Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Astral Hiyak

Our whitewater kayaking friends have been raving about the Astral Brewer.  In particular they have been raving about the sticky/grippy rubber soles and comfortable fit both in the kayak and on land.  Since I launch and land on sandy and gravelly beaches most of the time, low tops like the Brewer don't work out well for me because they are always getting gravel and sand in them.  I was excited when Astral started making  The Hiyak - a hightop kayaking shoe.

Review of Astral Hiyak:

First Impressions:
Geeez these things are lightweight.

Astral makes the Hiyak in men's sizes 7-13.  For me as a women's 8, the size 7's are a bit on the big side.  Fortunately the laces make them extremely adjustable and I can snug them up enough to wear them with socks.  The best fit that I get with them is when I wear a pair of wool socks, a pair of thick neoprene socks and SuperFeet insoles or when I am wearing a drysuit with several pairs of wool socks and SuperFeet.  The soles on the Hiyak are very flexible and intended to be responsive.  My tender feet found them to give a little too much feedback so I added the SuperFeet.

On the Water:
These are the most comfortable shoes that I have ever worn in a kayak!!!  The key I believe is the extremely low profile heel.  Lightweight and quick drying are other features that likely contribute to the Hiyak's comfort.  I love that they actually dry over night - even on the coast.
The low profile Hiyaks are comfortable in the kayak (even little kayaks)
The Hiyaks are not the warmest shoes nor would one expect them to be given their lightweight material.  In our 54 degree water, I find that I need to wear wool socks and thick neoprene socks with them to keep my feet warm.

On the rocks, the soles are definitely sticky.  I have been impressed with their grip in both the river and ocean environments.  The flexibility of the sole also contributes to that grippiness and feeling like one has a good connection to the rocks.
The sticky soles are great for scrambling on slick rocks.
I wore these almost daily for several months this summer.   My summer working environment involves a fair amount of walking on gravel.  The heels of my left foot wore through but I think this is due to some issues that I have with pronation and alignment with my left foot and the particular version of superfeet that I was wearing.  Jeff aquasealed it, and it has been fine since.

I think that Astral Hiyak is the most comfortable kayaking shoe on the market.  At times, I wish that it was a little bit warmer and had a little bit thicker sole; however, the comfort in the boat, lightweight and quick drying material, and sticky soles have made this my favorite everyday kayaking and guiding boot on both the sea and the river.
Sea Kayaking on the Mendocino Coast of California

No comments:

Post a Comment