For the August 2015 issue of The Great Outdoors, Chris Townsend tested out 14 different pairs of trail shoes. Here’s what he thought of Aku’s offering.
Most of the shoes I tested have a similar look with soles that wrap around the lower part of the uppers, usually in an irregular pattern. The Nuvolas are different, featuring two-tone mid soles with a lip between them and the uppers. This doesn’t affect the performance though and cushioning is good. There’s slightly less protection for the uppers but as the lower part of these is suede this shouldn’t matter.
Adding to the different look is the long lacing, more like that found on approach shoes designed for scrambling and easy climbing. This isn’t the purpose of the Nuvolas – Aku describes them as being for ‘walking on easy terrain, for active spare time pursuits and urban trekking’, which downplays their capabilities. I think they’d be fine for any hillwalking in Britain. I do like the lacing system as it means getting a more precise fit is easier. They just fit me as the forefoot is reasonably wide and the heel quite narrow, so there’s little heel lift despite the fairly stiff sole.
The Nuvolas have hard rubber toe bumpers, a stiffened heel and a good sole that grips well. As always I don’t like the Gore-Tex lining, which makes the shoes too hot for summer use, at least for me. It also puts the price up.