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Remember using warm socks with the Lowa Renegade GTX Hiking Boots when it's cold.
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The Lowa Renegade GTX is a classic, middle-of-the-ground hiking boot with a surprisingly good range of use. But specifically for trekking with a weighted pack over semi-tricky terrain, the Renegades offer a solid option at a middle-of-the-pack price range.

The claimed comfort and weatherproof profile made these boots worth testing to see the limits of their utility. Combined with a streamlined support construction that cuts down on overall weight, Lowa has a boot intended for a lot of different landscapes and all seasons.

There’s much to like about the Renegade GTX and little to decry as detailed in this review of one of the best hiking boots you can get.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.9

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Great ankle support
  • check-mark
    Good weight to support ratio
  • check-mark
    Very Waterproof
  • check-mark
    Great shock absorption on craggy terrain
  • check-mark
    A little wider shoe
  • check-mark
    Good heel padding

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markNot the warmest boot

Where to buy:

Lowa Renegade Gtx 2

Lowa Renegade GTX

Specs & Features

  • Upper: Heinen Terracare® Nubuck Leather
  • Lining: GORE-TEX
  • Outsole: VIBRAM® Evo
  • Midsole: Double Injection DuraPU®
  • Insole: ATC
  • Weight: 1.57 lbs. (single size 12 shoe)
See the complete list of the best Hiking Boots here!
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A Great Mid-Range Hiking Boot

This is a boot for a casual, but consistent outdoor enthusiast. As a mid-range option for hiking trips and as a winter boot too, it performed surprisingly well during testing.

It hits a great mark of balance between the technical profile of heavier footwear like the Hanwag trekking boots and an inexpensive option that can’t help but communicate inadequacies through blisters or pins & needles.

Relatively high ankle cuffs allow for treading into streams to refill your LifeStraw. That support is also great on rocky paths.

 

I would take these back to most of Sagarmatha National Park for their warmth and support. Also for the comfort afforded by the lightweight nature of the material. On the other hand, at under 2 lbs, the Renegade GTX is a lighter hiking boot that can still support more technical hikes.

The insulation and isolation of the material give added comfort when lugging a semi-heavy pack around tricky terrain.

The semi-well trodden path is a great landscape for these Lowas, rather than craggy surfaces not accustomed to pedestrian traversers. Here, heavier hiking boots like the Zamberlan Vioz and aforementioned Hanwags, which cost twice as much, will have a better profile for the more challenging treks.

But like more expensive, technical boots, the Renegades have Vibram soles that are great on the steep inclines and declines over sketchy, rocky terrains.

For these reasons and the ease of getting a foot into these boots, these hikers also make a very decent winter boot. The Gore-Tex is obviously something great for cold weather, the treads for stability over ice, but the weatherproofing up the entirety of the ankle make snow and freezing rain a non-issue.

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Related Reviews

Support and Stability

As mentioned, the shank and rigid heel counter have a mid-range profile. Consistent with the middle of the pack, and in order to cut down on weight, the Renegades have reinforcements here that make it very supportive over uneven terrain.

A weak shank is one of the biggest flaws in outdoor boots of any kind. Without a good one to reinforce the inner sole and the Vibram bottoms, your legs and feet will get more tired and ankles will suffer over rough landscapes.

With a strong, full length shank Lowa can get away with having such a thin inner sole.

Unlike more sporty footwear, where flexibility is key to quick movements and change of direction, a hiker with a heavy pack going over a rocky trail will appreciate a strong, full length nylon shank like Lowa has put in the Renegade.

Having noted the boot’s more solid profile, we should also add that some cliff crawling and canyon scrambling might be very possible.

Back to the outer soles for a moment, it’s accepted wisdom that Vibram makes some of the best. For shock absorption and traction, these outer soles are great–especially while carrying significant packs. Just remember that the treads collect dirt and will track them into your house when you get home.

Moving up to the heel counter, which wraps around a boot and reinforces the heel cup, there’s a very lightweight and flexible one here. The Monowrap midsole, into which the counter runs, punches above its weight to stability ratio.

As for weight, it’s a reminder of what this boot is for and what it’s not. Not for really technically challenging, dangerous hikes. But a whole lot of everything else. This is one of  the lighter hiking boots on the market.

It’s for walking through marshes, getting submerged up to the ankles. It’s for trekking with a heavy pack over rocky, uneven terrain. It’s for camping and canoe tripping and it’s for use as a solid winter boot to keep your feet relatively warm and solid over icy ground.

Comfortable Like a Basketball Shoe

The fit of this classic hiking boot is pretty good, almost from the beginning. I put these on after trying the Salomon Quest and the Columbia Newton Ridge. The latter has a soft leather outer and nicely opens up for a wider foot like mine, while the Salomon has ankle support like the Renegade.

But the Renegade felt better (on my feet) right from the start. They felt like my old Nike Barkleys because of the flexible outer sole and soft inner cushioning. In fact, the insoles are some of the more impressive on any midweight and lightweight hiking boot seen in a while.

Tying these boots, on the other hand, isn’t the best with the eyelets, but most hiking boots aren’t too much fun lacing up because of this. Luckily they’re easy to unlace and egress from.

Still, these are hiking boots, so it’s not something that’s not going to be nice driving a car for their increased width and rigidness. But they are comfortable.

Doing the customary one-hour walk at home before field testing didn’t change much, probably because these are made for semi-wide feet. There is space for toes to wiggle and blood to circulate, unlike others like the narrower Adidas Terrex Swifts.

While the Swifts are more sporty, the more classic Renegade allows your feet to move freely, without thinking about the range of movement and, most importantly, discomfort.

It’s a combination of factors that leads to them being comfortable: cushioning, flexible outer sole, relatively low weight and nubuck leather uppers.

And ultimately after wandering around on a 4-day hiking and camping trip, the love affair between foot and boot really blossomed into a marriage of comfort and humble performance.

Up and down rocky terrains was a breeze. My heel stayed firmly on the comfy insole and my toes could wiggle without being compacted in the front. Long treks with 20-plus pounds of gear and food were no worries, thanks to the support and the shock absorption.

The traction and shock protection of trekking while weighted down was due to the nice middle supports of polyurethane and the nylon shanks that cover the whole of the boot. It makes them extremely comfortable walking around the firepit.

Confidently you can walk through running water, over slick boulders and tricky rocks, knowing that your foot is going to stay dry. That ankle support, thanks to the nice cuffs also take some strain off the rest of your legs.

In particular, with a bum knee, the Renegades seemed to help cushion and mitigate an otherwise semi-challenging few days.

One flaw or issue we can see causing complaints in the future is the thin inner sole. It measures a paltry ⅛ inch thick, not enough material to provide longer lasting cushion after a season of serious all terrain trekking.

We were curious to see if the laces fell off mid-hike, as some reviewer suggested, but it never did during some seriously wet and wicked walking.

Solid Traction

The Vibram soles are great. There’s not much more that needs to be said here, other than they have a tread and form that is really conducive to gripping uneven ground and going up and down rocky paths.

Called a “Carrarmato”, or tank tread in Italian, we can see why. It’s incredibly hard, but amazingly flexible so that you can actually jog a bit. At least it’s very comfortable.

It’s a wide outer sole, wide enough to hold its ground on slippery surfaces. That width makes it somewhat dangerous to drive, especially a manual car, but it’s certainly an advantage on tricky terrain.

The front of the sole has a decent rocker designed so you don’t catch your toe on rocks during flat hikes and especially not when going uphill. This is a particularly good thing when trouncing around in the dark, which I did under a moonless sky without any real mishap.

The biggest problem with these shoes, and one of my own making, is the tread makes such solid purchase on the ground that it collects mud. On two occasions I left muddy breadcrumbs inside the office, and (to my embarrassment) the trail of my generosity lead directly to my desk.

So, remember to clean the mud out of the treads before returning from the great outdoors. For your sake, and that of your fellows:)

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Solid Materials

Lowa has a basket of fancy, proprietary names attached to the methods and materials of this boot. After 20 years of tweaking the design of the Renegade, Lowa has utilized a lot of best practices.

Starting at the top, the ankle cuff ranges 6 inches up from the ground. On the inside at the top, it’s a semi-permeable nylon and polyester cushion that hugs the ankles snuggly. This allows for some nice breathability and, possibly, quicker drying. We say possibly, because no water ever made it into the boot, nor did my foot ever generate any sweat of note.

But the specs of this shoe suggest it has a formidable moisture wicking profile that, we assume, will work very well on its own. When we test these further in warmer conditions we’ll update on this point.

The leather uppers are really comfortable and add to the flex. Lowa calls this Heinen Terracare nubuck leather, and it makes for an amazingly weatherproof design when combined with the GORE-TEX linings.

Getting use to this boot seemed a less time consuming task as well, thanks to the nubuck/GORE-TEX materials.

Moving down to the usually unsung hero of any hiking boot, the midsole is a full length, MONOWRAP material. This fancy word leads to another patented mouthful: the double injection DuraPu®. Whatever the cool factor with these names, our testing revealed that they do wonders for stability and support as noted previously.

And we have to mention the Vibram outer sole. This is a Vibram® EVO sole, made from rubber and sourced from 30% recycled materials. Vibram is an awesome brand with origins in making safer mountaineering boots with expertise coming out of the Pirelli tire company.

Vibram is both warmer than many alternatives and has the tank traction quality that we previously noted.

While the construction is a mid-level design with very decent quality, it’s weight and water proofing are going to be good, then, for wet terrains as well as winter walks (i.e. where there’s ice and snow).

Remember the Socks

While the Vibram soles and comfortable, GORE-TEX inner lining would otherwise seem your feet are going to be burning up unless it’s below freezing, that’s not the case.

When hiking, especially moving about continually your feet will stay warm and comfortable. But when standing around the campfire at the stroke of midnight in 40 degrees (F), you’ll feel the chill unless you have some hiking or thermo ski socks on your feet.

This is pretty standard for outdoor activities and the reason why a good campfire is central to maintaining comfort.

But the socks also serve another purpose due to the aforementioned lacking thin inner sole. Alternatively, for summer trekking you might want to consider an upgraded inner sole.

Lowa Renegade Gtx 12

The Lowa Renegade is a very popular mid-boot for hiking. And with good reason. We’ve had them before and the latest iteration doesn’t disappoint. Quite the contrary, it avails itself nicely with all the latest advancements in materials (Made in Slovakia, this one is) that cut down on weight while stepping up on comfort.

For day hiking through wet forests like gullies and along river beds, the Renegades prove themselves to be strong, comfortable and waterproof. Waterproof, period. Without any additional treatment.

The wicking characteristics and support also lead us to recommend this hiker for longer trekking too. And we can’t help but say this is a great winter boot too.

For the price, though, it could be a touch too high. Probably because of its popularity.

But in the end, when you’re ankle deep–as I was several times in this boot–and not having a care in the world about it, the extra dollars won’t hold a candle to your comfort.

About Buying Hiking Boots

Hiking boots should fit snuggly but still provide enough wiggle room for the toes.  When trying them on for the first time, they should be ideally worn around the house for at least an hour if not more.

To simulate the type of landscape, the potential for different terrain, walking up and down the stairs is a good idea. Pay particular attention to walking downstairs, that your foot is held firmly and that your toes don’t slide forward into the inside front of the boot.

Lace them up and ensure your heel does not come away from the sole when taking steps.

If after an hour of having them on–testing how they feel and giving your feet a chance to warm up and expand as they will when walking–they don’t feel comfortable, send them back.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.9

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Great ankle support
  • check-mark
    Good weight to support ratio
  • check-mark
    Very Waterproof
  • check-mark
    Great shock absorption on craggy terrain
  • check-mark
    A little wider shoe
  • check-mark
    Good heel padding

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markNot the warmest boot

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