These boots were my surprise favourites. At 1400g/pair they aren’t the lightest on test, and they don’t look anything extraordinary: the style is neither modern nor traditional; the waterproof suede uppers look simple and classic. However, in an understated way, they just did everything I wanted them to, without any extra fuss. If you don’t know much about Aku, they’re a high-quality Italian brand, and the boots are made as sustainably as possible in Europe. The clever rolling lacing system allows you to get a very precise and even fit, and they were very comfy with a lovely bouncy midsole that added a spring to my step. The exoskeleton, meanwhile, added lateral support on tricky ground. The sole very much is-all terrain with blocky treads that clear mud and stones well, and a heel block that grip well when descending. There’s a good amount of protective rand and the boots edged well for scrambling. Hard to make them sound exciting, but they are!
► Verdict: Understated, unpretentious, brilliant boots.
► Best for: All season multi-use trekking.
Review by Sarah Stirling