AKU Superalp V-Light GTX Boots | Review - Outdoors Magic

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AKU Superalp V-Light GTX Boots | Review

Recycled materials are featured throughout the upper on this boot that’s made for long-distance treks with a heavy backpack.

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. 

Eco Credentials

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.

Our tester James Forrest using the Superalp V-Light GTX on the Cumbria Way. Photos: Joe Whitmore

AKU’s proprietary Air 8000 fabric definitely brings a lot of breathability to the table too, keeping the environment around your feet cool in hot climates or when you’re working hard. According to the brand, laboratory tests carried out by Gore-tex confirm that uppers made with the exclusive AKU AIR 8000 system offer a level of breathability up to 11.5 times higher than normal standards.

“There’s definitely plenty to like here.”

The sole has the kind of stiffness that you’d want when handling rocky, bouldery terrain but there’s still enough flex to allow you to feel comfortable in these over long distances too. The slight rocking motion that the sole unit inhibits certainly helps in that regard too.

Vibram’s Curcuma outsole is used here. It’s versatile stuff, bringing smeary grip on dry rock and impressive capabilities on wet rock too. The tread has a large contact area at the toe for uphill grip and to support edging while scrambling and there’s an undercut heel for reliable braking on the downhill. The lugs are about 5mm in depth so expect good bite on any muddy surfaces.


At 630g per boot, the Superalp V-Light is impressively light given its solid and sturdy build. It’s comfortable too – one of those boots that’s made for tough treks but that’s not going to be too clunky for just a single day out hillwalking either. Waterproof but breathable, built to last, and made in an eco-conscious way, there’s definitely plenty to like here.

AKU Superalp V-Light GTX

Selected for our Green Gear Guide 2023
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