almost, but not exactly

Reviewed by yemoss from Verona, NJ on Saturday, November 9, 2013
I came from a pair of Asolo FSN 95's which lasted me almost three years with moderate to heavy use as a work boot and I was very impressed with them. I was leaning toward the Neutron, but these AKU's also caught my eye, so I ordered both. The first issue I had with the boot was that the toe box was way too roomy. In an Asolo, I'm a 9.5 wide, but it didn't translate the same with the AKU's, probably would have been better off with either a 9 wide or a 9.5 regular in this model. As far as the feel, I prefer the snugness of the Asolo's which remind me of stepping into a ski boot. I like that stiffness that eases up over time. I didn't find the same amount of it in the AKU's, especially in the footbed (the last). In Asolo's I can pretty much stand on the edge of a step with just the toes holding all my weight. These soles, although also by Vibram, are thinner. Since I'm doing a lot of concrete walking, I need as much sole as I can get. I was very disappointed with the membrane-thin insole, this didn't provide much support at all. After an 8 hour shift my feet were a bit sore. As noted in another review, you will more than likely have to shell out another $20-$35 for a decent pair of replacement insoles for this boot to really shine, and for a retail cost of around $179, I felt that they should already come with adequate support. Again, Asolo wins here, their insole provided is thicker and more supportive, at a lower overall cost as well. Lastly, the reason I chose the Neutron and this model was because of the webbed nylon body - I wanted greater breathability than that which the FSN 95's offered as an entirely suede-upper boot. I was expecting the AKU's to offer this, but my feet were super hot while working and they didn't ever cool off. I don't know if it's the gore-tex membrane that reduces breathability, but these things were a hotbox. Maybe it was just my feet, who knows. Anyway, after an 8-hour test run at work, I decided to clean them off, wrap em up and send them back. I wore my Neutrons the following day and loved every minute of it. They also have the hard rubber-molded toe cap which increases frontal durability. Anyway, I came to the table with an open mind but Asolo's are still my go-to brand, I like feel and build better and I believe they're a better value as well.
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