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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Boots > Test Report by Michael Mosack

LOWA RENEGADE GTX MID SHOES
TEST SERIES BY MIKE MOSACK
LONG-TERM REPORT
December 29, 2010

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: 47
LOCATION: San Diego, CA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 236 lb (107.00 kg)
US SHOE SIZE 14 (48 EU)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, doing solo and group trips, with and without kids. I do 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, Canada California and Grand Canyon, Arizona to Afghanistan and rely on my backpacking equipment constantly. I prefer to go lighter whenever possible and am always trying new items. Quality and reliability of items I carry are paramount to me over price and weight.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: LOWA Boots LLC.
IMAGE 1
Actual Boots Tested

Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: www.lowaboots.com
MSRP: US $200.00
Listed Weight: Per Pair (Men's US size 9) 2.40 lbs (1.09 kg)
Measured Weight: Per Pair (Men's US size 14): 3.44 lbs (1.55 kg)
Other details:
Color options: Sepia, Dark Grey/Navy, Black
Color tested is Sepia
Sizes available are US 7 - 12, 13, 14, 15 or EU) 40-45, 46, 47, 48 / WIDTH: Men's medium 'D' width
Size tested: US 14 or (EU) 47
Handcrafted in Europe
Warranty: LOWA boots are warranted to be free from defects in workmanship and materials for a period of 12 months from the date of purchase.
Construction materials copied from the website...
* UPPER: Nubuk leather.
* MIDSOLE: PU Monowrap® Frame, a new, patented construction technique that allows us to reduce overall boot weight while retaining important lateral stability.
* LINING: Seamless, waterproof GORE-TEX® lining reduces hot spots. A LOWA patented design.
* OUTSOLE: Vibram® Evo.
* SHANK: Full length nylon.
* FOOTBED: Climate control footbed with comfort perforations to improve breathability.
* DERBY STYLE LACING: Ensures great, customized fit for a wider variety of feet.

IMAGE 2
Sepia color options
IMAGE 3
Dark Grey Navy and
IMAGE 4
Website images of Black,











INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

My initial impression when I first took the boots out of the box was that they are well made. The stitching seems almost perfect everywhere on the boots. Some of the features include riveted eyelets for the laces that look tough yet are easy to use. The loop on the heal appears strong and well secured. The rubber sole appears to be well adhered to the leather shoe. The tread is aggressive and appears it will provide excellent grip in a plethora of different terrain possibilities. The leather upper looks and feels of quality leather and the boots are well padded and seamless throughout. Overall, the boots feel relatively light for their size and mine are larger than what most people would wear. I noticed there are a couple of little bubbles in the left boot's rubber sole. One is located on the toe and the other on the side of the boot. I will have to watch these areas to see if the bubbles open up or allow the sole to separate. I have taken photos of the two areas where the bubbles can be seen.
IMAGE 5
Climate Control Footbed
IMAGE 6
Vibram Tread
IMAGE 7
Riveted Metal Eyelets
IMAGE 8
Inside Boot View

IMAGE 9
Front of left boot showing bubble
IMAGE 10
Side of left boot showing bubble






READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

There are numerous instructions included with the boots. One booklet offering product care tips from Lowa has in 6 languages, instructions for the care of the boots. The instructions are in German, English, French, Dutch, Spanish and Italian. Lowa also provided care and warranty instructions in 7 languages, to include Chinese. GORE-TEX products also include warranty and contact information in 7 languages. The instructions are written clearly and are easy to understand. They not only give care tips, but also reasons why they recommend a particular method or agent. Lowa and GORE-TEX provide contact information in all of the listed languages too, which says a lot to me about how confident they are in the quality of their boots and that they back their products.

The instructions and tips cover such topics as why and how to treat the leather, how to clean the leather and describes differences in cleaning and recommended treatment agents and offers reasons why it's better to use or stay away from different types of products.

The boots came in a box that was attractive, but really had nothing to offer in the way of important information other than the shoe size and name of the shoes inside.

TRYING IT OUT

I tried on the boots and walked around my carpeted room and they fit well. I think that the boots are quite comfortable. The boots lace up very easily and the tongue does not appear to want to move around and the boots just look really good on my feet.

SUMMARY

I am eager to try out these boots. I have found one potential flaw that is in the rubber sole which appears to have bubbles in it. While this does cause me some concern, to be honest I would have immediately returned these boots for another pair if I had purchased them myself. I will however test these boots out and see if these bubbles will cause the rubber to separate or allow the sole to deteriorate over time.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I have worn these boots now almost daily for the past two and a half months. I have travelled to Napa and Sonoma Valley, Ca. USA and have worn these during my day to day experiences in Afghanistan. My longest single hike was a 15 mile (24 km) daytime route within the area of Southern Kandahar, Afghanistan. In total, I have covered approximately 45 miles (72 km) during this testing phase. IMAGE 11

In the Sonoma and Napa Valley areas, I was able to take two 5 mile (8 km) day hikes where the weather was clear and sunny and the temperature approximately 85 F (30 C) for the first hike and cloudy and raining with the temperature approximately 70 F (21 C) during the second. The terrain was a mixture of asphalt roadways, gravel shoulders, rocky and sandy footpaths.

My Afghanistan adventures include almost entirely, rocky/gravel terrain with a coating of dust and sand over everything. Very dry (low humidity) climate usually under clear sunny skies and temperatures ranging from 45 F (7 C) at night to 110 F (43 C) during the day. Temperatures are continually dropping now as this region is entering the winter season. I have had the opportunity to wear the boots on numerous day time and night time hikes of varying distances ranging from 1 mile (1.5 km) to 15 miles (24 km).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Insoles -
I should note that every time I wear the boots, I do so with the original insoles that were provided by Lowa. I realize there are many optional aftermarket insoles available and this could definitely affect the comfort and performance of the boot, but for me to start switching insoles, I think it would take attention away from the boot and instead begin to focus on the insoles. There are just too many options out there and this is one door I do not wish to open. Generally I buy footwear and wear them with original insoles anyway and generally don't have issues with my feet where special insoles are a necessity.

Grip -
The boots are comfortable and maintain a good grip on a variety of terrain conditions. The majority of my hiking has been on rocky terrain with a coating of dust and sand which would normally make for a very slippery surface. These boots seem to handle this and slick rock or smooth wet rock also. As for grip, I have no complaints.

Socks -
I have worn these boots with a variety of sock options and include low cut cycling or running (ankle high) socks to mid calf length socks and thin performance wicking socks to thicker standard athletic or sport socks. I have found that wearing the low cut socks allow skin contact with the boot's upper and normal walking causes uncomfortable rubbing. I need to ensure I only wear socks that can be pulled higher than the upper portion of the boot. I prefer to wear the mid calf-high socks that are thin performance based wicking socks or sock liners with these boots. I like the extra room inside the toe box area with the thinner socks.

Waterproofing -
I should note here that I chose to not apply any waterproofing or leather treatment products to the boots prior to this testing period. I was able to wear the boots during a relatively heavy rain and in doing so, found that my feet did get wet. I am unsure if the boots allowed water seepage through the boot material, the tongue or if it was due to water running in over the top of the boot that caused my feet to get wet. I plan to do a hike where I'll have ample opportunity to cross streams so that I can confirm how the water is getting in and will report that as a part of my long term report.

Lacing -
Lacing up the boots is quite easy and fast. The shoe strings hold their knots and do not untie themselves during long hikes. The eyelets are strong and smooth so as to not chafe the laces.

Construction -
So far, the rubber soles are not separating and I have not found any evidence that the bubbles in the left boot are causing any deterioration or separation. They seem to be holding up well. All stitching is like new and there is no evidence that the material is breaking down anywhere on the boots. The boots are obviously heavier on my feet than the running shoes I am used to wearing, but the added ankle support and secure feeling of wearing the boots are worth the relatively minor weight difference.

SUMMARY

So far, I like the boots. They are comfortable and rugged with a good feel underfoot. I have a confident stride while wearing these and so far, have had postive experiences while testing them. I look forward to the next phase of this test and will report on my findings.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During this testing phase, all of my time has been in Afghanistan and included almost entirely, rocky and or gravel terrain with a coating of dust and sand over everything. Very dry (low humidity) climate usually under clear and sunny skies with temperatures ranging from below freezing 32 F (0 C) at night to 75 F (24 C) during the day. Temperatures are continually dropping now as this region is entering the winter season. I have had the opportunity to wear the boots on numerous day time and night time hikes of varying distances ranging from 1 mi (1.5 km) to 21 mi (34 km).
IMAGE 13
Mazar-e Sharif Afghanistan

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

During this testing phase, I covered approximately 145 mi (233 km) with 29 nights in the field. To date, I have covered approximately 190 mi (306 km) and have 41 nights in the field while wearing these boots. As a result, I have found the following...

Comfort
These boots remain very comfortable and I often do not even think about my footwear while wearing them. I have never suffered any "hot spots" or blisters. I recommend wearing socks that are high enough on the ankle to reach the top of the boot. My low cut socks allowed direct skin contact with the upper cuff of the boot and I experienced isolated uncomfortable rubbing while I walked. A quick change of socks eliminated that and my feet were again very happy. The tongue of the boot stays centered throughout the day and is well padded keeping my feet and ankles from feeling the laces even when they're tied tightly.

Construction and Durability
Initially, I was concerned about two bubbles I found in my left boot's rubber sole. I have monitored these bubbles and am happy to report that so far, there is no evidence of any separation, breakage or deterioration of the sole as a result of these. I think their specific locations on the sole assisted in their stability as they are both in locations where there is virtually no flexing of the surrounding rubber during normal use. I would be more concerned if they had been located in other areas where there was a higher range of motion that could cause a more damaging effect. The sole adhesion to the leather upper remains intact and I have not found any areas of separation. The soles and tread pattern also do not show any obvious or excessive wear or damage from the miles I have worn them either. I am very impressed by this.

The stitching remains intact as does the leather uppers. My hiking experiences during this test did not bring me to areas where thistle was present. To be honest, I prefer to stay on open trails or areas with solid and flat foot holds wherever possible. I am usually pretty easy on my feet and I take care not to damage my boots, so the uppers do not show any significant signs of wear or damage.

I have found that for me, the boot laces are longer than I like, but I am also not one to usually wrap my laces around my ankles as a part of tying them. I plan to either cut them down some or replace them with shorter ones. My military training has taught me to tuck my laces into my boots after tying so they do not catch on the eyelets of the other boot and for a neater appearance. When I forget to do this, I have on rare occasions inadvertently untied my laces when the loops catch on my other boot's eyelet as it passes while I walk.

The attractive and convenient loops on the back of the boot's upper (which by design are to assist in pulling on the boots) are unnecessary. These boots open up so well when untied that I can easily slip my foot inside without needing such a feature.

Breathability
I should note that while I am more used to wearing lightweight, well vented, or mesh running shoes, I don't think that these boots breathe as well as others I have owned. The very hot temperatures I have experienced in Afghanistan were always tempered with very low humidity so my feet did not usually sweat that much or at all. Still, these boots are well sealed and waterproofed and I have enjoyed every step.

Cleaning
I found that only minor cleaning of the boots was required during this test. I did this by walking through a low level creek to rinse them or dry brushing to knock off excess dirt. Most of my time in these boots has been in desert areas where the climate and terrain was very dry and dusty. These boots have held up very well. I have not waterproofed or applied any other leather care products to date and have found that there is no evidence that I need to as yet. I would consider applying something to them if my future travel plans included areas where moisture was more of a reoccurring probability.

Color
The color and texture of the leather uppers have held up well and show no signs of fading or discoloration. Shiny marks on the leather can be brushed away too.

IMAGE 12
See you in Yosemite!


SUMMARY

These boots have become my favorite footwear and I have appreciated the times I have been able to wear them. I am looking forward to my upcoming trip back to California's Yosemite National Park in April and will be sure to have these with me because I am wearing them almost every day anyway. Maybe I'll see you on the trail. I'll be easy to spot, just look for my boots!

I wish 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 2011. All rights reserved.

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