Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Comes in 11 different color options! lightweight, PU monowrap frame construction, narrow and wide fit options, seamless Gore-Tex lining
Cons: No arch support, expensive
Best Uses: Day-hiking, backpacking, four-season hiking, just about anything you need a hiking boot for
The Lowa Renegade earns our Editors' Choice award for its lightweight comfort and superior stability and support coupled with the excellent water resistance. Vibram Evo soles provide traction in any terrain condition. Lowa makes the Renegade in the widest range of sizing, ankle height, color, and design materials of any boot we tested, and we felt the Mid was the perfect ankle height for the hiking we enjoyed in California's alpine terrain. These became the go-to women's hiking boot for our reviewers. No other boot in our women's specific hiking boot review came close to this boot in our tests.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
For a women's hiking boot that is capable of keeping your feet supported, stable, and dry in a wide range of trail conditions and weather, look no further than the Lowa Renegade. Handcrafted in Europe under strict manufacturing guidelines, this boot reveals craftsmanship and provides comfort for any type of hiking or backpacking.
The Lowa Renegade straddles the line between lightweight and midweight boots. The actual weight is 2.3 pounds per pair for a women's size 8, which is 5 ounces more than the two lightest boots in our review, and up to a pound less than others. They weigh in as lightweight hiking boots, but meet the expectations you would have for a midweight boot. They provide a comfortable weight underfoot for short day hikes and long multi-day excursions equally. No other women's hiking boot has this versatility.
We measured the support of all pairs of boots in out review based on the stiffness of the soles, midsole construction, integration of plates and shanks, flexibility in the upper forefoot, and the stability attained from the ankle shaft design.
Vibram Evo soles make secure contact with any hiking terrain on your list of objectives.
The midsole is constructed with what Lowa calls Monowrap technology. This means that a full wrap of polyurethane wraps the boot and reaches up onto the sides, integrating with the full length shank for greater shock absorption, underfoot protection, durability, and stabilization. No other women's hiking boot in our review is designed with a full length shank. The Lowa exclusive midsoles are durable and long lasting, offering an eco-friendly option that doesn't require annual replacement or adjustment; Lowa even claims that many of their boots last 5-7 years! That's 2-3 times longer than the expected life span of other top women's boots.
Nubuck leather uppers are not initially as flexible as materials such as mesh or recycled nylon, which is found on the La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0 GTX - Women's or the Salomon Comet 3D GTX - Women's, but the durability attained from a leather upper design is unparalleled. After only a few short trail hikes, the leather softens and becomes flexible. We didn't experience restriction in the forefoot flexibility but would recommend the La Sportiva FC ECO if you seek a boot with better forefoot range of motion.
The 4.75" ankle height of the Lowa Renegade is stabilizing as it holds the ankles in a supported stance, while offering extra water resistance as a result of height.
The overall support of the Lowa Renegades exceeds our expectations for a seemingly lightweight hiking boot. Characteristics you would expect in a heavier weight hiking boot separated these boots from the rest.
If you are new to hiking in boots, consider getting comfortable with the extra support by taking a few hikes on easy to moderate terrain. One of our reviewers excitedly wore the Renegades, day one, on a steep, rocky slope only to feel a bit disoriented with the unfamiliar coverage of the boots. There is no doubt that the traction and stability meets or exceeds the capacity for this kind of terrain, but if you are used to hiking in shoes, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the increased support and design of a hiking boot.
Theses boots have Vibram Evo rubber soles that are also common in some minimalist shoes by Salewa and Lowa. Vibram Evo rubber is flexible for accommodating moderate terrain yet the tread design and trustworthy durability of the rubber maintains stability and support on rugged terrain. Whether hiking on a well maintained trail or off-trail across rocky summits, the Renegades keep a secure grip on the terrain and reduce impact sensation on the soles of our feet.
Alongside fit, comfort is the most important aspect of your hiking boots. This is a very personalized rating, so we focused more on outstanding design details that lend to comfort as opposed to telling you how amazingly comfortable we found them to be on our feet. To start, the insoles are stiff. This is both good and bad. The stiff insoles add arch support and keep your feet from feeling every rock and stick underfoot. After long days on the trail, our feet felt comfortable with no rushing anxiety to take the them off. This initial stiffness is much different than the plush, well-padded lining in boots in the La Sportiva FC ECO. If you prefer more padding, simply replace or layer cushioned insoles, which will add a degree of comfort.
The overall padding around the ankles, tongue, and upper is excellent. The lacing system weaves through four sets of eyelets, a set of secure, locking eyelets, and two sets of hook eyelets at the top of the ankle shaft. We were able to adjust the boots as necessary for maximum comfort. Sometimes that meant loosening the bottom laces, then locking off on the eyelets. Other times that meant tightening the boots up to the very top. Ultimate comfort will vary from day to day, trail to trail. These boots are versatile for these variations in personal and environmental demands for comfort.
Water Resistance and Breathability
A seamless Gore-Tex waterproof/breathable membrane lines the inside, allowing for moisture to escape while creating a barrier from water. These boots have an ankle shaft height of 4.75". In up to 4.5" of moving water, our feet remained dry during our test. As with all the other boots we tried, submersion for an extended period of time (longer than the time required to cross a creek, river, or walk through a puddle), resulted in water soaking the exterior of the boots. But, they are capable of crossing creeks or walking through tall, dew-covered grass with dryness and protection. Rainfall and snow beads off of the boots' Nubuck leather uppers. Only the Ahnu Montara - Women's rated as high as the Rengades for water resistance.
No other manufacturer in our women's specific hiking boot review claims that their boots last 5-7 years. In our tests of the Renegade, we can attest to their unaltered strength from day one. After miles and miles on and off trail they look practically new. They show no signs of abrasion despite our tests pulling them through brush, talus fields, and rocky creek beds. Because they aren't designed with mesh or similar inlays, they maintain their upper durability over several seasons. These are the most durable women's hiking boot in our review.
Whether you plan to day hike, backpack, or blaze your own trail through high alpine environments, the Lowa Renegades are suitable for your adventure. They offer incredible ankle support and unique design features that help to stabilize you on and off the trail. Pack loads of 20-40 pounds are ideal with the given support of these boots. We highly recommend them for hiking in rugged terrain where the added support gives an advantage over hiking shoes. The water resistance and aggressive tread make them the standout women's hiking boot, and we would feel comfortable recommending them even for snow hiking.
The Lowa Renegades are the most expensive boots in our women's review. With that being said, they fulfill every expectation we have for an all-season hiking boot. They are comfortable, water resistant, durable, and available in a wide range of options for a personalized selection in color, width, and style. At $225, they prince similarly to other footwear you expect to last for many years. Consider this: if you purchase a pair of hiking shoes for around $100, but need to replace them nearly every year or every other year, in a few hiking seasons you would have paid for a single pair of hiking boots that offer more stability and support as well as greater protection from water, weather, and debris. Not to mention, Lowa claims that many of their boots last 5-7 years. Even if you only got 4 years (typical life span of many hiking boots is 2-4 years) out of your boots, it would cost you less than $60 per year. We think it is worth dropping some cash on what we consider to be the best women's hiking boot option for years running!
This boot earns the award for Editors' Choice year after year. They are versatile in terrain and weather, durable and long lasting, and rate high across all of our rating metrics. Compared to other women's hiking boots, they are more supportive and have an aggressive tread that is oriented for optimum hiking. Overall, these are the best hiking boot we tested for four season hiking and backpacking on well traveled trails and in rugged terrain.
The Renegades come in nearly a dozen color options and three different width options. The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid, $225, is the men's version of this shoe. The Lowa Renegade is also available in a new low cut GTX version, the Renegade III GTX - Women's, $200, and the Renegade III GTX, men's, $200. For the luxurious upgrade to the Renegades, the Renegade Pro GTX Mid- Women's have leather trim and cuffs as well as retro hardware; available in a men's version.
— Briana Valorosi
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Most recent review: October 28, 2014
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