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River rat essential.

The Astral Men's Loyak Water Shoe provides the right mix of grip, flexibility, and durability you need when guiding raft trips or kayaking technical rivers. The stitched Cordura upper is highly abrasion-resistant for durability, yet also breathable and quick-drying. The upper is also attached directly to the rubber outsole for a low-profile fit and enhanced feel underfoot. G.15 rubber helps you maintain your footing on slippery river beds and slick rocks, and flex grooves allow your foot to flex naturally.

  • Stitched Cordura upper
  • Drainage holes
  • G.15 rubber outsole
  • Flex grooves
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

River, Beach, SUP, everywhere else

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size

I am a big fan of shoes that let me feel the ground beneath my feet. pair that with how well these breathe and drain water and i have my new favorite summer footwear. If you want a comfortable sandal but want a bit more protection for your feet look no further.

Awesome shoes

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 11

These shoes drain water great, after they were wet, they didn't make my feet feel clammy or uncomfortable. Felt confident walking around on rocks above and below water. No smell after being wet in the back of my truck for 2 1/2 days (truck bed was covered), but due to rain was unable to dry them out. Left out in the sun for a few hours on returning home and they were mostly dry.

New Favorite Shoe

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 9

Wow, I've had lots of favorite shoes but these have got to be the current first place.

I have specialized footwear for most sports and then my casual shoes - this shoe bridges the spectrum. I favor them over chacos in streams, rafting, paddleboarding, etc. They are super lightweight and drain quickly so you barely notice you are wearing them. I've enjoyed biking in them around town, eating out, and traveling in them. My favorite use so far is for cliff diving/jumping. I was recently doing a bunch of cliff diving in Croatia with rocky shorelines and pebble beaches and I enjoyed having these on while swimming and jumping! They grip rock well, breathe well, look good, all around AWESOME

Killer kicks

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 9

In my opinion these approach perfection in a piece of gear. Completely crushes what it is designed for while also looking good as a hot weather summer casual shoe. Due to the super low weight I am most looking forward to using them more often as a camp shoe and stream crosser while backpacking. I usually wear 9.5 in most types of footwear and went with a 9 here knowing I will be not wearing socks.

Killer review! 100% agree about other uses: camp shoe, stream crosser, etc.

Enjoy!

Leta
Astral Rep

Perfect camp/stream-crossing shoe

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 10

After spending much time researching lightweight camp shoes, I stumbled across the Astral brand. These shoes are great! Weighing a little over 6oz per shoe, I was surprised by how comfortable these shoes have become! The first couple times I wore them, they rubbed a very small blister or two. They just need to be broken in a little, as they are now one of the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned. They are very versatile, and can be worn everywhere! Comfortable with or without socks, especially without. If you are in between sizes, size down. I'm usually a 10 1/2 and the size 10 fits perfectly. 10/10 would recommend.

Thank you so much for the review! Happy Trails in your Astrals!

Leta
Astral Rep

Fantastic boat/ kayak shoes

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These shoes are super light, easily pack-able, they dry fast and they stick to slick surfaces like no other! Not the best for wading in rivers while trying to fish though! Probably want to get something with more ankle support like the Rasslers or TR1 Junctions. For rafting/kayaking and boating though... these babies are prime!

Excellent shoes for boating

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 10

Took these things out in the Pacific for several months - the siped soles give great grip on wet surfaces (boat decks, rocks, etc) and also held up during hikes. Lightweight, breathable, not a lot of cushion but that was what I was looking for. Highly recommend.

Henry - Thank you for the great review on these Loyaks! I have a pair coming and I am psyched to try them!

Leta
Astral Rep

Good for kayak/not great for beach wadin

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size

I really like these shoes for fishing off my kayak/SUP hybrid. They are grippy, comfortable, and stable enough to shuttle loads, cast, walk on uneven ground, etc.

However, I would not recommend these for wet wading flats. I thought they might do fine for a Hawaii fishing trip which included some surf casting and wading shallow flats. While they did protect my feet from sharp rocks and the reef, they filled up with sand and became uncomfortable and heavy. This is probably me using them for an unintended activity, but the same mesh that makes them breathable allows fine sediment to fill the shoe, and they don't empty.

Thanks for the heads up. Do you know of a good show that is capable of wading flats but also would be comfortable while kayaking out to said flats? Im thinking that i might just have to carry a pair of flats booties along with me (because kayaking in them is too hot) but would love to have one pair that could do it all.

Still smells like UPS!

Still smells like UPS!

Crushing Sand in Style

Crushing Sand in Style

Bottle holder for a night under stars

Bottle holder for a night under stars

Grip Strength


Grip Strength

Classy shoe that fits like a slipper

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: Runs large
  • Size Bought: 10

The Foreword:
Sincere thanks to Backcountry and Astral for the opportunity to review the Astral Loyak and share with the Backcountry.com community.

The Cliff notes
Impressively versatile shoes, highly recommended.
Great as classy beach/deck shoes/laid back summer wear around town
Performed well beyond reasonable expectations on rough terrain.
Fantastic grip
Easily handled 3rd class scrambling at Joshua Tree NP between technical climbs
Kept irritating sand out of shoes for comfortable feet all day long
Not for someone who needs/wants stiff supportive soles

The whole hog
Fit, Styling, and Quality:
Classic colors and subtle design makes for a classy casual style easily at home on a weekend cruise aboard the Father-in-law's yacht or just a summer night out.
The overall fit is on the large size. I'm a 10.5 US typically, I requested size 10 and these fit very well/wraps foot well with plenty of room to avoid feeling like a sock. I might even be tempted to try a size down if I had slightly smaller feet, of course, this depends on the intended purpose and fit you're looking for.
Well manufactured with quality materials and attention. No excess glue, loose stitching, or other glaring manufacturing issues you'll see on shoes that are just slapped together.
Color differs slightly from BC photo some, more navy and rich tan for a real classic look.

Insole:
Coated foam with 1/2 in. circle pattern on surface (to provide texture?)
Very well cushioned and comfortable
The insoles did stick to bottom of foot during first wearing but hasn't been an issue since. I think this was just a slight wear-in issue and never affected use only the first time I test fit them
The insoles are removable so can be replaced or swapped, if desired
No drains direct through sole, toe box and heel drains seem to be the lowest drain points. This may cause some water to be retained around the insole. Allows for even foot bed and prevents uneven pressure that can be an issue with water shoes
Neutral/flat shape is comfortable and should work well for most people.

Outsole:
Very good grip
Rubber guard in front provides good protection against stubbed toes
Very flexible but little support
Has the feel of a slipper: soft, compliant, and wraps around surfaces for extra contact and improved grip
Astral Aquanaut might be an alternative for those in need of additional support and aren't looking for the sleek/classic styling of the Loyak.
The Loyak isn't really well suited to carrying a heavy pack for extended periods or for someone otherwise requiring stiff/rigid foot support. The compliant nature of the sole/shoe provides great flexibility, improves grip, and is even very well cushioned but intentionally doesn't resist or support against uneven surfaces.
Drains located at heel and toe just above the insole with filters prevent sand from entering and water from being locked inside.
Total width of shoes might be wider than desired for some but not clownishly wide in my opinion - makes for a comfortable fit and stable feel

Uppers:
Comfortable on foot/soft on skin from day 1
If you're one of the accident prone there's not much structure or padding in uppers to protect feet against stray objects that may shift/fall on toes. It's a trade-off for the light weight, ventilation, and drainage.
Top of shoe has mesh venting nice for cooling and to aid with drainage but I question durability of the mesh if in contact with rough rock or snagged on other hazards
Tongue is elastic mesh so functions like a slip-on but also has the laces allowing adjustment of the fit some
Balanced cup to Heel - nice feature to prevent excessive heel movement, adds resistance to peeling off in moving water or mud to a degree
Generous loops at heel and tongue to help pull them on/off, also makes hanging them to dry very easy

Classy shoe that fits like a slipper

On the street:
Nice casual look with jeans
Comfortable on foot even without socks
Nice ventilation/cooling with mesh over toes

In Joshua Tree NP (loose desert sand and course rock)
These really shined on sand and did remarkably well scrambling around on rock!
Broad outsoles were very stable which made for easy walking and running over thick loose sand
Closes effectively enough around the ankle to keep sand grains from entering the shoe
The small amount of very fine grit that did manage to enter never created any issue with comfort
Great luxury to swap out climbing shoes for these while on belay, hanging TR anchors, ground work, etc.
1L Nalgene holder to keep water close while sleeping out under the stars
The traction these provide is very impressive and managed 3rd class scrambling very easily. With the addition of a sock to take up some extra room they would go from very secure to...bring it on!

The Best All-Around Water Shoe Out There

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 11

having owned a few pairs of Brewers which I love, I decided it was time for a new pair that would be better suited to my needs. I was looking for a shoe that I could get away wearing at work, looked good out on the town, wouldnt skid the deck of a boat, could wade the salt marsh, functional on the SUP, and felt like it wasnt even on my feet while in the kayak. I got all this and more with the Loyak. It has become like my favorite pair of flipflops. I truly hate when these are not on my feet.

While they still get some sand in them when on the beach, the elastic band that runs around the ankle is extremely effective in limiting the ammount of sand that gets inside the shoe, without feeling constricting. The sand that gets in the shoe easily drains out when you slosh your feet around for a few seconds in the water.

They are also extremely grippy. So much so that I can stand off the pad on my SUP, and not worry about slipping or loosing my footing. The G 15 rubber truly acts like an adhesive when wet, without feeling like youre walking on a floor covered in soda.

While kayak fishing, I find myself in some in-hospitable places, with conditions that tear up gear. Barnicale encrusted pilings in heavy current (and often times opposing winds) can wreak havoc on your kayak, paddle, exposed skin, and clothing. My loyak's allow me to kick myself off these pilings without fear of cutting my feet, or damaging my shoes. Looking at them, you would never guess that I put them through a tortureous gauntlet that has destroyed numerous pairs of different footwear.

Finally for those of you that are style concious, these bad boys look good. If your are looking for that nautical, deck shoe look, you cant beat the price. When compared to simillar styles of shoes in this category, the Astral Loyak's hold up, are darn sexy, and cost a fraction of the price.

The final kicker is that you are supporting a brand that is home grown in the hills of North Carolina. With all these factors, you would be hard pressed to find a shoe better than the Astral Loyak!

The perfect festival footwear!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 10

Picked up some of the Loyaks from Astral at Bonnaroo after meeting their rad road team. Put the shoes on Friday night and never took them off for the rest of the weekend. (May or may not have passed out in them)



I am a fan of minimalist style shoes and that is what originally drew me towards the Loyak. These shoes have great room in the toe box and minimalist arch support. The insert is just enough cushion to protect your foot but still allows your foot to conform to whatever surface you are on.



Astral describes the Loyaks as water ready shoes. I got to test this out at "The Fountain" water park. It is Bonnaroo's place to cool from the heat and sun. I was amazed at how quick the Loyaks dried and how comfortable they were, even when they are soaking wet. Most shoes take for ever to dry and flip flops aren't great for festivals. The Loyaks are winners!



These shoes not only preform but look great as well! I bought the navy color and my lady friend approves. For a shoe a shoe that can party and look good for dinner with the parents, choose the Loyak.



I was told these have great grip on wet rocks. I have yet to test that but plan on doing some summer tubing and will let you know. So many features in such a minimalist shoe. I truly suggest you try a pair for yourself!

The perfect festival footwear!

not average at all

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 9

I got a pair of these in April for my trip to Indonesia. They have far exceeded my expectations. They fit well from the 1st try, i guess that's common for a simple , kind of unstructured shoe. They have a bit of a water-sock entry that holds well to the foot without tightening the laces- which I think is cool. In Asia there's a lot of shoe putting on and taking off (stores, homes, even some restaurants) so I was pleased with how convenient they are to put on and off.

Indo is crazy variety of terrain- but water and rocks are everywhere and these shoes are obviously made for it. The grip was weird how good it was on polished rocks. On the slimy rocks not so great but what is (maybe felt?)?
The shoes are made from a tough water resistant canvas. After 3 months of daily wear they still look great after i give them a bath They dry quick and I will attest that they hold odors a lot less than shoes I've worn in the past.
My favorite thing is the look of the shoes. Not your average merrells or whatever, they have a relaxed look but perform like techy shoes. Nice work Astral.

Hello Peter,
I am very interested in this Loyak shoe. I am a little shorter than you at 5’8” and 170 pounds. I am a true size 9.5 in most shoes. These shoes come in full sizes not in half sizes. Since you purchased a size 9 and are just a little taller than me, I was wondering how does it fit? Tight or lose? I plan to wear this shoe mostly barefoot when paddling but I never rule out wearing it as a casual shoe with thin socks.
Thanks in advance for any reply.
photopixels@earthlink.net

Gil

Hi Gil. I am pretty much always a 9 (that's what I measure in the store- both feet). I'd say the Loyaks are a "loose 9" and I suspect they'd fit well on a 9.5 without socks... Hope that helps. I love mine.

Zambezi hiking in the ASTRAL Loyak

From rock hopping around the river to SUPing on the lake, the Loyaks are my go to shoes for all day adventure. Lightweight and flexible, the Loyaks fit great into my playboat and eliminates the pain of those dreaded barefoot hikes across the gravel parking lot.

Equipped with extremely grippy outsoles, I feel safe walking on the slickest of all river rocks. The thin midsole allows my foot to conform to the Earth's surface and provides extra adhesion and stability.

Don't plan on stuffing yourself into a small kayak or spending all day in the water, no problem; the Loyaks still looks great for casual wear. It is hard to find a shoe that can play all day and still look great for a night on the town.

One thing to be aware of is the sizing. Currently only available in whole sizes the whole size is designed to accommodate half sizes. I typically wear a 9.5 and bump down to a 9 while still having plenty of room.

Zambezi hiking in the ASTRAL Loyak

Hello Ty,
By your suggestion, I believe I should also purchase a size 9. I wear a perfect size 9.5 in all shoes. (I am 5’8” and 170 pounds)so I believe the 9 is my correct option. Can you elaborate on the fit? You said room to spare and that may be perfect for me since I plan to wear this shoe with thin socks when not using it as a paddling shoe.
Thanks,

Gil

Hey Gil! I would say size 9 would be perfect for you. I am a true 9.5 and bumped down to a size 9 and still have room for a sock. I think you will be very happy with the Loyaks and can't wait to ready your review!