Lowa Locarno GTX Lo - Women's Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Lowa Locarno is a durable and waterproof leather hiking shoe with a Gore-Tex membrane and classic styling.
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 more durable soles tend to be less bouncy and responsive. Having some cushion (which EVA soles tend to provide) makes for less foot fatigue. The midsole of this pair is constructed from a hybrid PU, making for a very solid feel underfoot. The insole is relatively thin and provides minimal cushion. Our feet were tired after wearing the Locarno for a long day hike with a moderately heavy pack.
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.
The durable materials that make up the sole may not be the most comfortable, but they feel pretty 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.
Sporting "Lowa Hybrid Trac" rubber on the outsoles, we were not particularly impressed with the traction on the Locarno compared to other top-ranked women's hiking shoes. While it was adequate on rolling, non-technical terrain, the shoes slipped considerably on loose rock and icy conditions. It also did not perform well in muddy conditions with relatively shallow lugs. The traction will suffice if you hike on predictable tread in mild weather, but we would hesitate before taking these into steep and varied terrain.
Weighing in at 1.56 pounds per pair for a size 7, the Locarno is almost in the middle of the pack in terms of weight. Considering the nubuck leather upper, this is surprising, 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.
Even when fitted with a waterproof liner, leather hiking boots 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 effectively. Even the laces stayed dry, though they looked 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.
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.
Should You Buy the Lowa Locarno GTX Lo?
If you are looking for one shoe to go from trail to street with excellent waterproofness, this is a great choice. If you plan on tackling more technical terrain or multi-day adventures, there are better options available. 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.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
With one of the highest prices in the group and a lower overall score, multiple other options offer a better value. The Merrell Moab 3 WP is a top-performing shoe on all counts, yet it's significantly cheaper and versatile enough to serve well on any kind of trail adventure. If speed and technical terrain lie ahead, the La Sportiva Spire GTX is a high-scoring shoe that provides comfort, support, and traction — the three critical metrics for successful all-day hiking. If you want to feel good on the trail and look good over drinks at the end of the day, consider the Arc'teryx Aerios FL 2 GTX, which does a stellar job at bridging that gap.
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