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The leather lined Aku La Val Low Plus is made for low level walks along unchallenging terrain, we see how it gets on in just that environment.

aku la val low
Best for...
Lovers of sophisticated Italian styling and oodles of leather
Overall Score
Beautifully designed and subtle Italian styling

Lesser known Italian brand Aku produce high end footwear and this subtly stylish model is no exception with a full grain leather lining and nubuck upper.

This is the first leather lined shoe we've tried, being more accustomed to technical gore-tex linings, and it's safe to say we're pleasantly surprised. The lining isn't just your standard leather either, it's sourced from the Italian tannery DANI and is obtained through a chromium and heavy-metal free tanning process so is zero impact. It's soft and supple nature gives the foot an all-round cushioned feel that makes the shoe immediately comfortable to wear and on a hot day, the leather didn't get too sweaty as we suspected it might.

The foot bed is constructed of coco, latex and bamboo and is just as sumptuous as the leather, making the La Vals feel distinctly premium and that little bit special.

On the trail the La Vals take a bit of loosening up, but after a few miles they feel like an extension of your feet despite the surprisingly heavy weight of 900g per pair and the 'mountain casual' looks. The Michelin Pulsar outsole gives good traction (we wouldn't go stomping through the mud in them but then we wouldn't want to scuff up that lovely DANI nubuck leather) and the combination of the Aku Elica outsole and great build quality inside the shoe make for a great walking companion overall.

Overall, we were surprised by the capable nature of these shoes and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them for active travelling although you'd do well to take a spare pair of lightweight sandals for when you need to give your feet a break from the weight.

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