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

I have a hole in exactly the same place. Also tried thinking long and hard to where I might have snagged the boot but couldn't think of one. The only thing I can assume is that it's in line with where the foot creases so is a defect at a weak point. I wore them on exercise last week and ended up going through a few streams and didn't get particularly wet feet so I don't think it has broken the membrane yet, but seeing other photos on here can only imagine the hole will carry on getting bigger.
With @Ravers post #19 in mind showing boots being repaired, coupled with numerous posts on here all alluding to the same problem, does anyone know whether Aku will take boots back to fix the defect out of warranty? Or offer a repair service like Altberg used to.
Absolutely love Aku's, and on my second pair of Pilgrims but I don't feel like I've given this pair £200's worth of a hammering yet like I did my last pair.
The toe crease isn't a weak point. It's an area of maximal stress. Either you make that point overly strong, compared to the rest, which will make it uncomfortable, or you accept that that's one of the first areas to go.
 
The toe crease isn't a weak point. It's an area of maximal stress. Either you make that point overly strong, compared to the rest, which will make it uncomfortable, or you accept that that's one of the first areas to go.
Ok then, mine has gone while the rest of the boot has 75% (at least) life, look at the sole I posted. That's extremely poor design then.

I've had better experiences elsewhere and that's where my money will have to go in the future. I gave them a go and they've not been good enough - I don't get them issued so I can't throw them back to a QM when they're US, a luxury you serving lads have. It's a massive shame as they fit me so well, but I can't afford to have kit that will let me down.
 
Ok then, mine has gone while the rest of the boot has 75% (at least) life, look at the sole I posted. That's extremely poor design then.

I've had better experiences elsewhere and that's where my money will have to go in the future. I gave them a go and they've not been good enough - I don't get them issued so I can't throw them back to a QM when they're US, a luxury you serving lads have. It's a massive shame as they fit me so well, but I can't afford to have kit that will let me down.
I'm not serving, I'm a JCC. I'm drawing attention to the fact the toe crease is a fundamental compromise point in boot design. That is all.

Ask the company if they'll repair them for free. If they say no, what have you lost? If they say yes, and do it, let people know. People, and companies, need positive encouragement, and feedback, to improve.
 
I’d forgotten what the roads in Italy were like. We exchanged worried glances as the driver tanked it along the motorway well in excess of 90mph while casually talking on his phone and darting in and out of the traffic.

After a fairly terrifying half an hour we arrived unharmed at AKU’s main factory (they have a few dotted around Europe) and HQ in Montebelluna.

Last time I’d been to a boot factory it was in Bavaria. With typical German efficiency, there had been a welcoming committee, a printed schedule that was to be exactly adhered to and a laborious signing in process.

This time round it was a much more relaxed and Italian affair. We were warmly greeted by two of the bosses, Vittorio and Giulio and shown into a conference room surrounded by all of AKU’s current and future product lines. Before we’d really had a chance to take it all in, we were whisked away to a Bistro round the corner and were treated to a fantastic lunch with Prosecco.

This particular region of Italy is were Prosecco comes from, I’d spotted a massive industrial plant of some description opposite the factory and this turned out to be a huge Prosecco factory. The lady petrol that we get in this country is essentially the dregs of what is produced in Venetto. The Prosecco here was better than anything I’ve had in the UK.

We chatted over lunch and got to know Vittorio and Giulio.
I worked on Panther at IVECO in Bolzano and we were invited to visit one of their subcontractors in Vittorio Veneto (approx 40km fro Montebelluna). We were also served prosecco during our first meeting break at approx 1030!
 
Mine have gone in the toe crease too with years of life left in them.

Not sure whether the sole is plasticy or just quite hard but I find wet rock and highly undulating rock like s limestone pavement a nightmare. Don’t have the same problem with my altbergs but have had a similar problem with scarpa ZG10s.

How much/how long does a resoling cost/take? I wear down the rear right on my heels a lot more quickly than I wear through boots.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Just had a


Or whether they'll be Made in Romania? ;)
AKU have a couple of factories outside Italy, yes one is in Romania.

Production is split between the different factories, but the process is identical and the materials are still sourced in Italy.

Similar deal at HAIX, main factory in Bavaria but second factory in Croatia.
 
Mine have gone in the toe crease too with years of life left in them.

Not sure whether the sole is plasticy or just quite hard but I find wet rock and highly undulating rock like s limestone pavement a nightmare. Don’t have the same problem with my altbergs but have had a similar problem with scarpa ZG10s.

How much/how long does a resoling cost/take? I wear down the rear right on my heels a lot more quickly than I wear through boots.
The original Pilgrims did have a degree of slipperiness on the sole but the MOD spec a higher degree of traction so the issued Pilgrims have a different sole compound giving more grip. The issued Pilgrims have also been given a thorough life trial both through the MOD selection process and AKUs own internal system. There have been no reported failures either on the toe crease or elsewhere; I’ve had mine for 2 years and have hammered the f*ck out of them and no complaints. AKU aren’t set up for repairs but try the BOOT REPAIR COMPANY - they should be able to sort as they can source doles direct from Vibram.


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AKU have a couple of factories outside Italy, yes one is in Romania.

Production is split between the different factories, but the process is identical and the materials are still sourced in Italy.

Similar deal at HAIX, main factory in Bavaria but second factory in Croatia.
What Ravers said. However, this doesn’t mean cheap/knock off! Romania (and Serbia/Croatia) are the European footwear production centres with large numbers of skilled workers. Basically under the Communist/USSR centrally planned economy, different regions of the soviet bloc were designated as key production points - so Romania was footwear while Yugoslavia was footwear and furniture! This has remained and so every major footwear manufacturer has factories in Romania and Serbia/Croatia but under their own control - they own the factories and apply the same process. And funnily enough it’s where Alt-Berg also make their bulk production!


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The original Pilgrims did have a degree of slipperiness on the sole but the MOD spec a higher degree of traction so the issued Pilgrims have a different sole compound giving more grip. The issued Pilgrims have also been given a thorough life trial both through the MOD selection process and AKUs own internal system. There have been no reported failures either on the toe crease or elsewhere; I’ve had mine for 2 years and have hammered the f*ck out of them and no complaints. AKU aren’t set up for repairs but try the BOOT REPAIR COMPANY - they should be able to sort as they can source doles direct from Vibram.


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Thanks @Gearspotter.

I am glad they have replaced the eyelets for the laces too. My leather ones are starting to get a bit cracked. In fairness I have never treated them.
 
What Ravers said. However, this doesn’t mean cheap/knock off! Romania (and Serbia/Croatia) are the European footwear production centres with large numbers of skilled workers. Basically under the Communist/USSR centrally planned economy, different regions of the soviet bloc were designated as key production points - so Romania was footwear while Yugoslavia was footwear and furniture! This has remained and so every major footwear manufacturer has factories in Romania and Serbia/Croatia but under their own control - they own the factories and apply the same process. And funnily enough it’s where Alt-Berg also make their bulk production!


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As good as the boots are the non Richmond Altberg mass produced were easy to find fault with?
 
As good as the boots are the non Richmond Altberg mass produced were easy to find fault with?
That’s cos Alt-Berg didn’t actually own the means of production so didn’t have direct control of quality etc. AKU do so very different story. Basically Alt-Berg’s reputation was built on their Richmond manufacture. When they went mass-production was when it all went a bit Pete Tong. AKU’s reputation is already founded on their boots manufactured in Romania and they are already used to manufacturing in numbers so quality will be maintained.


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BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Fantastic report. Great boot review and a battlefield tour. I was skiing in Cortina in March and want to go back for a summer look at the battlefields.

I have the wide feet issue that many people have mentioned. The only boots I've ever been issued that are wide enough are the desert Hi-tech amazons although I have to remove the plastic cup from the heel because it won't mold to the shape of my foot and causes me instant blisters. Any other boots or shoes I have to wear a size or size and a half larger.

I also struggle with Gortex or other VPM as my feet very quickly become a soggy, smelly mess. Forgive me if I missed it but is there a non-membrane option. I don't have any issue leather boots at the moment because they're all MVP.
 
These boots are no longer cool, I’m fuming they’ve started issuing them! Now all the clerks and tech biffs will be cutting about in them. I need to find something that will annoy the badge again..
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
These boots are no longer cool, I’m fuming they’ve started issuing them! Now all the clerks and tech biffs will be cutting about in them. I need to find something that will annoy the badge again..
 

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