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Hands-on Gear Review
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Review
Cons: Not our favorite lacing system, lots of upper seams
Bottom line: This boot is a midweight hiker that weighs just under 3 lbs, while its high collar provides excellent stability and water resistance.
The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid is a fine midweight hiking boot, and has faired well in The Best Hiking Boots for Women Review over the last two years. The boys enjoyed hiking in them as well, finding them comfortable from the first step. The Renegade is as snug and form fitting as lightweights like the award winning Keen Targhee II Mid, but has more foot and ankle support. The Monowrap Frame midsole is an effective weight saving design, and our feet still felt good many miles in.
This boot faced stiff competition in its weight category. If you're looking for a high performing midweight boot, we found the Salomon Quest 4D II GTX to be the best of the best overall, either tying or edging out the Renegade in five of the six scoring metrics. The Vasque St. Elias is another pair comparable to the Renegade, and a great choice too. These three boots provided the most outstanding performance of the midweights in this review.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Men's Hiking Boots of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid earned an overall score similar to our award winners. It's very comfortable and an all-around good boot. Lighter than every other midweight, it's nimble and comfortable when day hiking, and just beefy enough for carrying moderate loads backpacking.
This boot is comfortable and form fitting out of the box. The felt and foam insole feels nice underfoot, and the tailored leather upper is more form fitting on the foot than other midweight hikers we tested. The forefoot of the Renegade has a substantial rocker, or upward curve, which is noticeable during the push-off bit of each step.
The ankle collar is both supportive and comfortable during foot flexion. Four lower eyelets, one middle lock, and two upper hook eyelets comprise the lacing system. We quite like this boot, but the lacing system disappointed us. The middle locking eyelet is small and hard to get at, and doesn't lock tight on the factory laces. Additionally, the laces popped right out of the top hook eyelets more than once when hiking steeply uphill. After comparing the Renegade's eyelets and laces to other boots, we found that replacing the supplied laces with a slightly larger and stiffer lace worked much better. We preferred the ease of use and function of the lacing systems on the Salomon Quest 4D II GTX and the Arc'teryx Bora2 Mid.
This boot has a reputation for comfort, and with wide sizes available, your chances of finding the right fit are good.
The Renegades were the only pair of boots we reviewed to come with an extra set of laces, which are identical to the ones that come factory laced. This can be especially handy if you prefer to use a two-lace technique when lacing up.
The Renegade GTX tied the Quest 4D GTX for the tallest ankle collar height when measured on the side. We liked the design of the ankle collar; it's very well cushioned, and the back dips down further than the Quest and the St. Elias. This gave our feet more room to flex without getting blocked by the ankle collar, while still providing high support on the sides of the ankles. The leather is more continuous around the ankle on this boot compared to the Vasque St. Elias GTX. Add the unique frame-like midsole, and there's good lateral support.
The polyurethane Monowrap Frame midsole design reduces weight, and combined with the full length nylon shank, creates good torsional stability. The Renegade is a few ounces lighter than the Quest 4D and St. Elias, but still provided strong prevention against ankle injuries on and off the trail.
Overall, this hiking boot handles rough and smooth, wet and dry trails well. The aggressively rockered front sole stuck to rock slabs well, and it was great in the mud, gravel, and scree. If we had to complain, we would say these aren't ideal for scrambling, like the Asolo Jumla GV, but will do in a pinch.
This product is the lightest of the midweight hikers. It might fit a niche in between; more stable, water resistant, and durable than lightweights, but not as durable as most midweights.
At six inches, this boot has one of the lowest flood heights of the midweight hikers, but perhaps the best Gore-Tex liner. Lowa has patented the durable, comfortable design. Our feet always stayed dry in these boots. Although the leather rand absorbed water out of the box, water continued to bead off the rest of the upper throughout the entire testing period.
Several pieces of leather are used on each side of this boot to create a form fitting upper, making for lots of seams. Four pieces of leather make up the forefoot flex point, and these three seams will wear in rough terrain. More than others, the Renegade's longevity will benefit from both Seam Grip and a leather treatment. The Vibram Evo soles showed no signs of wear after multiple backpacking trips and day hikes.
Backpacking trips with moderate loads are the forte of this boot. It is also light and agile enough for shorter hikes, especially when you need superior foot and ankle support in difficult terrain.
At $230, we feel similarly priced midweights like the Vasque St. Elias and Salomon Quest 4D deliver more value. However, a lot of hikers really like the fit of the Lowa Renegade, so if it's a perfect fit for you, it's definitely worth the investment.
Despite its name, the Renegade will not desert or leave you hanging on the trail. This is a very popular boot with a dedicated following. Some folks really like the combination of torsional stability, a minimal weight for a midweight, and aggressive forefoot rocker. It's very comfortable from day one, and nimble on the feet for backpacking trips.
— Ross Robinson and Brandon Lampley
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