LOWA TIAGO GTX MID BOOT
TEST SERIES BY JERRY ADAMS
INITIAL REPORT - April 22, 2016
FIELD REPORT - August 09, 2016
LONG TERM REPORT - October 07, 2016
Portland, Oregon, USA
6' 1" (1.85 m)
195 lb (88.50 kg)
I started hiking about 45 years ago. My first backpacking trip was 40 years ago. I currently try to do one backpack trip of 1 to 5 nights every month (which can be tricky in the winter). Mostly I stay in the Western half of Oregon and Washington. In recent years I have shifted to lightweight - my pack weight without food and water is about 12 lb (6 kg). I make a lot of my own gear - silnylon tarp-tent, bivy, synthetic bag, simple bag style pack.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.lowaboots.com/
Listed Weight: 34.6 oz (980 g)
Measured Weight: 42 oz (1190 g) pair of size 13 US M
The Lowa Tiago GTX mid boots are mid-height Gore-Tex boots for hiking. On their website they are listed under "hiking", not "backpacking", but I'll be using them mostly for backpacking. I think Lowa has the idea that I need heavier boots for backpacking but I find lighter boots are better.
The boots have mostly leather uppers, with a synthetic fabric at the tongue and at the top around the ankle. There is a Gore-Tex membrane inside, and a synthetic lining.
The tongue is gusseted - there is fabric from one side, through the tongue, to the other side so no debris can get into the boots. There's no slit for the shoe laces to go through to keep the tongue from shifting sideways as is common with most boots/shoes - I'll see if there's excessive shifting because of this.
The laces are a round synthetic (Nylon?). They're fairly stretchy. There are webbing loops for the laces to go through instead of the more common eyelets. The leather uppers mostly cover the webbing. There's one nylon webbing loop at the center bottom. At the top are three pairs of metal open "eyelets" that allow the lacing to be inserted into without having to thread through an eyelet, as with other boots and shoes I've used. This makes it easier to lace and unlace.
The soles are rubber (?) with medium aggressive lugs (1/4 inch, 5 mm). The pattern is proprietary to Lowa, with a row of lugs around the outside edge, and some in the middle (as in those common brand name lug soles).
The lug soles are a dull orange. The rest of the boots are brown. I got the Espresso/Rust color. They also have two versions of a more black color. The inside lining around the top is also a dull orange. I can just see the edge of this at the top of the shoes when I'm wearing them. There are also dull orange stitches on the sides and the center of the webbing loops for the laces.
I find a weakness in boots is the sides where the boot bends when my toes flex. Especially if there is the edge of a piece and stitches there, it will fail early. The Lowas have a flat piece of leather across that area so they will be less likely to fail. I'll determine this better during my testing.
There are several "Lowa" logos and a couple "Gore-Tex" logos.
The soles are about 1 inch (25 mm) thick under the heels, and 1/2 inch (13 mm) thick under the ball of the foot. The boots go 6 inches (15 cm) above the ground at the back, and 7 inches (18 cm) at the sides.
The soles feel stiffer than most boots I've tried.
The weight (42 ounces - 1190 g) is almost the lightest weight mid-height boots I've tried, so they're fairly light.
The insoles consist of synthetic fabric on top, then two layers of foam, and a felt-like fabric on the bottom. They're about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. The shape conforms to the bottom of the shoe - curves up around the bottom of the heel a little.
At the back of the heel is a small tab of the leather outsole that can be used to pull the boots on. A lot of boots have a more substantial webbing loop for this function. I like the simplicity of just extending the leather outsole material. I'll find out if this works well enough.
Inside and outside of boots, and top of insole:
Front and back of boots, and bottom of insole:
Top and bottom of boots:
The boots look great. All the stitches are even. The glued joints are good.
The dull orange accents (sole, top lining, stitches, lace webbing) match pretty well. If they get this detail right, maybe they're careful about other details.
I tried them on a little and they feel good.
The Lowa Tiago mid boots are light weight, mid-height, Gore-Tex hiking boots that I'll use for backpacking.
The have mostly leather outsoles and lug soles.
I will use these on two trips on each of the Field Report and Long Term Report periods. Each trip will be about 4 nights of backpacking and 35 miles (56 km). I will try to get a wide range of hot, cold, wet, dry, trail, off trail, level, and steep.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
April 22, 2016 - 4 night backpack and 2 night car camp on Badger Creek in North central Oregon. 40 miles (64 km). 5000 feet (1500 m) elevation gain. 28 to 65 F (-2 to 18 C).
Next to Badger Creek. I wore lightweight gaiters for most of my testing:
May 20, 2016 - 4 night backpack and 2 night car camp on Benson Plateau in North central Oregon. 50 miles (80 km). 9500 feet (2900 m) elevation gain. 40 to 70 F (4 to 21 C). Lots of rain.
On the 4th of 5 days my boots finally started to dry out a little:
June 11, 2016 - 4 night backpack and 2 night car camp in Trinity Alps in Northwest California. 36.5 miles (59 km). 8000 feet (2400 m). 30 to 75 F (-1 to 24 C).
June 28, 2016 - 4 night backpack and 2 night car camp on Three Sisters in central Oregon. 57 miles 92 km). 7000 feet (2100 m) elevation gain. 34 to 75 F (1 to 24 C).
July 29, 2016 - 5 night car camp on beach of Southwest Washington. 20 mile (32 km). 55 to 75 F (13 to 24 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
During the Field Report period, I wore the Lowa Tiago GTX Mid boots for 203.5 miles (328 km), 29,500 feet (9000 m) elevation gain, and 16 nights of backpacking.
I did some serious testing of water proofness. On the Benson Plateau trip it rained steadily for several days. My socks stayed fairly dry, just the normal dampness from sweat I always experience. On the Three Sisters trip I walked through a lot of snow on a couple days which was another good test of water proofness.
I had to cross several streams on several trips where the water was deeper than the tops of my boots. I found that if, just before the crossing, I really tightened the laces at the top and quickly walked through the stream, very little water got inside my boots. Once, I had to stop after the crossing, take my socks off and wring them out a little. After continuing to walk, my feet dried pretty much, and were just a bit damp at the end of the day.
I did some breathability testing. On several trips it got up to 75 F (24 C) and my socks only got a bit damp from sweat. The GTX lining worked like other boots I've used. Maybe I'll get some hotter temperatures for my Long Term Test.
I did some good snow traction testing - about 20 miles walking on snow on the Three Sisters trip. The soles provided good traction. This included walking up and down steep snow banks. I kicked steps in the snow a little, but these aren't really the boots for serious step kicking. Occasionally I slipped on wet snow, but that's what I would expect. Also, a couple times it was icy and the soles provided little traction, but that's also what I would expect, I should have been wearing traction devices. I also successfully walked on slippery mud at times.
I did a large range of conditions from level, to steep uphill and downhill, regular trail, off trail boulders, sand, snow, and a little through brush. The soles were stiff enough to be comfortable on rough surfaces, but not so stiff as to be uncomfortable on long distances on regular trails.
The Tiago's laces were very easy to tighten and loosen. On many boots, I'll pull on the laces but down on the toe end, it's hard to get them tight. With the Tiagos, I just pulled on the laces and they tightened through all the webbing loops.
A problem I had with the Tiagos is I kept getting a blister on my right heel. It was right where the top of the plastic reinforcing piece is (red arrow):
This is a defect I've occasionally had in the past with other boots, some plastic piece on the outside will "telegraph" through and cause a blister. My left foot was fine. Maybe that one shoe had a defect? Maybe just that my foot has a defect? After my second trip, I tried pushing out on it with my thumb from the inside. And maybe my heel toughened up. On my first and second trips I used Leukotape which prevented any problem after that. On my third trip the blister wasn't quite as bad. On the fourth trip I had no blister there, but I had a blister at the same place on my other foot, so I put on some Leukotape on it which prevented any further notice.
We'll see if I get blisters during the long Term Test.
Except for this, the Tiagos were very comfortable.
I see little wear after my testing. There are some stains. The sole is smoothed a bit.
Overall, I was quite happy with the Lowa Tiago boots.
The Tiagos are fairly light weight for mid height waterproof breathable boots.
They were waterproof, yet fairly breathable like other waterproof breathable shoes I've used.
The soles provided good traction.
There was one defect that was maybe just me - I got blisters on my heels. Otherwise the boots were very comfortable on a wide range of conditions.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
August 15, 2016 - 4 night car camp and 2 night backpack on Olympic Peninsula in northwest Washington. 46 miles (74 km). 4600 feet (1400 m) elevation gain. 50 to 85 F (10 to 29 C).
September 1, 2016 - 5 night backpack and 1 night car camp going around Mt Hood in north central Oregon. 45 miles (72 km). 9200 feet (2800 m) elevation gain. 34 to 60 F (1 to 16 C).
Walking around Mt Hood - lots of gravel trails with difficult footing because of a variety of rock sizes. My boots were drying out after a lot of rain the previous day:
September 21, 2016 - 3 night backpack and 3 night car camp in Goat Rocks in south central Washington. 32 miles (52 km). 2300 feet (700 m) elevation gain. 40 to 65 F (4 to 18 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
During the Field Report and Long Term Report periods I hiked a total of 327 miles (526 km) with the Lowa Tiago GTX mid boots. I did 26 nights of backpacking. I did 45,500 feet (14,000 m) of elevation gain.
Overall, I was very satisfied with the Lowa boots. I did a wide range of hiking and the Lowas did fine. Mostly I hiked on regular trails, but I also did some off trail hiking. In addition to normal dirt/gravel trails, I walked on boulders, snow, sand, and mud.
The Lowas were fairly breathable. My socks did get a little damp from sweat at the end of the day, as is typical with waterproof breathable (WPB) boots.
I did some good water proof testing. I crossed a bunch of streams that didn't go above the tops of the boots with no problem. I did four (non consecutive) days when it rained all day and my socks were only slightly damp at the end of the day. After the last day it was a little worse, but it rained a lot all day and WPB shoes aren't perfect in my experience. I just left my socks on in my sleeping bag over night and they were dry the next day. The next couple days it didn't rain and the boots gradually dried out.
I crossed a couple streams that went over the tops of the boots. I carefully tightened the shoe laces before crossing and little water got into my boots. I just continued hiking and my socks were only slightly more damp than usual at the end of the day. I forgot to tighten the shoe laces once, and my boots got very wet, so I just dumped the water out and wrung the socks out. At the end of the day the socks were still quite wet, so I wore my second pair of socks overnight and used them the next day. The boots dried out quite a bit that day so no problem after that.
During the Field Report period I got blisters on the back of both heels, although I just put Leukotape on my heels and continued on my trip without problem. During the Long Term Report period I had no blisters - I guess my feet and/or the boots broke in.
I liked the stiffness of the soles - stiff enough to provide support walking over rough bouldery surfaces, but not so stiff as to be uncomfortable.
The lug soles provided good traction. I walked on a lot of slippery surfaces without a lot of problems. There were times I slipped some but that's unavoidable. One day in particular, I was walking on an icy surface and they provided no traction, but that's where I should have had traction devices.
I never did any super hot testing. The warmest it got was 85 F (29 C). My socks were a little sweatier than normal at the end of the day, but not too bad. These probably aren't the best shoes for hot weather - I'd probably prefer low top breathable shoes.
I never did any super cold testing. The coldest it got was 28 F (-2 C). These boots were perfect for this temperature. If it was really cold I'd probably use a warmer boot, but I generally avoid really cold temperatures.
The boots showed only a normal amount of wear after my testing. The soles are a little worn, and the outside is a little scuffed up. The threads are still intact - I have had boots where the threads started to break after this much testing.
I really liked the Lowa Tiago GTX mid boots. I did a lot of hiking in varied conditions and they were quite comfortable, except for the heel blisters on several trips.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
The boots were quite waterproof and fairly breathable as is typical of WPB boots.
I liked that the height of the boots helped keep dirt out of the boots and the stiffness of the soles provided enough support for rough surfaces without being uncomfortable as is typical of mid height boots.
These boots are fairly light weight for mid height boots.
I wore lightweight gaiters for all the testing which helped with waterproofness and keeping stuff out of my boots.
I will continue to use these boots for my backpack trips in the future until they wear out. I'll probably use low height WPB shoes for hot weather though.
Thanks to Lowa and BackpackGearTest.com for letting me test these.
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