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.
Lowa offers the Renegade GTX Mid in a whopping 15 different color combinations. While the version with the neon laces that we reviewed isn't available any longer, with so many options, there's a palette to please everyone. One current option is the blue shown in the photo above. No technical aspects of the boot have changed.
The gusseted tongue and lacing system make these boots both watertight and secure. The laces are very adjustable to fit varying foot shapes. The Renegade's also come in medium and wide widths for even more customization.
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 received lower scores in terms of comfort because of the stiffness of the sole, which, for some, is actually a positive.
Moving from the sole to the upper, the Renegade has one of the best lacing systems we encountered among all the boots we tested (along with the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX). 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 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. For a boot that is equally comfortable for those with narrower feet, check out the La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX. 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. The Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 provides support underfoot without feeling stiff, like the Renegade. For some, the stiffness is helpful in providing support, while others might want a bit more flexibility in a boot. The Renegade offers plenty of ankle support as well, as the shaft height is 140 mm, making these boots one of the tallest regarding ankle height.
In the fleet of boots chosen this season for testing, we trended toward lighter hiking boots. Because of this shift, the Lowa Renegades was 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, the extra weight was noticeable. For a boot that is similar in durability, but lighter, the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 is 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 the Renegade's construction to make them as durable and supportive as they are, and weight was where we noticed it the most. Similarly, the La Sportiva Nucleo's are heavy but durable and supportive in the same way as the Renegades.
The Renegade is a well made, durable boot, constructed of entirely waterproof leather. This makes them very durable, but also adds weight.
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.
This is a category where the Lowa Renegade shines. 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.
We imagined that this full-leather boot wouldn't breathe well. However, we were pleasantly surprised that the Gore-Tex liner does a pretty good job at wicking away moisture to keep our feet dry. It wasn't as good at this as the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3, but it was much better than expected.
Gore-Tex makes the Renegade watertight, but our feet still had room to breathe inside the boots on warm days.
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. Our testing period isn't nearly that long, but the robust design did impress us. They have no mesh in their construction, which usually is the first material to give out. The all-leather upper 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 3 GTX - Women's and La Sportiva Nucleo High 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 is 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 investing 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 Renegade's are a boot that can handle anything.
From day hikes to backpacking trips to walking to the crag with a heavy pack, the Renegade are a durable shoe that will last a number of years.
The Renegade comes in at $240, making this boot one of the most expensive boots we tested. That being said, they win an award because of their superior comfort, support, and intelligent design. It is true that you get what you pay for when it comes to this hiking boot. 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 one of the top boots in our fleet. 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.