Gear Review: Aku Tribute II LTR

In comparison to the Brooks Cascadia 10, the La Sportiva Primer and the Salewa Ultra Trail

Every review is subjectively biased so I will describe my preconditions, expectations and needs further down to let you know from where I’m coming.

At the end of this page you will find a table with the comparison to the above mentioned shoes.

Review: Aku Tribute II LTR

Aku Tribute II LTR
AKU Tribute II LTR Review

I have to admit: This was the first pair of shoes I bought especially for hiking and I couldn’t stop my impulse and took them primarily out of emotional reasons: My grandfathers hiking boots just looked like them. But as nearly every study of decision-making says: My emotions didn’t proof me wrong.

Climate and Comfort:
The inside of the shoe is lined with the softest nappa leather and my feet just felt like in their natural habitat from the first moment on.

As it is made out of leather I payed a lot of attention to tie them correctly during the break-in phase because after a while, leather boots will take the form of your feet and it’s very difficult to change this form afterwards. I treated the outside with a special greasy animal fat to waterproof them. It worked out greatly without having a bigger impact on breathability. I was able to walk through small creeks and puddles without being afraid of wetting my feet. I walked for a lot of miles during really hot weather (35°Celsius) and it worked out quite well although they wouldn’t be my first choice for this kind of temperature.

Protection, Stability and Grip:
After 20 kms in one day my body starts to be tired and there is less coordination. I still felt safe while I twisted my ankle several times without any injury. The sole is quite thick and medium hard and my feet are less tired at the end of a day compared to softer or thinner soles. Even on tough downhill decents on rocky terrain or while bushwhacking I never had any pain from the outside affecting my feet. However, I wouldn’t recommend the boots for people who do primarily wet mountain trails: The grip is good but there are better options.

Durability:
I wore them for more than 1600 kms, they became a real home for my feet and I still can’t see any signs of total wearout except superficial traces and the classic loss of profile. I have been to a professional physiological walking analysis and the therapist looked at the boots and told me, I could surely do another 1000 kms with them. So on this side: Definitely worth the purchase.

Problems:
I had some problems with both of my pinky toes on a long distance walk. Apparently I turn from the inside to the outside on the ball of my feet and so the pinky toe is pressed against the rather solid side of the boot. I had them taped and cushioned with silicone padding for at least 500 kms. It worked out than, but comfortable is different.

Conclusion:
I still love those boots. They are bulky compared to the light trailrunners and they need energy to be moved, but in terms of universal usage they are still the winners. My body gets tired more quickly but my feet say thank you, because they are less tender after a long walk compared to a walk with trailrunners. I still wear them in nearly every situation except of really hot days.

I did purchase those shoes with my own money and I do not have any economic interests.

My preconditions, expectations and needs

Terrain:
I’m a quick hiker. I do all terrains in every weather. Mostly forest.

Problems:
I seem to be immune against blisters, at least I had – with no further care – just one minor blister on a long distance walk including a lot of tarred roads.
I get tender soles quickly and I discovered that too soft cushioning (as in classical running shoes) as well as not enough cushioning (as in low-heeled trailrunners or barefoot runners) tends to intensify this problem. I have some back problems as well and going with little or no cushioning is not the right thing for me to deal with this. It makes me want to lay down after just a small amount of miles. So my ideal shoe is one with rather hard but thick cushioning.

Size:
In normal, no-sports-shoes I size a narrow 40, but my second toe is much longer than my big toe. I have so called “greek feet”. While the Greek seem to think that’s beautiful, it has a lot of disadvantages: I always have a problem in choosing the correct size. Bigger shoes tend to be to wide, in smaller shoes my second toe touches the forefront on downhill sections and I had some horribly painful onychias in the last time. During the time I even put some thoughts in getting rid of one centimeter of my second toe …

Weight:
While I notice the effect of a difference of weight between the boots (1200g/pair) and the trailrunners (500g/pair) in being less tired, 150g more or less don’t seem to have a noticeable impact on my performance.

Sweat:
I don’t sweat to much, but my feet get tender quickly when wet or sweaty, so I try to avoid sweating. Didn’t find the perfect solution for socks yet. Note to myself: Have to make a sock-review to get some advice.

Insole:
I use orthopedic insoles so the insoles of the shoes are not part of my review.

Comparison:

  AKU
Tribute II LTR
Brooks Cascadia 10 La Sportiva Primer Salewa
Ultra Trail
 

data

Trekking Boot Trailrunner Hiking Shoe Trailrunner
top leather mesh goretex surround mesh
sole Vibram Vibram Michelin
price 150 € 139 € 179 € 149 €
drop ? 10 mm 10 mm 8 mm
break-in days none none hours
weight/pair  1133g
39,9oz
585g
20,6oz
746g
26,3oz
520g
18,3oz
waterproof Yes, after treatment no yes no
marketing promises you won’t sweat blister-proof
 

evaluation

tested for … 1000 + kms 200 + kms 50 + kms 10 + kms
foot climate ***** ***** ***** *****
grip ***** ***** ***** *****
stability ***** ***** ***** *****
protection ***** ***** ***** *****
comfort ***** ***** ***** *****
durability *****
toebox medium and round rather pointed rather wide and round rather pointed
size I tested 41 41 40,5 (too small) 40 (too small)

Soles

 

5 thoughts on “Gear Review: Aku Tribute II LTR

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