September 27, 2013

Astral Rassler shoe review

Here's my quick review of  the Astral Rassler boating shoe.

I bought a pair of Rasslers at Gauleyfest and wore them on the Lower G and the New this past weekend.
http://www.astraldesigns.com/products/Rassler.php 
Sizing: Small. I wear a 7.5 women's shoe and the size 8W/9M Rasslers fit correct in length. Width is wide and they have lots of toe room, but the heel narrows back so they stay put. Haven't swum with them but I believe the ankle portion will keep them on in a swim. I'm curious to see if my drysuit socks will fit in them. Usually I have to buy a larger size shoe for my drysuit socks.
Construction: Innovative. The heel has built-in holes to drain water. Water also drains out of holes on the sides of the shoe. Nice feature. Big thick laces, and they come with an extra pair of laces. I'm not a fan of laces on boating shoes, but at least these are easy to cinch and tie; the 5.10 Water Tennie shoe laces suck.
On the other hand, the inside of the Rassler is rough and I have some blisters rubbed by the shoes. I added some duck tape to my heels to prevent them getting worse.  I got a blister on my left little toe as well. Not sure if it's just that they are brand new and I have tender feet from having to exclusively wear NRS play booties, after my 1.5 year old  Water Tennies disintegrated, way too soon.
*After reading a review of the Brewers that mentioned the same rough interior, my solution will probably be to wear short socks with the Rasslers, but duck tape does work.   I used to duck tape my big toes before cramming my feet into my WS EZ playboat.  What would life be like without duck tape?
Sole grip - excellent. They are using Stealth rubber. Not sure if this is still the same stuff that 5.10 uses. I found this website: http://www.stealthrubber.com/ .  I didn't do any portages, but did some rock scrambling to get photos, and during rest breaks.  The soles were nice and sticky on wet rock.
I scrambled up a rock to take this photo of Pure Screaming Hell on the Lower Gauley.

Overall I am very pleased with the Rasslers.

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