For a long time, I have been looking for new hiking shoes that can be used for trekking tours and long distance hiking trips. This time, I started the testing without expecting a specific result or having in mind brands that have already been tested. However, I had some requirements/wishes about how the trekking shoe has to be:
- long living
- high-cut and with a good foothold at each side
- antislip shoe sole
What doesn’t sound very complicated, should turn out to be a very complicated matter indeed! A lot of light shoes are rather mid-hight footwear and/or made out of less durable material (mesh). Many high-cut hiking shoes are irrelatably heavy which is a dealbreaker in my opinion. After looking for a while, I have found the Rocket Mid DFS GTX that happens to be a model of the brand AKU and is fulfilling all my technical requirments. / We were able to test on a part of the Lycian trail how these features can be put into practice.
Table of Contents
The extraordinary surface of the light trekking shoes catches the eye right from the beginning. / The second rather obvious aspect is the shoe’s weight. They are noticeably lighter than my old hiking shoes.
Some of the impressions:
Use / Lacing
Another important aspect is the double lacing that is officially calledAKU Dual Fit System (DFS) Technology. Additionally to the original lacing that spans the whole shoe, there is a separate shorter lacing for the front foot. Sounds complicated, yet it isn’t. In my opinion, this system isn’t only a method of marketing, but rather solves a real problem: When tying a hiking or trekking shoe, you have to adjust the lacing at the front foot separately as otherwise the front foot doesn’t have the right footing. This problem is getting solved by using a second and shorter lacing at the front foot and gives you the opportunity to regulate the pressure of the shoe onto the front foot more precisely. It gives you the opportunity to put the pressure of the shoe onto the front foot more pecisely leading to a more improved feeling for the shoe and to a better way of walking in general.
Furthermore, another – small – advantage especially for long distance hiker: If the main lacing rips on the way, you can still use the other one (even if it’s not a complete lacing).
Long story short: This feature has been very convincing 🙂
I have tested the shoes on a 120km-long hiking trail. It hast to be mentioned that there wasn’t enough time to wear the shoe and get used to it before the hike. This is highly recommended when planning to do a long distance trail in order to avoid blisters.
Yet, I took the risk on purpose because the shoes fit very well right from the beginning. Other than that, I didn’t want to wear my heavy hking shoes in a hot country ike Turkey.
Because of the agreeable materials and the high-quality production, the shoes are very comfortable to wear. There is no feeling of unease as I didn’t even have any blisters or bruises after the long trail in the hot climate. Also, wet feet never have been an issue. The Gore-Tex membrane seems to do a good job and emits the humidity.
As will be mentioned again later in the article: There isn’t one correct fit when talking about shoes. Since everyone has a different foot shape, it’s important to find the best fitting trekking shoe yourself.
For their Rocket Mid DFS GTX AKU uses a Vibram-sole that has a rather flat profile and studs. The sole is more flexible than the one used for heavy hiking boots, but still resistant enough in order to hike with a big backpack on bumpy roads.
During our 120 kilometer-trip in Turkey we have crossed several different kinds of terrains/grounds reaching from narrow paths within sharp chalk cliffs to forest and gravel paths/roads up to normal roads – a bit of everything. / The grip of the sole has been especially outstanding. It hasn’t been the case very often that I have been wearing a shoe with such a good feeling for the ground. You can feel the unevenness of the ground very well, but you are neither bothered by sharp stones or small branches nor do they sting throught hte shoe. The sole was also skid-proof on when walking on wet or steep paths.
The damping of the sole is remarkable and did an excellent job on every possible ground. Not even with heavy luggage I haven’t noticed anything negative.
There’s only one point of criticism: The wear and tear is a little bit higher than what I am usually used to. Particularly in the heel-area, the shoes show some small signs of wear after the first 120 kilometers. However, the unevenness of the ground may be responsible for that. In case of a softer terrain the signs of wear could be avoided more easily.
The protection at the sides of the shoes has as well endured some minor damages caused by sharp stones. In my opinion, this isn’t far from the usual and – as already mentioned – mainly because of the rough ground.
Warmth and insulation performance
In general, the AKU Rocket Mid DFS GTX is neither said to be particularly little nor highly insulated. Therefore, it can be used multifunctionally – meaning in different climates. Only when hiking in regions with a extremely high or low temperature, I would recommend to use shoes with better or less insulation. The shoes are suitable for a temperature between 0°C and 25° – according to my personal feeling for temperature.
Material and technical data
The technical data according to the producer:
|Surface material||woven fabric + microfibre|
|Strength of the surface material||3D print|
|Lining||gore-tex® performance comfort|
|Bottom||vibram® rocket traction lug + vibram® megagrip|
|Midsole||double density pu|
|Foot bed||2.0 mm polypropilene + die cut eva|
|Insole (rigidity)||ortholite® hybrid teilweise recycled|
|Men’s weight (gram pro shoe)||432g|
|Men’s size (UK)||6 to 13|
Of course, we have used our professional scale to check the data. One shoe in size 47 (EUR) weighs exactly 499 grams. The 432 grams that have been indicated by the manufacturer, surely refers to a smaller size of the shoe which is why it is okay.
Generally, there is no ideal or best trekking shoe. Everyone has a different foot shape and it’s important to take time to find the perfectly fitting shoe for oneself. Furthermore, the requirements that people have for a good trekking shoe differ from person to person!
Yet, with the AKU Rocket Mid DFS GTX, I have finally found a hiking shoe that not only fits my own requirements, but even exceeds them. Being a high-cut hiking shoe it is rather lightweight, very skid-proof and fits very well – at least to my foot shape! The double lacing comes on top of that! Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to test the waterproofness of the shoes as there wasn’t any rain the whole week. I will definitely wear the shoes again on my next tour in Norway so that I can give you an update.
In my opinion, the AKU Rocket Mid DFS GTX as a light and high-cut trekking shoe is definitely recommendable!