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AKU Superalp GTX

photo: AKU Superalp GTX backpacking boot

Specs

Men's
Price MSRP: $299.95
Current Retail: $299.95
Historic Range: $197.69-$299.95
Reviewers Paid: $190.00
Lining Waterproof GORE-TEX Performance Comfort
Sole VIBRAM Foura Mountain Sole
Footbed AKU Custom Fit Insole
Lasting board (stiffness) 6-4 MM Nylon & Die Cut EVA for Rock Protection & Stability
Midsole Double Density Polyurethane
Upper 1.8MM Suede + AIR8000
Weight 700 g per boot
Origin Made in Italy
Women's
Price MSRP: $299.95
Historic Range: $131.43
Lining Waterproof GORE-TEX Performance Comfort
Sole VIBRAM Foura Mountain Sole
Footbed AKU Custom Fit Insole
Lasting board (stiffness) 6-4 MM Nylon & Die Cut EVA for Rock Protection & Stability
Midsole Double Density Polyurethane
Upper 1.8MM Suede + AIR8000
Weight 700 g per boot
Origin Made in Italy

Reviews

1 review
5-star:   1
4-star:   0
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

Proper trekking boots handmade in Italy, suitable for long multiday treks with a heavy pack and in all terrains. Inspired by mountaineering boots, these boots do possess some technical abilities.

Pros

  • Stability
  • Traction
  • Shock absorption
  • Durability

Cons

  • Narrow toe box

After a great disappointment with my previous boots, the Meindl Softline due to durability issues, I opted for the Italian shoemakers thanks to their reputation and advice I got. Aku wasn’t a brand I knew before, and the name didn’t give away the location of the manufacturer, but they caught my eye during my research. It turns out it’s a well establish shoemaker, in business for several decades, and the Superalp is one of their best models.

I have these boots for almost three years, and though I haven’t taken them through the wringer, I did test them on multiday treks with a pack load of 16-18 kg on many different terrains like granite rocks, forest floors, slippery mud, scrambles, boulders, etc. I used them as well on day hikes, work (walking through muddy cotton fields is not easy on gear), and walking my dog at the fields during wintertime.

I won’t go into details about the things you can read about in the manufacturer site, I’ll just approve everything holds in reality 😊

Construction: Solid construction, the boots are narrow, relatively stiff, tough leather combined with soft leather (in gray) in key points where you flex your foot, synthetic tongue and side vents, wide rubber rand around the entire boot. The insole is one of the best I saw in trekking boots.

The lace eyelets are leather loops at the foot area and metal at the ankle area. At first, I was worried about having mostly leather eyelets as these are prone to wear fast, but they are solid as the day I bought them. They are reinforced and stitched tightly to the upper.

IMG_20190928_154343.jpg
Lacing system uses more leather loops than usual and comes down close to the tip of the boot

The boots as I mentioned are narrow. I was used to a wide sole at the heel like you get on most trail runners these days, but the sole on these boots is in the same proportions as the upper. I got used to it fast and together with the brilliant midsole, it gave me all the stability I needed.

The narrow built, stiff midsole, combined with the laces coming down towards the tip of boot, create a fairly technical construction, allowing you to have more sensitivity and precision in your steps than a regular boot. It really shows when you climb a rocky slope where you sometimes only have a shallow edge to place the tip of the boot on.

IMG_20190928_154315.jpg
Narrow built, full rubber rand, and synthetic side vents

Traction: I’m afraid to exaggerate but they might have the best sole I experienced. They grip everything and grip it well. From scrambles to mud to wet rocks, every time I’m surprised again how well the sole sticks. It’s almost like having my climbing shoes on.

Comfort: I have narrow feet, and I probably could do better with one size up, but the toe box on these ones is narrow!

I actually got them half an hour before a 100-km solo hike with an 18-kg pack on me, so there was no break-in time. It took me some time to find the best way to lace them, but the toe box was harder to get used to, and my pinky toe had to suffer the entire hike. It felt like the toe box was cramping my toes into each other. The next long hike with same pack weight was much better. It still felt a little cramped, but I could go on for 40 km on one day with no blisters or hot spots.

Nowadays they don’t feel narrow anymore, I guess the foam gave way to my toes. Now they are super comfortable.

Cushioning: The midsole is stiff as I mentioned, but it also absorbs shocks superbly. Like the manufacturer publicized, it’s an “exoskeleton” midsole, and it feels like it's soft and absorbs shocks in the center, but stiff on the outer portions thus giving you stability. Superb.

IMG_20190928_154326.jpg
The orange part indicates the exoskeleton midsole, whatever that means, it does a great job in shock absorbing and stability

Durability: Had zero issues, well made. The first time I waxed them was after two years, at the end of the cotton season where they were abused in the field, covered with salty treated waste-water mud, and kicking through branches.

Bottom line, I totally recommend checking these out and the Aku brand in general. They were designed for long treks in rough terrain with technical segments, and they totally live up to it!

Settings

Experience

I am an experienced thru-hiker, mostly enjoy long multiday hikes. Have had these boots for almost three years.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 190$

Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Another super helpful review! Thanks, Yuvalk.


1 month ago

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