I’m a big guy with big feet. There I said it. Being a big guy with big feet, I have a hard time finding footwear that fits well and holds up. Now add in that I spend a ton of time in the field, either hunting, fishing, scouting, or just plain old getting outside. I’m pretty brutal on boots.
This past spring, as I was getting ready for turkey season, I had the opportunity to take a long hard look at Lowa Boots Renegade GTX mid-height hikers. Lowa claims that no break-in period is required. Let’s see about that, although I’m kinda giving things away with the title of this article. Read along for the details though, OK? Thanks!
The uppers are fashioned from Nubuk leather and the liner is made of waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX, in a design created exclusively for Lowa.
Lowa also uses a special foot bed offering a special breathable design that helps reduce blisters and excessive moisture build up. The real star, at least for me is the PU Monowrap frame, a Lowa-patented construction technique that provides reduced overall weight but keeping important lateral stability. The outer sole is tested Vibram Evo, and offers superb traction.
But enough details that you can read off the Lowa website at www.lowaboots.com. Let me tell you about testing these boots. As I said, the first time I wore them afield was to hunt turkeys. I was scouting before the season started and was wading through the last remaining drifts of snow from a mild Michigan winter. Things were sloppy and tricky to walk on, but my feet were dry as can be. I also never lost traction even when traversing a few tricky side hills that were slick with ice and snow. The Vibram soles and GORE-TEX worked like a charm.
The other thing is, these boots have a ton of support in the ankle area. I said I’m not a small guy. I have big, size 13-wide feet and need as much support as I can get when I’m hiking back into places I hunt and fish. These boots took every bit of abuse and kept my ankles where they were supposed to be. It reminded me of the motocross boots of my youth as far as support went. The only difference was, these boots were far more comfortable and like Lowa advertises, there was no need for break-in time.
So the boots made it though a cold, slippery spring turkey season with flying colors. But what about real mountains? Later that spring I was asked to go to the steep ridges of West Virginia to ride ATVs on the famous Hatfield McCoy trail system. When packing, I knew I needed stiff boots. Most of my counterparts were wearing the latest MX offerings. I went with the Lowas. I had the support I needed for the grueling rides and during the down times, I had comfortable boots for getting out and hiking around in the steep, rocky, slippery, wet mountainsides that make up the area.
Now what about when it got hot? During the summer months, I was asked again to go on an ATV ride, this time to the hot desserts of New Mexico. Again, I called upon the Lowa Renegades to cover my footwear needs. This time, we were riding in the dry, dusty dessert mountains and again, I had the support I needed and the comfort I craved. The terrain was very different than Michigan or West Virginia in that the sandy soil was very dry and powdery and the rocks were jagged. I learned from a trip years ago to Texas that in the Southwest, everything will test you by poking or cutting you. The boots held up extremely well and I didn’t get any blisters or even bad odors from walking around and riding in the high heat New Mexico threw at us.
Jump ahead to just a few days ago. Michigan’s early goose hunting season opened and I was going hunting for my favorite species, Canada geese. The farm I was hunting has heavy clay soils and holds a lot of moisture. Not a big deal except the relatively dry summer was being made up for, apparently, but a ton of rain in the few days leading up to the season opener. This meant the fields were going to be extremely wet. Walking across them called for boots that would keep my feet dry. I think you can see where I’m going with this. I called on the Lowas once again.
If I had to find a fault with the Lowa Renegade GTX boots it would be the price. At more than $200, they are pricey and may be a bit much for the average guy. But the average guy isn’t the market Lowa is going for. If you’re looking for a cheap pair of hikers, you aren’t going to buy the Lowas. If you’re looking for a pair of hikers that will take the abuse of some serious activity, be it hiking up mountains, spending long days afield hunting in hardcore terrain, or even spending your days riding around the country on an ATV, these are boots worth a serious look. They are extremely well made with top-shelf components and they do what they say they will. You will find the boots have excellent traction, support and fit.
I have a lot going on this fall, with hunting trips across the country for everything from bucks to bears, and, of course, ducks and geese. You’ll find the Lowa Renegade GTX boots on my feet more often than not. And I say than not because I have to. I wear them because I want to and because I care about my feet. Now go get your own Renegades. These are mine and you can’t have them.