Why we chose it: Eco-friendly, well-built, grippy
Hailing from a town on the edge of the Italian Dolomites called Montebelluna, AKU is a family owned company that’s been making boots for hiking and mountaineering under the AKU name since the early 1990s.
We’ve long been fans of their Superalp model here at Outdoors Magic, just read this review from back in 2017. This eye-catchingly blue design here is a new modern take on it, one that’s far lighter and also animal leather-free.
What is the AKU Superalp V-Light GTX Best Suited To?
This is a boot that has the stability, durability, rock, cushioning, comfort and lightness to make it well-suited to tough treks over demanding rocky terrain and over long distances. It’s the kind of thing that’d be absolutely perfect for, say, a hike over the scree, bumpy tracks and boulder fields encountered along the Alta Via multi-day trails through the Dolomites. We can also see it being a handy option for big days out that might involve rocky sections and scrambles – the Snowdon Horseshoe in Wales, for instance, or Ben Nevis via the CMD Arête. As the name suggests, these aren’t quite heavyweight enough for proper winter walking and they’re not specifically designed for crampon use.
No animal leather is used here and AKU have also abandoned the use of old acrylic-based solvents in the glues in favour of a much eco-friendlier water-based option. Better still, the Italian brand has made sure that the majority of plastics they’ve used come from recycled materials. 99% recycled fabrics are used for the upper, for instance, and there’s a fully recycled backer to the Gore-tex membrane. The laces made from recycled polyester too.
As a company, AKU do appear to be genuinely committed to lowering their eco-footprint. Since 2016 they’ve been delivering all of their products in recyclable cardboard boxes, they support environmental projects through EOCA (European Outdoor Conservation Association), and the fact that all of their boots are made right there at their HQ, next to their main market, brings their carbon footprint down a big notch – at least compared to some of the big hitters in the footwear market.
Features and Performance
Aside from the snazzy blue, perhaps the most eye-catching aspect of the Superalp V-Light GTX is its big rubber rand. It really beefs this boot up, making the upper feel very sturdy and bringing dependable protection to the fabrics to ensure longevity.