Astral Hiyak water boots

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    • #2558
      Sheldon Dale

        My 5.10 Water Tennies fell apart after only about two years, so I got a pair of the new Astral Hiyak water boots recently.

        I’ve worn them three or four times, and so far I love them. Pictures are at the bottom.

        Here are my thoughts/observations:

        1. They look like they will be more durable than the 5.10 water tennies.
        a. The sole is stitched to the side of the shoe instead of glued like the 5.10′s. (That’s what finally did my 5.10′s in … the side blew out.)
        b. The upper is made of cordura nylon. I’m sure it will wear better than the upper on the 5.10′s, which started to show substantial wear and abrasion after less than 10 wearings.

        2. The laces are easy to tie and untie. I hate to keep comparing these shoes to the 5.10′s, but the very thin laces are one of my complaints about the 5.10′s. They are so thin it makes them hard to untie, in my opinion. The Hiyak has thicker, more average-size laces that seem just right and durable.

        3. The top of the laces on the Hiyak are covered up by a flap of cordura that is sewn onto one side of the shoe and closes with velcro on the other side. This gives me some piece of mind that, hopefully, the laces won’t get caught on the thumb screws that you loosen to adjust the bulkhead in a kayak, or some other item sticking out in the boat or elsewhere.

        4. The Hiyak’s soles are sticky. I wore them briefly on a stone/tile floor, and the shoes made the floor feel tacky, like it had something sticky on it, as if someone had spilled a soda and didn’t wipe it up well. When I picked my foot up or walked, I could hear the rubber release from the floor. (The floor was actually clean, the soles are just sticky.) The Hiyak’s soles have a different tread pattern than the 5.10′s (and different than the Astral Brewer/Wrassler), and they are slightly siped. I finally got a chance to try them on some slick rocks this week and they appeared to do as well as the 5.10′s, which is very good. Overall, I’m happy with the “stickiness” of the rubber and am relieved that they seem to perform as well as the 5.10′s soles.

        5. They’re comfortable.
        a. I usually replace the insoles on my shoes with Superfeet insoles, but I haven’t on these and they’ve been fine.
        b. They’re very light weight.
        c. The heel doesn’t seem to be any higher than the toes.
        d. They’re fairly low profile for boots. I can wear them in my playboat, but the MonStar is huge as far as play boats go.

        6. In my size, they run small. I usually wear a 12 or 13. My Hiyaks are size 13, but they feel like 12′s. I’ve been wearing hydroskin socks with them.

        7. They seem to dry quickly. They have drain holes at the toe and heel, and the mesh inside the shoe doesn’t seem to hold water. They are advertised as being able to dry out “overnight, instead of a month.”

        Overall, I’m very pleased with them.

        Astral also makes a Lowak, which is a low-top version of the Hiyak, but it doesn’t have anything to cover the laces. Also I prefer a high-top for paddling because of the added ankle support and because they stay on better. I lost a low-top water shoe once while taking a swim.

        Too Long; Didn’t Read = The Astral Hiyaks are good river boots, with sturdy uppers and sticky soles.

        Three drain holes in front.


        One drain hole at the heel.


        Had to bend the sole to show the siping.


        Reflective pieces at front and rear.


      • #2916
        Freddie Carter

          Sheldon, I am a 5/10 guy through and through, but have always just lived with the deconstruction issues. Astral was using 5/10 Aquastealth soles and I believe still are. My old 5/10 H2o tennies started to come apart and here in the 3rd World, there is always someone willing to attempt repair. A shoe repair guy hand lasted cord all the way around the high part of the sole where it attaches to the shoe body (where the sand and gravel starts collecting) it has given them another 2 years of excellent service. I am paddling about 180 days a year. I have a brand new pair of 5/10 H2o tennies from a year ago that I have never used due to tuning up the old ones. The new model has a thicker lace and a couple other improvements. Thinking about having them lasted before I put them in to use. I like Astral products and wondered about the new shoe. Thanx for the excellent review. I would post photos, but this board is not made for dummies ! Could somebody, someday post a tutorial on link or photo posting ??

        • #2927
          Sheldon Dale


            I love the soles on my 5.10’s, and I’d still be using them if the uppers had held up.  Good idea to have them repaired.  We used to have a guy in Harrisburg that could work on boots, but he went out of business 10 or 15 years ago.

            Like you, I had heard that Astral was using 5.10 soles on the Brewer and Wrassler.  And that seems to be confirmed by the fact that the soles on my 5.10 Water Tennies look exactly like the soles I have seen on Brewers and Wrasslers.  However, I read somewhere that Astral developed their own soles for the Hiyak, which would explain why they are so different from the Brewer.  The Hiyak soles seem softer than the 5.10 soles, so I’m interested to see if they hold up as well.

            Sorry I missed you when you were in ‘Merica a couple of months ago.  Please keep us posted on the message board with stories of your river runs.  I’ll be living vicariously through your posts now that the river is drying up.  Glad to hear you’re paddling so much, and it’s good to know that somebody is living the dream!  Keep it up!

          • #2928
            Freddie Carter

              Well, Sheldon, I never made it to the US in June. Ended up in the hospital for 5 days and 5 weeks since I last paddled. I got my R leg tangled up in a toxic thorn bush under water and after the infection cleared, I had a blood clot. I was peeing off a rock when a big gust blew my boat into the water. I jumped in after it, and the Trinitaria branch skewered my leg ! Coming to the US in October.

              • #2959
                Sheldon Dale

                  Ouch! Glad you’re back to paddling. Hope you get to paddle in October.

              • #3328
                Levi Rhodes

                  Hey, guys.

                  I heard from someone or somewhere that Adidas bought out 5.10 and Astral had to come up with new rubber.  That’s why you may notice the change in sole between the first and second generation of Brewers.   I’ve heard a few videoboaters out east compare the soles and they all had different opinions in this change. Some really liked the new rubber, while others preferred 5.10’s soles.

                  While it’s relevant- I have the Adidas ClimaCool water shoes, which some may compare to the Brewers or the Loyak shoes but have the 5.10 rubber.  I must say I am a big fan of the 5.10 sole, without having the new Astral rubber to compare to.  The only downside I can think of to my Adidas shoes, is the mesh lining that is the insole.  I believe the Adidas shoes are the best draining water shoes on the market with several mesh holes throughout the sole, but that comes at the sacrifice of having a mesh print on the bottom of your foot at the end of the day.  The mesh holes don’t let as much sand in as I anticipated, but with the low rise, sometimes the sand can be a pain to get out.   They’re great summer shoes, but we will see how they do as a creek shoe this winter.   I do like my Adidas shoes, and figured they deserved a shout out.

                  Thanks for posting the great review!

                • #4865
                  Freddie Carter

                    I borrowed Astral Brewers from Team Pyranha, and Eli Helbert while they were here. Great shoes, and fit over my still swollen R foot. Their new sole is quite comparable to the 5/10 Aquastealth rubber. Still a 5/10 fan, as I have a brand new pair.

                  • #6761
                    Levi Rhodes

                      I am thinking about putting my order in for the Hiyaks.  Curtis A. was disappointed with his, as he kept losing traction and having some close calls and was looking to get rid of them.  I think I will still buy a pair.  Sheldon, do you still like your Hiyaks?

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