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Lowa Locarno GTX Lo - Women's Review

A hiking shoe that is durable and waterproof that can go from trail to street
Lowa Locarno GTX Lo - Women's
Photo: REI Co-op
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Price:  $210 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Waterproof, durable, understated styling
Cons:  Expensive, not comfortable for long days, poor traction
Manufacturer:   Lowa
By Laurel Hunter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 23, 2021
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 13
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Support - 20% 7
  • Traction - 15% 5
  • Weight - 15% 6
  • Water Resistance - 15% 8
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

While we were impressed with its ability to shed water, we found that the Lowa Locarno GTX Lo wasn't the most comfortable for long hikes and its traction was lacking in muddy and wet conditions. It's also quite expensive for its relative performance. For more mellow and predictable terrain, however, it is a solid option. Because it features classic styling, hikers who are looking for one shoe to cover a lot of terrains, from urban to trail, and who need waterproofness and durability will be happy with this model.

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Star Rating
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Pros Waterproof, durable, understated stylingSuperb traction, supportive, waterproof, comfortFeels fast, lightweight, waterproof, great tractionComfortable, stable, great traction, durableComfortable, waterproof, excellent traction
Cons Expensive, not comfortable for long days, poor tractionMay be less durable, expensiveAverage durability, not as protective underfootUpper absorbs water (but doesn't leak), a little heavyNeeds breaking in, runs short
Bottom Line A hiking shoe that is durable and waterproof that can go from trail to streetA high-tech hiking shoe that delivers in every category, outperforming the best shoes we've ever testedThis high-performing shoe is impressively lightweight and suited for hard-charging missions across versatile terrainThis beefy shoe features rugged durability and excels at day hikes, longer adventures, and tricky terrainGood at most things and great at some, this solid hiker meets most needs at a surprisingly low price
Rating Categories Lowa Locarno GTX Lo... Spire GTX X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex Sawtooth II Low BDry Merrell Moab 2 WP -...
Comfort (25%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Support (20%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
Traction (15%)
5.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
6.0
8.0
4.0
5.0
Water Resistance (15%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
6.0
5.0
9.0
6.0
Specs Lowa Locarno GTX Lo... Spire GTX X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex Sawtooth II Low BDry Merrell Moab 2 WP -...
Weight per Pair (Size 7) 1.56 lbs 1.61 lbs 1.37 lbs 1.83 lbs 1.69 lbs
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular, Wide Regular, Wide
Upper Nubuck leather/fabric Abrasion-resistant mesh Synthetic/textile Leather/textile Suede leather, mesh
Midsole Low profile Dura-polyurethane EVA EVA Dual density EVA EVA
Lining Gore-Tex Gore-Tex Surround Gore-Tex B-Dry Mesh
Outsole LOWA Hybrid Trac rubber Vibram XS Trek Contagrip Sawtooth Vibram TC5+

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Lowa Locarno is a leather hiking shoe that is durable and waterproof with a Gore-Tex membrane and classic styling.

Performance Comparison


A capable shoe for moderate hiking, this shoe has understated styling.
A capable shoe for moderate hiking, this shoe has understated styling.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Comfort


As your means of getting across trails, up mountains, and out into the wild, your feet need to be comfortable or the hike will be a short one. Materials that make up the sole of a shoe have a spectrum from cushioned to durable, and soles that are more durable tend to be less bouncy and responsive. Having some cushion (which EVA soles tend to provide), makes for a lower amount of foot fatigue. The midsole of this pair is constructed from a hybrid PU, making for a very solid feel underfoot. The insole is quite thin and provides very little cushion. After wearing the Locarno for a long day hike with a moderately heavy pack, our feet were tired.

That being said, it is equipped with padding on the collar and tongue and the leather flexes well. In terms of fit, this model is a bit narrow, especially in the toe box, and may not be a good fit if you like to wear a thick sock or need more room for your toes to splay and wiggle.

Padded tongue and collar provided some comfortable features.
Padded tongue and collar provided some comfortable features.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Support


The durable materials that make up the sole may not be the most comfortable, but they do feel quite solid and protective. The laces worked perfectly fine to secure a snug fit. The insole is molded to provide some arch support and overall, this shoe felt adequately supportive.

Traction


Sporting "Lowa Hybrid Trac" rubber on the outsoles, we were not particularly impressed with the traction on the Locarno. While it was adequate on rolling, non-technical terrain, the shoes slipped considerably on loose rock and icy conditions. With relatively shallow lugs, it also did not perform well in muddy conditions. If you hike on predictable tread in mild weather, the traction will suffice, but we would hesitate before taking these into steep and varied terrain.

The shallow lugs were easily defeated by spring mud.
The shallow lugs were easily defeated by spring mud.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Weight


Weighing in at 1.56 pounds per pair for a size 7, the Locarno is almost exactly in the middle of the pack in terms of weight. This is surprising, considering the nubuck leather upper, as leather tends to be heavier than other technical materials. It's one of the lightest leather hiking shoes we've ever tested, forging a nice niche for those looking to drop weight without dropping the leather upper.

Water Resistance


Leather hiking boots, even when fitted with a waterproof liner, often absorb water while keeping the foot dry inside the shoe. As part of our bucket test, we weigh shoes before and after a ten-minute dunk to see if they are absorbing water. The Locarno GTXshowed no difference in weight, absorbing no water at all, and visibly beading water really effectively. Even the laces stayed dry, though they look like t-shirt material. Lined with an effective Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, if your feet get wet from this shoe, it is likely splashing in over the top.

Water beaded up on these nubuck uppers, making for no water...
Water beaded up on these nubuck uppers, making for no water absorption in our bucket test.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Durability


As expected from a leather shoe, the Locarno shows little sign of wear after our testing period. The upper is double-stitched around the toe and heel for extra strength. We did notice some snagging in the exposed midsole but overall would anticipate this model to be quite durable over time.

We found a couple of small snags in the exposed area of the midsoles.
We found a couple of small snags in the exposed area of the midsoles.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Value


Falling at the top end of the price range of the shoes in our test, while performing only adequately in technical terrain, we feel that this pair is not a great value. However, it goes from trail to street more successfully than some other hiking shoes in our test, and that crossover trait may add additional value for some hikers.

While not inexpensive, this shoe can go from trail to city more...
While not inexpensive, this shoe can go from trail to city more easily than some others.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Conclusion


If you are looking for one shoe to go from trail to street, that also features excellent waterproofness, this is a great choice. If you plan on tackling more technical terrain or multi-day adventures, there are better options available.

Laurel Hunter