Aku Alterra GTX Boots | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Aku Alterra GTX Boots | Review

These three-season boots blew away our gear testers with their comfort, support and sturdiness

Why we chose them: well crafted, versatile, comfortable

If you want a pair of hiking boots that you can rely on to perform, feel comfortable and last more than just a couple of hundred miles, the Alterra GTX by Aku are certainly worth looking into. 

Here at Outdoors Magic, we’ve tested out a number of options from Aku over the years, including their Tengu and their Superalp GTX, and they all impressed us. Aku after all, are a brand with real boot making experience. They started out in the early 1990s from a small workshop in northern Italy and still to do this day operate from the region, with all their boots and materials coming either from their Italian factory or from elsewhere in the EU. 

The outsole features deep lugs and a heel breast for downhill braking. Photo: Chris Johnson

Who Is the Aku Alterra GTX For

The Alterra GTX is one of the brand’s most popular models, perhaps even their best seller. At 670g per boot it’s their main mid-weight option, one that’s best-suited to treks involving big distances and/or rocky trails – stuff like the Alta Via trails through the Dolomites and hut-to-hut trekking in the Alps or, in the UK, a big summer day out bagging some Munros in Scotland. 

The upper features a mix of suede leather and a stretchy synthetic that really wraps around your foot like a glove. It also has a nice solid toe bumper to protect the materials (and your toes) in those rocky environments these are made for. Then of course, there’s a Gore-tex membrane that lines the walls and continues into the tongue as well for wraparound protection.

“The sole has just the right balance between flex and stiffness that I look for in a three-season walking boot.”

Underfoot there’s a removable insole, double density PU foam for shock absorption and cushioning, a nylon lasting board and a Vibram Octopus outsole, all of which combine to form what Aku call their Elica system…

The Alterra is made in Europe, using materials sourced from Europe. Photo: Chris Johnson
Our testers found the toe to be solid and very protective. Photo: Chris Johnson
A mid cut ankle, with protective foam and a sock-like, wrap-around tongue. Photo: Chris Johnson

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, editor of Outdoors Magic

“Elica. I hadn’t quite expected how different this would feel to a normal sole unit. To be honest, I thought it was just a bit of a marketing ploy. But the first time I tried these boots on, I really was struck by how they felt. The clever way the system all works together does tangibly promote more of a rolling motion when you step. It feels slightly unnatural at first, but I’ve now come to suspect that perhaps all the other boots I’ve become used to are the ones that have untuned biomechanics.

“My main testing of these was done in Snowdonia, wearing them over the mix of boggy, muddy and rocky terrain encountered on and around Cnicht and Moel Siabod, and as a top line verdict, I’d say they were excellent.

The Alterra GTX went down well with our gear testers at the Outdoor 100 Test Team weekend. Photo: Jamie Barnes

“One thing that I particularly liked about them was that the sole has just the right balance between flex and stiffness that I look for in a three-season walking boot. You get the right amount of protection from protruding rocks and roots, but the sole is still flexible enough to prevent your feet from feeling uncomfortable by the end of a day with big mileage.

“Speaking of comfort, I also really like the way the walls of these boots wrap around your feet. That’s not just thanks to that stretchy material on the tongue but the smooth lacing system as well.

“For me, the fit was perfect. I had these in my usual size, which is a size 10 and the fit was spot on. I didn’t feel any niggles and was happy to wear these all day long. The toe box is by no means cavernous but I did feel that my toes had a nice bit of space to relax.

“As for grip, the deep lugs and the slight heel brake certainly did the job on muddy slopes and I found the compound was excellent on dry rock and reliable enough on some wet rock – though, like many shoes, it does have its limitations on hard surfaces that are particularly slimy.

While not specifically made for scrambling, there is still a slight stiffness to the sole to help with rocky sections on a hike. Photo: Chris Johnson

Aku Alterra GTX


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