AKU Utah Top GTX
Current Retail: $192.45-$209.44
Historic Range: $192.45-$349.95
Reviewers Paid: $220.00
Best backpacking boots I've ever had.
- Minimal stitching
- Full rand
- Tough, yet flexible shank
- Excellent traction
- None by design
Well, since this doesn't seem to be a popular boot company and there are no reviews on it, let me be the first. I love these boots. I researched for over six months trying to find a boot for a thru hike on the AT. I wanted to buy USA made boots and tried several pair of Danners and they just were too narrow for my feet.
Although the toe box appears to be narrow, I have plenty of room, but I am using only 3/4 inserts allowing more room for my toes to wiggle around. I have walked for many miles in the rain and in several inches of water, as the trail becomes a stream during moderate to heavy rains. Of all the folks I encountered on the trail I am still the only one I have met that NEVER (seriously) had wet feet.
Not a big deal, they're Gore-Tex, right? What is a big deal is that I also NEVER had a blister.
I really like the simple design with minimal stitching and the full rubber rand is great. Excellent grip due to the Vibram Foura soles. The downside, they are a bit softer and will wear quicker. A polyurethane midsole means that you'll have the same cushioning you did from day one, as opposed to EVA which compresses out over time.
My hike began in Maine, a place where I saw trail running shoes last two weeks!! I am in PA now and they are still going strong. In regards to the "keeping my feet dry" thing. I have a pair of OR Crocodile gaiters for added protection and seldom am not wearing them.
I wear a size 10 and these fit true to size. Oh yes, a nice fiberglass shank allows me the freedom to step on pointy, jagged rocks without ANY discomfort to the feet. I actually choose the pointy rocks since they are less surface area and therefore wear out the soles a bit less in my opinion.
I am not ultralight either carrying between a 50- and 80-lb pack as I am carrying for two people. The downside is if you ever need customer support, it must be through email as the company is in Italy and that is where these boots are made. Oh yes, the icing on the cake... they can be resoled. That was brought to my attention when I did email the company asking about the durability of the soles.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $220