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Astral Brewess 2.0 Review

Great if you're a water enthusiast looking for an excellent shoe both on and off the water and in any temperature
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Astral Brewess 2.0 Review (The Astral Brewess were an excellent option for layering on colder days or when you're more exposed to getting your...)
The Astral Brewess were an excellent option for layering on colder days or when you're more exposed to getting your feet wet in cold water.
Credit: Monica Nigon
Price:  $125 List
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Manufacturer:   Astral
By Monica Nigon ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 14, 2024
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 11
  • Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Traction - 25% 7.0
  • Warmth - 15% 7.0
  • Versatility - 15% 8.0
  • Sensitivity - 10% 7.0
  • Durability - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Astral Brewess 2.0 was our go-to on a day trip on the Arkansas River, as well as a week-long trip working on a motor rig in the Grand Canyon. The Brewess 2.0 is an amped-up version of Astral's award-winning Loyak, with the Brewess 2.0 featuring a thicker outsole, more room for layering, and a more durable mesh. They're incredibly comfortable, even with a drysuit and neoprene socks on, and stout enough for a somewhat longer side hike on our multi-day. They lacked a bit of sensitivity due to the relatively thicker outsole, but we think that was a good compromise for more durability and makes them more versatile for hiking and creek walking. They have excellent draining out the soles, dry fairly quickly, and have nice arch support. We also found that their sneaker-like design works pretty well for casual wear.
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable
Versatile
Stretchy enough to layer
Drains well
REASONS TO AVOID
Loose on the heel
Lacks sensitivity

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astral brewess 2.0
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Astral Brewess 2.0
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $125.00 at REI
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Bottom Line This shoe is comfortable and versatile and has great durabilityWith stellar traction and comfort, we reached for the Xtratuf Riptides when navigating slippery terrain in all sorts of temperaturesThere's no match for the Salomons when it comes to comfort, whether in the water or hiking on landFor the avid kayaker, the flexibility and traction in this model is unparalleledThese shoes are an excellent beginner's water shoe, but probably won't hold up on rougher excursions
Rating Categories Astral Brewess 2.0 Xtratuf Riptide - W... Salomon Techamphibi... Astral Loyak - Women's DLGJPA Lightweight...
Comfort (25%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Traction (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Warmth (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Versatility (15%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Sensitivity (10%)
7.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
Specs Astral Brewess 2.0 Xtratuf Riptide - W... Salomon Techamphibi... Astral Loyak - Women's DLGJPA Lightweight...
Measured Weight (lb per pair, US size 8) 0.92 0.94 0.55 0.87 0.44
Drainage Features Drainage and ventilation holes in fronts and backs of midsoles Mesh on upper Mesh on upper, holes on sole Outsole is draining Mesh on upper, drainage holes on sole
Removeable Insole? Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Footwear Closure Laces Drawcord Quicklace Laces Drawcord
Available Widths Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium
Upper Materials Canvas, mesh Synthetic mesh Synthetic, textile Hydrophobic canvas Synthetic mesh
Midsole EVA EVA, TPU EVA 7mm thick, 45C closed cell EVA foam None
Outsole G.15 rubber Rubber Rubber Flexi-grip, G15 (Astral tech) Rubber

Our Analysis and Test Results

We reached for the Astral Brewess 2.0 on a day rafting trip down Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River and found them great for stuffing under a raft thwart from the back of the raft, despite catching some serious air after hitting a hole. We also loved the Brewess 2.0 on a canoeing trip in Minnesota. The shoes are suitable for a half-mile-long portage and flexible enough to navigate a solid canoe floor without swamping the boat. While the mesh is likely to break down with heavy use on rough terrain, we think the Astral Brewess 2.0 is an excellent choice for those looking for a versatile, proper water shoe that's stretchy enough for layering to use year-round.

Performance Comparison


astral brewess 2.0 - we took our trove of water shoes to the river to test them on a...
We took our trove of water shoes to the river to test them on a variety of surfaces and note how they perform transitioning from dry to wet ground.
Credit: Monica Nigon

Comfort


The Brewess 2.0 scored high in comfort due to Astral's cushy EVA midsole, which offers a bit more protection from sharp sticks or rocks than lower-volume shoes. We were also able to wear them with layers and bare feet without any issues. They have a bit more arch support than we were expecting, but we still wouldn't take them on anything longer than a couple of miles due to foot fatigue.

We were also able to get our foot underneath a raft thwart without issue and found the seams didn't bother bare feet when doing so unless you hit a massive hole on the Arkansas River, in which case, you have no hope no matter what shoe you're wearing.

astral brewess 2.0 - the brewess 2.0 has a deeper lug depth than other lower volume...
The Brewess 2.0 has a deeper lug depth than other lower volume shoes, allowing it to power through sandy beaches without walking in place.
Credit: Monica Nigon

Traction


While the Brewess 2.0s didn't have the traction that we found in other models, we think they did pretty well for a shoe with an outsole of that size. The lug depth isn't huge, and the G.15 rubber isn't super tacky either. Yet the flexibility added in proprioception.

The lug depth on the Astral Brewess 2.0 is enough to bite into sandy surfaces without sacrificing too much on dry, hard surfaces. However, the Brewess suffered a bit on wet, hard surfaces, with a bit of sliding action while navigating a slippery stream in Colorado.

Warmth


The Brewess 2.0s were comparable to some of the highest-scoring shoes when it came to warmth. Their stretchy mesh upper also allows for nice layering with neoprene socks or a drysuit. We also found the G.15 rubber outsole to insulate our feet from the cold ground while on a chilly side hike.

The Brewess 2.0s also drained well, featuring drainage and ventilation holes in fronts and backs of the midsoles. This allows for less soggy feet when worn on the water with bare feet. It's worth noting that if you're going to layer, be sure to tighten the laces heartily or they may slide off if you swim, like our lead tester experienced on the San Juan River.

astral brewess 2.0 - these shoes are great for whitewater rafting, or in this case...
These shoes are great for Whitewater Rafting, or in this case, spudding!
Credit: Monica Nigon

Versatility


The Brewess 2.0s scored high on versatility. They transitioned well from shore to water to raft to town with ease. We even wore them to work with jeans. This is due to their sneaker-like design and good traction across a variety of surfaces.

We took them for a short side hike in the Grand Canyon and noticed our feet getting a bit sore after a couple of miles, but not as much as something like a water bootie. We think they strike a good balance between versatility and sensitivity.

astral brewess 2.0 - the astral brewess 2.0 scored high in sensitivity despite a thicker...
The Astral Brewess 2.0 scored high in sensitivity despite a thicker outsole.
Credit: Monica Nigon

Sensitivity


The Brewess 2.0s were smack dab in the middle when we evaluated sensitivity. While they aren't as flexible as some other shoes we tested or a water bootie, they made up for this lack of sensitivity in the midsole to offer a bit more protection and durability than less beefier models, Astrals and other brands alike.

We took these shoes rafting, kayaking, creek-walking, and canoeing and found they worked pretty darn well across all of those activities. While they were still wet, we even wore them to a brewery after our day trip on the Rio Grande.

Durability


Astral is not necessarily known for durability, but the Brewess 2.0s are a step up from years past. The thicker midsole was great for more abrasive rocks and sticks, as well as jamming under a raft thwart.

After a whole season using the Brewess 2.0s, we noticed a bit of separation between the outsole and the uppers, which is a common complaint amongst Astral users. Yet that was with heavy usage; for those who don't intend to be so hard on these shoes or consider themselves weekend water warriors, you shouldn't worry about that kind of breakdown.

astral brewess 2.0 - the brewess 2.0 has a thicker outsole than other astral models like...
The Brewess 2.0 has a thicker outsole than other Astral models like the Loyak.
Credit: Monica Nigon

Should You Buy the Astral Brewess 2.0?


We enjoy the Astral Brewess 2.0s for good reason: they strike a balance between versatility and utility, are comfortable, and lightweight. For adamant rafters or those looking for a water shoe that can do a little more, we think the Brewess 2.0s are the move.

What Other Women's Water Shoes Should You Consider?


If you want a shoe with a bit more flexibility or sensitivity, you may look toward the Astral Loyak or a neoprene bootie like the NRS Kicker Wetshoe or Body Glove 3T Barefoot Cinch. Likewise, if you're a traction-or-bust kind of boater, you may check out Xtratuf Riptide for a bit more tackiness on hard, wet surfaces.

astral brewess 2.0 - the astral brewess was our go-to for single day raft trips.
The Astral Brewess was our go-to for single day raft trips.
Credit: Monica Nigon

Monica Nigon