If a brand is the official footwear sponsor of the American Hiking Guides Association, it goes without saying that you can expect high quality boots. Not only is Lowa the official of AHGA, but their boots have consistently won awards for durability, comfort and all-around excellence. Their boots are well-known and a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts of all types.
A long time favorite is the Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot,Stone/Brown,11.5 M US. These mid-length, versatile hiking boots have won the Elevation Outdoors Peak Gear awards for their comfort, support and ability to take on heavy wear-and-tear without failing. These boots have some impressive features and provide some serious advantages over competing boots.
While it does have a couple downsides like all footwear, overall this is a solid boot that is going to keep you safe and happy on the trail.
Specs and Features of the Renegade GTX
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Before delving into the major reasons why the GTX is so popular, it’s good to know the foundation of how this model was ma de.Here are all the details on sizing, construction and main features of this model.
- Upper made of durable Nubuck leather
- Gore-Tex boot lining
- Climate Control footbed for breathability
- Midsole is a combination of DuraPU with MonoWrap
- Vibram Evo sole
- Stiff full-length stabilizer shank
- Massive selection of 16 different color combinations
- Men’s sizes from 7 to 15, with half sizes for 7 to 11
- Regular and wide widths available on most sizes
- Retails for $230 Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot,Stone/Brown,11.5 M US
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- Gore-Tex boot liner provides a combination of breathability and waterproofness
- Naturally water repellent Nubuck leather upper has a stitched on nylon ankle band for comfort and debris protection
- Special Derby lacing system accommodates individual foot sizes
- Padded tongue protects foot from tight lacing and gusseting keeps dirt, brush and water out of the boot
- Full length shanks give support while DuraPU midsole protect foot from shock
- MonoWrap midsole framing gives lateral stability while hiking on loose terrain
- Vibram’s EVO sole gives impressive and versatile traction without excessive weight
As you can tell, Lowa really put in a lot of effort to gives the Renegade GTX all the features it needs to perform well as a serious outdoor boot. This model is so versatile and it’s design makes it ideal for hikers, backpackers, campers or even for work settings where you may deal with outdoor conditions.
Advantages of the Renegade GTX
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Majority of the reviews for the Renegade GTX are overwhelmingly positive. With 300+ reviews on just some single retailer websites alone it’s easy to see that these are quite popular and therefore you can get a good idea of how these boots perform for a variety of individuals.
Here are the three most common advantages or “pluses” that customers agree on.
Extremely Comfortable on Long Treks
The first thing you notice when you put on the Renegade GTX is how incredibly comfortable it is. Many new hiking boots, especially midlength leather models, are quite stiff out of the box and require a breaking in period before they are comfortable for normal wear.
While the GTX does have a breaking in period, it almost feels like it doesn’t. If you’ve experienced the annoyance of breaking in boots in the past, these are going to really be a treat.
The padded tongue makes it comfortable to really cinch down the laces, which may be necessary for those who want that extra close fit. Around the ankle there is a cuff which provides additional comfort and prevents chafing. The inside of the boot fits the feet well and you’ll soon get a custom feel with regular wear.
Stable Traction in Different Conditions
These boots provide steady traction in three ways – the Vibram sole, the nylon shank and the MonoWrap midsole.
Vibram soles rarely disappoint, so it isn’t surprising that the Evo performs well. The Evo sole is a thicker Vibram product that is ideal for outdoor wear. While it offers plenty of traction, the lugs and sole itself aren’t overly thick, which would make this boot unnecessarily heavy. This sole can handle a little bit of everything, even some wet rock and loose dirt terrain. It does a pretty good job on snow and ice as well.
The nylon shank is full length and is designed to keep the foot and ankle stable while hiking. This is important in any hiking boot. You’ll noticed that these boots are very supportive but aren’t going to encumber movement in any way. Finally, the MonoWrap on the midsole also helps with stabilization. MonoWrap focuses more on controlling lateral movement. Overall they both perform well together to keep ankles safe and to prevent rolling.
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Waterproof and Keeps Out Debris
While you probably wouldn’t want to stand in water for an extended period of time, these boots will keep you dry in typical stream crosses or the occasional rainstorm. While they are winter boots, these will do well at keeping your feet dry in wet snow as well.
Gore-Tex is the material Lowa went with the for the liner, and it was the perfect choice. Since Gore-Tex is both breathable and waterproof, the wearer gets the perfect combination of foot comfort and moisture protection. These boots can handle stream crossing and treks in rainy weather very well.
The Nubuck leather upper is naturally water-resistant so the chances of your feet ever getting wet are nearly impossible. The upper even has a Cordura ankle cuff which is flexible but close fitting enough to stop both water and general debris from falling into the boot. Lowa even made the tongue gusseted which not only helps with water but really comes in handy keeping dirt and debris out when going off trail in the backcountry.
Disadvantages of the Renegade GTX
Despite everything good that can be said about this model, it isn’t without its faults. Problems caused by customer fault aside, there is one common disadvantage to these boots.
Not as Durable as Expected
There aren’t very many bad reviews for these boots but among the ones you do find you’ll notice a trend – durability concerns. Lowa doesn’t offer an indication of how long these boots should last, simply because it varies too widely based on how and where the boots are worn.
However, it’s reasonable to expect these boots to last for a few years, perhaps one year if these are all you wear on a nearly daily basis. Some customers have found that these expectations were not met.
Some were only able to get 150-300 miles before the boot had to resoled. The major failure point is the sole flapping away from the boot. It isn’t clear if this was because of a bad batch or because Lowa used a low-quality glue. Some customers have never had a durability issue, and end up just getting new insoles simply due to normal wear after 2 or 3 years.
Lowa does have a good customer service policy so if your boots due experience this abnormal issue, they will work with you. Nevertheless, for being priced at $230 Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot,Stone/Brown,11.5 M US retail you would expect durability to not be a concern.
Despite its one downside, the Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot,Stone/Brown,11.5 M US remains a solid 4.5+ star boot. It is the perfect all-around outdoor boot and comes in a nearly unheard of selection of different colors. While it does have one flaw, which may or may not happen, it’s numerous advantages and history of proving itself well in the field can’t be ignored.
If you’re looking for a new pair of classic midlength boots that can handle a little bit of everything, visit a Lowa retailer to try these on.
Sam Hardy is an outdoor enthusiast with a penchant for survival skills. He writes about the great outdoors and his favorite equipment here.