Lowa Renegade GTX Mid User Review
- Product: Lowa Regegade GTX (GoreTex) Mid Hiking Boots 2001 $165
Comparison Products: Have had a pair of Vasque Clarion GTX
lightweight backpacking boots since 1996. The soles are worn and
they have poor traction on many surfaces. I recently tried various
boots by Merrell, REI, and Tecnica in the stores.
Personal Data: I'm a male, age 35, 6' 2" tall and about 170
pounds. I'm an avid day hiker, and occasional lightweight 1 - 3
night backpacker with most of the hikes being in the Pacific
Northwest. I also enjoy hiking in the Arizona/Southern Utah area.
Weight: My men's 10.5's weigh in at 1lb 4oz each (2lb 8oz for the
pair) on my scale. That's substantially lighter than my 3lb 8oz pair
of Vasque Clarion GTX boots of similar fabric/leather/GoreTex design.
First Impressions: Of all the boots I tried on, the Renegades were
some of the lightest and most comfortable right out of the box. The
sole has more flex than I'd expect (and perhaps want?) in a
backpacking boot, but they seem to be very stable. The soles are
proprietary to Lowa but the rubber seems to be far stickier than the
Vasque soles I'm used to. My Vasque boots had to break in
(mostly break my feet in I think) while the Lowas are amazingly
comfortable from the first steps you take in them.
The soles remind me more of more of an aggressive trail shoe than a
true hiking boot. The boots are lined with a very soft smooth
lining, and unlike many boots, there's no rough seam at the back of
the heel. The lace points are all some sort of tough plastic. This
likely saves weight but I've been a bit gentle lacing them as I
wonder what it takes to break one? A broken hook wouldn't disable
the boots, however, and hopefully Lowa would repair them if they were
My feet run a bit wide/bulky in the "toe box" area. Many boots feel
too tight here for my tastes (especially at the flex point over the
ball of the foot). The Renegades feel just right. If your feet run
small in this area, you may be better off with a different boot. Too
much room will mean too much movement which can add up to blisters.
The heel also fits like a glove. I've used the supplied
insoles/footbeds so far but may try the Superfeet Hiker II (green)
footbeds from my Vasque boots.
Hiking Review: So far, these boots have been amazing. They feel
more like a very supportive athletic shoe than a hiking boot.
They're *really* comfortable! You can feel the soles flex a bit more
when stepping on large sharp rocks but it's a small price to pay for
the vastly increased comfort you get from the more flexible soles (at
least for the kind of hiking I do).
The boots have proven to be very waterproof crossing streams and the
like (as I'd expect from a boot with the GoreTex logo). They also
seem to breathe at least as well as my GoreTex Vasque boots. They
seem to offer plenty of support for hiking with a lightweight
overnight pack but some may feel more secure in a heavier boot.
They're certainly up to any sort of day hiking challenge as long as
you're on some kind of trail. I'm willing to trade off some sole
stiffness, weight and possible support for a lighter more comfortable
boot but your mileage may vary.
Summary: When you figure I'm lifting a pound less weight with every
two steps compared to my relatively lightweight Vasque boots, that
adds up to 660 pounds less weight lifted for every mile of hiking!
Add in the greatly increased comfort, and Lowa seems to have a winner
here. They're too new to tell how they'll hold up but they seem well
Strengths: These boots are extremely comfortable, light weight,
waterproof and don't require any break in. These are all very
Weaknesses: The soles are more flexible than some would like in a
serious hiking boot. The lace points are all plastic which might be
a durability issue. The boots may have less ankle support than
heavier boots but that's of questionable value anyway. GoreTex boots
tend to be warmer (and hence you sweat more) in warm weather. The
soles are not as sharp edged ("square") as say serious Vibram soles
offering less traction in certain conditions (on the other hand
they're likely to be easier on trails). Finally, at around $165,
they're a bit expensive. Most GoreTex boots start at around $100
with many choices for around $130 - $140.