With winter almost upon us, a good pair of 3-4 season boots are essential if you’re planning on spending time in the mountains. We’ve already looked at which are the best winter boots for wearing every day. However, if you’re planning on tackling technical winter terrain, you’ll need a suitably technical boot.
We headed high above the treeline in Snowdonia in search of the first snow of the season to test out the Aku Tengu GTX on some varied terrain. After traversing the knife edge ridge of Crib Goch in high winds and sleet, the sun began to set just as we reached the summit of Garnedd Ugain. After watching the sun go down we drove over to a neighbouring valley and spent the night in Dulyn Bothy before heading back the following day.
“If there’s one thing to rave about these boots, it’s the stiffness and support (OK that’s two things)
Firstly let’s take a look at the tech involved. The Tengu GTX has a nylon and suede upper, a gore-tex performance comfort lining, a brand new Vibram Curcuma outsole and an exoskeleton midsole. Most notable of the above is the new Vibram sole which has been used exclusively on this boot. Combined with the ‘Aku Exoskelton’, the boot gives you serious control over difficult terrain. Furthermore, the Internal Midsole System (IMS) ensures even distribution of pressure through the boot and provides a degree of shock absorption. Finally, the Gore-Tex Performance Comfort System will keep your feet dry and warm- precisely what you’re looking for in a winter boot. Weighing in at 725g (per boot), they’re not the lightest boot you’ll find. But for a technical winter boot, they’re pretty light.
Overall, the Tengu GTX are great. Stiff in all the right places, grippy as hell and they look pretty good too. As you’d expect from a technical mountaineering boot, they are on the stiff side for any approach hike. But as soon as you start scrambling on uneven rock, they come into their own. We’ve tested out a number of Vibram soles on various boots but the Curcuma sole on the Akus is incredible, even on wet rock and ice. If there’s one thing to rave about these boots, it’s the stiffness and support. The stiff toe is perfect for jamming into craggy holds when scrambling, and the support around the midsole gives you confidence in every step.
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the mountains this winter and you’re looking for a stiff, crampon compatible boot, the Aku Tengu GTX could be just what you’re looking for. Stiff, responsive and lightweight; they’re a great winter choice. And unlike other mountaineering boots which are often garish and ugly, the Tengu GTX actually look good! You can choose black and orange (featured) or turquoise and orange, and you even get a choice of laces!
*£219 from Alpine Trek (down from £259)
Read more about Dulyn Bothy here.