These robust yet lightweight three-season boots are versatile performers that are ideal for adventurous ridge walks, summit bagging trips and easier scrambles
Three-season boots are the go-to option for all sorts of adventures, from backpacking trips to classic hill days. As such, they offer both versatility and value: your reliable hillwalking companions from spring through to autumn. But finding a decent three-season boot suited to the mixed terrain and wide-ranging conditions of UK hill, moor and mountain isn’t always easy.
Luckily, AKU have delivered the goods with the Trekker Lite III GTX. Made in their Italian factory, it combines top-notch build quality with the support and protection needed to tackle tougher and more technical terrain, as well as wet and muddy conditions. This makes the Trekker Lite IIIs a lot more capable than most so-called ‘three season boots’, many of which are little more than glorified high-top trainers. In contrast, these boots look, feel and perform like proper mountain boots, without feeling too clumpy or heavy.
Uppers are made from a mixture of suede leather and textile fabric. The latter is AKU’s highly breathable proprietary Air 8000 material, which makes this a good boot for warmer days (or sweaty feet). They also feature a Gore-Tex Performance Comfort liner for reliable waterproofing.
The front and back of the boot respectively feature a robust toe and a sculpted heel counter, both made from double-layer suede leather panels. This should offer decent durability and helps to keep weight down, the slight trade-off being a little less protection compared to a full rubber rand or toe bumper to fend off rocks and scree.
The upper section has a well-padded tongue and a contoured ankle cuff. The rear collar lacks an Achilles cutaway but the padding is soft enough not to put pressure on this area, even when descending. There’s a handy pull tab to make them easy to get on and off too.
Underfoot, a dual-density EVA midsole provides some cushioning, though it’s not the thickest or the plushest – the emphasis here is definitely on solidity and stability. One thing to note is that unlike other boots in the AKU range, the Trekker Lite III lacks the ‘Elica’ natural stride system. This is a specially developed boot last that follows the human plantar anatomy and mimics the normal inclination of the heel and forefoot. We’ve tested it before in numerous AKU models and have always been impressed by the overall comfort, especially over longer days.
In contrast, the Trekker Lite keeps things simple. It’s basically a more straightforward version of the brand’s Tengu Lite boot. But that also keeps the price down and means it comes in at under £200. It’s a great value buy. And it’s by no means a poor cousin compared to other AKU models – it’s still a very comfortable boot to wear. In many respects, it has a similar no-nonsense approach to AKU’s highly regarded and well-proven Pilgrim combat boot, and you could consider the Trekker Lite III a more deluxe ‘civvy’ version of the Pilgrim.
Traction comes from a Vibram Curcuma outsole, which has deep and widely spaced lugs to clear out mud well. But the blocky tread also delivers decent contact grip, and a squared-off heel breast digs into soft ground to help with downhill braking. There’s no dedicated climbing zone at the toe, reflecting the all-purpose nature of this boot, but the chunky tread blocks at the edge of the outsole still enable jamming and edging on easier scrambling terrain.
As is the case with many Italian boot brands, the overall fit is typically Alpine in style – by which we mean it is quite slim, with medium volume overall. While not narrow, the toebox and forefoot certainly aren’t as roomy as some boots. Don’t dismiss it if you have broad feet though, as a wide fit is also available, which gives considerably more room in these areas. According to AKU, this wide fit tends to suit a lot of British walkers. It comes in both men’s and women’s models too.
“Robust, solid and stable – ideal for everything from long hill days to mixed mountain routes.”
Otherwise, as we’ve established, there aren’t too many bells and whistles when it comes to features – though you still get quality components like locking lace hooks, a Vibram sole, a waterproof Gore-Tex liner, suede leather uppers and that innovative Air8000 fabric. This ensures excellent breathability for all-day wear, even in warmer weather.
All in all, it looks and feels like a high-quality boot. The design strikes a great balance between protection, durability and comfort, whilst remaining commendably weight-conscious. The result is a very versatile boot for three-season use that delivers excellent all-round performance, whether you’re out on moorland yomps, fell-bagging missions in the Lake District, climbing Munros in the Scottish Highlands or tackling classic scrambles in North Wales.
Will Renwick, editor of Outdoors Magic
I’ve had a pair of the heavier weight AKU Trekker Pro boots for a good couple of years now and I think they’re excellent. Their only downside is that they’re a little on the burly, technical side and can be overkill for some of the walking I do. The Trekker Lite, on the other hand is just that bit lighter, a bit more flexible and less technical and it therefore matches up nicely to things like summer hiking in the Brecon Beacons and muddy winter dog walks. I can also see these as being a great pair of boots for long-distance trekking.
I’m always impressed with any boots that I get to try from AKU as the quality of craftsmanship is always really high and they’re always comfortable on my feet. Fortunately, they haven’t dropped the ball with the Trekker Lite III. A good all-rounder.
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