AKU has come up with some great scrambling boots in its time (the Croda being a particular favourite of mine), and this tradition has clearly continued with the recently developed SL Trek GTX. The level of sensitivity and support they deliver perfectly matches what is required to confidently tackle challenging and technical scrambles. With these on your feet you can stand on the smallest of holds or rotate the most awkward foot jams, safe in the knowledge that unless you do something stupid they will stick in place. This level of confidence is particularly important if you plan to do a lot of scrambling and want to extend your grades. The trade-off is walking comfort, and with these on your feet you’ll find the approaches to crags more tiring than with some of the softer options here. The exoskeleton will not be to everybody’s taste as they do have a bit of a ‘go-faster stripe’ style to them; they do however work, offering progressive support and protection. So, in summary: if you want a boot that will support you on top-end scrambles and don’t stress too much about having extra padding for the walk-in to the crag, then AKU SL Trek GTXs are worth checking out.
Upper materials Air Infinity, DIP exoskeleton, PU slow memory foam
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram
Women’s sizes none
Men’s sizes 36-48 (unisex)
Weight 1288g (pair, size 42)
The supportive exoskeleton is a bit of a ‘Marmite’ feature, but don’t be misled; AKU SL Trek GTX boots are technically very able and will get you up some fairly serious ground.
Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine April 2012