LOWA Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot Review

LOWA Renegade GTX; light, rugged, and comfortable

By Rick ShandleyLOWA Renegade GTX lead. Click to enlarge.

There’s a great reason why the LOWA Renegade GTX is a top seller amongst hikers who discover them. From the day we photographed them right out of the box in early September before a day hike, they have been worn almost daily up until this review, simply because Renegade GTX are so light and comfortable.

From the hike on that first day up Cougars Crest trail, an access point of the Pacific Crest Trail near Big Bear, CA, the LOWA Renegade GTX did not go through a break-in period nor produced hotspots at the heels or foot sides.

Waterproof GORE-TEX lining throughout the interior of the boots are partially responsible for the instantly wearable Renegades. But it’s also clear that the entire construction of the Renegade GTX, using a combination of new technologies and LOWA’s long history of making high-quality mountaineering boots and hiking shoes. LOWA seems to know how to manufacture into each boot the qualities outdoors folk will need, and they build in durable, stable, and comfortable construction elements that are second to none.

Renegade GTX mid-high boots are designed for long day hikes with a light pack, and they are excellent for overnight backpacks with

First day on the trail. No break in expected; none required on this pair.
First day on the trail. No break in expected; none required for this pair.

moderate load weights of about 35-40 pounds. This pair of Renegade GTX’s where worn on hikes and overnight trips, but they also shined in wet, muddy and sometimes cold conditions around a horse property. They’d get far too muddy to simply scrape off the goo and blow into the house. Nope, more often than not, especially after feeding and watering the horses in the late evening, these LOWA boots had to be hosed off from the ankle to the Vibram soles.

Yes, the Vibram Evo outsoles would get loaded up with horse crap and country mud, yet we wouldn’t change a thing regarding Vibram traction on a myriad of terrain types. Up in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico early winter thunder storms can change the rocky arid landscape in a hurry. Trails get washed out and you must contend with deep, slick mud and relocated boulders of all sizes. Regardless of the terrain, whether we were in the High Sierra, Gila National Forest, or the San Bernardino National Forest, the traction and stability of the LOWA Renegade GTX boots worked awesome. The single observation experienced during the assessment period was and is the super-grip and overall traction the Vibram Evo outsoles offer.

Aggressive Vibram sole pattern are no-nonesense and work great.
Aggressive Vibram sole pattern are no-nonesense and work great.

On Soap Box: As a side note, one of these days we could do a story just on how Vibram soles have been a standard benchmark for traction on backcountry boots for longer than most of us have been alive. Vibram Soles usually are only mentioned as part of a story, but the quality and general superiority of this company certainly deserves to be shared as a standalone product used on boots that have conquered the heaviest of expeditions to the farthest reaches of this planet. Off Soap Box.

After wearing these boots for almost two months of daily wear in work and play, they show little wear with the exception of a trace of salt stains from sweating feet on long hikes and tiny pebbles that seem happy wedged into the lugs of the outsoles. On the street, the insole cushioning and climate controlled footbed was very comfortable. Worn with casual clothes, the Renegades just looked like a nice pair of suede boots. It is noteworthy how well the Nubuk uppers continue to look like fairly new boots.

The combination of GORE-TEX waterproof lining and Nubuk leather uppers of the Renegade GTX appears to have a lot to do with the

Renegade GTX are not for heavy backpacking, but they're excellent for moderate weight packs and long hikes.
Renegade GTX are not for heavy backpacking, but they're excellent for moderate weight packs and long hikes.

new-like condition these boots still enjoy. GORE-TEX keeps water away from the foot, the Nubuk leather works with the GORE-TEX to allow the entire foot to breath, and permit moisture to wick away. Nubuk is a high-grade, highly breathable leather similar to suede, but instead of roughing up the inside of the animal skin like suede, Nubuk leather is the roughed up outward skin surface of the animal skin. The outward surface of animal skin is much tougher and resilient than the underside of the hide next to the skeleton merely because it must be tough enough to endure the harsh sun and winter cold. Nubuk leather is said to be extremely durable and long lasting, and so goes our expectations for these LOWA Renegade boots.

If you get a chance to inspect the quality and precision of the tight stitching connecting the various components of the uppers, you get an idea of how well these boots are made. And for a suggested retail price of about $200.00, LOWA Renegade GTX boots offer the potential for many, many miles of hiking and longevity.

One of the more evident qualities we enjoyed about the LOWA Renegade GTX mid-high hikers is the relatively lightweight they are on your feet. That’s where LOWA uses their new patented innovations in the polyurethane Monowrap Frame midsole. On the exterior, the Monowrap midsole extends up from the outsole about an inch at the forefoot and the heel section and two-inches at the foot arch on both sides of the foot.

Renegade GTX footbed offers good cushion and comfort. Top welt on the uppers is nicely padded and never chaffed nor hindered the walking stride.
Renegade GTX footbed offers good cushion and comfort. Top welt on the uppers is nicely padded and never chaffed nor hindered the walking stride.

This LOWA midsole allows for a lighter overall boot weight while still providing solid foot stability and rigidity on any terrain they encountered in the assessment period. What is more tangible than merely sensing the lighter boot weight is the very cool quality of loping and jogging for short distances in these boots. No, these Renegade GTX boots are not trail runners, but just the awareness of a lighter weight and the inclination to break out in a short sprint is the one characteristic of these boots that revealed how light they really feel on the feet. LOWA weighs these boots at about 2.4 lbs for a pair of size 9 U.S. feet. Well, our test pair is a size 14 U.S. and whatever they weigh in this mongo size does not diminish the fancy free feeling when they are laced up snug on the feet.

Here’s another aspect that we’ve experienced with other boots worn far less than the LOWA Renegade GTX we assessed is the lacing system and the boot laces themselves. LOWA’s derby style lace system allows for quick snug-up of the boots first thing in the morning. What was noticeable with this pair of boots was not so much the ease of lacing them up for a comfortable fit, but no friction points on the lace hooks and eyelets to fry the shoe laces. Again, it appears the quality level of every detail is meticulous. And burning through a fresh set of boot laces due to poor quality of the laces themselves and the lace eyelets is something we’ve seen on equally prices, but inferior quality hiking boots in the past.

Overall, the LOWA Renegade GTX light backpacking/relentless hiking boots come highly recommended by folks who have written reviews on them in other media. Yet the size 14’s this writer had latched to his feet substantiated the comfort and capability we found true in our own experience. Winter is fast approaching for 2010, and it’s fair to say these boots will continue to be a go-to boot for daily wear on hikes, approach shoes, light snow days, long-distance road trips, and mucking out the horse stalls in muddy, grimy conditions where a high-pressure hose rinse is the only way to clean them off. It is expected these LOWA boots will hold up extremely well for a good while.

2 thoughts on “LOWA Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot Review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *