The Crush shoe arrived on my doorstep this spring and happened to be the best shade of bright blue. I put them on and they make my pasty, Montana-white legs look almost like summer. Along with the NRS H2Core Lightweight pants, I can literally be one turquoise blob from head to toe. Having no fashion sense, this is my go-to move. Now my shoes match my nose piercing! Perfect.
Boaters are lazy little shits and NRS understands that. If you want to market something to boaters, you have to really sell how the product will help you be lazy. Because tapping at an oar once every couple miles while sipping a cold beer under an umbrella counts as a sport, okay? But only with enough gear.
NRS doesn’t pretend that I’m an epic kayaker/ultra marathon running mama. They know that sometimes reaching down to tie my shoes is too much work, which is why they call it the “Crush.” Because I am encouraged to crush the back of the shoe down with my heel and not feel bad about it. Brilliant, NRS designer, just brilliant. I hope you sent a pair to your mother with the explicit “SMASH DOWN THE HEEL” instructions just to make her feel bad about all the times she yelled at you for ruining your gym-class sneakers.
The Crush also appeals to my deep-rooted boater laziness because it means I can pack only one pair of closed-toe shoes for everything. Is it a water shoe or a hiking shoe? It’s both. And the sneaks protect my perfectly river-manicured toes on both the wet rocks and the dry rocks (because we all know they’re both slippery).
My first test run of the Crush shoe was on a Chalk Basin hike this spring in the Owyhee Canyonlands. I had gotten route directions from a sixty-year-old dory boatman, so I knew I’d be a) lost, b) cliff-ed out, c) sliding down sand, and d) two hours later than expected. I put the Crush to the test. It turns out the Idaho print rubber isn’t just a gimmick. The shoes gripped the rocks well, didn’t pick up cheat grass like a mesh shoe, and made me feel sassy, which everyone knows is the key to surviving a long walk in the desert.
I’ve taken the Crush shoe to high alpine lakes in the Sawtooths, through poison ivy to the Warren Creek cabin on the Main Salmon and to Middle Fork overlooks. Would nice hiking boots or running shoes give me more support? Sure. But the truth is, I don’t really want to hike any faster than the Crush shoe allows because I am a lazy, lazy boater.
Okay, you caught me. I only swirl around under an umbrella in my river dreams. Guiding multi-day trips is actually just sixteen hours straight of pushing and lifting heavy things punctuated by dripping sweat into dutch oven charcoal briquettes. And you know what’s stupid? Trying to lift heavy things over rocks in flip flops. That’s all I’ve learned in six years of commercial guiding. The Crush is great for the put in and take out and any time I’m worried about catching my boat on every other rock in the river (cough, Middle Fork off the top at 1.6 feet). They’re also sturdy enough for wet-wade fishing when I want to concentrate on catching trout, ignoring the warning that every swift water safety class I’ve ever taken has told me explicitly: never wade in swift, deep water.
No mesh and a durable fabric is a selling point, but what the hell is that smell? The lack of breathability is a downside, because I have stinky ass feet. Even in Idaho’s negative eight percent humidity, the Crush shoe still takes a solid hour in the sun to dry out and they don’t smell pleasant when they do. Your best bet is to stop being so lazy and only use these shoes for sweaty pursuits OR river pursuits. And wear socks, ya hippy.