Firstly, wow, just look at them. The word Gucci does not even begin to describe how cool these boots look. In fact I have it on good authority that the term Gucci is being phased out and superseded by the word Pilgrim.
“Check out my new boots, Pilgrim as **** oppo.”
In a world where looking cool is incredibly important and allyness saves lives, these boots have all the boxes ticked and really stand out from the crowd. Based on the old US Navy SEALs AKU boot, their ally pedigree is there for all to see. Unlike their Navy SEAL grandfather however, these ones don’t fall apart and won’t get you into any trouble. (see here).
Out of the box they immediately look and feel like a well made item. High spec materials and neat stitching present an overall picture of quality, even the laces feel better and nicer than other boots out there. A Vibram sole and some subtle branding complete the picture nicely.
If I had to be really picky and point out a shortfall, I’d say the ankle loops for pulling the boots on look a little weak compared to the rest of the materials and the stitching here doesn’t look quite as robust, a good hard tug could probably pop a thread or two. No biggy though.
After a quick and very satisfactory inspection, my immediate thoughts turn to cleaning them. Suede and a canvas type material in a variety of funky colours (by military boot standards anyway) means you aren’t going to be polishing these bad boys. The instruction leaflet recommends a damp cloth and warm soapy water to keep them looking tip top, but I’m not sure how effective this will be in the long term. For those who are really worried about this, they are also available in black.
Living in the wettest place in England (the Lakes) I requested the Gore Tex version to trial. The addition of Gore Tex doesn’t appear to have added any additional weight and for high leg boots with a chunky Vibram sole, they feel incredibly light. 1400g according to the website. These ones are also MTP forest in colour which is probably what most of us will go for and are probably the most suited to UK use.
Putting them on is a breeze and the large suede loops and D rings make them easy to fit and adjust to your feet. They don’t really need wearing in, but having said that, they did feel a lot more comfortable after a day or two.
So to the hills.
On the fells they’re great. I can’t really fault them, although their light colour did initially make me reluctant to go wading through cow shit and mud. After getting over this, I just went for it, jumping in the biggest mankiest puddles I could find. Waterproofing is good right up to the second from top row of D rings. The Vibram soles provide plenty of grip, even on wet rocks while crossing streams. Breathability is good too and even with the recent hot weather, I didn’t notice my feet getting too hot.
Once home I overcame my reservations about cleaning them and just followed the instructions. Surprisingly they came up really well with just a light scrub. I’d still refrain from changing the oil on my car while wearing them though.
I tend to do a mad combo of running and fast walking when I’m on the hills and when I was striding it out a bit I was very happy with the feel of the boots. A couple of cheeky 2 or 3 mile runs on the roads at home confirmed that these will make a great CFT boot when not out on the mountains.
They’re also pretty easy to live with day to day. Driving isn’t a massive issue while wearing them for instance. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t be doing any heel and toe braking, but unlike Lowas for example, you can at least feel which peddle you’re pressing.
They really are fantastic all rounders. Previously I’d always owned a few pairs of boots for different situations, Lowas GTXs for the winter, Scarpa Terras for the summer and various pairs of Magnums that I kept getting as freebies for some reason. (Literally every time I get deployed they give me a new pair of Magnums. Foot and Mouth, Op Fresco, various operational adventures and most recently the flood fighting. I’ve had about 7 pairs, I’ve even got a pair of Magnum trainers somewhere.)
Anyway pending a proper trial in the snow, I’d happily replace all my other boots with these AKUs. They feel solid enough for the rough stuff on the hills, but lightweight and breathable enough for day to day summer use. All in all, V happy with these. I love the look of them, love the fit, love how they perform on the hills and love the feel of the materials.
Many thanks to Trekitt and Bad CO for letting me trial them.