AKU Always Delivers!

Reviewed by TJ from California on Wednesday, October 30, 2013
A lot of us have brand loyalty when it comes to boots and AKU is where mine lies. They are always updating their offerings but they can be hard to come by in the U.S.

STP not only usually has a few in their rotation but you absolutely will not beat the price...especially if you keep your eyes open for the big sales.

AKU does some of their manufacturing in Romania and some in Italy as is the case with the Tetons. The quality is unmistakable. These boots are hand-crafted and noticeable the first time you put them on.

I like a boot that will function both on day hikes and backpacking trips with loads up to 50 lbs. That can be a little tricky and in this case I think the Tetons lean a little more towards better day hiking performance. But I've carried big loads while wearing the Tetons and have been surprised at their stability given the lighter weight.

While the shank is reasonably stiff, and provides suitable underfoot protection, if you'll be carrying big loads for extended trips and are looking for backpacking specific boots I'd suggest the Cresta which STP also offers at the time of this writing. That's personal taste though. The Teton may be enough for some and it's performed well for me. (Note: STP has the Cresta listed at 3.4 lbs but it's actually 3 lbs.)

One consistent feature of AKU'S is a deeper toe box which makes all the difference when you're pounding downhill. I've never experienced toe bang with a pair of AKU'S. The lacing system is also superior, allowing you to dial in the exact fit while keeping your heel secured. They use quality laces which stay tied throughout the day.

Given the Gore Tex you can expect exceptional breathability and waterproofing. While they handle a pair of microspikes well they aren't going to perform as well in deep snow as leather or suede boots given the amount of mesh on the upper.

Unlike some other AKU's I've had, the Tetons seem to be more suited to a lower profile foot, which I have, but I've been comfortable using both a liner and hiking sock.

As you look at the picture you may think that there isn't toe protection. There is and the rand wraps around nicely. The insole is thin but the ample EVA provides the cushioning I need and the heel cup is pronounced. Some may want to replace it with an after market insole but that's personal choice.

The Vibram sole has relatively deep lugs and is what you would expect from Vibram. Great function on the trail and sticky on granite although they can be a little slippery on wet rock.

The Teton's are a relatively new addition so I'm not yet able to speak to their long-term durability. Other AKU'S I've had have shown reasonable longevity. I don't wear them anywhere but on the trail but doing the majority of my hiking in the upper elevations of the SoCal ranges means rocky travel. My previous pair, the Suiterra Suedes, did lose a small chunk of the sole after about 500 trail miles but that's not on AKU as much as it is Vibram.

All in all I'd say that the Teton is the right choice for the hiker who wants some relatively lightweight stability on the trail and the backpacker who prefers to shave a little weight without sacrificing much functionality.

(And they look pretty cool too.)

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