To get the appropriate fit for the best performance we recommend ordering a 1/2 size smaller from your normal AKU boot size.
DESIGNED TO GO FROM TRAIL TO ROCK WITH PRECISION AND COMFORT
The Women's Rock DFS GTX Approach Shoe uses a ground breaking Dual Fit System (“DFS”) to give you both maximum comfort during your approach and high performance fit while climbing and scrambling. The Rock DFS has two separate lace zones that utilize lightweight webbing that wraps around and under your foot which enables you to customize your shoe for the fit you want. The Rock DFS midsole incorporates a lightweight EVA foam for cushioning and a polyurethane heel for durability and support. The midsole is then wrapped with sticky climbing rubber to protect your shoe and to provide extra grip. Together with a Vibram Approcciosa sole with Megagrip, the resulting Rock DFS offers a high-performance approach shoe for all day comfort.
DUAL FIT SYSTEM
AKU's DFS collection of approach shoes allows for optimum enjoyment and maximum confidence over the most demanding terrain. Whether you're on flat trails or going vertical, AKU DFS shoes will take you there in comfort
Keep your feet dry in all conditions with the integrated waterproof GORE-TEX Performance Comfort membrane.
The VIBRAM Approach sole is designed to make quick work of trails while giving also giving you the confidence to edge and smear on your climb.
AKU ELICA TECHNOLOGY
ELICA Technology ensures an anatomical fit to provide better stability and weight distribution across your boot sole to reduce pressure points and encourage better hiking form.
- Lining Description: Waterproof GORE-TEX® Performance Comfort
- Sole: VIBRAM® Approach
- Footbed: Ortholite Hybrid
- Lasting board (stiffness): Soft Flex
- Midsole: Dual Density EVA & PU
- Upper: 1.6mm Suede Leather, Air 8000 & Microfiber
- Weight: 380 Grams per Shoe
- Women's Specific Fit
Cliff NOTE version: While the Rock DFS is not 'Camp 4 perfect', it’s HANDS DOWN the only thing that comes remotely close to the Camp 4; and as such, I'm VERY PLEASED with it! On a 10-point scale, (with the Camp 4 being my ‘gold standard’, 10 out of 10), the Rock DFS is between a 9.0 to 9.25... so still very respectable.
The Rock DFS is EXCELLENT in terms of traction on treacherously steep slopes with loose footing, both up & down, and on the climbs (edging/overall climbing performance). Camp 4's are still better… but NOT due to any 'flaws' with the Rock; but rather, due to a "super-feature" I RARELY see in other approach shoes: "flared" treads. It's not something I utilize very frequently; (and as such I didn’t feel particularly "compromised" in the Rock due to its lack of 'flared' treads)... but the flared treads of the Camp 4 definitely give it an advantage (on both the loose footing and on certain climbing maneuvers).
The Camp 4 also has better protection: “360 degrees” of THICK rubber on the toe/lower sides/back) and nubuck on the uppers; superior to the Rock DFS… but the Rock DFS, (with THICK rubber in the toe area, decently thick rubber on the lower sides, and swede uppers), is still far superior to MOST OTHER trash options out there (YES, it REALLY IS THAT HARD to find a shoe these days that offers even just ‘THE BASIC THREE’: decent protection, deep lugs for traction on loose footing, and excellent grip on rock). Start adding in other criteria like: hits the sweet spot of stiff (enough to protect foot bottoms) & flexible (enough to maintain precision); provides optimal weight distribution / doesn’t make you prone to twisting ankles; and offers enough cushion to be suitable for ultra day hikes while excelling at Class 4 climbs; and the list of options dwindles to almost nothing pretty darn quick. The Rock meets/exceeds ‘the basic three’ AND these extras.
The Rock’s grip, while very decent across the board, is perhaps the "biggest" shortcoming: there was some occasional instances of slippage on technical (Class 3+ / 4-) climbs on certain rock types (where the Camp 4 Stealth rubber is virtually slip-proof). Fortunately, the degree of slippage in the Rock was BOTH infrequent enough AND minor enough that it did not faze me; although if I were asked to make a list of my top 10-20 *scariest moments of all time (*related to climbs/scrambles) and then asked to repeat those exact moments in the Rock DFS, would I get away with it like I did in the Camp 4's...? I sure hope so!
The other shortcomings were fit-related; (but fortunately, issues I could resolve fairly easily):
1. The first is rather crazy (given that I have slightly NARROWER than average heels): the insoles (within the first 1-2 miles of use) started making my heels sore. The soreness felt like it was stemming from the heel cups being too narrow; almost like they were gradually "crushing" my heels; and by the 4-5 mile mark, I had major blisters on both heels. I'm NOT prone to blisters period; and the rare times I do get them are usually in the toes, rarely in the midfoot/arches/sides, and NEVER in the heels. BOTH the Rock and the Camp 4 have Ortholite insoles, and I don't have this issue with the Ortholite insoles that come with the Camp 4s (or any other shoe for that matter). Also, for the past 5-6 years, I NEVER wear socks, ruling out any 'differences in sock type' entirely. Removal of the insoles brought instant relief... but not for very long because without the insoles, there was not enough protection for my foot bottoms on the ROCKY low desert terrain. Fortunately, I had a pair of insoles on hand from my last shoe candidate (Garmont Dragontails); and, while this shoe was an epic fail in many regards, the insoles from them equated to PROBLEM SOLVED in the Rock DFS: NO MORE heel pain/blistering, superb comfort, and enough protection for the foot bottoms!
2. The other fit-related issue was also something I've never experienced before either; and this occurred on my LEFT foot ONLY: the inside top of the shoe 'dug holes' in my skin just below the inside part of my left ankle bone. It definitely felt more along the lines of a surface irritation caused by the top of the shoe cutting the skin (VS that DEEPER pain you feel with true pressure points). Despite the two bloody sores on the inside part of my left ankle, the small section of old sock I'd cut up and sandwiched between my skin and the shoe did the trick in preventing further irritation and allowed me to compete the trip without feeling further pain/soreness; and it miraculously stayed in place, only needing to be re-adjusted 1-2 times for every 8 hours of hiking.
In summary, while I'd still choose the Camp 4 over the Rock DFS in a heartbeat, there are still enough positives about the Rock DFS that I'd stock up on it in a heartbeat if it suddenly became discontinued, (especially given that it's the ONLY thing I've found to date that comes close t...
I am sad to say that these shoes do not give me the same support as my AKU Hiking boots. The sole does not seem as sturdy/supportive. And why are the shoe laces sooo short...It is hard to tie them tight enough . I absolutely love my AKU boots and was expecting the same from my shoes. The sizing was an issue too. I eventually fit into 1 1/2 sizes smaller than my previous AKU purchase.
Very well made shoes. Good grip on uneven trail. The aesthetic is very nice. I love them.
The only complain I have regarding these shoes is a sizing issue. The conversion between EUR sizing and US sizing is off and I had to return the item twice to exchange for a different size. The EUR sizing is accurate but the US sizing does not correspond to the EUR sizing. I wear US W's size 8 (which is typically a EUR 38, but on their chart is a EUR 39.5) and had to take the US W's size 7 (which is their EUR 38). If you think of ordering based on US size, I would recommend sizing down.