Astral Rassler; $119 (www.astraldesigns.com)
Is the paddler in your family still wearing a pair of ratty tennis shoes on the river? Or are they rocking the neoprene sock with sandal combo? Either way, we think it's time for an upgrade. Astral makes a complete line-up of river shoes and one of our favorites is the Rassler. With a lightweight design (that doesn't soak up water) and solid traction built to grab ahold of even the slimiest of rocks, these shoes a no-brainer for all types of paddler. The Rassler has a higher top than Astral’s other flagship paddling shoe, the Brewer. That makes it a little tougher to slip into, but the high top provides more ankle support and keeps grit/grime/gravel out of your shoes. The Rassler has a stiff, supportive sole for longer hikes and Astral’s G-Series rubber outsole sports grip matched only by 5.10 shoes. The Rassler is a purpose-built paddling shoe and there’s a reason that it’s become a favorite for the world’s most adventurous expedition kayakers and guides.
And with plenty of design and color options, we know there won't be any awkward style moments out on the town after the take-out.
More 2017 Footwear Reviews:
A sturdy hiking shoe for heavy loads and muddy conditions.
The NRS Velocity is a sturdy. purpose-built, high-top paddling shoe with plenty of support and cushion for long portages.
The Body Glove Dynamo Rapid is a minimalist water shoe for light and fast adventures.
The NRS Boundary Boot is a calf-high neoprene boot for cold, wet, muddy conditions.
Five Ten applies their legendary rubber to a sleek and durable paddling shoe.
A classic, low profile neoprene bootie with a thick rubber outsole.
A trail-focused water shoe with breathable mesh on top and plenty of support underfoot.
C&K’s team of expert gear testers reviews the year’s best paddling shoes before the 2017 season.