• STORIA

    Una famiglia di calzolai

The history of AKU begins in a shoemaker’s workshop in a district of Montebelluna, the small Venetian town that in over a century has built and spread the myth of Italian sports footwear all over the world.

Galliano Bordin, founder of the company and still an active part in the development of the product, is the son of shoemakers and since he was a child he acquired experience first in the repair and then in the construction of footwear. Almost in every family of the small Venetian town, hides are cut, uppers are sewn, soles are attached. Almost everyone, in one way or another, is part of this production specialization that generates artisan workshops and small businesses destined over time to become the most prestigious brands at an international level in various sports fields, but in particular for mountaineering, the trekking, alpine skiing and cross-country skiing.

The name AKU
From Scandinavia to the Pacific Ocean to the Alps:
a legendary adventure

We are often asked about the origin and meaning of the name AKU.

AKU AKU is the name of a benevolent spirit told in one of the many legends that populate the imagination of the natives of Easter Island. A benevolent and wise spirit that protects the earth and its inhabitants, mentioned in the book The Secrets of Easter Island by the great Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl.

The idea of using this name as a brand dates back to the early 90s when Galliano Bordin, founder of the company, at the beginning of the export to Europe of the first trekking shoes, had to decide to abandon the first DINSPORT company name and logo, in contrast to the registered DIN trademark of the Deutsch Institut fur Normung.

The idea of using AKU, a short and easy to remember name, with a meaning so close to the sensitivity of the company and future users of its products, was then liked.

Trekking arrives, Gore-Tex arrives
Slope GTX is here to stay

The creation of the AKU brand, in the early 1990s, coincides with a decline in the popularity of cross-country skiing and with the corresponding growth in interest in hiking. Galliano Bordin is a craftsman with an innate innovative vocation, constantly looking for new technical and production solutions, to offer the market truly unique proposals.

Based on this thrust, the idea of a shoe was born that marks a real change from the traditional mountain shoe, often heavy and not very comfortable. A technically new shoe, but at the same time capable of expressing a style destined to last over time, creating that ideal combination of design and functionality that only products that are the fruit of creative genius can have.

The first SLOPE is thus produced in the AKU factory in Montebelluna, a very light trekking shoe, with upper in leather and fabric, as colorful as it is at that time, in the first version still branded Dinsport and only later identified by the many Italian enthusiasts with the brand of the mallard, the first graphic icon that will accompany the AKU brand for a long time.

During the development phase of Slope, Galliano did not miss an interesting technical innovation coming from the United States. A membrane to be assembled inside the upper as if it were a sock, capable of making the shoe perfectly waterproof and breathable at the same time. A technical solution that until then no Italian manufacturer of mountain footwear had adopted but which would soon become a must in the sector.

In the space of a few seasons, Slope GTX becomes a real icon, it has the functional requirements sought by those who live every day in contact with the mountain environment.

Slope becomes GTX, as it is equipped with the innovative Gore-Tex membrane, together with the special AIR8000 system patented by Galliano himself and approved by Gore-Tex, to enhance the breathability of the upper by creating an exclusive combination that triggers the interest of the market.

Slope GTX, which will soon be joined by the woman version called ULTRA LITE GTX, becomes in the space of a few seasons a real icon, appreciated by a wide audience of users, with a solid and extensive base among mountain enthusiasts, but above all among true mountain people, as a product capable of summarizing in a sober style, all the functional requirements sought by those who live every day in contact with the mountain environment.

Lightness, comfort of fit from the first use, waterproofness and breathability guaranteed by the joint use of Gore-Tex and AIR8000 technologies. No one before had been able to achieve this magical combination. A success that has lasted since then has never stopped and has seen SLOPE GTX continue to be the favorite model of many of the best retailers of mountain footwear in the Italian Alps, alongside the new AKU proposals for mountaineering, trekking, hunting and lifestyle.

Mauro Corona, Fausto De Stefani
and Ragni di Lecco

The value of AKU has been testified in the past by significant collaborations with some important protagonists of the mountaineering scene.

Mauro Corona brings the first AKU models to the rocks of the Friulian Dolomites on the occasion of the opening of new climbing routes.

Fausto De Stefani, mountaineer and traveler, is with AKU for the approach treks to many of his most important high altitude enterprises in the Himalayas, Nepal and the Alps.

I Ragni di Lecco, a legendary group of Lombard mountaineers, makes an important contribution to the launch of Spider Kevlar GTX, another highly successful and innovative model that confirms AKU among the protagonists in the mountaineering sector as well.

AKU Today

AKU is still a family business, managed by the Bordin family, founder of the company, with a staff of young collaborators, with an informal style, passionate about the product and its environment of use.

In the transition from the artisan dimension to the current industrial configuration, AKU has been able to maintain an organizational and managerial balance at the base of which respect for people and the value of relationships are always found.

The company structure is now divided into 3 production units owned and managed directly with AKU personnel for a total of over 400 employees.

Montebelluna, Italy. Historical headquarters of the company.
Cluj Napoca, Romania. Plant born in the early 2000s.
Simanovci, Serbia. New plant acquired in 2018.

AKU products are now at the feet of outdoor enthusiasts in over 30 countries around the world including Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

The range of products has grown over time, taking on the current wide configuration ranging from outdoor, in various declinations, to hunting, integrating for some seasons a special series dedicated to the military sector, a new development front and a new chapter in history.

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