Interview with Vittorio Forato – AKU Marketing Manager

In this member showcase feature, we will focus on AKU. This iconic Italian family-owned brand is known world-wide for its high quality footwear, and since the early 1990s has helped countless people to explore the outdoors, from the lowlands to the highest mountains. The culture of AKU is rooted in a love of nature, and the company is a proactive Supporting Member of the coalition, working with us to promote participation and the grass roots delivery of Outdoor Activity Days. In fact, AKU was one of the first coalition supporters to organise an event that was supported by #itsgreatoutthere funding, when the company arranged for a group to experience a trek with donkeys in 2016. We caught up with AKU’s marketing manager, Vittorio Forato, to find out more about what drives the brand and its people, and why the partnership with the coalition is important.

Can you briefly introduce your brand?

AKU is the brand of an Italian family run company specialized in premium quality shoes for mountaineering, trekking, hiking and leisure time in contact with nature. The technical quality, function and reliability of each individual model are guaranteed by over 40 years of specific experience in the footwear sector, in full respect of the epic Italian manufacturing tradition. The company headquarter is in Montebelluna - Italy - core of the Italian outdoor footwear district. The production process is directly managed by the company through 4 industrial plants: Montebelluna (IT), Cluj Napoca (Romania), Simanovci and Vranje in Serbia. AKU products are distributed in more than 30 countries through Europe, North America and Asia. Currently AKU is recognized as one of the leading outdoor footwear brand in term of sustainability commitment.

Why did your brand join the Coalition?

Because of the consciousness that promoting life in the outdoors must be an essential commitment for any outdoor brand and a proper way to contribute to the social welfare.

Vittorio Forato – AKU Marketing Manager
Vittorio Forato – AKU Marketing Manager

What is your brand’s vision for the outdoors?

At Aku we feel to be part of one single eco system, social and environmental. We feel responsible for its balance. This simple sentence summarize the feeling of the company toward the outdoors and represents the central pillar of the brand commitment.

Do you have a story you want to share with us about an outdoor adventure you organised for staff or local communities?

NATURALMENTE TREKKING is the name of a project dedicated to the local community, senior people in particular, living around the company. 4 days to discover the beauty of outdoor just around the corner, guided along the path by a professional hiking and environmental guides, able to tell stories and naturalistic information about the territory. Around 100 people took part to the project during spring and summer 2022, visiting the various landscapes offered by our region, made of hills, mountains, forests and small historical villages, alive pieces of our social and environmental identity. We are thinking to plan the same experience in Autumn, involving schools and families.

Can you tell us something about your personal relationship to the outdoors?

I was born and have always lived in a small city the northernmost part of our region, that means in the Italian Alps, Dolomites in particular. The majority of the families in our area are natives with a deep connection with the mountain environment, so kids are educated to make mountain sports and spending time in the outdoors as ordinary lifestyle. The same happened to me. But according with our culture, mountain and outdoor as general meaning, are not only a playground. I spend a big part of my spare time working around my home, taking care of my meadows and woods. So that, my personal relationship to the outdoor is enjoy a trekking day in the Dolomites, but at the same time working for conservation of my land, that represent my identity.