Astral Brewer 2.0 / Brewess 2.0 review: versatile river shoes for coastal adventures

Aqua-loving sneakers, the Astral Brewer 2.0s are perfect for paddling, portaging and walks with water features

Astral Brewer 2.0
(Image: © Astral Designs)

Advnture Verdict

Highly versatile river shoes that are also excellent for a range of paddle sports, water activities and coastal adventures on foot.


  • +

    Super grippy sole

  • +

    Built-in sockliner

  • +

    Treated with anti-stink tech

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    Waterproof laces

  • +

    Plenty of support for covering long miles


  • -

    Lace-up shoes don’t go on or come off as quickly as flips or slides

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Astral Brewer 2.0 / Brewess 2.0: First impressions

The Astral Brewer 2.0 sets the standard for technical footwear for water-based recreation with a grippy rubber sole, a supportive midsole, and quick-dry mesh with hydrophobic canvas in the shoe’s body. 

They look so different to many of the other shoes in out rundown of the best water shoes, they may leave you wondering what are water shoes, exactly? It looks like a sneaker, and is every bit as comfortable as your favorite pair of sneakers, but it sheds water instantly and is so tenacious on wet rocks, you’ll forget where you’re standing. Even the laces are waterproof. Thanks to a built-in sockliner, you can wear them with or without socks. An EVA midsole cushions feet and protects them from pokey rocks, while razor-siped proprietary G.15 rubber gives wearers high grip-contact that’s also non-marking.


RRP: $110 (US) / £87 (UK)
Gender specificity: Male (Brewer) and female (Brewess) versions available
Weight: 222g/7.8oz
Materials: Hydrophobic canvas uppers with airmesh at vamp, tongue and medial side; EVA midsole; G.15 rubber, high surface-contact, razor-siped, non-marking outsole
Colors: Men’s Storm Navy / Basalt Black / Storm Gray / Mud Brown Women’s Deep Water Navy / Onyx Black / Stone Gray
Compatibility: Watersports, walking, traveling, rock scrambling

On the trails (and in the water)

There is no better watershoe for portaging a kayak, hiking through river crossings or any other activity where you need sneaker-like support that won’t retain water.

The Astral Brewer 2.0 was as comfortable as my favorite sneakers with a lot more technical features. Drainage ports at the arch and outside of the foot helped shed water, though most of it squished out or evaporated through the shoe’s breathable materials.

A slightly rockered sole and a sturdy midsole made these comfortable for walks and hikes even when I was carrying a canoe or kayak further than I planned to. They”re almost as good as the best hiking shoes. Once they were laced and tied, they were on securely until I took them off. In addition to wearing those for portaging, fishing, and general exploring in rivers, lakes and streams, I donned them for a game of frisbee, a grocery run, a lakeside brewfest and general summer fun.

Bonus: the shoes are treated with silver-based Polygiene, so they never got stinky even during a summer of regular use.

Berne Broudy

Vermont-based writer, photographer and adventurer, Berne reports on hiking, biking, skiing, overlanding, travel, climbing and kayaking for category-leading publications in the U.S., Europe and beyond. In the field, she’s been asked to deliver a herd of llamas to a Bolivian mountaintop corral, had first fat-biking descents in Alaska, helped establish East Greenland’s first sport climbing and biked the length of Jordan. She’s worked to help brands clean up their materials and manufacturing, and has had guns pulled on her in at least three continents.