Lowa Renegade GTX Review:

Lowa Renegade GTX Review: An understated hiking shoe that overperforms

The Lowa Renegade GTX HIking Shoe An understated hiking shoe that overperforms | Lowa Renegade GTX Review:

The Lowa Renegade GTX – A straight forward hiking shoe with an understated look and high performance right out of the box.  From Laos to Everest, over months of travel through a variety of activities, terrains, and climates, the Lowa Renegade GTX kept my feet comfortable and feeling great, letting me focus more on the pleasures of adventure. (This is a Lowa Renegade Review) 

If you’re in search of a high performing hiking shoe with a subdued look for your travels, I can’t recommend the Lowa Renegade GTX more.

Contents


A Lowa Renegade GTX Review

My Experience with the Lowa Renegade GTX

I initially stumbled on the Lowa Renegade at REI when I was in search of a hiking shoe that could perform well enough for the 1 week+ long trek to Everest Base Camp but looked subdued enough that I could comfortably wear the shoe around town in South America and Southeast Asia without drawing attention.  As a kicker, I was leaving in mere weeks, so I wouldn’t have time for a proper break-in period.  After searching through hundreds of shoes and boots online and in stores I finally found the Lowa Renegade GTX…and it appeared to fit all of the traits I needed in a hiking boot for travel as well as any shoe could.

See the Lowa Renegade GTX at REI.com

Initial Performance of the Lowa Renegade Hiking Shoes:

Upon purchase I tested the Lowa Renegade GTX (and some other gear) with a 12 mile hike with 45lbs in my bag…and they performed amazingly.  Start to finish my feet stayed comfortable and despite the long length for an initial use hike I didn’t have a single hotspot, blister, or sore point.  It was like I’d taken out hiking shoes in their prime that I had been wearing for years

Aesthetics of the Lowa Renegade GTX:

While I may not get into any Las Vegas rooftop lounges or 3 Michelin star restaraunts in Paris wearing the Low Renegades, the design and styling fairly neutral and muted enough for citywear without extra atttention.  All black with smooth, leather paneling makes these shoes look like a very muted athletic shoe — meaning, they don’t look fantastic by fashion standards, but they don’t draw attention either.  As much as I love the performance of Merrel’s and Asolo’s, considering these would be my prime shoes for 4 months I wanted to avoid something that screamed “backpacker!” The renegage GTX’s did that well.  Worn with a pair of casual jeans, few would be the wiser as to how well the Lowa Renegades perform.  If a more “normal looking hiking shoe” is what you’re after, check out the Lowa Renegade GTX II as well.

While I may not get into any Las Vegas rooftop lounges or 3 Michelin star restaraunts in Paris wearing the Low Renegades, the design and styling fairly neutral and muted enough for citywear without extra attention.  All black with smooth, leather paneling makes these shoes look like a very muted athletic shoe — meaning, they don’t look fantastic by fashion standards, but they don’t draw attention either.  As much as I love the performance of Merrel’s and Asolo’s, considering these would be my prime shoes for 4 months I wanted to avoid something that screamed “backpacker!” The Renegade GTX’s did that well.  Worn with a pair of casual jeans, few would be the wiser as to how well the Lowa Renegades perform.  If a more “normal looking hiking shoe” is what you’re after, check out the Lowa Renegade GTX II as well.

Performance on the Road in Southeast Asia, motorbiking and backpacking with the Lowa Renegades:

In the 4 months preceding my trek to Everest, I walked, hiked, and rode across Southeast Asia.  The highlight of the tour was a two month motorcycle ride through no man’s land.  Starting in Vietnam and taking the not so treaded path of one of the many Ho Chi Minh trails continuing into Laos, I rode a Vietnamese Detech motorbike through Vietnam and Laos’ mountains, rivers and everything in between encountering every kind of weather Asia had to offer.  Rainstorms that lasted through 10 hours of riding and hikes through shin deep mud. 

Though not “on foot” the Renegades kept my feet dry (or at least comfy) through the worst Vietnam had to offer

Though I wasn’t hiking (the Lowa Renegades’ forte) the shoes took it all in stride.  They kept my feet comfortable and dry far longer than I expected.  On the days off from riding, the shoes continued to be awesome during hikes on sketchy, muddy, and slick trails up mountains, between fields of unexploded bombs.  Through it all, I can’t think of a single day that my feet hurt in these shoes.

Through the jungle conditions of Vietnam, the Lowa Renegade GTX stayed beyond comfortable

Trekking in the Lowa Renegade GTX’s:

From day hikes off the Ho Chi Minh trail, to 10 mile jaunts wandering around new towns over four months, the Renegades never gave me a blister, popped a stitch, or even frayed.  The constant exposure to mud and water did fade them a bit, but the shoes’ performance remained stellar the entire time. 

The Lowa Renegade GTX in the Himalayas

The final test (before the Everest Base Camp Trek) was a 3 day trek through Myanmar (Burma) to Inle Lake, through beautiful fields and muddy sludge carrying everything I owned (roughly 30lbs of gear).  Again, not a single blister, no tired feet, just enjoyment.  My feet never tired out before the rest of my body.

The Final Test: The Everest Base Camp Trek

After 4 months of wandering Asia I finally reached what I had actually come to the continent for – Everest.  I had two demands for my trek to Everest Base Camp – carry all of my own gear, and beat the crowds.  This meant walking faster than everyone else with much heavier loads than they were carrying.  I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish either of these objectives without an excellent pair of shoes.  The Lowa Renegade GTX’s were the perfect choice for me and for the Everest trek. 

The Everest Trek should have taken between 11 and 14 days to walk the 80 miles.  With the Lowa Renegade’s I finished in 7, carrying all of my own gear (~25lbs).  No guide, no porter.  I wish I could say my feet didn’t hurt a single step of this journey, but there were times they did – but at no fault of the shoes.  I’ve walked plenty of miles before and I can say that, given the task, these shoes performed better than any others I’ve owned.

The Lowa Renegade GTX in the Himalayas | Lowa Renegade GTX Review

With the Everest Base Camp Trek as the final trek, I can state clearing that these are my favorite hiking shoes I’ve ever owned.

Pros of the Lowa Renegade GTX

  • Extremely comfortable: Felt amazing for hiking right out of the box, even with weight
  • Subdued and neutral look (for a hiking shoe)
  • Stays snug (horizontally) and comfortable through a variety of activities and movements
  • Perform remarkably well in all weather
  • Durable

Cons of the Lowa Renegade GTX

  • Price – a little more than counterparts, but you get what you pay for
  • Gore-Tex, may not be the best for hot, jungle climates as it traps in moisture in heat and humidity and takes forever to dry once wet.  Consider bringing a sports sandal like the Xero Trail
  • Won’t fit gaiters, due to being low tops

Who I recommend the Lowa Renegade GTX for

Travelers whose travels lean more towards trekking, hiking, and lots of adventure, accumulating more miles than rooftop cocktails. If you have weaker ankles and plan on doing multi-day treks or carrying heavy loads, I recommend opting for a more supportive, hi-top boot instead.

For travelers who adventure equally between the city and the backcountry and want a more fashionable shoe that’s still capable of adventure, consider the Altama OTB Maritimes, possibly the most balanced travel shoe I’ve ever encountered.  Though they don’t hike as well as the Lowa Renegade GTX, the tradeoff gets you a great looking shoe that performs well in nearly any environment (even swimming) and still looks good enough for a photo shoot.

Recommendations

Consider pairing these with the Xero Trail minimalist sandal, great for hiking, running, walking, and everything else you can think of.  With these two pieces of footwear you’ll be ready for any occasion.

Specifications

  • Price: $210
  • Weight: 1lb 7oz.

Verdict on the Lowa Renegade GTX

Highly recommended.  From beginning the beginning of my adventure to the end, the Lowa Renegade GTX was one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever adventured in.  Well worth the price, high performing, and in a very understated package.

Click Here to Purchase the Lowa Renegade GTX at REI

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