When you're suspended hundreds of meters above the ground navigating your way around a series of iron ladders and wires, you need a stiff and responsive boot that you can rely on. Initial foot placements need to be accurate and the climbing-style 3 zone long lacing system of the Ayako High GTX certainly delivers the much-needed precision fit around the forefoot.
Once you've got a secure foothold you want to make sure that things remain steady and the Ayako High GTX is perfectly set up to do exactly that from front to back. The BaseFit system helps hold your heel firmly in place while the reinforced Heel Support further increases stability towards the rear of the boot. Overall stability is provided by the TPU Motion Control System that prevents the foot from rolling out while the front of the boot is protected by an extensive rubber toe cap. Finally, the Climbing Zone rubber at the front of the light and grippy Vibram Mulaz outsole feels solid and reliable and it all combines to enable you to keep moving onwards and upwards.
With such a high level of priority given to stiffness and close to the ground contact, it's clear that the Ayako High GTX is not a regular hill walking boot. Having said that, these criteria translate directly into the scrambling arena so if you're partial to rocky ridges and prioritise precision above a plush underfoot feel then it will be more than fit for purpose here too.
In terms of style and comfort, the suede and fabric upper may not make for the most dynamic looking of boots but they certainly provide a soft and comfortable feel. The memo foam padding is more than good enough for the kind of terrain the Ayako High GTX is designed to explore and the GORE-TEX liner further enhances comfort inside the boot by simultaneously keeping water out and allowing the foot to breathe.
Weighing in at 541g (UK Size 5) and just £160, the Ayako High GTX is lightweight mobile mountain contender that won't make a heavy impact on your wallet.