Just arrived are these trainer-style low-impact trail shoes from Italian brand AKU.
A quick search reveals the thinking behind them:
“The Fastalpina GTX is aimed at hikers looking for maximum comfort and protection in a low cut hiking shoe. Based on the design of the 2013 Transalpina GTX, the Fastalpina GTX is a lightweight and flexible low cut hiking shoe.”
The Fastalpina feels pretty bouncy and soft compared to a hiking boot, when subjected to the old twist-and-bend test straight from the box. But it’s a little stiffer in the sole than a trainer or running shoe, and AKU’s press release says it has a triple-density sole unit for rugged stability and extreme comfort.
I can’t find them on the AKU website, so I think that they’re 2014 pre-release samples.
We’ll give them a good run-in and see what we think.
First impressions after a 2km flat, muddy walk: They’re really comfortable. The stiff sole makes for a fair bit of protection for the ground, and a reassuringly planted feeling. The upper was tested in a few puddles and the mesh parts did not leak (Gore-Tex membrane). The soles were moderately grippy in mud, and more than capable in wet grass. Encouraging.