A great lightweight walking boot
Are the Lowa Renegade GTX mid boots the ultimate lightweight hiking boots? In this article, I’ll talk about who they are for and what they are for.
I have owned a pair for 3 years, and my wife, Helen, has had 2 pairs over the last 6 years. In that time we have learned the good and bad about these walking boots.
What are the Lowa Renegades for?
When I bought my Lowa Renegades, I was toying with using light fell running shoes for my hill walking, but I couldn’t bring myself to go that extreme. I felt I needed ankle protection and more support. The Lowa Renegade seemed to be the perfect compromise, as they were so light and flexible. They feel more like shoes than heavy old-fashioned walking boots and have proved to be ideal
I use mine for moderate scrambling and, whilst they are not perfect for that task, they are more than up to it. For fell walking on good to moderate paths, they are excellent.
They are my go to boot for a wild camping trip in the woods where they get a pretty hard time whilst practicing bushcraft skills. The major benefit here is that they are light and comfortable for wearing all day and evening. I don’t need to take a second pair of shoes for the evenings. They are a comfortable all day boot.
Lowa say they are for “paths and trails” and also for “hill walking”. I would say that is an accurate description of what they are best at.
What are the limits of use?
There is not a lot of lateral support, so traversing steep hill sides sees your foot rolling at the ankle as opposed to being able to dig an edge in. This is not a problem in most situations and is what I would expect. I am very happy with how they behave.
The soles are very flexible, which limits support if you are scrambling. This is not what these boots are designed for and the flexibility is spot on for normal walking use. I wouldn’t use them for steep or rocky work by choice, but they work just fine. If you do a lot of scrambling, this is not the boot to use. You will wear it out pretty fast.
If you can afford to replace your boots regularly, then the Renegades are still a superb choice of light boot as they still work well if pushed beyond their intended purpose.
When I bought mine, I knew I would be abusing them, and would be happy if they didn’t last long. They did much better than I expected.
For steeper and rockier work, there are better options than the Lowa Renegade. In this situation, they are very capable but not ideal.
How comfortable are the boots?
Both Helen and I have found the Renegade GTXs to be supremely comfortable, from new to several years old. This is a real advantage of using light flexible boots.
I threw out the supplied insole and replaced them with Superfeet ones, and they are amazing. Helen still has the original insoles, and she is extremely comfortable in hers.
The boots are very breathable and, unless it is extremely hot, I don’t suffer with damp socks.
The Lowa Renegades come in half sizes, narrow, and wide, as well as regular fittings. The wide is not extremely wide. This is what I wear and I don’t consider myself to have wide feet.
They have a generous sized toe box with plenty of room for toe movement.
There is a lot of stitching, which means they are well shaped and fit well. They hardly need breaking in.
I’m not 100% happy with the construction, but they are fit for purpose if you don’t push them beyond what they were designed for.
The top is not glued to the sole; it is hot moulded into it by an injection process. This eliminates the problem with glue degrading over time. It does work, but the rand has come away from the leather in a few places on 2 pairs of boots my wife and I have owned. Not in a disastrous way, but it shouldn’t happen at this price point.
Mine get a pretty hard time with a bit of scrambling here and there, but Helen’s don’t and they failed similarly. They were replaced, and the new ones seem fine. They are definitely not perfect in this department.
The outer shell is nubuck leather that is quite thin but very water repellant when treated with Grangers Gwax. There is a lot of thin stitching, which is a weak point if you plan to do much scrambling. This is the first point that failed on my wife’s old boots, but not in a way that affected the use of them. It is to be expected of lightweight boots.
Laces and eyelets
The laces are good quality but the ends fall apart pretty soon, making them difficult to thread after cleaning. This is easily remedied by melting the ends, but make sure to melt them in to a point or they are difficult to thread.
The eyelets are strong and have never shown any sign of corrosion. The laces run smoothly through all of them. Faultless.
How waterproof are the Lowa Renegades?
The boots have proved very waterproof over the years. I treat them with Grangers wax and this does an excellent job of making them repel water.
The one piece Goretex lining does its job well, and it’s rare that I get a damp foot. They are very breathable and don’t make my feet sweat. So all in all, a very dry boot.
No boot is completely waterproof, but the Lowa Renegade is as close as it gets.
Do they grip well?
The tread on the soles is more suited to tracks and trails than very muddy conditions. The gaps in the tread are small and mud gets stuck. They cope well, but there are better options out there for very muddy terrain.
They are pretty slippy on wet rocks but no more so than any boot.
The Lowa Renegade GTX mid boots weigh in at around 1170g a pair.
The soles are Vibram.
The lining is one piece Goretex.
They come in 12 different colours.
Full details can be found on the Lowa website.
How long will they last?
The soles last well and have not split or worn out. The weakest link appears to be the stitching if it gets scuffed on rocks. It’s pretty thin. But even when it is worn, the boot still holds together well.
As mentioned, the joint between the rand and the leather can open up after a couple of years of heavy use. Once again, not an issue and the lining keeps them dry.
How much are the Lowa Renegades?
The Lowa Renegade is around £140, so not cheap. But no good walking boot is.
I think they are good value and will last well if you don’t abuse them.
If you use them beyond their intended purpose, they can become expensive, as you may have to replace them frequently.
If you are looking for a tough do anything boot that will last forever, these aren’t for you. There are better options, but they won’t be as light and comfortable.
The Lowa Renegade GTX is a lightweight, medium durability boot, designed for medium duty use in the hills of Britain. It’s perfect for lowland walking.
The Renegades are great for hill walking on paths that are not too steep or rocky. If I only walked on flat and good hill paths, this would be the one pair of boots I would choose.
If you have the luxury of being able to own more than 1 pair of boots, then the Renegades are a perfect choice for lighter walking. Team them up with a stiffer, more durable boot for rocky and steep stuff.