Lowa: High Quality, Long History
I always seek to purchase high-quality gear, to take good care of it, and therefore to buy less over time. Consuming less is a big part of environmental stewardship, and so my review of the Lowa Renegade GTX is filtered through that lens. My conclusion? These boots pass with flying colors and are well worth your investment.
The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid is a waterproof hiking boot perfect for trails, wet & cold weather, and mountain adventures. Lowa introduced their first hiking boots in 1982 after decades of building mountaineering and ski boots. The first model of the Renegade GTX Mid arrived in 1997. That’s right, when you hike in a pair of these award winning boots, you’re taking advantage of over 25 years of expert craftsmanship and refinement.
Not many products in today’s world were have set the standard for such a long time. In fact, when the Renegade GTX Mid turned 20 years old in 2018, Backpacker Magazine inducted it into their Hall of Fame.
Lowa is proud of their quality. From start to finish, Lowa boots are built in Europe. Lowa is proud to hold ISO 9001 status for the highest quality construction and process standards. Under EU regulations, Lowa practices clean manufacturing, minimal waste, and fair labor. Read more about their corporate responsibility right here, if you’re interested.
My Renegade GTX Boots: 9 Years of Adventure
I’ve had my Lowa Renegade GTX hiking boots for 9 years (the same pair) and I still use them regularly. The boots are still waterproof and keep my feet dry and warm in austere weather. They still grip well and keep my ankles supported under a heavy backpack. I believe these are boots you’ll only need to replace every 5-10 years, depending on how hard and how often you use them. I think I’ll still be using mine for 10+ years. Here’s the too long, didn’t read of my Lowa Renegade GTX Mid review: buy the boots for bad weather hiking and backpacking or if you live anywhere it snows a lot. Additionally, if you love having a pair of reliable hiking boots that can put up with some abuse, these are the boots for you.
I’ve used other boots for a variety of other activities, but the Renegade GTX boots have always been my go-to hiking footwear, especially if the weather is looking wet and cold. My wife (who loves her Lowas as well) and I often hike in North Carolina and Virginia in the fall and winter. For examples, Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia has exposed hikes that get blustery and wet, but I’ve never lacked foot comfort in my Lowas.
If the weather is wet or the packs are heavy, we’ll be wearing out Lowa Renegade GTX Mid hiking boots. Pictured here in frigid Grayson Highlands on November 16, 2022.
My Favorite Places to Wear the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
When you invest in great hiking boots, you’ll wear them very often. Especially when they look as good as the Renegades. I’m never afraid to be rough with these boots, but I also wear them around town and whenever it rains.
Here’s everywhere we wear out Renegade GTX hiking boots…
- Day hikes. Rainy, wet, and windy hikes especially. These boots are especially useful in the cold, snowy mountains of North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. But if I want my feet to stay dry, I’m wearing my Renegade GTX Mids.
- Backpacking. When I’m wearing a heavy pack and there are long trail days on the agenda, I opt for mid rise boots like these. They protect my ankles and give me more stability under my pack.
- Winter adventures. Some of my favorite hiking and backpacking memories are in the wintery mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. These boots are MARVELOUS in those rugged, wet, cold, slippery conditions. Winter hiking is awesome. Try it out if you haven’t yet.
- Daily wear when it rains. My apartment complex is wooded with lots of puddles, when it rains. When I’m walking my dog in the rain, going grocery shopping during a hurricane, or just want something warm and comfortable, I’ll be wearing my Lowas.
- Traveling north in the fall and winter. If I’m headed somewhere cold or snowy, you can bet I’ll have my Lowas in the trunk.
- GORUCK Tough Challenge. I’ve done one 12+ hour GORUCK Tough Challenge, and my Lowas performed remarkably. No foot problems after 12+ hours carrying around heavy weight on a cold February night in North Carolina.
Lowa Renegade GTX Pros and Cons
Lowa Renegade GTX hiking boots are durable and versatile mid rise boots that’ve been tackling trails all over the world for 25 years.
While our Lowas have only seen the eastern United States, I feel confident that we’ve piled up some great adventures and experiences that prove these boots trustworthy.
Pros: Durable, Comfortable, Dry, Stylish
There’s a lot to get excited about here. These are the best things about the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid hiking boots:
1. Price & Value
These boots are priced well for how long they last, and how durable their components are. I’m almost to 10 years with mine, and I’m still happily wearing them. I’ve only had to change the shoe laces, and I put some Curex insoles in them for a bit more contoured shape underfoot. This long life is a big deal for me. I like to buy things that last, even if I need to spend a bit more up front.
Like I’ve mentioned, my Lowas are the most durable footwear I own. They’ve seen mountains, miles of pavement, rivers and snow, and they’re still kicking. These boots are built with the highest quality materials: Vibram outsoles (the gold standard for shoe rubber), Nubuck leather uppers, and GORE-TEX for waterproofing. As your trail adventures and mountain memories pile up, you’ll see the benefit of boots made with the highest quality materials.
From year 1 to year 9, these boots pass the comfort test. I’ve worn them with 50lbs packs while backpacking in the smoky mountains, but I also lace them up to run errands when the weather is bad. No complaints, hot hotspots or blisters, no rolled ankles. For hiking and everything else, you can count on Lowas keeping your feet happy. Just make sure you wear a good pair of socks like these Feetures running socks–my favorite hiking socks!
These boots are practical and useful in a variety of environments, but I wouldn’t wear them in dry, hot weather or for light hiking. The boots would be too hot in warm weather (waterproof GORTEX is not breathable), when you want your feet to have some airflow. In hot weather or environments I wear trail running shoes, or lighter boots like Altra Lone Peak Mids.
Similarly, if the hiking is light, Lowas might feel too hefty. No pack on your back? You might not need boots at all. Trail running shoes are great for light hiking. However, if you like your ankles supported and protected, the Lowa Renegade is the best waterproof option.
Lowa Renegade GTX Mids aren’t crafted with eco-friendly materials, but Lowa places a huge emphasis on supporting sustainable production and environmental protection, especially in Europe. Plus, you can keep your boots for a really long time. My favorite way to shop sustainably is to purchase things that will last for years and years to come.
Lowa even has a resoling and service program for their boots. While Lowas don’t qualify because of their build, this demonstrates the company’s interest in building long-lasting gear.
It is my belief that you can purchase a pair of Lowa boots and feel confident that your choice is environmentally friendly.
6. The best waterproof hiking boots? I think so.
These boots are waterproof, no doubt. Even 9 years later with the same pair, my feet are always dry in my Lowas–even with full submersion in streams and rivers. Five stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ for water resistance.
The last item in the “pro” column for the Renegade GTX Mid is style. These boots just look good. They’re not clunky and they look good with various outfits. My wife and I always give each other a little whistle when we see each other wearing these boots.
Cons: Space and Weight
Well, not everything can be perfect. While I’ll never choose another pair of waterproof hiking boots over these, there are a couple cons worth mentioning.
Size and Weight
These two “cons” might be it, but they’re worth considering, especially if you’re on the road or traveling abroad. The Lowas are heavy (because they’re waterproof) and take up a lot more space than trail runners or hiking sandals. We like to travel without much (maybe just a GR1 and a pair of Teva Sandals), and would be hard-pressed to consider bringing our Lowas too far from home. If we’ve got a car (and therefore a trunk and more storage space), they might make the cut, but hardly ever on an airplane or in a shared, tight-squeeze car.
So if you’re traveling light or without much luggage, you might have to leave your Lowas at home. But if you’re traveling somewhere you’ll want your feet to breathe, this won’t matter anyway.
My Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Review: Buy the boots and enjoy them for years to come
If you love hiking, you’ll want a good pair of reliable hiking boots. Waterproof hiking boots can be a bit clunky, but the Renegade GTXs make up for that with comfort, durability, and style. In other words, you’ll want to wear them, you can wear them for years to come, and you’ll always look good with them on your feet. While they’re a little clunky for traveling abroad, their performance in bad weather and on big mountains gives them my absolute confidence.
If I’m hiking, backpacking, or walking around in cold and wet weather, you can bet I’ll be wearing my Lowas.