Test of AKU Rock DFS Mid GTX boots
AKU Rock DFS Mid GTX are relatively lightweight approach shoes. They come in a low and slightly higher version, the one I tested. I tested their grip and comfort in the Dinaric Mountains, more precisely on the paths of the Welebit mountain range. And although the high temperature left a lot to be desired (the boots would probably work even better in the autumn/winter season), the technologies used to ensure, among other things, good air permeability, definitely “saved” the situation.
Waterproof and vapor permeable
As I mentioned, the conditions were quite demanding. While I haven’t yet tested the boots in the cold and on wet terrain, I had the perfect opportunity to test how AKU, in this particular model, handled breathability and moisture wicking while hiking in high, ok. 30-degree temperatures.
The upper of the shoes is made of high-quality 1.6 mm thick suede leather. In addition, microfiber and AIR8000® material elements were used to further promote air permeability. AIR8000® is one of the most advanced technologies patented by AKU. As the manufacturer explains, the technology is based on a specially constructed fabric whose level of breathability increases within 24 hours, providing more than 11 times better performance than other solutions on the market.
AKU Rock DFS Mid GTX (pic. outdoormagazine.pl)
The AKU Rock DFS Mid GTX also uses an Ortholite® Hybrid insole inside the shoe (partially made from recycled materials) and a membrane from the world leader, the GORE-TEX® brand. Its job is to protect against rain and wind, while also wicking moisture to the outside. Certainly, the membrane would do its job better in lower temperatures. On the other hand, if in such conditions the foot was not heavily soaked and ended up without any abrasions, the above solutions can be considered effective.
Ortholite® Hybrid insole inside the shoes (fot. outdoormagazine.pl)
Adapting to different surfaces, the boots owe their adaptation to different surfaces to rubber from Vibram®, which in this model is called Vibram® Approcciosa Megagrip. As a result, they do not slip and provide a sense of stability in challenging terrain – I noticed this both on small, sludgy rocks and larger boulders. Vibram® soles, thanks to the material used in their production and special cutouts, are characterized by high abrasion resistance, which positively affects their durability and hopefully – longevity.
AKU Rock DFS Mid GTX boot test (pic. outdoormagazine.pl)
Fit and cushioning
You can read about the many technologies used on the manufacturer’s website. Here, however, I would like to focus on the Dual Fit System lacing system, which allows the shoe to fit perfectly to the leg. Depending on the surface on which we walk and the structure of the foot, we can adjust its stiffening separately in the midfoot and at ankle height. After just a few dozen meters you get the feeling that the shoe is “spreading out”, i.e. becoming even more comfortable. Another option is the Aku Elica. The midsole, known from other AKU models, reflects the natural shape of the foot and noticeably cushions the steps taken.
Comfort and convenience
Leaving aside the complicated names and technologies and the manufacturer’s assurances, one has to admit that this shoe model is simply comfortable. Equally suitable for narrow and wide feet. The boots are lightweight and very comfortable to put on. On top of that, the classic sizing is a plus, adequate to the one we use when choosing other sports shoes (shoe size – 40, running shoe size – 41, AKU Rock DFS Mid GTX size – 41).
Test of AKU Rock DFS Mid GTX boots (fot. outdoormagazine.en)
According to the manufacturer, the model of the Italian brand AKU is intended mainly for via ferrata and approaches on rocky terrain. The tested approach shoes will also work well for ordinary mountain hikes, easy and long treks. It must be said that they thus form a perfect hybrid, fulfilling many functional functions – both functional in terms of breathability and simply – comfort.
AKU Rock DFS Mid GTX