“Check these out!” my friend Shawn said to me while walking down a sidewalk in the quaint mountain town of Buena Vista, CO. He, Tom and myself had just come out of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, fly fishing and backpacking for five days. We had stopped to grab a burger and a beer and stumbled onto the sidewalk sale for Colorado Kayak Supply. What Shawn was looking at was a pair of kayaking shoes that none of us had seen before or knew existed. I’m an avid backpacker and fly fisherman and I’m always on the lookout for new products but I don’t venture out of my own little world and had never thought to look to other sports for equipment. Now I wish we had come across the shoes sooner!
During our five days in the Collegiate Peaks we had fished four different lakes and also wet waded the streams coming out of these lakes. Wet wading the small streams in the Rocky Mountains is hands down my favorite type of fly fishing. There’s something about getting your feet wet while walking a creekthat makes fooling a trout into taking your fly even more enjoyable. I spend a lot of my summers walking in streams and rivers and knew I had to give these Astral shoes a shot.
Fast forward two weeks to when my friend Tom and I had a day off to hike into a canyon – the ideal spot to introduce my new Aquanaut kayaking shoes to the fly fishing world. The canyon we were hiking is more popular with the kayakers than the fly fishermen – one of the rapids that we came across is aptly named “Supermax”. We hiked down the canyon and discovered that the bridge one must cross to get from private property to the public had been halfway demolished due to flooding. I took this opportunity to switch out my hiking boots with the Aquanauts, and we walked upstream a few hundred feet to find an area where we could cross the river. The second I put these shoes into the water, I knew it would be an easy day of wet wading.
We spent six hours hiking and fishing up and down the canyon and whether I was in the water trying to maneuver on the slick rocks or up on the trail climbing over boulders, the shoes never once slipped and the support was perfect. It became obvious that Astral thoroughly mapped out and addressed all of the challenges an outdoorsman comes across when wading through bodies of water. I was particularly impressed by the Agro Grip outsole, and the Aquanauts ended up being the best wading shoe I have ever worn.
As for the fishing on this day, it was not stellar but I couldn’t complain since I got to enjoy the canyon without slipping and stumbling in the water. Witnessing the power of the fast moving river first hand, and getting up close and personal with “Supermax”, it’s best if I stick to wet wading and leave the rapids to the kayakers.