Paul’s AKU Alterra Lite Mid GTX boot review details a versatile and lightweight boot from a long established Italian manufacturer. We hope you find it useful.
Some time ago I reviewed Aku’s Alterra GTX boots and loved them. My review of these boots is here. Even now, after many trekking trips in various parts of the world and plenty of UK miles, they are still going strong. So, when Aku told me a new Alterra boot was hitting the market I was really keen to try them out. Here is my detailed review.
The Aku Brand
AKU is an Italian company that has been producing technical footwear for over four decades. The company was founded by Galliano Bordin who was the son of shoemakers living in the famous Venetian shoemaking area. The company is still owned by the Bordin family. Aku have grown substantially over the years, but they still pride themselves on following the Italian manufacturing tradition.
The Alterra Lite Mid GTX walking boot is a versatile and flexible boot designed, as Aku state, for ‘medium difficulty trekking’. It is a mid height boot with Goretex’s Extended Comfort Fabric waterproof lining. The Extended Comfort system is designed to offer, while still giving good water protection, good comfort levels even in hot weather.
The upper is a combination of split grain suede leather with Aku’s own Air 8000 synthetic fabric. Air 8000 is a fabric that was developed by Aku to offers increased breathability in mountain footwear. Laboratory tests confirm that an upper made with AIR 8000 offers up to 11.5 times greater breathability than normal standards identified by Goretex.
The toe area is further protected with a PU rand. An elastic ankle collar offers support while also keeping out debris. There is also a clip in and pull on tab at the back and a similar one on the tongue.
The boot features Aku’s IMS chassis. IMS Is an exclusive technology used in the construction of the AKU insole board. It couples the traditional support structure in nylon with a layer of microporous material. In the Alterra Lite this is combines a 2.0mm polypropylene and EVA lasting board with an EVA midsole.
The IMS system is designed to ensure a uniform distribution of pressure and prevent lateral and frontal slipping under heavy use. It also provides shock absorption. There is also an Ortholite insole and the boot uses an Aku Tentuta outsole. The Alterra Lite also benefits from Aku’s Elica Fit technology which is designed to allow your feet to move through their natural range of motion.
The boots feature a gusseted tongue which closes with a standard lacing system. Aku also provide a spare pair of laces.
For this AKU Alterra Lite Mid GTX boot review let me first consider the styling. Well, as is usual with Aku, they have produced a very attractive looking pair of boots. The boots sent for test were in a blue and orange colour although other colour combos are available. In reality, they are predominantly a really nice rich blue colour with orange detailing. They look great.
Next, I wanted to consider who would use a mid height boot? Aku already produce an Alterra Lite shoe and there are the standard Alterra boots mentioned (with a review link) above. Is there a place for the Alterra Lite Mid?
I wanted to consider this because I had to ask myself this question too. Depending on the activity I tend to mostly use approach shoe type shoes or ‘normal’ height boots. Mid height boots are something I wouldn’t normally consider. So, it has been really enlightening to use the Alterra Lite Mids and I have really seen the benefits.
I think this boot is great for users needing good ankle flexibility but with a bit more support than a shoe offers. I found the support particularly useful when crossing steep slopes. Also, the higher ankle offers more weatherproofing.
Also, although the boot is described as for medium difficulty trekking, I also see it as an option for some types of more technical terrain. During the test period, for example, I also used the boots on the Diff and VDiff graded scrambles in Winnats Pass (Peak District). They have also performed superbly on various grade 2/3 scrambles in Snowdonia including Cniefion Arete. The boot soles aren’t specifically designed for such terrain, but I have still found they work really well.
The Tenuta sole unit is well suited to UK trekking. Deep lugs combine with a heel step which I consider key to the kind of terrain and conditions we encounter. As it isn’t specifically designed for technical rocky ground there is no climbing zone built into the sole. But, that hasn’t held it back on the scrambling terrain mentioned above. I found there was also plenty of support for standing on smaller edges.
Modern boots are designed to offer out of the box comfort and the Alterra Lites really delivers on this. From the first wearing they fitted my medium width feet really well. It is worth noting that they are quite a wide fit boot and so I would suggest (as with all boots) trying them on before purchase to ensure they match your requirements.
It is also worth mentioning that on my first try on there felt like there was a bit of space in the heel cup. I was concerned this would translate into heel lift. In reality, when I tightened the laces my heel was pulled in securely. I’ve not had any fit issues at all.
On that point, the lacing system is what I would describe as a standard set up. A line of neat fabric and leather loops cover the lower part of the foot and a hook sits at the top of the ankle. This style works well and allows you to tailor the tightness perfectly. I also like that the lacing reaches well down towards the toe to offer plenty of lower foot adjustability.
This support also comes from the combination of insole, midsole and outsole. I have always really rated Aku’s IMS system and the Alterra Lite is no exception. The boot feels supportive in all orientations and yet there is enough shock absorption. The footbed is their Ortholite Hybrid model which is now made from partially recycled materials. The combination offers a supportive and yet flexible boot ideally matched to its purpose.
My Aku Alterra Lite Mid GTX Boot Review details a stylish lightweight boot with great performance. It will suit a wide range of users and in my tests has even been able to tackle some fairly technical terrain. The solid construction and addition of a Goretex liner makes it a great UK option but you’ll also be able to use it on your overseas trekking adventures. The Alterra Lite GTX Mid retails at £170 also think it offers great value. Full details are available on the Aku website here.
We have tested a variety of Aku products over recent years. Please do take the opportunity to have a read. These reviews stretch from their long established winter mountaineering Montagnard boots here to their recently introduced Rock DFS approach shoes here.