New AKU Pilgrim issue boots - Italy factory visit and product test.

#42
Here's the pics - I originally thought I'd caught them on something but couldn't remember anything snagging them - but when the same thing happened on the other boot shortly after, I realised it hadn't been caught. This would have started when they were about 18 months old, that's why I haven't bothered taking them back as they were over a year, but you can see from the image of the sole, there would have been tons of life left in them.
IMG_20180526_222747.jpg


IMG_20180526_221914.jpg
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#43
The boots are holding up well. Despite the heat my feet are completely dry and well ventilated. They have worn in nicely now and are becoming comfier with every step.

Last year I walked the West Highland Way ( https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/walking-the-west-highland-way.267353/ ) in the High Leg Pilgrims and after a few days I really struggled with the lack of padding in the insoles. They new ones don’t seem to have this problem, I’ve just checked the insoles on both pairs and the new ones seem to have very slightly thicker insoles and a little more spring in the heel.

Whether this is just because they’re brand new and haven’t been compressed yet remains to be seen, but they definitely felt comfy enough.

We clambered over rocks, down muddy slopes, up rocky tracks and along a road and the boots performed impeccably on all terrains we could throw at them.
 
#44
Might not be the same company, but I read some horrendous things on Trustpilot about a company based in Spain/ NDL with a similar name
Totally different company, these lads are based in Hereford.
Superb customer service, best in the business if you are buying online, or if you go to the store the one to one attention is second to non.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#45
We took a further drive to the summit of Monte Grappa were there is a huge memorial and a museum. The cloud had set in by then and it added to the sombreness of the place.

We walked down the steps of the memorial and as I turned around I noticed thousands of small compartments in the walls, each with a name inscribed on them. I hadn’t realised that this was an actually an ossuary. The memorial is built on the bones of the Italian dead.

Along the wall there are larger compartments every few metres with “Cento Militi Ignoti” written on them. These larger compartments each contain the remains of 100 unidentified soldiers.

Certainly a bit dusty on top of that mountain.
10E9DDF6-60EB-4C69-85BE-48D60C6934EF.jpeg
1DB0BED0-29F5-43A5-B7C4-71C64E8A172D.jpeg
4EFF343A-043F-4A32-97D7-4D8BC60832F6.jpeg
8CF3956D-B413-4AB6-BBAF-310AFCDF3AB0.jpeg
26BE2702-B223-471C-907E-98581284255C.jpeg
83DDC066-59EB-4F4A-9139-02C0D3A76338.jpeg
CFA3EFFB-8C9B-45FF-A23B-9B4CA2EE0A4F.jpeg
67772992-2CE2-4152-B82F-8504C1DEFAC0.jpeg
96C88671-A80B-45EF-B476-76BF8DB1F9C3.jpeg
 
#46
Totally different company, these lads are based in Hereford.
Superb customer service, best in the business if you are buying online, or if you go to the store the one to one attention is second to non.
Totally different company, these lads are based in Hereford.
Superb customer service, best in the business if you are buying online, or if you go to the store the one to one attention is second to non.
Thank you for clarifying
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#47
On the way back down the mountain we stop briefly at the museum, there are some artifacts on display but all the information is in Italian. Curiously there is a Mk III Lee Enfield on display, there is no information about why it’s there or what relevance it had to the battle.

There is also a 5km long tunnel that goes through the mountain linking various outposts. We do a little more exploring, but it’s time to head back to the factory and do some work, this is the real reason we’re here after all.
75C54B32-B47C-4D36-9B4E-8020CAB9809E.jpeg
9BDAE54F-89BE-4DA0-90DA-036E2CC1F8A0.jpeg
8EDA8DEF-2038-40B7-BA65-BF627493E771.jpeg
76DF858E-EC47-4E29-AD46-469AC161D81B.jpeg
6BC7DAD5-C022-419A-B162-CA1B0611C3B1.jpeg
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#48
Back in the boardroom we talk about the future of AKU, growing market trends, the difference between the tactical market and the civvy market and how they want to keep the two very separate.

Vittorio shows us some new products that are coming out soon as well as some trainers that have been made using recycled materials.

Everywhere you look there is innovation and Vittorio delivers a well rehearsed sales pitch and history of the company. I get the impression that this would normally be delivered at the beginning of the visit, but we got a slightly more personal and bespoke tour. This is Italy after all and things are relaxed here.

The points that really hit home are that this is a growing company that prides itself on it’s mountain heritage, but also it’s sustainability for the future, but above all else quality and comfort are the most important thing.

Finally we visit the shop and are given free reign with Vittorio’s staff discount card.

He insists that we try on the new Libra GTX trainers. These are a Gore Tex adventure shoe / trainer. Not quite a running shoe, but not quite a walking shoe either. They are super light weight, and unbelievably comfy. The reason Vittorio was insistent on us trying them on is because he wanted us to experience just how comfortable these things are. I wasn’t entirely sold on the styling, I’m just not really into sporty looking shoes to be honest but I slipped them on to keep Vittorio happy.

Now this isn’t the sales pitch coming through, but bloody hell, it’s like walking on air in these things.

Sold.

I picked up a pair for myself and some for the missus as well a pair of Slope walking boots for her.


9E09EE85-4617-425F-84A5-0A55A9BEEB09.jpeg
FE69495B-75FA-4244-834D-4F4CD7BA179B.jpeg
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#49
And that was that.

We hit a pizza place in town before heading back to the hotel. I had breakfast in Italy this morning and Lunch in Manchester.

This was a truly memorable trip from start to finish with some great adventures and some fantastic new friends along the way. I’ve learnt tons and got some really great new boots as part of the deal.

I’m hoping to stay in touch with Vittorio and Giulio and they’ve said they’ll have me back in the future to look at some new releases and explore some more of the mountain. Likewise Jason and I will definitely be having some beers in the near future.

I’ll keep updating this thread as and when I take the boots out again and Lady Ravers has said she’ll write a few words on her boots.

Also keep your eyes peeled for a review of the Libra GTXs which I’ll do when I can be bothered.

Out.
 
Last edited:
#50
33639160_2113172468968147_1860781661730373632_n.jpg



There's no shame to them as the soles are nearly worn off! But the stitching started coming away after a year or so. Maybe it's the sharp rocks in the Cairngorms thats caused it in my case. I'd buy another pair as they were superior to my old Meindl air revolutions. The inside of these boots still smells new!

33639160_2113172468968147_1860781661730373632_n.jpg 33607973_2113172455634815_4295384736756400128_n.jpg
 
#53
Some people just have all the sodding luck!
 
#54
Some people just have all the sodding luck!
I know you look at the mess hes made of his life and you just have to shake your head and think "Where did it all go wrong..."
 
#56
Great report, thank you.
Never been awfully keen on waterproof membrane trainers/shoes, they get too hot for me and water gets in the top anyway. Be interested to hear how they work out.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#57
Great report, thank you.
Never been awfully keen on waterproof membrane trainers/shoes, they get too hot for me and water gets in the top anyway. Be interested to hear how they work out.
Getting hot isn’t really a problem with these because of the air 8000 system and the fact that Gore Tex is breathable. The two materials together work well to keep your feet cool. Much better than a fully leather boot for example.

However as you say, once water is inside it doesn’t come out.

They combat this by making sure the materials dry quickly and nothing retains water.

Best thing in my opinion is to take the boot off, empty the water and then it’ll dry pretty quickly.

A few years back I was doing mountain support on the Spine race, I basically followed the race scooping up any lost or injured runners. The first day was honking, really really wet and boggy. I was wearing the High Leg Pilgrims and they filled with water almost instantly.

It wasn’t a problem though, I found they dried out very quickly once I’d had a chance to empty them.

Lesson learned though, it’s best to stop water getting in there in the first place, gaiters / waterproof trousers if you’re bog trotting.
 
#58
Off on a tangent, well a slight one anyway. I've just picked up a brand new pair of Aku Vitalpina II GTX off amazon for £46.00 (they usually go for around £120-£130). Only the other month I bought a pair of Scarpa Mojito for £52.00. Either no bugger buys size 11s or I'm very lucky.

I'm looking forward to giving the Aku a good work-out, and see how I get on with them, as I've never had a pair before.
 
#59
I’m currently on a tour and bought a pair of Lowa Innox TF Gtx to wear as I wanted something lightweight. They lasted 2 weeks!! Luckily I’d been issued a pair of Aku Pilgrims and have to say they are so good. Very supportive and although it’s hitting over 35 degrees by 0800 they are very breathable. So disappointed in the Lowas.
 

Rod924

LE
Kit Reviewer
#60
Looks like the sole has been changed, which was my major grumble when I reviewed them.

The insole too, was rather thin and gave little as a cushion, so a good update if it's been changed.

After 3 year of daily use, mine are nearing the bin. Sadly, no man at Q and M to hand them in for a new pair, unless the kind chaps at AKU wish to take pity on me?

As stated, these have walked countless miles, many on pavements, hence the soles becoming Goodyear slicks:

20180528_120854-1238x1651.jpg


But, and it does seem an issue, they do split in the same areas as others have posted. Obviously this means the boots have zero waterproofing. The first split appeared after about 18 months:

20180528_120750-1651x1238.jpg


20180528_120806-1651x1238.jpg


20180528_120806-1651x1238.jpg


20180528_120823-1651x1238.jpg


20180528_120835-1651x1238.jpg


My review on these boots still stands as they are a really good boot.
 

Top