Canyoneering shoe review: Astral Brewer
The Astral Brewer is a canvas shoe not made specifically for canyoneering but with some of the features one looks for in a canyoneering shoe. The Brewer is made primarily for paddling and its low profile is ideal for any kayaker who struggles to fit into their kayak with regular paddling shoes. Over the last couple months Pura Vida Adventures has tested the Brewer in the canyons of Arizona, and North Carolina. Below is our review of the Astral Brewer for Canyoneering purposes.
Reviews are based out of 5 stars:
Comfort 3 stars
The Brewer is an incredibly comfortable shoe to wear, in fact it feels more like a comfortable sandal then a shoe. The Brewer fits like a low cut Converse Chuck Taylor basketball shoe. Unfortunately, like a Chuck Taylor it lacks any sort of ankle support. This is one of the major drawbacks to using the shoe for canyoneering purposes. The lacing system is simple and it ties just like any pair of shoes (I would however warn the user to take the extra time to tuck the shoelaces in to avoid the possibility of tripping on the laces as they are long. The other major concern in this shoe is its lack of warmth when used for canyoneering. The lacing system does however allow the Brewer’s width to adjust if the user decides to wear neoprene booties underneath the shoes. It is this reviewers experience that even with the neoprene booties under the shoes the Brewer lacks warmth in comparison to the more commonly used canyoneering shoes.
Durability 3 stars
The Astral Brewer does have some durability issues if used continuously for canyoneering purposes. Although the stitching is well put together, the canvas on the shoe wears and tears quicker than other canyoneering shoes when friction is continually applied to the canvas outer.
Performance 3 stars
The biggest question about this shoe was its performance. Would the rubber stick well to wet surfaces? The resounding answer is yes on both wet and dry sandstone and granite this shoe performed as any shoe with Five Ten rubber would be expected to. This is no surprise as the Brewer’s rubber for the year 2013 was Five -Ten rubber. However, overall performance rating was lowered due to the lack of ankle and arch support.
Overall 3 stars
The Brewer is an incredibly comfortable shoe with a sandal fit. Its sticky rubber bottom performs incredibly well. The Brewer’s letdowns, as a canyoneering shoe, in this humble reviewer’s opinion are no ankle support, lack of warmth, and less than ideal durability. This should come as no surprise the Brewer was made with boaters in mind not necessarily canyoneers, that being said the Brewer hits the make for use as a secondary canyoneering shoe for warmer weather and lower grade canyons.
Pura Vida Adventures was the first company to run commercial canyoneering courses in the eastern US, in addition canyoneering courses and trips are run by Joe Moerschbaecher who is certified through the American Canyon Guides Assocition. Pura Vida Adventures is the oncly American Canyoneering Academy accredited guide service in the eastern US. www.pvadventures.com