Finding a good shoe or boot that is robust enough for long walk ins/outs, offers good levels of protection/support and is comfortable to wear all day is pretty tough. Thankfully a number of big players have begun to expand the range of shoes available. For the last couple of years I have been using a pair of Five Ten Water Tennies and really like them. But I also have a but also have a set of Astral Brewers which are great in my playboat. The Brewers dry much faster that the Water Tennies but don’t have the same level of protection or stiffness as the Five Tens.
The Rassler is Astrals newest boot takes the Brewer and beefs it up for tougher walk ins/outs. Astral shoes come with Five Ten’s Stealth sole. Stealth rubber is superb and has a good balance between grip and length of service. I have it on the Five Tens I wear both on and off the water. The soles can also be easily replaced using a DIY kit available from Five Ten or can be done for you at one of Five Tens approved shoe repairers.
The Rasslers have good grip on wet grass and green concrete and rocks, The grip is excellent which I’d expect from the Five Ten sole.
The Rasslers are definitely a bit stiffer than the Brewers and they feel as if they are made from tough Cordura fabric. A mesh tongue provides a level of breathability and aids in the drying process. The Rasslers drain really well with holes mid way along the sides and a larger hole at the heel. When I climbed pack in my boat I didn’t bring in a pile of water from the shoes.
A nice touch is the fact that the pull on loops at the heel will also accept a regular sized karabiner. So hooking up to dry using the kit you normally carry on a river is very useful. I wouldn’t demand such a feature as standard but it’s a great idea.
The Rasslers have a good compromise between support and bulk. The fit is pretty good for me although I did find the notch in the ankle cuff to be a little strange when I first put the Rasslers on and I can feel it whilst walking but once sat in the boat it makes perfect sens. I can quite happily wear them within by playboat without much in the way of discomfort.
A very unscientific car park poll found that most but not all of the paddlers asked like the black and striking lime green colour scheme. I personally love it. I’ve been using the Rasslers for a around 6 months and have been really pleased with the way they have held up.