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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Lowa Ferrox GTX Shoes > Test Report by Derek Hansen

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Photo courtesy LOWA

LOWA — Ferrox GTX® LO Hiking Shoes

Test Series by Derek Hansen

TESTER INFORMATION

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NameDerek Hansen
Age37
GenderMale
Height5' 10" (1.78 m)
Weight170 lb (77 kg)
Email Address pix-obfuscated
City, State, CountryFlagstaff, Arizona, USA

BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

I am a lightweight backpacker with a typical overnight pack weight of 15 lb (7 kg) and a multi-day weight of 20 lb (9 kg), each of which includes food and water. I prefer backpacking with a hammock as part of my sleep system.


PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer LOWA Boots, LLC
Year of Manufacture 2014, made in Slovakia
Manufacturer’s Website lowaboots.com
MSRP US$175
Listed Features
  • GORE-TEX lining
  • Sleek, stabilizing dual-density PU midsole. Facilitates the natural roll-through motion of the foot.
  • Climate control footbed
  • LOWA NXT outsole, for traction and durability, provides the utmost in comfort
Manufacturer Recommendations

None

Measurements
Specifications What They Say What I Say
Weight 28 oz (794 g) for Men's US size 9 33 oz (930 g) for Men's US size 10
Colors Lime/Black; Black/Grey; Black/Lime; Black/Orange


INITIAL REPORT

27 May 2014

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

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The LOWA Ferrox GTO LO shoes are marketed as "ultra lightweight" that "delivers exceptional stability and ultra-comfy, cushioned ride." The shoes have a nice, thick sole and a stability midsole and stabilizer. There are six metal grommet eyelets for the shoelaces. The tongue is gusseted to prevent debris and water from entering the shoe.

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There is a small finger loop on the heel. The footbeds are easily removable. There is a small leather vamp on the toe of the shoe, and a similar black leather patch on the heel.

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INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

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The Ferrox is the brightest, most visible shoe I've ever had. I know bright neon shoes are trending right now, and while I normally don't pick bright colors for footwear, the color is wearing on me. I kinda like it. The color isn't as bright as what is shown online.

While marketed as "ultra lightweight," at 33 oz (930 g), I would simply classify this as a lightweight shoe. The GORE-TEX lining adds some weight, but adds some functionality that is nice.

The shoes are very well-made and have no visible errors or issues.

Trying It On - In my opinion, shoes are one of the most important pieces of gear for hiking and backpacking so fit is super important. On my first try, the shoes felt pretty tight across the tongue. After loosening the laces considerably, the fit was much better. I added knots in the laces in the fifth eyelet so I could keep the lower laces loose while snugging up the top of the shoe.

There is no bunching and pinching when I flex up on my toes. This is one area where I've had problems with other footwear, so I'm happy to see they are comfortable when flexing my toes.

Instructions - The attached instructions were confusing. The Ferrox is almost completely synthetic, yet the instructions had specific details about leather conditioning that applies more to other styles of footwear. There wasn't much in the tag that was helpful.

INITIAL SUMMARY

Coming into the summer, I'm a little worried about how hot these shoes may get. I normally hike in sandals in the summer, so this will be an interesting test period. How well will the GORE-TEX allow my feet to breathe?

PRO—Comfortable footbed and Achilles notch.

CON—Tight fit around the tongue.

FIELD REPORT

12 Aug 2014

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've used these shoes on a variety of camping trips, trail runs, a few day hikes, and even a 5k race.

May 23-24: Horsetail Falls, Alpine, Utah. This was a quick backpacking trip with my cousin up a local canyon. A total of about 6 miles (10 km), an elevation change of 3,200 ft (975 m). We enjoyed light rain in the evening and through the night. The temperature dropped down around 36 °F (2 °C).

May 30-31: Sycamore Canyon, Arizona. An overnight camping trip with my sons with a bit of day hiking, totaling about 5 miles (8 km). Low temperature was 50°F (10°C).

June 26; July 5-6: Southern Utah. One of a few day hikes taken in the red rock area of Southern Utah. Hot and dry at 3,000 ft (914 m) with daytime temperatures in the 100s °F (38 °C).

June 30-July 4: Bear Lake, Utah. The elevation was 6,000 ft (1,829 m). During the night, the temperature dropped into the low-60s °F (-5 °C).

Jul 14-19: Camp Geronimo, Arizona. Summer camp with the Boy Scouts, just off the Mogollon Rim. Lots of day hikes and all-around camping fun. A few days of heavy rain, with temperatures in the 80s °F (20s °C).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Comfort and fit - I'll be up front: I was really worried that these shoes would be too tight for my feet. I am happy to report that this hasn't been the case, and the shoes have actually been very comfortable and have "relaxed" a little so that the fit is good. I still keep the laces pretty loose over the bridge of my foot. The knotting technique really works well so I can keep certain sections tight or loose as needed. The shoes are snug enough, however, that I have to wear pretty thin socks for maximum comfort. One pair of socks I have has a seam that runs across my pinky toe and that has been the source of hot spots and painful rubbing. Matching the right socks has also been key to a perfect fit.

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Traction - The sole doesn't provide as much traction over slippery rocks as I would like. While hiking up Horsetail falls, for example, the granite rocks were wet and slick. Unfortunately, the Ferrox shoes didn't grip well on this surface. The traction otherwise is pretty aggressive and I've done well on other surfaces without issues.

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Appearance and durability - The bright green color has grown on me, and after a few trips, the shoes have toned down in color. I've hand washed them a few times to perk up the color a little and keep them clean. On one occasion I used a plastic-bristled brush, but I noticed that it was too abrasive for the outer fabric, and some fraying began on a section. I've stopped using this brush and have turned to more gentle tools.

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Warmth and water resistance - I think I've mentioned that I prefer sandals for hiking in the summer (or most of the year, actually), so I kept a close feel on how the shoes breathed. On hikes in Southern Utah, where it was particularly warm, I still felt fine. Yes, my feet warmed up, but I never felt like I was overheating. The real test was when I took my shoes off at the end of the day. My feet weren't wet nor were my socks wet. I was actually really impressed. For the warmth of my feet, I speculated I would be sweating, but it wasn't bad at all.

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In terms of water repellency, I have purposely hiked through many streams. The shoes do fairly well at shedding water, but because of the low heel, getting water inbound is inevitable. In Alpine, in particular, I soaked my feet in the river and in the rain, but I didn't slosh about in the shoes and I was still able to hike comfortably.

FIELD USE SUMMARY

I was originally a little worried about the fit, but these shoes have really performed amazingly well.


LONG-TERM REPORT

16 Oct 2014

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Sep 12-13: Sycamore Canyon, near Williams, Arizona. The elevation was 6,500 ft (2,000 m). During the night, the temperature dropped into the mid-50s °F (10 °C).

Sep 19-20: Cinder Hills, near Flagstaff, Arizona. The elevation was 6,500 ft (2,000 m). This was a short, 2 mi (3.2 km) backpacking trip with my kids, with an elevation gain of 700 ft (213 m).

Oct 10-11: Mount Elden, near Flagstaff, Arizona. The elevation was 9,200 ft (2,800 m) on this backpacking trip of 11 mi (18 km). The first two miles (3.2 km) had an elevation gain of 2,000 ft (610 m).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

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These shoes have really grown on me. I was really worried initially because the fit was so tight. I'm sure that several factors are at play, including both my feet and the shoes "breaking in" to each other. Wearing shoes all summer and fall has really refreshed my appreciation for how much I put up with wearing sandals as my primary shoe style. I never had to pause to clear pebbles from under foot or worry about other debris. My biggest worry of getting hot, sweaty feet turned out to be unfounded. The shoes breathed well enough that I was actually surprised by how little moisture was on my feet and socks.

On my recent hike up and down Elden, I felt the impact of several miles of steady downhill hiking. I had slight rubbing from impact on my right pinky toe. Hiking uphill or on the flats I experienced little to no problems, but after the full day of hiking, my feet were ready for a break. This is something I usually don't have a problem with when wearing sandals, but I know it is common with shoes, so I didn't worry too much. I was grateful that I didn't have any blisters or hot spots at all during the entire testing period.

While I am fairly comfortable with these shoes, I wish they had a slightly wider version should I consider these shoes for longer hikes or backpacking trips simply to avoid long-term rubbing exposure that I felt in those conditions.

The shoes, while a little dingy from wear, are otherwise in great condition. Great wear on the soles and upper. There is a little fabric fraying where I used an abrasive brush to clean the shoes.

FINAL SUMMARY

PRO—Durable; no overheating.

CON—Snug fit; took some time to break in.


I would like to thank LOWA and BackpackGearTest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test this product.



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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Lowa Ferrox GTX Shoes > Test Report by Derek Hansen



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