Lowa Alpine Expert GTX Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Good laces, does well on all mediums
Cons: Heavy, snow comes in the top
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Lowa Alpine Expert GTX
|Price||$459.95 at Backcountry|
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|$700.00 at REI|
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|Check Price at Backcountry|
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|$500 List||$578.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Good laces, does well on all mediums||Super lightweight, climbs well, simple laces||Light, versatile, great for rock climbing||Weatherproof, fits big feet||Good all-around climbing performance, secure lacing system|
|Cons||Heavy, snow comes in the top||No lace lock, could be warmer||Not very warm, minimal calf support||Heavy, thick sole||Not as light or warm as other options|
|Bottom Line||A decent all-around boot that's good for those with wider feet||This lightweight boot is our go-to choice for challenging climbs on ice, rock, and snow||These light, versatile boots are good for all-around performance||Climbers with wide or otherwise unusual feet could find a great fit with this boot||This traditional single leather boot is a reasonable value|
|Rating Categories||Lowa Alpine Expert GTX||Asolo Eiger XT GV Evo||La Sportiva Trango...||Salewa Vultur Verti...||Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Specs||Lowa Alpine Expert GTX||Asolo Eiger XT GV Evo||La Sportiva Trango...||Salewa Vultur Verti...||Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro|
|Weight||2lb (907g)||1lb 10.8oz (760g)||1lb 13.6oz (835g)||2lb 1oz (935g)||2lb 1.7oz (955g)|
|Sizes Available||7-14 US||40-47.5 EU||38-48 EU||39-47 EU||39-48 EU|
|Upper||Split leather/microfiber||High tenacity nylon with Schoeller Soft Shell||Nylon 6.6 with Honey-Comb Guard and FlexTec 3||Microfiber/Superfabric||3mm silicone impregnated Perwanger leather, S-Tech fabric|
|Waterproof Lining||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex Insulated Comfort||Gore-Tex Performance Comfort||Gore-Tex Insulated Comfort||Gore-Tex Insulated Comfort|
|Shank||Nylon||Carbon Fiber||9mm Insulated IBI-Thermo||Nylon and Fiberglass||Pro-Fiber XT20 insole|
|Midsole||DuraPU||Dual color microporous midsole||6-7mm TPU/ Dual-density micropore EVA||TPU||PU + TPU|
|Sole Rubber||Vibram Alp Trac Ice||Vibram Litebase with Mont compound||Vibram "One"||Vibram Salewa Pro||Vibram Essential AC / Mont|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Lowa Alpine Expert GTX is a traditional mountaineering boot. Its low cut helps on the approach as well as on mixed terrain. The lacing system seems uninspiring at first but performs really well. Our testers found that this boot fits wider feet better than some other models.
The Alpine Expert GTX is an enjoyable boot to climb in. While not quite as supportive of our calves as some of the other boots, they performed satisfactorily on steep ice, especially if we could find the occasional rest. However, climbers with weak calves or poor technique will be punished on long, sustained pitches.
They did better on mixed ground and climbing rock without crampons. In both of these situations, the low cuff height enhanced ankle mobility. On long, firm, but not-so-steep slopes, that ankle mobility was nice for proper French technique.
Though we use the word "lightweight" to describe this sub-type of mountaineering boots, the single and supergaiter varieties are catching up in the weight department. Our test size for this boot is 42.5, which weighed in around the middle of the pack at 2 lbs (907g) per boot. By a few ounces per pair, they're the heaviest lightweight boot in our review.
The Alpine Expert happily stood in 6 inches of water for 5 minutes without taking on a drop. Because we performed this test when the boot was still quite new, the DWR was in great shape, and all that water rolled right off when we withdrew our foot from the tub. Unfortunately, as the DWR wears off, the leather takes on more water (this is called "wetting out"), which can make the boot look wetter than it is and compromise the breathability of the Gore-Tex.
Our bigger concern was snow coming in over the top of the boot. Postholing is common in mountaineering endeavors. This boot has no built-in gaiter or snug cuff of any kind. If any snow gets pushed up your pant leg, some will end up in this boot. Something to keep snow out of the boot has become standard for this kind of footwear, and the Alpine Expert is behind in this metric.
A lightweight boot will always be less warm than a standard single or supergaiter boot. While it's not our first choice for climbing in the depths of winter, the Alpine Expert is one of the warmest of the lightweight boots. It has 400 grams of Primaloft insulation, and the roomy fit does not constrict blood flow.
True to form, the Alpine Expert is about as reasonable to hike in as a mountaineering boot could be. They don't have quite as much rocker as other boots tested, but there is still a decent amount. The modest Achilles cut-out and its soft foam increase the range of motion.
The Alpine Expert is a great boot to lace up. The lower eyelets have ball bearings and are easy to pull tight all at once instead of one at a time. These are the best eyelets in our review. The next hook after the ball bearings is the lace lock that and holds the tension on your forefoot. Just before the top set of lace hooks, a metal post on the tongue lets you save the lace tension in the upper part of the boot. This means you don't have to hold that tension while tying off the lace. All in all, a traditional but well-thought-out lacing system.
Should You Buy the Lowa Alpine Expert GTX?
The Lowa Alpine Expert GTX is a reasonably versatile boot that doesn't slay in any one way, except maybe lacing. They get the job done on ice and climb well on rock, with and without crampons. They're warm for a lightweight boot, and waterproof up to about 7 inches, but they lack a built-in gaiter to keep snow out of the cuff. There are lighter weight boots out there, too. Still, if this boot is a good fit for your foot, it will get the job done.
What Other Mountaineering Boots Should You Consider?
If this boot fits you well, we think it's a solid boot. If you need something ultra warm and weather resistant, check out the Arc'teryx Acrux AR. The other Lowa contender we tested, the Lowa Alpine Ice, is a supergaiter style boot that will do more to keep snow and water out than the Alpine Expert. If you're interested in a mega lightweight boot, take a look at our favorite, the Asolo Eiger XT Evo GV.
— Ian McEleney
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