Astral Filipe Review
Cons: Extra straps can get in the way, pricey
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Astral Filipe is a quality flip flop with above-average poise for hiking. The highlights are its convertible strap system, excellent traction in a variety of environments, and comfort. This performance, coupled with low weight, make it an excellent choice for strapping onto a pack for backpacking trips when you want footwear for both camp comfort and stream fording.
The Filipe is packed with unique features that set it apart from the competition. To start, the footbed is comprised of two different materials. The main body of the footbed is compression-molded EVA or ethylene-vinyl acetate (the material many shoe mid-soles are made of) with rubber pads inlaid where the foot puts the most pressure. Think of the classic footprint image: all of those contact points in the Filipe have inlaid grippy rubber. This gives a high level of comfort without sacrificing grip.
We did find some nitpicky issues with comfort that must be discussed. The heel strap, while an excellent addition, isn't always the most comfortable. When the strap is attached to the sandal but not in use, it is a major annoyance. This issue reared its head when we were in and out of the flip flops often, as you might be at a sport climbing crag. Though, to be fair, the strap can be completely removed if you don't plan to use it. Additionally, if you prefer high arch support, be aware that the Filipe offers more of a medium height. This is adequate and likely more fitting for the majority of the population but lacks the comfortable pressure relief a high arch provides after a long run or having your feet crammed into climbing shoes.
Support and Stability
While the removable strap does go a long way towards boosting support and stability there are a few factors at play that our testers found to lower the overall stability of the Filipe. First, it is fairly narrow compared to other flip flops tested. Notably, the pinky toe side of our foot ball would often sit off the side of the footbed. This was the case with two of our gear testers. If you have a narrow foot, however, these flip flops may be extremely comfortable and stable underfoot.
With the knowledge that the Filipe does run a bit narrow, it is still uniquely suited for hiking. On steep and off-camber terrain, our foot stayed planted in the footbed which is indeed unique for a flip flop. Another unforeseen bonus was having the Filipe stay on our foot when walking through especially sticky mud where other models would have been sucked off our foot likely never to be seen again.
While Stealth Rubber used to be the go-to for Astral foot-wear, they recently started applying their own sticky, non-marking "G Rubber." As much as we love Stealth (especially those of us that are climbers), we have to admit the Astral G Rubber also does an excellent job. Expect to be able to stick to everything from wet river rocks to granite slabs.
One of the highlights of the Filipe is the ability to put all of that traction to use. Other flip flops with a high level of traction will often let the foot slip out the back — especially when wet or sweaty. The removable strap system on this one lets you put all of the G Rubber traction to good use without feeling that it will shoot you out backward down the river embankment.
Obviously, you should exercise sound judgment when deciding to wear flip flops as you are making your feet more vulnerable to the environment. That being said, this pair can go flippin' anywhere. The lightweight, grippy soles, and additional strap system impart a lot of confidence. Designed by boaters and water folk, the Filipe excels 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.
These perform well in dry environments but even better in the wet. Astral designed them to stay on your feet in a water current, and indeed, they do. You don't have to do the toe-curl-foot-expansion method to keep the flops in place when fording a river — they do the work for you. Yes, closed-toe shoes are safer in these situations, and you should think long and hard about potentially dangerous toe-stubbings when you are using a flip flop, but the Filipe is mega versatile.
Like any relationship, you have to give a little to get a little. The attention to detail in making the Filipe lightweight but capable does cut into the overall durability — but only slightly. The compression-molded EVA footbed showed some wear by the end of our testing, but it was mostly cosmetic. The flip flops retained their functionality and grip without showing any delamination or structural damage.
It should also be noted that we abused these flip flops. They weren't made with hiking down granite slabs or on rocky trails in mind. We really threw a lot at all of the flips we tested, and the Filipe came through the ordeal with its life intact.
The Filipe looks as good as it functions. It's stylish enough to help you blend in at the yacht club, and adding the heel strap gives you more of a granola munching thru-hiker look. The choice is yours!
Overall, the look of this shoe is simple and errs towards functionality rather than trying to look stylish. The result is a highly versatile flip flop that you probably shouldn't be wearing to your next formal event, even if your roomie is wearing his Birkenstocks. Though, depending on the event and your personal style, you could definitely pull it off.
These are not bargain bin flip flops from wall-e-world. They are designed to be versatile, grippy, and lightweight, which also translates to expensive. As one of the most versatile flips we tested, they certainly carry their weight. If you're anything like our testers, you probably slip on flip flops any chance you get and, therefore, will squeeze every drop of life out of the Filipe. If this is the case, we highly recommend them, and feel the hefty price tag is indeed worth it.
Our initial skepticism was blown away by the versatility of these flip flops. The traction of the G rubber, coupled with the removable strap system, works incredibly well even when used far beyond what it is designed for. Just because these are our Top Pick for Hiking, don't think they aren't a go-anywhere flip flop too, because they are. Boating, camping, and general flip floppery are all well within the scope of the Astral Filipe.
— Brian Martin