Astral Brewer Review
Admittedly I was pretty excited when I heard Astral would be releasing a shoe in 2012. I kept hearing rumors of this shoe throughout the spring. I finally laid eyes on the alluded to shoe this summer in Idaho. Chris Gragtmans was wearing his prototype pair at the Payette’s. I didn’t know much of the shoe before I finally got to see a pair with my own eyes. The one thing I knew Astral would get right was the rubber. I hear more southeastern boaters discussing the rubber of their shoes over any other piece of gear. If the rubber on the Brewers wasn’t incredible there would be hell to pay.
I’m no different than the other gear snobs out there. I’m pretty particular about my shoes, and top of the list of importance is the rubber. For me, being able to jump around the rocks with cameras in my hand and know I’m going to stick is the world. When I’m out in shoes with bad rubber I feel like a new born giraffe insecurely wandering around. Aside from walking around on the rocks while filming, portaging, or just hanging out having good rubber under your toes is a huge boost in safety. If you have a buddy in a pinch and the shoes you’re wearing can’t get you to his side, and securely so to help out you’re really no good out there. The point is, rubber is wicked important. The great news is, Astral (forgive my pun) stuck it. The Brewer has “Stealth” rubber, and it’s a pretty incredible rubber. Wet, dry, dirty, clean, sandy, whatever situation the Brewer is clinging tight to the rocks. I believe my days of taking gnarly falls from grit covered shoes may be coming to an end. Thank god.
Next on the list, would be the construction. The shoe is a light weight build, and very low profile. This is great for a lot of reasons, mostly the fact that it drains so fast. It’s also quite nice if foot room is tight in your boat. The construction has a lot of drain holes throughout. With several drain spots in the sole of the shoe, two on each side, and a big drain hole in the back, the Brewer isn’t hanging on to any extra water. I will say, for Cali-like mega hikes, you may look for something a little sturdier with ankle support, but the low cut lay up is great for my every day creeking needs.
To me, shoes boil down to those most basic components. I need to be able to stick to everything, and it’s nice to have a shoe that’s draining and not water logged all day. By those two demands, the Brewer has exceeded my expectations completely. I highly recommend checking out a pair for yourself if you’re in the shoe market.
- Great rubber, sticks to everything even when wet and gritty
- Low profile and fits in the boat really nicely
- Drains and dries really quickly
- drop down heel for walking down to the river or playboating.
- Good looking… Brewers are totally street ready too. (one less thing to buy for normal life)
- Lightweight maybe not fit for mega hikes. TBD
For more on the shoe scope it out on Astral’s site.