Good boots are important, water is wet and Communists deserve one-way helicopter rides. All of the above are intuitively obvious to the most casual observer, but I also see a surprising number of people walking around in low-budget crappy footwear. Lowa is certainly not the only ultra-premium brand of boots out there, but it definitely deserves to be on your short list if you are looking at an upgrade to your footwear. I’ve beat up worn these for almost three years now and could not be happier with the return on my investment.
Lowa originates in Jetzendorf, Germany and got their start making work shoes for the locals. Soon they moved on to making mountain boots, specifically for the German mountain infantry. Post-WW2 they were very well known in the ski boot industry and among serious mountaineers, Jim Whittaker had a pair on when he became the first American to summit Everest in 1963. Fast forward to 2020, and the boots are still made in Jetzendorf or Italy by hand. While certainly not the Alps, living in the mountains of Appalachia you quickly learn the difference between cheap Chinesium and properly constructed footwear, particularly in regards to footwear construction.
The Renegade GTX is one of Lowa’s oldest boot designs and there’s a reason for it. The boots aren’t light, at over 550 grams per boot it has some heft, but in my completely unscientific opinion they also aren’t as heavy as traditional leather Danners. The entire boot is wrapped in a Gore-Tex liner, and I can attest that they are indeed waterproof. Whether it’s 400 rain for three straight days, hours in the wet snow or standing in a creek waiting to ambush someone, they’ve kept my feet dry. The lack of insulation can mean cold feet in the dead of winter, but given the relatively mild winters here and some decent wool socks, these are four season boots for most of the US. The outsole is Vibram, and the insole is surprisingly decent quality for a stock one. Most importantly it has a full length stabilizer, which is crucial when you are rucking and scrambling around hills. The mid-length uppers are my personal preference; tall enough to secure your ankles but not extending too far up your calves.
As you can see, the tread is appropriately aggressive, and has worn pretty well over time. Granted these have seen virtually no concrete or asphalt, which has undoubtedly helped with tread wear. The construction of the uppers is what has really impressed me. Almost all the miles on these have been over uneven terrain, in water, mud, heat and cold. Most of those miles with at least a rifle and ammunition, or a 50 lb. ruck. I haven’t had any issues with the laces, stitching, or separation between the sole and upper. The fit is true to size (almost identical to Keen), with a generous toe box and while a break in period is necessary it is not excessive.
While these are the best boots I have ever owned, they are not cheap. The MSRP is $240, which is comparable to Danner, Oboz, Vasque and La Sportiva. They are also wear items with a finite shelf life. However, despite the cost I highly recommend these or another similar brand that is designed for actual hard use. The difference is dramatic, and it’s reflected in the build quality. I also appreciate the decidedly non-cool guy look to them. Be serious about your feet, and take care of them so they take care of you. Links below are where to find these…you may need them sooner than you think.