Astral

Astral TR1 Junction Review

Astral TR1 Junction W’s

  • Size UK7
  • Colour: Deep Water Navy
  • Price: £107.50 RRP

Ferg had two pairs or Astrals before I decided I wanted in on the action too.  The first pair of kayaking shoes I put some thought into and purchased were the Palm Gradient boots.  My main reason for this was the fact they were grippy and sturdy boots for all the slippy walk ins and winter boating.  However, they weren’t ‘Danger’ grippy as I am quite heavy footed and still fall about all over the shop, and the top of the boot has peeled away after a little over a year’s use.

My next pair of shoes were the NRS Crush Water shoes.  At the start I loved these shoes, however, about 3 months in the stitching started to come away on one of the shoes and they have a hole.  I do still wear them boating but no longer out and about.

Now on to the Astrals!  When I first got them I was blown away by how stunning they were!   Something I should mention is that I have weird wide yet short fee and men’s shoes are my go to when buying any sort of sports shoes or trainers but I took a leap of faith on the Astrals and I’m really stoked I did!

The fit is perfect for my foot, nothing pinches and I feel like my foot has the room it needs for both balance and maximum comfort.  I feel like I’ve put the shoe through its paces on both dry land and on the river.  I have used them for light hiking and for a couple of gnarly walk-ins with moveable rock and can confirm the grip is superior to any trial running shoes I’ve owned.  In water the shoe comes into its own.  Shouldering my boat and walking across rocks I felt confident my feet were staying where I planted them.  

I have actually enjoyed going out my way to pick slippy and uneven surfaces simply to see how far the G Rubber, Balanced Geometry™ Technology (or ‘sticky shoes’) can go and to date no falls yet (well, due to the shoes anyway)!

Pros

  • Comfortable lightweight shoe
  • Stunning look and lots of lovely details
  • Comes in 3 different colours
  • Grippy af sole – no more falling!

Cons

  • I can envisage some having an issue with cost, however, as listed above you are getting first-rate quality and high performing product

I look after these shoes well, taking the insoles out and rinsing them before drying them out as I enjoy getting to wear them out and about this summer.  Time will tell how they hold up and I’ll be sure to add to the review in a few months to let you know how they do.

I can’t say for definate but owning Astrals may help your ability to handstand…

All in all I would thoroughly recommend these shoes not just because Astral has demonstrated a commitment to creating high quality, great looking  products but they also strive to do so  in the most ethical and environmentally friendly way.  They’ve made a promise to their customers and the world to always put ‘#NatureFirst’ and I think that’s pretty f**king cool!

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That time I got a Dagger Axiom

After ordering my Dagger Axiom 8.5 from North East Kayaks and Paddles and waiting a few weeks for the ‘custom’ colour to be ready it finally arrived and is stunning!

My beautiful Axiom a really friendly kitten

Personally I’m really not a fan of the wavey two tone stripe on the boats and love the clean look of the boat in a block colour.  The colour is a buttery, strong yellow, a bit deeper than sunshine but not as dark as mustard, therefore she is called ‘Buttercup’!

When I got the boat home I set about outfitting the boat.   The foot plate in the Axiom is brilliant with adjustment screws which you loosen to move and angle the ‘foot cups’ to fill the space.  I adjusted the rail and positioned the foot cups roughly so I could get on with cutting the foam wedge to size and placed some small airbags behind the foot cups. 

Netflix and outfitting is now a thing…

Dagger have provided quite a lot of foam to help you outfit the boat.  I started with the with foam wedges that had Velcro attached to the back, placed in and cut to size, before overlaying with the foam pad which has the raised circles.  Although it comes with a peel off sticky sheet, I applied glue to the sheet before sandwiching together and I also removed the Velcro strips, aligned to where the strips are on the foot cups and reattached (with glue) to the back of the foam, waiting 24 hours then simply placing them in the foot cups ensuring the Velcro was stuck together.  I did move the rail back one when I had placed the foam in, but I would have needed to remove the foam and adjust the foot cups if I wanted to move further.

With the rest of the outfitting I didn’t have to do much apart from tightening the back band and moving the seat a couple notches forward which were all extremely easy tasks.  After our recent trip to Wales I did decide to insert a seat booster shim as I felt a bit too low in the boat.  All in all this has been the first boat I’ve actually enjoyed outfitting as it has been relatively straight forward and quite intuitive.

Surfing like a boss

My first outing with Buttercup was on the Awe, getting to grips with tailies and surfing a couple of waves.  Despite having a grapefruit sized lump on my bum due to a skating crash earlier in the week, we took the boats to Tryweryn for the weekend as it really was an ideal river to try a bit of everything (and there is like NO RAIN!!).    By the end of the day I was surfing, boofing, attempting slalom gates and eddy hopping my way down the river, exploring new lines with confidence.  It also means I am now not only an active (and most hilarious) member in the “North East Kayaks Crew” I have now become eligable to enter into the “Axiom Division” which is currently three strong and growing! 

Ronnie “Shop Goddess” Edwards, Danger “Head Rudder” King and Fergus “Tailies for Days” King.

I knew from previous trips in an Axiom that it is a fast boat and think this will do wonders for dialling in timings for those strokes and moves, without having to be as concerned with forward paddling to gain speed.  I’m looking forward to refining my skill set on the river, as well as getting monster tailies!