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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > LOWA Tiago GTX Mid Boots > Test Report by Michael Mosack

LOWA TIAGO GTX MID-CUT BOOTS
TEST SERIES BY MIKE MOSACK
LONG-TERM REPORT
September 25, 2016

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

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Mosack
EMAIL: mosack(at)earthlink(dot)net
AGE: 52
LOCATION: San Diego, California USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.90 m)
WEIGHT: 240 lb (109.00 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, doing day trips, weekenders and week-long or longer trips throughout the year. I backpack in all climates and seasons, from summer desert trips to Spring/Winter camping in Michigan, California and Grand Canyon, Arizona. I rely on my equipment constantly. I prefer to go lighter when possible and I am always trying new items. Quality and reliability of items are paramount to me over price and weight.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

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Manufacturer: Lowa Boots, LLC
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Image from mfg website

Year of Manufacture: 2016
Manufacturer's Website: www.lowaboots.com
MSRP: US $175.00
Listed Weight: 34.5 oz (980 g) details not listed
Measured Weight: 1 lb 5.8 oz or 21.8 oz (618 g) weight is for one boot
Other details:
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a warranty that looks pretty standard and is for 12 months from the date of purchase. Specific information is available on the manufacturer's website.

These boots are available in three color options, which are Espresso/Rust (shown), Black/Gray, and Anthracite/Lime. The boots I am testing are Espresso/Rust in Men's US size 14 (EU 49).
This product is imported and made in Europe

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Actual product tested


The Lowa Tiago GTX Mid-cut Boot has a split-leather fabric upper with a GORE-TEX waterproof lining. The manufacturer states that the boot has a climate control footbed over a DuraPU with MONOWRAP Frame midsole. Specific information regarding features on these or other Lowa products can be found on the manufacturer's website and by clicking "Details that Matter". Per the manufacturer's website, MONOWRAP is described as "frame technology, for boots that are lighter and more supportive than ever." "Dual Density PU (polyurethane) HEEL COUNTER adds heel stability" and "PU MONOWRAP Frame and Integrated PU Midsole deliver outstanding shock absorption; are more durable, long-lasting and eco-friendly than other midsole materials."

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The boots have a full-length medium stabilizer and it is wrapped by a Lowa Multicross outsole. This boot was manufactured to replace Lowa's "multi-functional Tempest GTX Mid, with a fresh athletic design and a focus on comfort and versatile fit."

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The sole has an aggressive tread pattern that appears it is designed for traction while easily allowing debris to clear away from the lugs.

The lacing design has a partial speed-lacing hook system.

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INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

When I pulled the boots out of the box, I noted that they felt like they were solidly constructed. The boots are good looking and free of any defects. The boots have a pull tab located on the heel to help with pulling the boots on.

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I also noted that the lacing system has 3 pairs of hooks at the top half of the uppers for speed-lacing. Admittedly, I'm not a big fan of the hooks to secure laces. Historically, I have a lot of issues where the hooks catch my pant leg, catch other hooks or the laces on my other foot, or fail to properly hold the lace securely during a hike. Therefore, I am very interested in seeing how these boots will perform for me in the upcoming 4 months.

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The boot's uppers feel and appear well-padded and the tongue is as well. I noticed that there is no small centering loop on the tongue for the laces to be routed through to aid in keeping the tongue centered across the top of the foot. This is kind of odd to me for a mid-cut boot, so this is a missing feature I'll have to see if I'm even going to miss or have an issue with.

The tread design on the bottom of the boots are an aggressive looking pattern with lugs that are deep enough to appear that they will easily self-clean mud, snow, and sand away while walking. The bottom sole is also constructed from a singular piece of rubber. I prefer this instead of those boots and shoes that have two or more piece construction. I feel that the singular piece should be less-likely to separate. I am looking forward to watching this to see how the boots survive.

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The removable insoles feel as if they are kind of a minimalistic design and construction. There is a molded heel cup and slight rise for the instep, but the bottom looks like a singular felt covering.

TRYING IT OUT

Putting on the boots and walking around the house, I noted that while the length fits fine, these boots are not the wide version, and the normal width feels a little tight to me. The boots are brand new so we'll see how they feel as they get broken in. I have a normal-width foot, but I do prefer to wear a wide to enable my feet to open up as I roll my feet through a step.

CARE INSTRUCTIONS

Step by step boot care instructions are provided with the product on a multi-language booklet and can also be found on the manufacturer's website, by clicking "Details that Matter". Perusing the instructions showed that the procedures for caring for these boots are not really any different from any other similar leather hiking boots.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Dayhike at Jacumba, California USA Boulder Park Elevation 2900 to 3000 ft (884 to 914 m)
Boulder rock piles and some foot paths

Pacific Crest Trail section in Laguna Mountain region of Southern California, USA
Conditions: Foot trails and forest access dirt roads. Temperatures ranging from 55 to 90 F (13 to 32 C)
Duration: Three-day trip

Klamath River Recreational Area in Northern California USA
Conditions: Open range, some river rock, both grassy and rocky areas; clear and sunny skies with temperatures that ranged from 65 to 94 F (18 to 34 C).
Duration: Three-day trip

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I have found that these shoes are very comfortable, with or without wearing socks. The front toe-box is just roomy enough for me to wiggle my toes while also providing me a secure fit. I have yet to experience any hot spots or blisters or abrasions as a result of wearing these shoes. Although I do experience a little excessive pressure on top of my big toe at the first joint, I like the fit and feel of the boots. Not to start a debate over boots vs. shoes, I am normally one who prefers hiking in trail-runners or similar weight shoes. I have always been pretty athletic and my confidence in my steps is only surpassed by my dedication to foot placement, so I rarely have issues with my feet, ankles, knees, or back. I hope that this will continue as I get older. These boots seem to be a good compromise for shoe hikers looking for more foot and ankle support as these are pretty lightweight as compared to many other hiking boots I own.

The shoe laces stay tied and I have not experienced any lace slippage over the tongue. The tongue is well padded and has material connecting it to the upper to help keep water and debris out. On rock, I was able to easily maintain a solid hands-free standing grip on a 45 degree vertical on clean, dry, and relatively smooth granite rock while facing either uphill or downhill. The shoes maintain decent grip when they contact slippery rock surfaces and even when the soles get dusty or sandy. Grassy inclines or where there is sediment, debris, etc. are pretty much a non-issue as the traction provided makes for solid footing in my experience to date.

I am experiencing an minor issue of pressure by the upper pressing down onto my big toe, in the area of the first joint. For you medical types, it would be on the top side, where the Metatarsus and Proximal Phalange bones come together. This also is just on my right foot. I'm still hopeful that this is a temporary issue that will go away as I continue to wear the boots.

CLEANING

Cleaning mud from the sole is pretty easy as the tread design is a deep pattern with wide channels that allows a stick or grass or a brush to wipe away the packed in mud.

Washing the shoes - I have cleaned the shoes in the field, using the above methods for the tread. For the uppers, I let the mud dry, then used a brush. I then wiped the shoes with a damp cloth. Afterward, I placed the wet shoes outside, on top of a rock in direct sunlight to dry. The temperature was approximately 85 F (29 C) and the shoes were dry in about 10 minutes.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Numerous miscellaneous day hikes ranging from 2 - 5 miles (3 - 8 km) in the area of Eastern San Diego County, California, USA.
Conditions: Maintained trails, grassy areas, some concrete sidewalks and maintained roadway shoulders. Temperatures ranging from approximately 70 to 90 F (21 to 32 C).
Duration: Day hikes only.

Three-day trip to the Pacific Crest Trail section in Laguna Mountain region of Southern California, USA
Conditions: Foot trails and forest access dirt roads. Temperatures ranged from approximately 55 to 80 F (13 to 27 C) and elevations from approximately 1000 to 4000 ft (300 to 1200 m).

Two-day trip in the area near the Klamath River Recreational Area in Northern California where the conditions included clear and sunny skies with temperatures that ranged from 65 - 94 F (18 - 34 C).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

So during this test, I have noticed a repeated issue. The boot's speed-lacing hooks are failing to maintain their hold of my shoe lace during extended walks. The laces seem to just come loose from the hooks even without being caught on anything. I have ensured that the laces are snugly to tightly tied. I have even tucked the lace loops and free ends into the top of my boots to help secure them, to no avail. The laces still pop out of the hooks. I often have a lot of issues with other boots where the hooks catch my pant leg, catch hooks or laces on my opposite boot, but not so much with these boots.

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Reoccurring lace issue


The tongue stays put and does not gravitate to one side or the other even without a sewn lace-centering loop. The boots provide a superior grip on different surfaces, to include grass, gravel, wet or dry rock, and even muddy areas. I have not experienced any separation of the rubber sole or any separation from the uppers. I am still feeling the pressure on the top of my foot, near my big toe. This becomes more of an issue the longer I wear these boots. Although I have yet to experience a blister, I really do look forward to taking off my boots as I near the end of my hike - much more than any other boots or shoes I have worn on similar length hikes.
The removable insoles that came with these boots are still comfortable, however, my preference is normally to replace included insoles for custom or performance type insoles. My concern in this case is that a thicker insole will surely increase the pressure I feel on the top of my toe, rather than decrease it, so I do not see the benefit of changing out these insoles just yet. I believe I will continue to wear these boots during some outings, although admittedly, I perceive that they will be for shorter length hikes to minimize the time of pressure related issues on the top of my foot.

SUMMARY

I like these boots. I like their overall fit and feel. They are proving to be well constructed of quality materials. They maintain solid traction on a variety of terrain conditions. The boots also clean up pretty easily in the field. The boots are a quality item with solid construction. The pull tab on the heel to help with pulling on the boot is a standard feature, but unnecessary for me. This seems as if it is a design after-thought and is just not really user-friendly. There is no center-of-tongue sewn centering-lace loop and this boot just doesn't need one as the tongue doesn't track off-center.

What I like -
They are well made
The tongue stays put
The soles are constructed of a singular piece of rubber which minimizes the chances of separation.
Great traction on a multitude of terrain types.

What I don't -
The speed-lacing system fails to hold the laces securely while walking.
The sewn pull-tab on the heels, for me, is completely unnecessary even though it's a standard feature for many hiking boots.
Last, but not least is the pressure I feel pressing down on the top of my right foot, which detracts from these boots. I can only hope that this is just a singular issue and not a common problem.

I would like to thank Lowa and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.

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

Read more reviews of Lowa gear
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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > LOWA Tiago GTX Mid Boots > Test Report by Michael Mosack



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