Verdict from 12 experts and 12 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • The Superalp GTX was a real sight to behold, according to a sizable number of professional reviewers.
  • Many testers were quick to praise the boot’s Exoskeleton frame for giving them excellent support.
  • Numerous footwear critics only had nice things to say about the Aku Superalp GTX’s level of comfort.
  • In spite of its rather burly profile, a group of footwear bloggers deemed the Superalp GTX as a satisfyingly lightweight piece of backpacking gear.
  • This Aku backpacking footwear was one remarkable product when it comes to stability, based on a moderate percentage of reviews.
  • The Superalp GTX greatly impressed some users with its surprisingly breathable upper.

1 reason not to buy

  • For a couple of critics, an unfortunate downside to this footgear is its rather expensive price tag.

Bottom line

If the Aku Superalp GTX were something else other than a praiseworthy backpacking boot, it would be a shiny crown in all its majesty. It would be adorned with expensive studs representing its lightness, comfort, and support. But it is not without a dent, as some experts condemned its expensiveness. Overall, the Superalp GTX by Aku is just too feature rich to resist. It leaves not much room for displeasure save for its inconsistent sizing.

Tip: see the best hiking boots.

Good to know

  • The Aku Superalp GTX is built on the IMS3 platform. It is a sole unit consisting of the cushy, double-density PU midsole, Exoskeleton frame, and Vibram’s Foura outsole.
  • The boot’s lightweight, stitched-on upper is of suede leather layered with Air 8000—a membrane that makes the boot breathable. This upper is nested on a semi-rigid lasting board which is made of nylon and EVA.
  • Defending users from all sorts of wet elements is the Gore-Tex Performance Comfort liner. Protection against bumpy and abrasive hazards, on the other hand, is granted by the upper’s full-on rubber rand.

The Superalp GTX hiking boot is an Aku offering targeted at both the male and female backpackers. It is a fairly true-to-size, high-cut footgear in standard width. It comes in a number of whole and half sizes. Its lace-up closure system provides custom lockdown from the collar line down to the toe box area. The interior of the tongue and ankle collar are engineered with adequate padding for extra comfort fit. The overall cradle of the boot is built around Aku’s Anatomical Fit last which promotes stability and maneuverability when navigating particularly challenging terrain.

Come rain or shine, the Vibram Foura outsole is designed to give Superalp GTX users traction over uneven ground. It is a component based on Vibram’s very own Megagrip rubber compound which balances ground stability and flexibility within a durable, overall construction. Blocky yet evenly spaced lugs outlining the sole’s edges and multi-angular protrusions dotting its central zones give backpackers an all-around kind of grip. The lugs on the front end of the heel and the concave dome of the arch also give the boot a heel brake—a part that assists users when tackling steep descents.

This Vibram outsole has an extended front profile, covering about a half inch of the upper’s rubberized toe box. This extension veers away from the outsole’s primary purpose of granting surface traction, but further protects the forefoot zone instead.

The Aku Superalp GTX depends on its cushy yet resilient midsole for underfoot comfort and stability. It is made of dual-density polyurethane (a.k.a. PU) from which the midsole’s shock absorption, stress resistance, and long-term durability are sourced. The frame that reinforces and adds extra support to the boot called Exoskeleton is also made of polyurethane. This component—securely hugging the midsole unit—acts as a shank which supports wearers when performing lateral and twisting maneuvers.

Doubling down on comfort is the Superalp GTX’s Custom Fit IMS 162 footbed. It is a part latex, part felt, removable insert that lends the boot a level of breathability and manages moisture for a dry and airy backpacking experience.

The primary protective coverage of the Aku Superalp GTX is chiefly made of suede leather. It is seamed at the ankle area to promote overall mobility. The engineers imbued the upper with the Air 8000 technology which is a 1.8-mm thick layer consisting of a breathable textile on a sturdy, fiber-like backing. Within the bootie of the Superalp GTX is the Gore-Tex Performance Comfort liner—a membrane that is both waterproof and breathable. There is also a rubber rand running across the entirety of the upper’s base for scuff and abrasion protection.

Securing the boot’s closure system are round laces. They are made up of interlaced synthetic cords. They pass through a series of lace tunnels (which are part of the stitched-on overlay) and metallic open hooks from toe box to ankle collar. There is also a synthetic pull tab located at the flap of the tongue.

  • Aku offers a nubuck version of this boot called Superalp NBK GTX.


How Aku Superalp GTX ranks compared to all other shoes
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The current trend of Aku Superalp GTX.
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Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.