AKU 2012

Had a meet up with John from Ardblair who had some 2012 bits and pieces to show from their brands. The first good news is that Ardblair are now distrubuting Hillsound Crampons on the UK and they’ll be in the shops for this winter.

First up though are some new models coming from AKU. Above we have the Mates trail/approach shoe which comes in girls and Gore-Tex flavours also. I liked the feel of this, it’s light, flexible and has a very thin midsole, your foot is properly close to the ground for good feel and control. The outsole, the photie of which didn’t turn out, is nicely patterned with a deep-ish tread on it. The upper is a suede and mesh mix and is thin, no superfluous padding to make them feel comfy in the shop, so if they fit you in the shop the fit will stay much the same over time.
It’s a good call that, minimal uppers and a thin sock on a well fitted shoe is always the way to go.

These are the La Stria GTX Lite women’s boots. They feel light in the hand, the book says 455g, and that high ankle isn’t a barrier to movement, the whole ankle pivots easily at the right place.
Nice chunky outsole, nice flex at the toe and a nice soft upper. Looks like a decent all-rounder.
And they come in purple. What joy I say.

These are the SL Trek GTX, and as you can see below Phil has sample sized feet. Bugger. These are down as 535g and do feet light in the hand, the flex is a little tougher and with that extra height they look like a nice lightweight winter boot as I’d get various lightweight crampons strapped to these.  The Vibram outsole has that climbing zone spot at the toe for sticking you onto rock, so they are meant for mountain rather than trail, that external plastic exo-skeleton flags it up that these boots are expecting trouble too.
Phil seemed happy enough as he padded around the Tiso cafe with just one on, me I’ll just hope to see the bright orange variation when they come out early next year.

I get on well with the AKU stuff, they do go their own way with lasting, construction and styling which is what we need out there, variety is king. They’re also listening and watching which means a lot of lighter and sexier stuff is increasingly creeping through those pages of regular Euro-styled boots.

12 thoughts on “AKU 2012”

  1. I quite like the look of those SL Treks. I’m keeping an eye out for some lightweight winter footwear to replace my Salomon Certain Deaths and these seem like they tick a lot of boxes. I’d be interested to see how you (or Phil) get on with them.

  2. Nice one, I’ve got a pair of AKU vertigo’s in bright yellow. Had them a while now and I’ve been really impressed, light, sturdy and really comfy, plus they are much grippier than the salomon’s they replaced as they fell to bits. I very nearly got the spiders but they couldn’t get them in my size.

    I quite fancy a pair of the shoes, saw some in green the other day and very nearly bought them.

  3. My cosmics were the most comfy boots out of the box that i’ve ever had but grip was non existent on anything slightly wet….still they got me through the coast to coast and i got a refund on them when the material split….shame really as i loved my salomon trail shoes and wore the soles off them.

  4. Had an interesting debate about womens kit at a trade do during the week. It looks like someof the brands are listening to customers and they are other half are just making it all up.

  5. I’m back in mt Salomon XA’s just now, happy about it too.
    How they get it so wrong on the lighweight mids and boots I don’t know.

  6. I need some more XA’s just need to find them in a 13.5

    I very nearly bought some of the speedcross 2’s but again couldn’t get them in the size/colour i wanted

    I noticed they’ve changed the sole unit on the cosmic’s and quests so that could be interesting..

  7. I loved my old Salomon shoes (2002 edition Exit (I think they were Exits)), but haven’t tried a boot in anger. I’ve been looking at XAs but have gone for a Mizuno Wave Harrier in the end, with second place going to the Walsh Spirit – just a wee bit narrow for me for a training trail shoe.

    Back to kit colours – I think it’s the buyers that need working on. The manufacturers can’t justify making different colours if the buyers don’t take them.

    I have noticed an increasing number of female customers mentioning that the pink/sky blue/lavender/burgundy colours for women are not just patronising but offensive. The problem is, when they’re the only choice in stock the sales figures don’t reflect the grumbling…

  8. Sensible words. I’ve always said that the pre season work books should be made public so that folk can order the colours and styles they really want. Lets see just good the buyers are when we compare lists.

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