Courtesy of the the outdoor experts at Destination Backcountry Adventures
I’ve recently had the opportunity to wear the Lowa Renegade GTX Hiking Boot in a wide variety of late winter conditions in the Catskill Mountain backcountry. In general, I’m impressed by this well designed and well constructed boot and the protection it offers from the elements and terrain. Not too mention, it provides incredible support and comfort at remarkably little weight.
To stay dry and comfortable on the rough trail and wet conditions I often encounter guiding in the Catskills, I typically prefer a full-grain leather, heavier soled boot. Though these weigh a lot, I’ve always thought that the added weight was the price to pay for an adequate level of protection I have to admit: the Renegades have changed my mind.
When I first put on the Renegades before guiding a late winter snowshoe trip up Fir Mountain, I was very surprised (and a little suspicious) at how light they were on my feet, but found that they did accommodate my snowshoes very well. As we hiked, the Nu-buck leather uppers shed moisture melting on the boot in the March sunshine remarkably well. As we gained elevation and I started hiking hard, I found the waterproof/breathable Gore-tex liners allowed my feet to breathe. Any external moisture that made it past the uppers must have been whisked away by the liners, since my feet stayed dry throughout the hike. This leads me to believe that these would be great boots in rain or if you expect numerous shallow stream crossings during your hike.
Soon after, I was able to put the Renegades to the test in different conditions: this time on a climb of Mt. Wittenberg. On this long and strenuous day hike over some epically rough and icy terrain, we left the snowshoes at home in favor of microspikes. I knew I’d have a great chance to see if a boot this light could offer the stability, support, and comfort that a hike like this would demand.
Within the first couple of miles, the soft rubber of the VIbram Evo sole allowed for a much better “toe-grip” than I get with a heavier sole; this allowed me to hold even the smallest slivers of sun on the exposed rock amid the ice and hardened snow.
At mile 8 or so, while finishing up the 2450’ descent, I was amazed at how great my feet felt. The Monowrap, essentially, a polyurethane frame that wraps around the boot, provided stability and shock absorption at very little weight. Additionally, the full length nylon shank flexing underfoot offered great shock absorption and protection against trail hazards like rocks, roots, etc. Even wearing heavy winter socks, the derby lacing and ankle bands provided great fit and support.
Overall, I’d rate the Lowa Renegade GTX very highly as a boot that provides substantial terrain and water protection and support and comfort at a remarkably light weight. I’d recommend it for even the longest of day hikes in all seasons as well as 3 season weekend backpacks over all terrain. My only caveat would be to pack heavy socks on the coldest of day hikes; minimal insulation saves weight but isn’t quite enough on its own for sub 20F temps.