Review: Astral Hiyak Water Shoes

Jurfie

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May 6, 2007
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870
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SGIs, BC
In another thread discussing paddling shoe choices, I mentioned that I had always worn neoprene boots over my drysuit booties. A recent landing on a rocky shoreline reminded me how you can feel everything through them, and they are slicker than can be on wet seaweed covered rocks. Not ideal for my new home paddling location!

So as I had posted in that thread, I decided to try out the Astral Hiyaks. After a heckuva time finding stock in my size, I finally found a pair at VPO headquarters and ordered a pair to be delivered.



Today I took advantage of the (slightly) cooler weather and took my trusty old Kokatat Expedition drysuit down to the beach to test out that (a) it was still waterproof and (b) my gasket replacement job was sufficient to keep me dry. I also wanted to test the buoyancy of my older Kokatat Ronin Pro to ensure it would still keep my fat arse afloat. Result: success on all accounts!

While I was getting into the water anyways, I tried out my new Hiyaks. They’re not the most stylish shoes, but I look like a lanky spaceman in my drysuit anyways, so what difference would it make?

Initial Impressions
They fit true to size, even over drysuit booties and the drain holes seem to do a good job expelling water quickly. They dry fast as well; faster than my old neoprene boots. I like that the laces are protected with a strip of webbing over the tongue, and a Velcro strap over the ties to reduce the chances of snagging on something during a wet exit.

This beach is quite sandy, but I climbed over some rocky outcrops and driftwood logs, and my feet didn’t feel every pointy edge. Slip resistance TBD as there weren’t a lot of seaweed covered rocks, but I didn’t slip on the ones that did have some even purposefully trying.

I’ll report back with more thoughts here when I get to try them out in my boat, but so far I’m pleased!

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chodups

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Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
1,218
So as I had posted in that thread, I decided to try out the Astral Hiyaks. After a heckuva time finding stock in my size, I finally found a pair at VPO headquarters and ordered a pair to be delivered.

Thanks for the update. Keep us updated.
 

cougarmeat

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Sep 17, 2012
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995
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Bend OR USA
I rented a big boot (Adidas?) for hiking up the Narrows in Zion earlier this year. I was amazed at the "no-slip" traction on submerged rocks. But I'm sure their size would not allow them to fit in my kayak cockpit. I have one neoprene shoe I use mostly for lakes and warmer water and one larger pair I wear with my DrySuit because the shoe has to accommodate the latex bootie.
 

Jurfie

Paddler
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
870
Location
SGIs, BC
Update: the Hiyaks have good traction on dry rocks, but slip in seaweed-covered muck (though I’m sure most low-profile shoes would). Had a split-second moment of sheer terror while shouldering my boat to the water’s edge this morning.

Oh, and they still suffer from the funk, just like the neoprene boots. Maybe my feet are just unusually potent? :wink:
 
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