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Hands-on Gear Review
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid - Women's Review
Cons: No arch support, expensive, bulky, heavy
Bottom line: Our award winner and Top Pick for Durability, these boots all-leather construction provides unbeatable protection and support reminiscent of a traditional leather hiking boot of days past.
The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid is a tried and tested favorite among our reviewers. These mid weight hiking boots are Lowa's most popular boot for women and won last year's Editor's Choice Award. This year, they are the winner of our Top Pick award for Durability and Water Resistance. Lowa boots are handcrafted in Slovakia and are held to a very high standard during their production. This is obvious when they hit the trails, as the Renegade's Monowrap technology keeps the foot stable and protected while keeping a very sleek profile. We found these boots to do well on the rugged trails of the Sierra, offering stability and comfort as well as unmatched durability and water resistance.
RELATED: Our complete review of hiking boots - women's
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
For a well-made, durable hiking boot that will last a lifetime, look no further than the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid. Not only do they protect your feet from water, dirt, and mud, they also provide unmatched support and stability making them the winner of the Top Pick for Durability this season.
Comfort and fit are the two most important aspects of a hiking boot and what makes a boot comfortable can vary from person to person. The Lowa Renegade scored lowest in comfort because of the stiffness of the sole, which, for some, is actually a positive. If you're on the hunt for an extremely comfortable shoe, we would recommend checking out the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra - Women's. Lightweight and comfy, this Editors' Choice winner is the only boot that scored a 10 out of 10 in the comfort metric. Our Best Buy winner, the Vasque Monolith UltraDry - Women's, scored a 9 out of 10 in the comfort arena, and offers a comfortable shoe at the unbeatable price of $130.
Moving from the sole to the upper, the Renegade has the best lacing system we encountered among all the boots we tested. The Durby Cut lacing system and gusseted tongue provide maximum adjustability for both the foot and ankle. The tongue also provides padding and gussets keep debris out. For a similar style tongue that provides plenty of cushion and adjustability, check out the Ahnu Sugarpine and the Salomon X Ultra. Both of these boots had similar lacing systems and tongues that were comfortable and comparable to this contender. Overall, the Renegade was roomy and seemed to cater to a wide range of foot sizes. The boots are comfortable, but focus more on stability and durability than maximum comfort in their design.
The stiffness of the sole comes from the full-length nylon shanks that run along the base of the boot, offering lots of support underfoot. This, along with the external polyurethane Monowrap technology makes the Renegade a top shoe for support and stability. Unlike the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra - Womens, the Renegade uses leather and a stiff sole to provide support, rather than excess padding underfoot. These two boots just show the broad spectrum of designs that exist in hiking boot technology and it is up to you to decide which route is best for you. The Renegade offers plenty of ankle support as well, as the shaft height is 140 mm, making these boots one of the tallest in terms of ankle height.
If you're searching for a boot that will be your ultimate support system, this contender, along with the HOKA Tor, and the Oboz Bridger Mid BDry - Women's are the best in class, scoring hefty 9s out of 10.
In the fleet of boots chosen this season for testing, we trended toward lighter hiking boots. Because of this shift, the Lowa Renegades were on the heavy end of the spectrum, weighing in at 2 lbs 3 oz. By no means does this make them a heavy boot, but in comparison to some of the lighter boots we tested, such as the HOKAs and the Ahnu Sugarpine, the extra weight was noticeable. For a boot that is similar in durability, but lighter, the Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 are a good option. They are not leather entirely leather, like the Renegade, so that is where some weight is cut. Some sacrifices had to be made in their construction to make them as durable and supportive as they are, and weight was where we noticed it the most.
Each boot was put to the test on the granite slabs of Tuolumne Meadows, where we measured traction and stability on slick, steep rocky terrain. We found some boots to slip on glacier polish and some to feel insecure in the boulder fields, but the Vibram soles of the Lowa Renegade held up to the test. Across the board, the boots with Vibram rubber seemed to stand up well to scrambling on rocks and talus hopping, with this contender, along with the Oboz and HOKAs, outperforming the other contenders. Other boots with Vibram rubber that performed similarly on rock were the Oboz Bridger and the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultras.
It is in the category of water resistance that the Lowa Renegade really shines, scoring a 9 out of 10. The ankle height and gusseted tongue keep water from sneaking in and also keep socks dry in creek crossings. The upper is uniform, with very few seams, and made entirely of Nubuck leather with a waterproof coating. This provides an incredible barrier that covers the whole foot. Inside, the boots are equipped with Gore-Tex liners that provide yet another defense to moisture. If a highly waterproof boot is what you're after, the Vasque Monolith UltraDry - Women's, Ahnu Sugarpine, Ahnu Montara, and Oboz all performed extraordinary in this metric. The Oboz are the most similar to the Lowa's, in that they are constructed of almost entirely leather, while the Ahnu and the Vasque models are leather and synthetic with a waterproof coating. Either way, all of these boots performed very well, like the Lowa, in the water resistance metric.
In days past, a pair of all leather hiking boots was meant to last for years. In recent years, it seems that boots are designed to last only one or two seasons before mesh gives out, laces break, or soles delaminate. The Lowa Renegade, though, was noticeably tougher from day one. The manufacturer claims that these boots are meant to last 5-7 years, and we can verify their durability and long lasting construction during the period that we tested. They have no mesh in their construction, which usually is the first material to give out. The all-leather upper, like that of the the Oboz Bridger Mid or the Ahnu Montara, sheds water, dirt, and mud incredibly well, leaving the boots looking fresh even after months of use. These are by far the most durable boots in our test, and for that they earned the Top Pick in Durability. Trailing closely behind, the Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX - Women's and Oboz Bridger Mid BDry - Women's also offer supreme durability. Though the Salomons are not entirely leather, like our other favorites in durability, their design and construction proved to be comparable to the more durable, all-leather boots in our reviews.
If you are ready to invest in hiking boots for backpacking or long day hikes, the Lowa Renegade are a great choice. They will last years, are very durable, and will break in to be comfortable and supportive for hiking with a heavy pack. These boots are not for the faint of heart; you will be making an investment in craftsmanship and durability. They are supportive enough to carry loads up to 40 lbs and function well on rugged terrain. Wherever your adventures take you - rock, mud, water, or even snow, the Lowa Renegades are a boot that can handle anything.
The Renegade comes in at $230, making this boot and the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra the two most expensive boots we tested this year. That being said, they both win awards because of their incomparable comfort, support, and intelligent design. It is true that you get what you pay for when it comes to hiking boots. These boots will last years and purchasing them is a reasonable investment if you want to have a boot to hike and backpack in year round.
Year after year, the Lowa Renegade is among the top boots we test. This is year was no different, as we were still impressed by their durability, comfort, and thoughtful design. The boots are entirely Nubuck leather that is coated with a waterproofing layer this makes them very water resistant and durable. The boots also come in a variety of widths, sizes, colors, and styles, which makes them easy to customize to your foot. A modern adaptation of the classic, long-lasting leather hiking boot, the Lowa Renegade is an investment in your hiking future and they won't disappoint.
The Renegade Mid GTX come in nearly a dozen color options and three different width options, as well as some different style variations.
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— Jane Jackson
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Most recent review: November 27, 2016
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