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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > LOWA Tiago GTX Mid Boots > Test Report by Brian Hartman

LOWA TIAGO GTX MID BOOTS
TEST SERIES BY BRIAN HARTMAN
LONG-TERM REPORT
November 19, 2016

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Brian Hartman
EMAIL: bhart1426ATyahooDOT com
AGE: 48
LOCATION: Central Indiana
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 20 years throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and most recently in Western USA. In addition to backpacking I enjoy family camping with my wife and kids and being outdoors in general. I would describe myself as a mid weight backpacker. I use fairly light weight equipment and gear but still like to bring more than the bare essentials with me while on the trail.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Lowa IMAGE 1
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.lowaboots.com/
MSRP: US $175.00
Listed Weight: 34.6 oz (980 g) per pair
Measured Weight: 36 oz (1020 g) per pair
Available Colors: Anthracite/Lime, Black/Gray, Espresso/Rust
Available Sizes: 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 11.5, 12, 13, 14
Available Widths: Medium, Wide (Anthracite/Lime and Espresso/Rust only)
Size Tested: 10 Wide, Anthracite/Lime

Upper: Split Leather, Fabric
Lining: Waterproof Gore-Tex
Footbed: Climate Control
Midsole: DuraPU (polyurethane) with Monowrap Frame
Outsole: Lowa Multicross rubber sole
Stabilizer: Full-length, Medium

Lowa describes the new Tiago GTX Mids (hereafter called Tiagos or boots) as All Terrain boots that are "phenomenally comfortable, supportive and cushioned. Super lightweight footwear, designed to take active people anywhere they'd like to go." The Tiago GTX Mids are, in fact, replacements for the Lowa Tempest GTX Mid boots, but with a fresh athletic design and a focus on comfort and versatile fit.

The Tiagos have nubuck leather uppers and a Gore-Tex liner that allows water vapor to escape from inside the boots without letting water in. In addition, they have several other features including a removable Climate Control footbed, Monowrap frame technology for lateral stability, a full-length stabilizer, and a PU midsole for increased durability and shock absorption. Finally, they have Lowa's exclusive rubber outsoles with aggressive 4mm (0.2 in) lugs for improved traction on any surface. Lowa boots are 100% designed and handcrafted in Europe.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Tiago GTXs arrived at my doorstep in a gray cardboard shoe box with Lowa's logo on the top and sides. Inside, the boots were neatly wrapped in tissue paper with cardboard inserts in the toes. I assume the inserts were there to keep the toes from getting compressed during shipping. Upon looking at the boots, I was immediately impressed with their styling; the dark, almost black leather uppers give them a sophisticated appearance while the lime green stitching on the sides and back provides a small splash of color for an overall great look. I was also struck by how lightweight they feel. I later confirmed that the combined weight of both boots is 36 oz (1020 g). I own several pair of low cut hikers that weigh the same or more than these boots! When backpacking with a heavy load or when I know I'll be traveling off-trail or through creeks and streams, I much prefer mid cut boots, especially when there's no weight penalty associated with them.

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The Tiagos are 7 in (17.8 cm) tall, as measured to the top of the tongue, and 6 in (15.2 cm) from the bottom of the heel to the ankle collar. Their construction appears to be solid throughout with no loose stitching, frays, or material imperfections. They have leather uppers and a synthetic tongue that is fully gusseted to keep water and debris from getting inside the boots. The lacing system consists of one pair of traditional metal eyelets at the base of the tongue followed by three pair of webbing eyelets and finally three pair of riveted lace locks at the top. The lace locks are a nice addition as they keep the laces tight while tying them up and they also prevent the laces from coming loose if they happen to get untied while trampling through brush. Surprisingly there are no pull loops at the heels of the boots to help get them on and off. I will see if this presents any issues for me during field testing. The boots have a nice thick rubber heel guard while the toe guard consists of an extra piece of leather sewn on the front of the boots. I prefer rubber toe guards because they are so durable but I guess the advantage to Lowa's design is that sewn-on leather will never peel off.

The rubber outsoles for these boots are exclusive to Lowa and feature an aggressive tread that appears durable and quite 'sticky'. As they are proclaimed to provide superb performance, comfort and durability, I will be sure to evaluate them thoroughly and report my findings. I'm anxious to see how well they perform on wet rocks and slippery mud. I'll also be watching to see if they can remain clog-free in clay, which is a nemesis to most outsoles.

IMAGE 5 The Tiagos have a PU Monowrap Frame midsole for lateral stability and integrated PU midsole for shock absorption. According to Lowa the PU material not only provides better shock absorption than EVO but is also more durable. After further testing I will report how well it cushions my steps and absorbs large impacts. The true test of course will be how my feet feel after a long day on the trail.

These boots also feature a full-length stabilizer (shank) for added foot protection and boot control. Of course the stabilizer also makes the boots stiffer and less flexible, which in my opinion is a trade-off.

Moving to the inside of the boot, the top portions of the tongue and ankle collar are lined with soft nylon. The Gore-Tex lining encases the rest of the inside of the boot. From my previous experience, this type of lining is exceptionally breathable yet waterproof so it should keep my feet both comfortable and dry.

The Climate Control footbed (inserts) are surprisingly thin and don't appear to provide much padding or arch support. They consist of two materials sandwiched together and are designed to wick moisture and allow air to circulate around the foot. They do appear to be washable which is a bonus.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Two hang tags were attached to the Tiago boots, one from Gore-Tex and one from Lowa. The hang tags provided general information on Gore-Tex, as well as simple care and cleaning instructions for the boots. I found more detailed boot care instructions on the manufacturer's website.

Lowa recommends the following procedures once the boots become wet or full of mud:
1. Remove the laces and insoles. Open the boots up fully and allow them to dry for 24 hours.
2. If the boots are muddy, put them in lukewarm water and brush them off completely.
3. Apply a wax or cream to impregnate the leather.
4. Apply a silicone based liquid or spray to the leather

TRYING THEM OUT

The Tiagos came pre-laced, so all I had to do was slip them on and tie the laces. While walking around the house the boots were very comfortable and I felt no pressure points or tight spots. They also seemed to provide great support based on the short time I wore them indoors.

SUMMARY

The Tiagos are well designed boots with top quality materials and workmanship. With the Tiagos, Lowa has created a lightweight boot that feels both comfortable and sturdy while incorporating lots of neat features. I am anxious to put some miles on these boots during the next few months while testing their capabilities.

This concludes my Initial Report for the Tiagos. Please check back in two months for my Field Report. In the meantime thanks to Lowa and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test these boots.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

IMAGE 1 I wore the Tiagos for nine days and approximately 40 mi (64 km) during Field Testing. I was able to test the boots while backpacking in both wet and dry conditions and in temperatures that ranged from 69 to 88 F (21 to 31 C). My pack weight during these trips ranged from 34 to 39 lbs (15 to 18 kg) as I brought a few luxury items with me that I wouldn't normally carry while backpacking. My hiking was both on and off-trail and included two stream walks and several large ridge climbs.

MacGregor Park, Indiana: I went on two day hikes in this park for the sole purpose of getting a few miles on these boots before taking them overnighting. During the course of both days I logged 9 mi (14 km). Temperatures were in the mid to upper 80s F (31 C) and it was mostly sunny on my first visit but rained on my second visit to the park.

Hoosier National Forest, Indiana: Daytime temperatures were a comfortable 76 F (37 C) during this extended backpacking trip through the Deam Wilderness. I hiked approximately 15 miles (24 km) and crossed several streams on this outing. The trails were hard packed and the terrain was forested and hilly with elevations ranging from 530 to 790 ft (161 to 241 m).

Franklin County, Indiana: My final two trips were to Franklin County in Southeastern Indiana where I hiked approximately 12 mi (19 km) during the course of three days. The weather was cool and rainy on the first day but then cleared up allowing me to enjoy sunny skies and moderate temperatures on days two and three.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Tiagos performed very well during Field Testing. Below are the details of my test results after wearing them for the past two months:

Durability: The Tiagos held up well to trail abuse with only minor scuffs and no discoloration to speak of despite muddy conditions on at least one hike and numerous creek and stream crossings on my other outings. The leather toe caps and uppers are still in good condition and the rubber soles show only minimal signs of wear. When the boots got dirty I let them dry out and then brushed them off with a stiff brush and that seemed to work fine. If there was any remaining dirt I ran them under water and then let them dry out once again. Finally, I didn't have any issues with the boot laces or eyelets while backpacking; in fact the laces are in relatively good condition despite getting caught on numerous briars.

Comfort and Fit: The Tiagos fit very well. I ordered size 10W and had plenty of room in the toe box with no heel slip or rubbing of the collars against my ankles. I also experienced no hot spots, blisters or pinch points during Field Testing. The Tiagos were easy to slip on each morning and the laces stayed snug throughout the day. They also provided good arch support and a stable base that was much appreciated, given my 39 lbs (18 kg) pack weight on at least one trip. The boots were stiff when I first started wearing them but they broke in within a few days and several miles of hiking.

While going up and down steep terrain I was thankful that the Tiagos were lightweight, comfortable and provided great foot support. Most boots deliver on two of these three things but not all three. Usually they are comfortable and provide great support but aren't lightweight or they are lightweight and comfortable but don't provide good support. The fact that the boots did all three things well allowed me to hike for hours on the trail without feeling fatigued.

Traction: The Tiagos provided great traction on nearly every surface I encountered including mud, wet rocks, steep uphill climbs and steep declines. The boots were surefooted and the lugs never lost their grip regardless of where I stepped. A big plus of course was that because they are mid height boots I was never concerned about rolling an ankle while traversing hillsides. Only once did I nearly fall and that was my gaffe for stepping on a downed tree that had rotted out. Overall I was impressed with Lowa's outsoles.

Waterproofness: The insides of the Tiagos stayed completely dry on the trail thanks to their Gore-Tex lining. Not only did no water get inside the boots but just as importantly the Gore-Tex membrane allowed moisture to escape so that my feet and socks never felt damp from perspiration even when hiking in 88 F (31 C) temperatures.

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SUMMARY

Lowa hit the nail on the head with the Tiagos. They are lightweight, comfortable and provide great support while carrying a heavy pack. They have done a good job of keeping my feet dry in wet conditions and have plenty of traction on the trail. Overall, I consider these to be excellent boots.

This concludes my Field Report. Please check back in two months for my Long Term Report. In the meantime, thanks to Lowa and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test these boots.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Since posting my Field Report in September I wore the Lowa Tiago GTX boots on two additional backpacking trips and two day hikes for a total of eight days and 22 mi (35 km). Temperatures ranged from 42 to 77 F (6 to 25 C) during my outings and the weather was generally very nice with only a brief period of rain one afternoon. Elevations in the areas I hiked ranged from 560 to 710 ft (161 to 241 m).

Trip 1: During this trip I hiked approximately 9 mi (14 km), all off-trail, through fields and forests.

Location: Southeast Indiana (IN)
Type of Trip: Off-trail hiking
Distance: 9 mi (14 km)
Length of Trip: Three days
Backpack Weight: 36 lb (16 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Mild and sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 54 to 77 F (12 to 25 C)

Trip 2: I hiked approximately 11 mi (19 km) on this trip. The weather was cool and rainy on the first day but then cleared up allowing me to enjoy sunny skies and moderate temperatures on days two and three.

Location: Southeast Indiana (IN)
Type of Trip: Off-trail hiking
Distance: 11 mi (18 km)
Length of Trip: Three days
Backpack Weight: 35 lb (15 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Rainy the first afternoon but nice afterwards
Precipitation: 0.4 in (1.0 cm)
Temperature Range: 42 to 66 F (6 to 19 C)

IMAGE 1

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The weather was perfect on my first trip of this test period. Brightly colored autumn leaves lit up the landscape as I hiked across several miles of gently rolling hillsides before entering a small forest where I decided to spend the night. It only took a few minutes to set up camp, so I went out afterwards to gather some firewood for the evening. After cooking dinner I sat around the fire for an hour or two before heading off to bed. Temperatures cooled down considerably after sunset so I was glad to have the fire for warmth. I spent the following day hiking but returned to the same campsite the following night because the area was so nice.

I had no problems whatsoever with the Tiago GTX boots on this trip. They were comfortable to wear over long distances and did a good job supporting my low arches. Similar to my experience during Field Testing I didn't have any hot spots or blisters while wearing the boots during the past two months. They were easy to take off while sitting around the campfire and easy to slip back on again before retiring for the evening. I hung them next to my hammock where they were easy to reach when I got out of bed later that night to stoke the fire.

It rained for several hours on my second trip but that didn't bother the Tiagos. They performed wonderfully on this trip, keeping my feet warm and dry in the cool, damp weather. Likewise my feet never felt sweaty or damp after hiking all day so I felt confident that the Gore-Tex lining was doing its job of allowing the boots to breathe. The outsoles were plenty aggressive so my feet never slipped while trail hiking and I was pleased to see that the treads didn't clog with mud. After the trip was over I simply knocked off any loose dirt and then hosed the boots off and let them dry out in my basement.

Before writing this report I pulled out the footbeds and sent them through the washer and dryer. Upon evaluation they are still in good condition but I do wish they were more substantial as they are simply too thin to provide any meaningful cushion.

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SUMMARY

The Tiago GTX boots performed fantastically during the past four months of testing. There are many things to like about them including: they are supportive, comfortable to wear and provide excellent traction. They are also easy to lace up and easy to take off after a long day on the trail. Finally they proved to be quite durable with no stitching, fabric or outsole issues. In fact, after many miles on the trails these boots are still in great condition.

This concludes my Long Term Test Report and this Test Series. I would like to thank Lowa and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these boots.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

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