Aku have clearly modelled their lasts on my feet. These are so comfortable, it’s untrue. For me they combine the best of boots and shoes. They have the flexibility of shoes, but the security of boots. The uppers are very soft and flexible. The chances of a blister must be very slim.
No membrane means they breathe well. The downside is limited water resistance. The rubber rand will keep shallow puddles out, but after about half an hour of constant wetting, they give up the ghost. They do dry quite quickly, though. I am going to test them with a GoreTex bootie from TrekMates to see whether that helps. Sealskinz work, but the outer sock gets very wet and they are cold to put on in the morning.
The other unusual thing about the NS 564s is the thin sole. I was sceptical at first. I thought you would feel every stone through them, but that’s not the case. By placing your foot so close to the ground, it definitely helps your balance. It feels a bit weird to start with. The heel is also low, but with enough EVA padding to cushion your foot. I walked for five miles on tarmac and they felt fine.
They have a very odd tread pattern, but I found them very grippy, even on wet rock. I would imagine they would make great scrambling boots as there’s no welt, they have a substantial rand and flat surfaces on the sole for edging. I would prefer hooks rather than D rings for the last two lacing points, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. I used green Superfeet insoles rather than those supplied by Aku.
If you don’t mind your boots not being waterproof, then these boys are worth a try. They are certainly different.