The Astral Filipe is the SUV of flip-flops. It cruises up loose and rocky terrain and sticks to smooth rock slabs, all while being light and packable. The Filipe has a removable strap that runs over the top of the foot, around the back of the heel and through the thong strap, locking your feet in place better than many sandals we've worn. Is the strap system an unfair advantage in the flip-flop category? Is this flip-flop a sandal in disguise? Who cares! When the straps are removed, the Filipe is still a great flop, with good traction, comfort, and durability. If you're the type of climber or boater who takes their flip-flops where no sane person would go without sticky rubber approach shoes, these are the flops you've been looking for.
Astral Filipe Review
Cons: Extra straps can get in the way
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Filipe takes high marks in all our flip-flop metrics. Style (the most subjective) is its Achilles' heel. It's only bested in comfort by the Editors' Choice Award-winning OluKai Ohana's super soft footbed, but the Filepe equals the Ohana in versatility and traction. The Filipe is one of the lightest models in our line-up, making them well suited for carrying on backpacking trips when you want a comfy pair of camp shoes or are faced with stream crossings.
The footbed is a synthetic leather with a slight rise under the arch and a ridge that runs underneath the gap between your toes and the rest of your foot. There are folks out there that feel any texture or bumps under their feet are uncomfortable, but none of our testers were bothered by the ridge. In fact, we found it useful for "grabbing" with our toes on steeper terrain. With the straps in place and cinched tight over the top of the foot and behind the heel (we call this "Four High"), the flop is equally comfortable. The straps become a comfort issue when they are on the flop and not properly on your foot. If you just step into the Filipe like you would a normal flip-flop while the straps are on, you'll be stepping on the straps, and the loose ends will be flapping all over the place. That's okay for a quick jaunt from the tent to the loo, but not for any serious walking. You can all slip your foot under both of the straps. The other strap configuration we found was to step on the strap where it's supposed to go over the foot and only cinch the strap down around the heel (our tester's like to call this "4 Low"). The back strap adds some extra stability by itself, and we could still get the flops off and on as a hands-free operation, because let's face it, we love flip-flops because we're lazy.
These flip-flops can go anywhere. While they're not as classy looking as the OluKai Ohana, the Filipe doesn't have any bulky padding or loud colors and is just as comfortable on the dance floor as it is boulder hopping across the stream. The removable straps really put these flops over the top in terms of versatility. Our climber testers are always looking for lighter weight footwear for walking off Tuolumne Domes, off the chief in Squamish or even some of the long descents in Red Rocks. With the straps on, the Filipes are grippy, stable, and confidence-inspiring. While they can't protect your feet from snakes or cactus, they take up way less space on a harness than even the lightest approach shoes. The weight savings really adds up on long multi-pitch climbs. Astral is perhaps best known for their awesome PFDs, and the Filipe was designed with paddlers in mind. The straps make the flops stable and secure enough for short portages over wet and rocky surfaces. Again, in this situation, a closed toed shoe might be a better choice. Always use good judgment and flip-flop at your own risk.
The sticky rubber outsoles of the Filipes are thicker and more durable than the Hari Mari Scouts and the Reef Draftsmen, but not quite as heavy and burly as the soles of the Chaco Flip ECO or the Chaco Marshall. For our purposes, we think this flop is an excellent balance between weight and durability, and we didn't encounter any durability during our time with these flops. Astral's warranty covers manufacturing defects but doesn't repair your busted flops like Chaco will.
The synthetic leather uppers don't have quite the same look as leather flops like the Rainbow Premier Leather Single Layer, the Hari Mari Scouts, or the Reef Draftsmen. With the straps on, they look busy, but with the straps removed, they have a simple look, more like the classic Chaco Flip ECO. The Filipe is available in Navy/Green, Black/Pewter, and Navy/Brown. These Flops run small compared to Chaco, Olukai, and Hari Mari. A size 9 fit our lead tester perfectly, 9 ½ being his usual shoe size.
Astral used to slap Five Ten Stealth Rubber on all their footwear and call it good, but Adidas bought Five Ten and snatched up all the Stealth for themselves, so now Astral uses their own proprietary rubber called G Rubber. We didn't have any stealth rubber flops to test these against, but these flip flops outperformed most flops on wet rocks and slabs. The tread lugs are the perfect depth, getting just enough traction in dirt, while still allowing for loads of sticky rubber to make contact with rock slabs. Sometimes with a sticky rubber flip-flop, the rubber sticks to the rock, while your sweaty foot slides right out of the slimy footbed. The strap system on the Filipe completely eliminates the foot slippage, allowing our testers to take full advantage of the Astral Felipe's gripping powers.
Designed by boaters and water folk, the Filipes excel in boating situations like kayaking and sailing, keeping you safe on slippery surfaces and remaining on your feet if you go for a swim. Our climbing testers love them as "descent flops", clipping them to their harnesses and walking off the back of granite domes or down sandstone gullies. While not as dressed-up as the OluKai Hiapo, these flops aren't going to draw any unwanted attention to your dirty feet.
At $75, these aren't bargain flops, but if you're anything like our testers, you wear flip-flops every day that it's not snowing, so a quality flop won't go unused. If you're on a budget and want some thongs you can wear forever, take a look at the Chaco Flip ECO. It takes home our Best Buy Award and is super durable, but not as comfortable or as versatile as the Filipe.
We raised a skeptical eyebrow or two when we took these flip flops out of the box and saw the straps hanging everywhere, and thought we'd never love a flop that required our hands to put on. We love being proved wrong, and a couple months in the Astral Filipe did just that. The straps are useful, versatile, and are no gimmick. Remember, the staps are easily removed. These flip-flops have widened our range of flip-flopping, and earn our Top Pick for Hiking.
— Matt Bento