry out fast and hold their shape. My original pair got a hard time but lasted very well. In comparison to an old trainer which takes ages to dry and loses its shape quickly.
  • A wide range of colours and sizes. They go from the very small UK 4.5 to UK 12.5. If you like bright try the Green, if you’re a little more conservative try the black and if you’re a bit of a teddy boy try the blue suede look!
 Some other points:

  • They haven’t got a huge amount of ankle support. If you want a bit more then try the Five Ten Water Tennie or The Brewers bigger brother the Rassler. The pay off of them being minimal is that most customers have said they don’t find them as comfy as the Water Tennies and Canyoneers.
  • They come up small, so I would suggest trying them in store, if not then go up a size, if in a drysuit then go up two sizes.
  • You get two pairs of laces in different colours. My right foot is green to help me remember.

See you on the river,
Liam Kirkham