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. Its traction was lacking in muddy and wet conditions compared to the hiking shoe competition. It's also quite expensive for its relative performance. However, for more mellow and predictable terrain, 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.Editor's Note: This shoe gear review received an update on March 6, 2022, with more information on our favorite shoes.
Lowa Locarno GTX Lo - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Waterproof, durable, understated styling
Cons: Expensive, not comfortable for long days, poor traction
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Lowa Locarno GTX Lo - Women's
|Price||$136.47 at Backcountry|
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|$104.95 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Waterproof, durable, understated styling||Superb traction, supportive, waterproof, comfortable||Feels fast, lightweight, waterproof, great traction||Comfortable, lightweight, decent traction, inexpensive, vegan-friendly||Waterproof, great traction, breathable|
|Cons||Expensive, not comfortable for long days, poor traction||Expensive, laces not durable, sizing runs long||Average durability, not as protective underfoot||Not waterproof, below average durability||Needs breaking in, runs short, awkward tongue, laces difficult to adjust|
|Bottom Line||A hiking shoe that is durable and waterproof that can go from trail to street||A high-tech hiking shoe that delivers in every category, outperforming the best shoes we've ever tested||This high-performing shoe is impressively lightweight and suited for hard-charging missions across versatile terrain||A budget-minded, lightweight, and comfy shoe for fair-weather day hikes when you know your feet won't get wet||Good at most things and great at some, this solid hiker meets most needs at a surprisingly low price|
|Rating Categories||Lowa Locarno GTX Lo...||La Sportiva Spire GTX||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||Merrell Siren Edge 3||Merrell Moab 2 WP -...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Lowa Locarno GTX Lo...||La Sportiva Spire GTX||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||Merrell Siren Edge 3||Merrell Moab 2 WP -...|
|Weight (per pair)||1.56 lbs (size 7)||1.61 lbs (size 7)
1.81 lbs (size 9.5)
|1.37 lbs (size 7)||1.41 lbs (size 9.5)||1.69 lbs (size 7)
1.71 lbs (size 10)
|Width Options||Regular||Regular||Regular||Regular, Wide||Regular, Wide|
|Upper||Nubuck leather/fabric||Abrasion-resistant mesh||Synthetic/textile||Waterproof mesh, 3D-printed TPU||Suede leather, mesh|
|Midsole||Low profile Dura-polyurethane||EVA||EVA||EVA||EVA|
|Lining||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex Surround||Gore-Tex||Mesh||M-Select Dry & Mesh|
|Outsole||LOWA Hybrid Trac rubber||Vibram XS Trek||Contagrip||Vibram TC5+||Vibram TC5+|
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 the hiking competition. 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 Locarno?
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 options offer you more for a lower price. The La Sportiva Spire GTX - Women's is one of our highest ranking shoes and provides comfort, support, and traction, three critical metrics for comfortable all-day hiking. If budget is a concern, the Merrell Moab 2 WP - Women's is significantly cheaper and has the same overall score with better performance in our tests for comfort, traction, and weight.
— Laurel Hunter
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