Among major league footwear manufacturers in Europe, Aku isn't perhaps the most known out there, but certainly one of the hardest hitters. Where can we even start?
Aku Italia is a family business that was originally founded in the '70s and got its current name in 1985. The hometown is Montebelluna in northern Italy, near the beautiful Mediterranean shores and vineyards but also close to the Alps and the heart of Europe.
The company has such an approach to quality, that it might as well be German or Swiss. The design involves 3D modeling and other current technologies harnessed to make a better product, and the company avoids outsourcing production to sweatshop countries. As the workers are skilled shoemakers with a refined manual touch, it wouldn't make sense to have them work on inferior pieces; the leather, rubber, and other selected top-grade materials can be traced all the way to the source by Aku.
Almost as a byproduct of this attitude to make the best possible boots, the sourcing and manufacturing processes became more sustainable environmentally. Once this was realized by the head of Aku, they put a magnifying glass on this aspect of their operations as well. Aku Italia takes great measures to reduce its carbon footprint and plant trees to compensate for the emissions they cannot avoid. Also, leather tanning and other processes are developed to involve less harmful chemicals.
So with a pair of these boots on, your feet and conscience are as clear as the blue sky, promise! The Danish, British, and Swiss armed forces buy Aku boots, and they don't accept poor pieces of gear. (Well maybe the Brits sometimes do.)
The name, what's up with that? Aku-Aku is some sort of a devilish deity in the Rapa Nui mythology. They can be friendly as well, just treat them right.