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Steve Tam

Steve Tam

North America

Steve Tam's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Paddling
Skiing
Running
Climbing

Steve Tam's Bio

Daddy, Husband, Product Designer, Snapshooter.

Gave up a 12 year career in Physical Therapy to become an Industrial Designer. My family, friends, and the outdoors hold a special place in my heart. Attempting to fill my days with love, laughter, and a healthy dose of mountains.

Love to chase singletrack, ski where there are no lift lines, hike with the family, and swim in water that may or may not induce shrinkage.

Instagram: @ridetrails

www.adayinthemountains.com

www.stephentam.com

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Steve Tam

Steve Tamwrote a review of on July 30, 2015

Aqua-Trail-Tastic
5 5

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

First off I'd like to thank Backcountry.com and Astral for selecting me to review the Aquanaut shoes for the benefit of the Backcountry Community.

Located in North Carolina, Astral is a group of kayakers with the goal of making gear that allows you to push yourself and the sport of kayaking. However making good gear is not as easy as you think it might be. The amount of thought and consideration that goes into a product to make it functional is one thing, but to make equipment that also looks good and does not impact the places we play is an entirely different level. Astral kicks it up a notch to produce high quality products.

Sizing: For reference my foot is fairly wide. The majority of the time I require a wide (E) size shoe depending on the manufacturer. For reference Arc'teryx and Salomon shoes are too narrow for me. The first time I stepped into the Astral Aquanaut shoes they were a little snug on the lateral aspect of the midfoot but had plenty of room in the toe box (which is nice because I'm not into wearing ballet shoes). The slight discomfort in the midfoot area went away after an hour. The shell takes a little bit to soften up but maintains durability. For durability, Cordura 1000D is used in the main shoe body. TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane) is utilized to reinforce high wear area that will keep these shoes in action longer than that fruitcake your Aunt gave you at Christmas a few years back.

The first thing I noticed about the Astral was the bomber stitching that circumnavigates the entire outsole-upper interface. Tiny drain holes in the forefoot allow water to slip through to the outsole. Micro mesh is present in the forefoot, tongue, and sides of the shoes to allow water to drain through but keep out the smaller particulates that can cause discomfort. While debris, like sand, can still enter the shoe it comes in around your ankle not the mesh sides.

I've worn these shoes with socks, without socks, with the insole, and without the insole. Depending on what your activity demands you'll be able to fine tune a combination that fits your needs.

While paddling I hardly noticed them at all because they were comfortable. Most notably my heels were quite comfortable even after extended paddling. I also used them while stand up paddle boarding and again they offered outstanding traction.

Traction in the water is admirable but you'€™re still going to slip on slimy grime covered rocks. Scaling steep rock faces without a hint of losing grip was my favorite feature of the Aquanaut shoes. Added bonus is the shoes protect your feet when jumping off rocks into the water.

The Aquanauts transitioned seamlessly from land to water and back again. In the water they were nimble, even while swimming. The shoe proves to be quite versatile as it can easily be worn on the trail, in the water, and cruising around town without soggy sneaker squish. If you're concerned with dirty shoes when hitting the town, the grey color cleaned up easily after getting them muddy.


Longer duration hiking on the trail surprised me. The tread provided positive traction uphill and downhill on a mixture of surfaces (Mid summer conditions at our local trails are super dusty and rocky right now). When hiking across rock gardens I could feel the sharper rocks through the sole. Remember this shoe is not targeted as a hiking shoe only so I would'€™t go out and toss your current set of hiking boots/shoes if you are looking for a lightweight option for loaded hikes.

However, if you are looking for a high performance shoe that can get you to that remote water destination you dream of, you should take a serious look at the Astral Aquanaut.


The Good:

All day comfort
Solid Construction
Traction Galore
Versatile
Style


The Bad:

If you have a very wide foot it may be snug (try wearing the shoe without the insole)

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Steve Tam

Steve Tamwrote a review of on July 29, 2015

Pretty close to perfection
4 5

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

This is my second set of Dynafit shorts and I have to say they are quite outstanding. The fit, construction, and materials are well thought out and offer amazing mobility despite what activity you use them for.

Sizing wise these fit true to size. I have a set of Dynafit Shore shorts and they ran large compared to these (for reference the shore shorts are size small and the Transalper shorts are medium). I ordered the Transalper in a small but the legs were too snug however the waist was fine. The mediums fit my thunder thighs with room to spare but I have to crank down the waist….which leads me to the waist adjusters. They are low profile and work well but I just have a personal issue with velcro tab closures. Velcro wreaks havoc on any type of performance wicking shirt, whether its your bike jersey, running shirt, or so forth. Make sure the waist is perfectly adjusted before you head out or don’t mess with them on the trail so you don’t ruin your top garment. I’d love to see some type of adjustable strap instead. There is also velcro at the waist button but no issue with snagging your shirt there.

Durability wise, if these are anything like the shore short, they will hold up well.

Overall you won’t be disappointed with these shorts at all. The only disappointment you’ll have is when they are out of stock in your size.

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Steve Tam

Steve Tamwrote a review of on July 29, 2015

Beer Cozy Durability
2 5

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

I like the cush in these but unfortunately the sandals have not held up very well. The footbed began splitting where the straps exit the footbed within two weeks but after all it is made with a beer cozy material which is not the most durable material on the planet. I have only worn these flip flops around town and to the pool. They never made it to the lake.

When the flip flops got wet they seemed to stay wet for a long period of time. Water would squeeze out, when walking, even after letting them dry overnight.

On the flip side, at least the foot strap is comfortable and has held up much better than the rest of the sandal.

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Steve Tam

Steve Tamwrote a review of on July 25, 2015

Load up and head to the trails
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'€™ve been using this pack for the past year and overall it'€™s a fantastic pack and has held up to use extremely well. I use this pack for day hikes and can easily fill it with 3 liters of water, first aide kid, lots of food, extra clothing layers, and FF DSLR (not with a 200mm tele though). You can put quite a bit of gear in this backpack.

My absolute favorite feature is the ventilated back panel. It keeps air moving and keeps things cool.

The pack is very comfortable and the straps are easy to adjust. The pockets on the waist belt are very useful. You can stuff snacks in there and even a point a shoot camera can fit in there so you don'€™t have to peel your bag off every time you want to eat or take a photo.

The two side pockets are great as long as your run the compression straps on the outside of the pocket. When running the compression strap on the inside of the pocket, the strap interferes or catches on to whatever you put in the pocket (for instance sunscreen bottle, jacket, and so forth) and prevents it from being completely stowed in the pocket.

Removing the hydration reservoir can be tricky. There is a pocket body that dangles right at the opening of the sewn hydration sleeve. If you have the pocket full of gear it blocks the exit of the hydration reservoir and removal can become quite cumbersome and frustrating.

Anyone notice the zipper at the top of the pack above the hydration sleeve on the interior? It's not a functional pocket or access point so my best guess is that it helps with the sewing process of the bag.

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Steve Tam

Steve Tamwrote a review of on July 25, 2015

Soft, Fluffy, Super Fantastic!
5 5

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

First off these are much better looking than the old Mafate version. They are less rounded in the toe profile (when looking down at your toes) and look more like a normal running shoe. I’m glad that they are at offering some toned down colors. I get less old lady energizer shoe comments while on the trail.

Looks aside, the fit is true to size and the insole allows for some very minor adjustments. I have a wide foot and can wear these without any issues or pain.

I did not have any issues with the plastic outer heel piece that sits on the exterior of the shoe. In actuality I can’t even feel it while I have the shoes on. Since everyone has different body metrics this may or may not affect you.

These shoes have a heel measurement of 35mm, forefoot measurement of 31mm, and offset of 4mm.

I’m not a fan of the speed laces on this shoe. They tend to loosen up while running and require you to stop and adjust them. Switching to a standard lace should easily resolve this issue.

On the trail the Mafate Speed provides a lot of cushion and mega traction. No complaints of joint pain post run. If you are a heavy runner or just looking for more cushion while running, give these shoes a try.

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Steve Tam

Steve Tamwrote a review of on July 25, 2015

Shimano Performance in a Shoe
5 5

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

The best part about this Shimano shoe is that they offer it in a wide version. The footbed can also easily accommodate inserts to fit your arch as well.

I did not have these shoes modeled. I had a earlier version of this shoe modeled by a shop and they did a horrible job. I had to adjust the modeling bag because they shop employee did not have it air tight so the vacuum modeling didn’t work. After that I had another pair that I did not have modeled and they worked fine after a little break in period and the same is true for these new shoes.

Performance wise, these shoes are outstanding. The stiff soles transfer your power to the pedals rather than flexing and stretching the shoe material. It’s apparent these shoes were designed to pedal and pedal well they do. Walking across rocks/creeks can be a little sketchy at times but it’s not bad.

The ratchet is easy to use and smooth. The velcro tabs work well and are simple to adjust. If you are looking for a solid performing shoe, look no further.

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