The heaviest (but by only 20g) in the test, these hiking boots from Aku still feel fairly light on the feet. The flex is among the stiffest, with lateral rigidity for rocksolid traversing and kicking into hard-packed snow and a 3/5 for forefoot. They do have an unusual shape: narrow at the front and sides, with a relatively generous heelbox. This, teamed with the stiffness, means great care is needed to anchor the heel, through lacing. Unfortunately the heel anchor isn’t deep set, so I struggled to keep my heel down, while my forefoot felt compressed. While the main body is suede, the cuff is padded textile. It is high at the back, so women with sensitive Achilles might feel pressure. The tongue is also mostly textile which keeps bulk to a minimum and enhances comfort on the forward flex; it is suede where the laces cross at the ankle, with a low-set central hook; I’d have preferred this a little higher, to secure the top lace cross. The sole unit is positive and the all-round rubber rand offers genuine protection. I used these often with crampons and snowshoes, although found them a little stiff for lower-level terrain and warmer weather.

First published: April 2013