Whitewater shoes have come a long way. While Tevas and Chaco’s have been around for decades and have proven their worth, the new style, a true “shoe” or “boot” have changed the game. The Astral Rassler 2.0 is one of these new breeds of shoes. A boot designed for the river, the Rassler 2.0 is light, comfortable, and offers a great grip while being in a completely soaked environment.
With the MSRP at $140, the high quality comes at a premium price, but for professionals in the field, I’ve found them to be one of the best yet.
I wear them without socks. I wear them for climbing rocks. I wear them on Class V swims (whoops!) and I wear them for throw-bagging big guys named Jim. Great for Trader Joe’s and hanging with your bros, the Astral Rassler is. A. Dazzler.
Let’s dive in:
Toe and ankle protection: It’s a boot, which makes it hard to beat for toe and ankle protection. Sure, the possibility of dropping a comm box on your toes is still there, but it will hurt far less. For anyone prone to ankle rolling, I found that despite having a low to mid-cut heel it still provided enough support.
Grip: Astral’s grip is called G Rubber and it rocks. I haven’t done any lab testing (I’m just a simple river guide) but I found them to be sticky enough for me. Perusing through reviews and you’ll find that this is a common observance.
Draining: It has drain holes that work effectively for water. My biggest issue is it’s hard to clear small pebbles and sand that work their way in. This is a regular annoyance for boots like this and I don’t think there’s any real solution outside of being mindful of where you put your feet or reverting back to something like Chaco’s. Once you get something in there, you’re probably going to have to take them off to shake it out.
Fit, feel, and looks: Astral writes that they are “True to size” however plenty of reviews say it’s a narrow fit or too small. And by plenty I mean 22 reviews out of 55 describe this, so it’s a real thing. I’m a size 12 and found this not to be the case, so your mileage may vary. They’re comfortable to hike in too (wear socks obviously if you go this route) so they fit the multi-purpose checkbox. In terms of their “coolness”, I would rock them anywhere, but I might be the wrong person to ask.