Overview of AKU Brand
AKU is an Italian company that has grown from a small footwear business out of a little workshop to a world wide company producing some high quality boots. It was founded by Galliano BOrdin more than 30 years ago. The boots from AKU range from mountaineering to active and lifestyle boots. Manufacturing and product development happens in Montebelluna, Italy. Additionally, production in Cluji Napoca, in Romania for various models of the AKU product line. They make boots for mountaineering, hiking, backpacking and working. They are truly passionate about their manufacturing and product development as the video demonstrates. AKU is committed to providing a low impact solution to high quality footwear. Paying attention to environmental impact as well as safety and origin of raw materials, they provide complete transparency to the manufacturing, and sourcing. This means we can feel great about owning a pair of AKU boots, knowing raw goods were sourced with sustainability, and chemicals that are not harmful to humans or the environment. AKU also focus on recycled materials for different product compensates. For example some mid-soles and rubber are up to 30% of recycled rubber and EVA. Their operations are continually praised for the reduction in shrink wrap, and electricity consumption. We feel great about reviewing some of AKU products knowing they are a caring company for both man/women/kid and environment.
AKU Product Overview
AKU makes many different styles of boots for many different applications. Everything from hiking with light or heavy loads, to work boots for mountain and forest work. Additionally, there are winter boots and mountaineering boots. There are even boots for hunting.
Montagnard GTX – Designed for classic mountaineering on glaciers and frozen water falls
Terrealte GTX – A lighter weight classic mountaineering boot more for hiking in high cold altitudes
Superalp – Great backpacking boot for long distances and heavy loads
Biaz – Designed for intense hiking in normal routes
Utah Top – High fitting true backpacking boot great for many senerios with a leather upper
Conero – Comes in both nubuck and suede/air great for short distance backpacking and hiking
Alpina – Nubuck light ultra cumfortable leather hiking and trekking boot
Transalpina – a tall fitting shoe for modern hiking mixing traditional with new technology
Tribute – a tough boot for general hiking
Erera – a boot for light hiking and optimal comfort for all around use
Monterosso – a tough light weight breathable shoe for light hiking
Zenith – great quality and over value for an all around boot
Trekker Lite – great day hiking boot with a stable footing and great breathability for hotter climates
Slope – Another classic hiking boot that has been on the market for 30 years
Ultra Light – Classic version of a great all around hiking boot at a remarkably light weight
Alpina – modern ultralight everyday shoe for hiking and running around town
Nuvola – comfortable breathable hiking shoe
Arriba – Great all around hiking boot for day trips on all types of terrain
Rock II – a great approach shoe with stable footing
Tabia II – High and Low version of leisure activity both for any season
Snow Crystal – great style for a modern look lifestyle boot for class and comfort
Allegra – Ideal for outdoor life in winter
Slope Soft – a more casual hiking boot that can be worn day to day and on the trail
Feda – great on and off trail, responsibly built
Bellamont – lightweight 100% traceable & recycled products great for everyday use
Berbeghe – a great work boot durrable for on the job abuse
Jager – Low and high cut great for intense use in damp and cold area
Alpen – Perfect for hunting and low to mid altitude hikes
Forcell – Designed for comfort as a great working boot
KS Schwer – an extreme and stable mountain boot for any off piste hiking
Silva – another great work boot that is designed for damp hilly areas
Cuza – yet another protective work boot for damp hilly areas
Petra – great for desert hiking
Starna – Agile ultra-comfortable boot for desert and warm conditions
Pilgrim – Multi-purpose highly breathable boot
Winter Slope – great for snow and winter hiking
Winter Track – another great for snow and winter hiking
A lot of different materials are used in manufacturing AKU products. A few of them are Leathers, suede, Gore-Tex, Nubuck, Chrome free leather, Full grain leather, textile, Sintetico (synthetic material), and Sanifit (high wicking property to reduce odors and fungus). You may have not heard of some of these materials so here are some definitions:
Not all leathers are created equal. There are leather, full grain leather, top grain leather and chrome free leather. Full grain leather comes from the top layer of the hide which has all of the grain. It is the best leather money can buy, it’s expensive, but the best you can get. Top grain leather is the leather just below the outer skin of the animal. It’s sanded down to remove imperfections. Nubuck leather is a velvet like texture that comes from the leather not being processed. It’s similar to suede but is a higher quality. It’s actually the under side of the skin that is buffed into soft layer. Chrome free leather is processed leather that avoids harmful chemicals in processing. It’s considered an eco friendly version of processing leather.
A perfect fit that is just right for your foot
Designed for the ultimate performace
will fit your foot like a glove
Industry leader in performance rubber
Some of the best insulation and comfort for your feet
Exoskeleton sole combined with soft material for a multi-density frame
Some of the worlds best waterproofing
Outer exoskeleton stability provided to support the foot in multiple conditions
ability to add on automatic crampons
Dual Density Midsole
Multiple layers of different density foam
AKU Transalpina GTX Review
We had a chance to try out the AKU Transalpina GTX women’s boot on hikes through out the Utah Wasatch Mountain range. The break-in time of the boot was very short. At first look there are some stand out features of the Transalpina boot. Gore-Tex wrapped shoe and rollers in the laces were the first thing we noticed. Additionally the toe box is wrapped in a very durable material. The high sealed tongue with Gore-Tex means happy dry feet in any condition. Also, checking out the sole and mid-sole we immediately see the vibram sole with the AKU IMS3 layer sole. Looking inside we see the custom fit in-sole with a multi-layered approach.
On the trail the boots gripped very well in both dry and wet conditions to many different surfaces from dirt, rocks and pavement. The boots aren’t the lightest boots we have tried, but they are very comfortable and only took a few miles before they started to shape to our foot.
The boot has an attractive look to it, with d-rings and roller lacing system it offers plenty of flexibility for lacing. We also liked that the roller laces allowed for flexibility in the shoe as we hiked, but still held the foot solid in the boot for great stability. The collar of the boot fits well around the ankle to keep out rocks and dirt from falling into the show.
The standout of the Transalpina is defiantly the sole. It offers a great stable platform in a wide variety of terain. From bolder jumping to paved trails it was a great boot. The only few downsides worth mentioning would be the weight of the boot, for the price we would expect to see a bit more weight shaved off. However, this can be a trade-off for durability. Speaking of durability in the time we used the boots, we saw minimal points of concern for fast wearing. We will keep this updated as we continue to use the boots and if we notice any substantial points of concern.
Overall the Transalpina is a great value, with a retail price tag of $229 and a 2 year warranty. Also the 30 year experience of AKU as a manufacture you can be sure to get many, many miles out of these boots.
In conclusion, our experience and review of the AKU Transalpina hiking boot has shown that AKU stands behind making great boots. They are a company that is dedicated to making the best boots possible for any need you may have. We if you are in the market for hiking, backpacking or trekking we suggest you give AKU footwear a look.