Review: Aku Tribute II GTX trekking boots in Japan AKU Tribute II GTX and the price is

How to best test out the new Tribute II GTX trekking boots, £139.95 from Aku? Give them to your awesome travel writer bestie before she heads off to Japan on a winter adventure. Lucy Thackray tries the Tributes out whilst temple-hopping in Tokyo.

Review of Aku Tribute GTX trekking boots

“The only thing that could make my dream trip to Japan even more dreamy was comfy feet throughout. Full disclosure: I like beaches on holiday. And heels, and cocktail bars, and gentle half-hour walks, ideally towards a pub. But for the full Japan experience, I knew I had to get out into the country and walk some serious distances, so my feet would need some good support. These Aku Tributes more than fit the bill, because they look like something I’d *actually wear*. Smooth, chocolate brown full-grain leather, thick, bouncy soles and a snug fit around my jeans. I felt really stylish in them, as well as motivated and prepared for my more intense walking days.

Product description: ‘Tough, versatile footwear for gentle hiking in the hills and at mid mountain height.’

Temple hopping: After bars, boutiques and urban chaos in Tokyo, my first stop out of town was Kamakura. An hour’s train south of Tokyo, it has lovely hiking trails, hidden 14th-century temples and monasteries, and lovely mountains and beach. My box-fresh boots were perfect from day one, as I bounced along paths and got deliciously lost, stumbled across magical bamboo forests and incense-smoky shrines, and generally stretched my legs after a few days in the chaotic capital. They also took me all around sprawling Kyoto, a city that’s doable on foot – but only with some forgiving footwear – to streaming Nishiki food market, a tranquil tea ceremony, and my two favourite temples: hilly Fukushima-Inari, with its maze of orange torii gates, and Kinkaku-ji, the golden temple beautifully reflected in the lake it sits on.

review of Aku Tribute GTX boots

Frozen: A few days later we headed north on the bullet train, a reasonable hour and 45 minutes out of Tokyo, and found beautifully frozen mountain town Nikko, complete with frozen-over lakes, light-refracting waterfalls and towering charcoal mountains. It was beautiful, and my grippy Tributes meant I could smugly trek around the area while my friend slipped and slid along icy trails as thick Vibram outsoles work fantastically even on slick ice. Full Gore-Tex lining repels water and snow perfectly, especially paired with high ankle cuffs, and a thick lining kept my feet toasty so I could explore for longer. We even encountered some of Japan’s famous ‘snow monkeys’ – but they were not friendly. Mental note: these boots are also great for making a quick getaway.

Review of Aku Tribute GTX trekking boots

Verdict: These boots fit perfectly with my trip – Japan’s a stylish nation, but every day is casual Friday: I could wear these into a chic sushi restaurant or whisky bar after a long day’s walking, without anyone batting an eyelid. The only negative? You have to take your shoes off before entering any temple, and they do take a minute to unlace (but frankly, I wasn’t going to be wearing thin slip-ons in the height of January). Their mega soles and tough leather meant I stayed snug, dry and walking on air through mountains, snow, city, hills and beaches. Every bit as versatile as a Japan holiday and a great choice if you’re after beautifully made waterproof leather boots to see you through your travels.

Review of Aku Tribute GTX trekking boots

Follow Lucy’s travels on Twitter and Instagram.

Follow: