LOWA FERROX GTX LO SHOES
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
October 05, 2014
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Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with a canoeing/camping group which made a 10-day voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have hiked all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a few weeks long. Over the past few years I have lowered my pack weight to a lightweight base weight of 15 lb (6.8 kg) and use a tent, stove and quilt.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: LOWA Boots, LLC.
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.lowaboots.com
MSRP: $175 US
Listed Weight: 1.5 lb (0.68 kg)
Measured Weight: 1 lb 12.7 oz (0.81 kg) for pair; 14.4 oz (408 g) each
Size Tested: 8 Women's
Other sizes available: 5.5 - 11 Women's
Color Tested: Blue/Grey
Other colors available: Anthracite/Red, Black/Grey and Lime/Turquoise
Made in Slovakia
The Lowa Ferrox GTX Lo shoes are a part of Lowa's Trail Running/Speed Hiking line of footwear. They are a low cut shoe with a Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable liner. The upper is a lightweight synthetic. The outsole is Lowa's own NXT sole which is designed for traction and durability while providing stability and a cushioned comfortable design. The lugs are fairly shallow and are oriented in various directions. The toe has a rand which wraps over for protection. At the back of the shoe is a loop of webbing for pulling the shoe on and off. The ankle area is lightly padded.
The round laces route through eyelets and through slits in the tongue to hold it in place. The midsole is dual-density polyurethane. Their midsole is designed for good stability and shock absorption while being more durable and eco-friendly than other midsole materials. It is also designed to facilitate the natural roll-through motion of the foot.
The insole is not removable but seems to provide a nice cushion and is supposed to be climate controlled. Hopefully that will keep my feet cool on hot days.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING THEM OUT
Initially I was a little surprised that the shoes didn't seem to be as lightweight as I was expecting. The sole is a little stiff and heavy, like a tougher hiking shoe, which is not what I expected based on the advertised weight. Other shoes that I own in that weight range are more like a running shoe. However, once I weighed them, they were similar to other shoes that I own and yet seem to be more substantial and sturdy. They are somewhat heavier than advertised, although the advertised weight is for a size 6.5 shoe.
I found the shoes to be very well-constructed. I tried them on and they fit great so I ended up wearing them around the house all evening before I even realized that they were still on. They are very comfortable giving my feet room to move while still feeling secure.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
A Product Care booklet was included which seems to mostly apply to leather boots, but some general principles apply to these shoes as well.
The Lowa Ferrox GTX Lo shoes are a high-quality lightweight pair of hiking shoes designed for moving fast under lighter loads.
Bright blue color
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I wore the Ferrox shoes for three backpacking trips, eight day-hikes and multiple other uses such as mountain biking, disc golf and softball. They saw approximately 24 days of use and 120 miles (193 km).
Emigrant Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California: 4 days; 20 mi (32 km); 6,300 to 7,600 (1,920 to 2,316 m); 38 to 75 F (3 to 24 C) with cloudy to clear conditions; gusty breezes; 18 lb (8 kg) pack weight.
Pacific Crest Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: 4 days; 40 mi (64 km); 4,573 to 8,411 (1,394 to 2,564 m); 45 to 75 F (7 to 24 C) with clear conditions; high winds on passes; 20 lb (9 kg) pack weight.
Two Peaks Trail, El Dorado National Forest, California: 3 days; 6,560 and 8,220 ft (2,000 and 2,505 m) elevation; 55 to 72 F (13 to 22 C) with clear to cloudy and windy conditions; 15 lb (7 kg) pack weight.
I wore the shoes both with and without gaiters. When I wasn't wearing gaiters there was an accumulation of small rocks and dirt especially when hiking off-trail, so after that I have worn gaiters with them for backpacking.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The shoes have performed well over the field test period. I was very happy to find that the waterproof liner didn't cause my feet to get overheated as I have found with other boots. The breathability seemed very good but it may be in part that they are low-cut shoes.
The shoes were always comfortable while keeping my feet dry. They have been completely waterproof on stream crossings although the low-cut height of a shoe doesn't allow me to step very deeply into a stream or else the water can flow right over the top. I have also found the waterproof liner to be great at keeping out dust. At the end of a long day of dusty trails, my companions have filthy socks from all of the dust that works its way right through their shoes. My socks however appear to be perfectly clean although they are certainly sweaty.
I haven't had any issues with hot spots or blisters although my feet are pretty resilient and used to hiking so that rarely happens anyway. The fit is great and I like the streamlined cut so that I don't feel like I'm wearing clunky clown shoes. I am able to tighten the laces when necessary to keep my toes from sliding on steep downhill sections. I have also worn them laced very loosely as well. The sole is stiffer than running shoes but not as stiff as hiking boots.
The traction has been outstanding and I'm confident that I won't slip in these shoes except in loose scree which will cause any shoe to slip. They work great for disc golf where there is a need to keep a strong grip on the ground during a tee shot. They have also had a good grip in wet conditions and on wet granite.
The durability has been good so far. The soles are wearing well and show no signs of delaminating from the upper. The uppers still look in good shape despite having some dirt stains. I haven't cleaned them but just knock them together to get the loose dust and dirt off. Even the laces are holding up with no signs of wear or fraying.
Overall I'm very happy with these shoes. They have been a lightweight shoe while still providing waterproof (and dustproof) properties that I have come to appreciate.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I wore the Ferrox shoes for two backpacking trips, nine day-hikes and other uses such as fishing, disc golf and walking. They saw an additional 22 days of use and 130 miles (209 km). So these shoes saw over 250 miles (403 km) over the entire testing period.
Pacific Crest Trail, California: 8 days; 78 mi (126 km); 7,519 to 10,870 ft (2,292 to 3,313 m) elevation; 37 to 75 F (3 to 24 C) with clear to partly cloudy conditions.
Yosemite National Park, California: 3 days; 20 mi (32 km); 3,800 to 7,875 ft (1,158 to 2,400m) elevation; 40 to 70 F (4 to 21 C) with clear skies to heavy thunderstorm conditions. We hiked down to the river the first day and then fished/rock-hopped all of the second day and climbed back out on the third day.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Early in this test period we hiked the eight-day backpacking trip during which the waterproof liner got a small breach in it. I felt some dampness in my right shoe after crossing water and confirmed it while fishing where I was standing in water. On subsequent trips I noticed the water intrusion also and it seemed to worsen as time went on. Eventually both shoes were leaking by the end of the test. There were nearly 200 miles (322 km) on the shoes when I first noticed this.
I continued to love having the dust protection that the waterproof liner provides. Again my companions had filthy dirty feet by the end of the day while my feet and socks were only sweaty. It was so apparent that they are considering waterproof shoes for their next purchases.
I wore the shoes for fishing a few times where we rock-hopped downstream. It was easier to just get my feet wet so I submerged the shoes early in the day and wore them wet. They did a great job of protecting my feet in some harsh river conditions and provided good traction on wet rocks (just not the mossy ones). When we got back to camp a huge storm hit at which point my shoes probably got even wetter. The next day we had to don our soaking wet shoes and hike out but they stopped sopping after an hour and were dry by the time we climbed out. Even soaking wet the shoes did a great job.
The shoes continued to perform well over the test period despite having quite a few miles on them. The soles are still holding up and providing good traction. The uppers are in great condition except for quite a bit of staining. The laces are in good shape with no fraying or signs of wear. Even the support hasn't noticeably deteriorated.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
The Lowa Ferrox GTX Lo shoes are a lightweight pair of hiking shoes which performed well for over 250 miles (403 km).
|At the end of the test|
Waterproof - lasted nearly 200 miles (322 km)
This concludes my Long-Term report and this test series. Thanks to Lowa and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.
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Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith