‘These boots are made for walking’ insists Explorer Scout Leader Renny Hutchison.
Yeah, we’ve all heard that line before. But not all boots are made for walking a very long way while lugging heavy backpacks.
That’s where Italian footwear company AKU step in with its Superalp range of boots aimed at long-distance hikers and trekkers who are more than likely packing tents, gear and food. According to AKU, the durability and comfort they’ve built into the Superalp comes from the footsole up, with guaranteed shock absorption and stability, tuned lateral retention and just the right torsion rigidity.
I’ve been trying out are the Superalp NBK GTX to find out if that is indeed the case. Let’s unpack the acronyms first â€“ NBK is for Nubuck and GTX refers to the trademark Gore-tex lining.
On receipt of the boots, the first thing that strikes you is the quality. They have been hand crafted at AKU’s facilities in Montabelluna, Italy. And it shows. The leather and the stiching is beautiful and only a cold heart could resist the temptation to stroke.
The looks are quickly surpassed by the tech, and evidence of Superalp’s claim of a ‘top-end’ trekking boot is in abundance.
The boot laces through high quality roller eyelets hooking relatively low before the ankle rises. A generous rand runs around the boot above the sole, letting you know that scrambling is allowed. The sole also features a reinforced toecap and heel brake and a deeply lugged Vibram sole â€“ letting you know that scrambling will also be safer.
In between all that and your foot is a lasting board combining a soft material and a double density midsole plus exoskeleton.
The word ‘capable’ springs to mind.
- 2.6mm sustainable nubuck leather
- Vibram FourÃ sole
- Gore-Tex Performance Comfort lining
I less than fondly remember breaking in my everyday walking boots, which took a number of hikes and blisters to beat them into submission. No such effort or application of compedes was required with the Superalps.
During the first outing a bit of heat began to form at my heels, but a bit of lace re-adjustment took care of that. And that was that. Officially broken in.
It’s probably down to the clever roller eyelets, or the strategically placed hooks that lock each section of the foot in place. Or maybe it is the mix of firm and giving materials in the midsole. Or the stretch panels in the leather around the ankles. Whatever it is, it works.
Testing these boots on Scottish hills in winter, is probably a little unfair. The Superalps were sent from clement conditions in Italy to a harsh posting in the Scottish Highlands where they were whipped by unforgiving gorse and bracing Scottish winter weather. But they proved up to the job, and kept my feet comfortable and dry.
Normally after a few hours in the hills, my feet and knees react badly to being reacquainted with the tarmac. At the end of a recent hike, a stint on a military road was almost a pleasant experience in the Superalps, further evidence of that guaranteed shock absorption.
So yes, these boots are made for walking, and I reckon that’s just what they’ll do.
AKU Superalp NBK GTX walking boots. RRP: Â£220