Aku Link GTX | Review - Outdoors Magic

Outdoors Gear, Equipment, News, Reviews, Forums, Walking Routes and More at OutdoorsMagic.com



Aku Link GTX | Review

A well made pair of sturdy walking shoes with an interesting configuration at the tongue

The colours and elements of the construction might make the Aku Link GTX look like an approach shoe, but it’s actually much more like a classic walking shoe in its feel and performance.


The Link GTX is certainly not as stiff as most approach shoes. You still have enough protection underfoot so that rocks and roots are blocked out but there’s a bit of flex at the toes. This makes the Aku Link GTX more comfortable to wear than approach shoes when you’re having to cover some mileage. From my experience wearing these, I’d say they’re fine to wear on slightly scrambly terrain, but you’d be better off with a shoe or boot with a stiffer sole if you’re taking on graded routes.

Will demonstrating the flexibility to the sole unit. Photos: Dave Macfarlane

There’s a bit of shock absorption at the heel that helps when you’re going downhill. It’s definitely not got an overly soft and spongy feel though, so I have found that walking on hard surfaces for long periods in these can get quite tiring.

The toe has a pretty standard amount of volume to it for a walking shoe. It’s nowhere near as roomy as, say, a Keen Targhee IV, but I found I still had space to wiggle my big toe in it. It was comfortable and well fitting in that regard. 

The heel is nicely cupped by a shaped heel counter giving you a stable and comfortable feel at the back of the foot. There’s comfortable padding around the cuff and a touch on the top of the tongue.

Performance and Durability

The upper is lined by a Gore-tex membrane which wraps over the tongue within a stretchy mesh and the lacing links into it at the very top. This not only keeps out moisture but also small bits of dirt and debris too. Normally the membrane goes through the tongue instead of over it, so this design is a little unusual, but the feeling and performance doesn’t seem to be any different. 

The upper is made from a number of different pieces of leather with some synthetic panels, particularly around the ankle. There’s a lot of stitching which makes me worry about the long term durability of these. Fortunately there’s also a big rubber toe bumper and a rand around the heel too so that does provide a lot of protection to the upper. I’ll come back to update this review when I’ve put a year into these to let you know how they held up. Feel free to give me a nudge by email if I haven’t done this by Dec 2024!

OM editor Will wearing the Aku Link GTX on a walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Photos: Dave Macfarlane

The outsole is quite narrow, which does make the Aku Link GTX slightly less stable than I’d like. There’s a lot of grip though. I found the deep lugs and slight heel step made the Aku Link excellent on muddy slopes and the rubber compound (Vibram Pepe) grips well on hard surfaces though it does have its limitations on wet rock. The toe has a small climbing area and a clean line of sight down to it which I found makes these quite precise when climbing up rocky ledges (despite their flexibility).

Aku Link GTX Verdict

The Aku Link GTX is a robust shoe that I’ve found to be comfortable, grippy and sturdy. I found it be useful for defined mountain trails over short to medium distances but it was a little too solid underfoot for walking big distances in, especially over hard surfaces. At 460g per shoe, it’s not particularly light but it doesn’t feel too heavy either – any lighter and you’d lose that durability and robustness I think.

As is the case with all waterproof walking shoes, if there is rain forecast, I’d recommend wearing a pair of waterproof overtrousers over the top to ensure water doesn’t get in at the ankle. Also, if you’re hiking with a heavy pack then I think then you’d be better off with a shoe that provides a bit more ankle support and stability.

Finally, Aku deserves credit for providing full details on their website on where all the components and materials are derived from. It is a shame, however, that there doesn’t seem to be any use of recycled materials here and that’s surprising given Aku have done so with some of their other models (the Aku Superalp, for example).

What I liked: durable build, grippy sole, well-made
What I didn’t like: quite a narrow sole, quite expensive

Aku Link GTX

Selected for the Outdoor 100 Sping/Summer 2024 guide
Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.