CKS Review: Astral Rassler River Shoe

The Astral Rassler is the best creek boating shoe on the market.

There, I said it. Now that I've got that out of the way, let me explain my point. Until recently, I have worn the Astral Brewers. The Brewers are a great, versatile shoe. They can be worn on the trail, on the water, or at the bar. They're lightweight, quick-drying, offer amazing grip, and the Zero-Drop outsole makes them comfortable all day long.

The Brewers are great, don't get me wrong, but I do find them lacking in a few key areas. With that said, this review is not about the Brewers, it is about the Rassler, which have been nothing but impressive.

Astral Rassler  Photo by Nelson Jones

Astral, a company known for its passion for whitewater, hit the nail on the head, yet again, with the Rassler.

Upon first glance, it is obvious that this is a whitewater shoe designed to handle whatever is thrown at it.

Like all other Astral products, the Rassler was designed with water in mind. The hydrophobic canvas is lightweight, sheds water, and dries quickly without sacrificing durability. The reinforced high top provides ankle protection and support, locking the shoe on during even the rowdiest of swims. Drain holes were specifically placed to let water out and keep sand from entering.

With that said, the drain holes are not ideal for bootie beer consumption. I have seen a variety of techniques used, but none have been perfect. But, practice makes perfect, right?

The Rassler offers amazing grip, which is essential for runs with extensive portaging, such as the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Photo by Nelson Jones

The sole, arguably the most vital part of a creeking shoe, is where the Rassler really shines. The sole is soft, which helps the shoe flex and move to better grip rocks, all while providing more than adequate support for those long hikes and portages. Each lug is siped, helping with traction in wet conditions.

After wearing multiple pairs of Brewers and the Rassler for each of the last 3 seasons, I can confidently say that I trust this sole in any type of condition. Upon first using the Rassler, I was sold. These are a great shoe, made with creek boaters in mind.


  • Comfortable
  • Sturdy
  • Locks on to foot
  • Amazing Grip
  • Breathable
  • Comes in cool colors (not that important, but still noteworthy)


  • Will tear up your ankle/heel if worn without some sort of sock
  • Durability (on that note, I do not feel that there is a shoe out there that will stand up to 100+ days of use in these type of conditions, Astral is the best in the biz and I trust their products 100%)

In short, the Rassler will always in my creeking gear bag. They are the best in the industry and I have been incredibly satisfied. Astral makes some other great models, each of which serve a different purpose.

I feel that the Rassler is the best creeking shoe on the market and I will be wearing mine for years to come.

Rassler creek shoe 
The Rassler in action at Super Max rapid in Bailey Canyon. Photo by Nelson Jones

1 comment



Have gone through 2 pairs older version Rassler-they were as described for Maine river and Quetico canoe trips, but both delaminated and fairly catastrophically. However, having just completed a Rio Grande Lower Canyon trip in Keen H2, I will go back to the Rassler, version 2, Open toed sandals without ankle or lateral support that were slippery when wet on some dry rocks, collected sand and gravel requiring removal (which can’t be done while lining a canoeor similar)? Will be back with the Astrals next trip. One other caveat- the sole is flat flat- zero arch support. I’ll try fitting these with a thin footbed, but that may make the arch too high(?)

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