The Astral Brewer Final Verdict
I did an initial thoughts review earlier in the month on Astral Buoyancy‘s new shoe (and first venture into the market), the Brewer. If you are interested in those initial thoughts in full, click here.
This is my review after four days of harsh conditions, surf fishing, beach pounding and tons of use.
The Brewer is a tough shoe. It is designed for outdoorsmen by outdoorsmen. Having been in the salt, rapids, wakes, water, streams and puddles the better part of three decades, I feel like I have significant enough time in to make a valid claim: These shoes rock!
They are not without fault but we will cover that in a bit. First, I need to tell you what they have been through. I have sloshed through calf deep mud, waded through roaring breakers, trekked across marshlands and been to the grocery and bait store many times over the last week.
These shoes took it all in stride. Not only that but a quick rinse in the outdoor shower and they were back to looking great in an instant.
The laces are thick and stayed tied through almost everything. I rarely had to retie. At one point we went down to a jagged rock ledge to fish and I had to climb around on anything but flat rocks with wet shoes on. Thankfully, they were the Brewers. The Stealth rubber sole gets very tactile when wet and I had zero slippage issues. The fold down heel served its purpose well when I needed to run down stairs to go get something from the car. Just slip them on and off you go.
The drains worked very well. I could take them off soaked and in a few minutes they would be dry. This may not always be the case in every locale but in Texas, that’s a huge benefit. The outer shell of the shoe is rugged. It actually deflected a rogue hook at one point and saved me from another cut. The sole is thick enough that punctures are not a constant worry as with other shoes. The stitching held up through the constant sand burrs and shoe no signs of wear or raveling.
The interior sole fit my foot like a glove. The alternating pattern on the interior gave good stability and the shoe cradles your foot like a memory foam mattress. By day four my feet had settled in and made a home with support in the right places. I was a little worried since I have high arches but had zero issues wearing these all day.
One of my favorite aspects of this shoe though is the tongue. I didn’t talk about it much earlier but it actually stayed in place. I don’t remember a single time of having to fish that tongue out from the side of the shoe. In four foot swells, that is a small miracle.
As for the not so great, let’s chat. Astral, if you are listening, please change this soon.
The shoes caused a blister the first day out. Where the outside of the upper joins the toebox on the inside of the shoe is a seam. It catches my feet right on the little toe on the knuckle. It did this on both feet. I have to say I was mad. I dropped $100 on shoes that tore up my feet. I was heartbroken too. I visited with a couple of other people about shoes and most were having this issue. Still. I was not happy. I wanted these to work so badly. Maybe it is my feet. Maybe people normally don’t have this issue. I looked inside and the seam is coarse. Both shoes, left and right. I made a quick trip to the store and bought some low cut nylon/poly blend quick dry socks and tried them with the shoes. Problem averted. I continued on the rest of the week this way and had zero issues. Just be aware, if your feet have a different pronation than most or you have a high arch as I do, this could be an issue. You can solve it fairly easy but I was miffed at first.
So they $1,000,000 question: Would I buy another pair? In a heartbeat.
I’d buy them faster than that if they fix the seam issue.