Selecting the proper footwear for your environment is often taken for granted. Far too often people will select an inappropriate style of footwear for their needs, choosing style and brand name over functionality for their environment. Buyers need to educate themselves against marketing ploys and gimmicks so that they can find footwear that will correctly protect and support their feet. Doing this will allow you to enjoy your trips, hikes, and many other excursions with minimal foot pain or discomfort.
The writers at The Load Out Room have extensively covered proper foot care, types of socks, and various types of boots in the not so distant past. Each time we highlight a piece of footwear we take it seriously. We have all, at one time or another in our careers, suffered through foot conditions or injuries, and are keenly aware of how debilitating they can be. We take foot care seriously, because your feet really are the foundation the rest of your body is built on. If the foundation is unstable, or in pain, the rest of your body also will be.
Today we are bringing you a first look at one of the best-selling hiking boots on the market today, the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid. More than 90 years ago Lowa Boots began manufacturing their boots by hand in Europe, a tradition they still proudly maintain to this day. The company also proudly holds the distinction of being the only boot-maker to have their boots 100% designed, sourced, and built entirely in Europe. Let’s take a closer look at the details that go into the production of these boot.
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
- Dark Grey/Navy
Sizes Available: 7.5 threw 12 in half sizes. Full sizes 12-15 (U.S. men’s sizes)
Widths Available: Narrow, Medium, Wide
Weight: 1110 grams (39 Ounces)
Upper Material: Nubuck leather
Lining Material: Seamless Gortex liner
Outsole Material: Vibram Evo sole
Fit and Sizing: As a general rule your street shoe size is your Lowa boot size
- Vibram EVO sole
- Full length carbon fiber insert
- Patented MONOWRAP frame
- Gortex lined
- Climate controlled footbed to prevent hot spots on soles
- General outdoor use
- Old world quality construction
- Good style
- Plenty of color choices
- Packed with features like carbon fiber shank and seamless Gortex lining
- Great reputation and track record
- 12 month warranty
- Confusing color choices
- They will require maintenance such as waterproofing and leather conditioner
I have tried many of the popular hiking boot brands over the years, Asolo, Merrill, Keen, and Danner to name a few. The Lowa Renegade GTX has helped me to thin my collection of hiking boots considerably. While wearing the Renegade GTX I have yet to have to endure the frustration and discomfort of any noticeable breaking in period. This is a pleasant change from other brands I’ve previously used. These boots are listed as a mid height boot, but they are higher than other boots I have tried, such as the Asolo Fugitive GTX. I haven’t found the height to be a problem. I actually found that, for my foot and ankle structure, it provides more comfort and stability.
Field Trials: #1 Seward, Alaska
The first day I took the Lowas out of the box I put them on my feet and drove to Seward, Alaska, and proceeded to spend the better part of the day climbing over drift wood logs, boulders, and mountain sides. The constant drizzling rain made for a miserably cold and wet Alaskan autumn day. I was soaked to the bone, but my feet were dry and warm. I was wearing a pair of medium weight cotton socks during this test. The ability of the Renegade GTX to keep my feet dry, and keep me from sliding off any of the slimy beach obstacles, was impressive.
The Vibram Evo soles that come standard on the boots are well suited for an environment where you might encounter a mixed variety of materials. In the above picture you can see a good representation of what I spent the day walking over, everything from slightly rocky sand to Volkswagen sized boulders. The one thing that I noticed about hiking next to an ocean is that the tides and seasonal storms will certainly provide a hiker with a variety of debris to explore.
I then spent several hours strolling up and down the sidewalks of downtown Seward, putting more mileage on the Renegades. I thought this would be a good way to feel out how the boots would perform during the second phase of testing. It was about this time that I began to think maybe I’d found my new set of daily wear hiking boots.
Field Trial #1 verdict: Passed
Field Trial #2: State park hike & daily use
The second phase of testing involved using the Lowa Renegade GTX boots on less aggressive terrain. This would allow me to get a better idea of how they would perform over a normally maintained trail system. I chose this style of test because I’m going to assume a lot of hikers and outdoorsmen, who are in the market for this style of hiking boot, would be using them under similar conditions. I also wanted to gain a better understanding of how the soft Vibram Evo sole would cushion against consistent and repetitive impact on harder surfaces.
I have used these boots the last few months almost daily. I’ve worn them during trips to the grocery store, state parks, church, walking the streets of downtown Anchorage, Alaska and even while splitting and sorting firewood in the snow last week. The goal was to use these boots in as many situations as possible, in order to give you, the reader, the best possible idea of their performance in a range of varying conditions.
These boots continue to surprise me with how well they support the ankle and arches of my feet. I have suffered from a nagging and painful foot condition known as plantar fasciitius for years. When wearing boots that have poor arch and heel support, this condition is magnified, causing near constant pain in my arches, heels, and lower back. With the Lowa Renegade GTX the construction and rigidity of the foot bed and soles greatly reduced the incidences of flare ups. The boot cups and holds my foot in a proper position without making them feel like they are overly constricted. That’s not to say the boots are a magic pill to cure my condition, but I can feel the difference in their quality, which translates into longer pain-free hikes and trips. I have also noticed that when I use a high quality sock like Smartwool it helps to work in conjunction with the Gortex liner to keep my feet at a comfortable temperature, even when sorting and splitting firewood in 20*F weather.
Field Trail #2 verdict: Passed
I hope you have enjoyed this look at the Lowa Renegade GTX boots. If you haven’t ever looked at Lowa Boots, you really should. I was guilty of overlooking them until recently, and my feet and I are glad that we found them. Lowa makes ten different classifications of boots, ranging from hard-shelled alpine style mountaineering boots to more casual style hiking boots, such as the Renegades and Tibet models. They even make flip-flops and snow boots. If you have any questions or comments on these, or any other boots we have covered, use the Comms Check link or drop us a line in the comment section of any post. We will be sure to use all our resources to help answer your questions.
Get out and explore, but please do it safely.
This article was originally published on the Loadoutroom.com