When it comes to hiking there has been a leap forward in technology and attitudes towards footwear. Lightweight performance has taken centre stage over big and bulky boots. As someone who prefers to wear alpine trail runners for the majority of my trips it was great to be able find a hiking boot that makes you forget you are wearing boots. Lets dive into this gear review on the Aku Tengu Lite hiking boot to see if it meets the demands of the mountain.
Gear Review : Aku Tengu Lite Hiking Boot
First Look at the Tengu Lite
Out of the box this is one flashy pair of boots (yes there is a black version) but I love it, totally my style with sharp colours. After the color catches your eye when you lift them out of the box you will be shocked at the weight considering these are boots. They weigh similar to most synthetic ankle top trail hikers but with these you are getting a fully capable boot.
The Aku Tengu Lite hiking boot is geared towards day hiking and trekking. Key features stand out when you look at the boots, noticing the Gor-tex waterproofing and Vibram soles as trusted materials. The structure is a mix of suede and Air8000 synthetic and the beautiful in my books must have full wrap around rubber rand. The inner liner has a fully gusseted tongue and form fits right to the top of the ankle for complete protection from the elements.
Putting the Aku Tengu Lite to the Test
By now from my other reviews and as I eluded to at the beginning of this review you get it, Chris loves his alpine trail runners for scrambling, hiking and backpacking. With that being said I also know full well there is a time and place for boots, especially when conditions dictate or mild mountaineering is required. When you know that harsh terrain or kicking steps in snow while be encountered or strapping on snowshoes and crampons is required, a solid pair of boots is a must.
Therefore over the past 18 months and several mountains later I can report back to let you know I don’t have a single bad word to say. I’m not stretching the truth here my friends at all, I have done it all in these boots. From a 25km round trip summit, crampon glacier travel and wet slushy snowshoes backpacking they took it all like a champ.
What I enjoyed most was that the inner gortex liner is sewn in almost like a full sock that is nice and form fitting at the ankle. This allowed me to finally have the first boot that has kept my feet dry on an entire trip. The next feature I was impressed with was that the ankle lacing is formed in a separate free floating warp around section that allows full flex and is connected behind the heel.
The Vibram sole is soft, grippy and flexible while not being overly stiff that comes with a 3/4 or solid shank often found in most mountaineering boots. So if you aren’t toe kicking up steep snow and ice slopes which is 90% of most alpine trips for the average enthusiasts, this provides enough design and confidence. This is also where the lightweight benefit is found.
The insole is soft and cushioned, combined with the form fitting sock like liner built upon a soft EVA midsole you can have happy feet after a long day. I have wider feet which were accommodated by able room in the toe box. The pair I have are an 8.5 and were true to size compared to my other footwear.
Touching on it earlier, the full thick rubber rand gives you peace of mind that rocky terrain won’t tear your leather and fabric apart on the uppers. The vibram sole also rolls up and over the toe slightly giving extra protection but also a touch additional scrambling traction.
Final Thoughts on the Aku Tengu Lite GTX
Out of the box and to the mountains with zero issues. The boots were extremely comfortable, breathed well and caused no blisters or pinch points. I already mentioned that my feet stayed 100% dry on a weekend snowshoe overnight trip, this was a first for me.
If I were to find any fault with the boots that would be that they aren’t designed to take the heel lever lock of my Grivel G12 crampons. I should mention that they were no problem for may Petzl Leopards with flex locks universal attachments. So if you have universal fit crampons or micro spikes this isn’t any concern for you.
If you have narrow feet these could possibly be a bit of the wide side for you as a possible consideration. Outside of that Aku knocked it out of the park with the Tengu Lite GTX and I am stoked to find a boot that provides me with the fast and light travel wearing alpine runners offer. Pick up your own pair with confidence as these will be remaining a go to footwear option in my gear closet.
Official Aku Specs on the Tengu Lite Hiking Boot
Trekking boot that suits for mixed surfaces. The upper is made with ultra lightweight and durable materials combined with GORE-TEX® elastic sock to deliver both comfort and precision fitting. The lasting board and sole unit features the exclusive ELICA Natural Stride System technology to enhance the bio-dynamic performance.
* Footbed: Custom Fit Soft
* Lining Description: Gore-Tex® Extended Comfort (elastic)
* Midsole: Double Density Eva
* Outsole: Vibram® Curcuma
* Upper: Air 8000 + Suede
* Upper Protection: Liba Smart PU
* Weight (per shoe): 510 g
The Aku Tengu Lite Hiking Boot retails for $319.95 (Canadian) and is available online at Valhalla Pure Outfitters. For those of you who live in Western Canada like me they have several independent locations with some dealers carrying stock for you to try out in person.
I review and support companies that aid my efforts to continue to bring you Photos, Stories And Adventures of The Mindful Explorer. Aku reached out and provided me these boots for an honest review and to put them to the test. I however will not take inferior product that I do not believe in strongly or would not normally choose to use myself. My Integrity Is Your Guarantee. I don’t have a partnership with VPO but do value their expertise and contributions as independent locally own outdoor stores where I live on Vancouver Island in Nanaimo and Victoria.
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For more reviews from jackets and pants to packs and trail shoes be sure to swing by my Gear Review blog page. Be sure to check out my current complete Gear List on all outdoor apparel as well as technical and camping gear.
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