Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Gear Closet: Lowa Innox EVO Lo and Renegade GTX Mid Boots

Finding the right footwear to see you through your outdoor adventures is essential to enjoying your time outside. After all, if you're feet aren't happy, the rest of you probably isn't going to have a good time either. Fortunately, we live in a time when there are many good choices when it comes to shoes for our outdoor pursuits, with Lowa making some of the best options for a wide variety of activities, including hiking, backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, travel, or just kicking it around town. Recently, I had the chance to test two very different shoes from the company, coming away very impressed with both. Here are my thoughts on these two boots.

Lowa Innox EVO Lo Light Hiking Shoes
Lightweight and comfortable is the best way to describe these fantastic shoes, which have the soul of a trail runner and the sole of a hiking boot.

At first glance, the Innox EVO Lo resembles an athletic shoe more than a hiking boot, and since they weigh just 22 ounces for a pair, it would be easy to think they wouldn't offer all of the support you would need. But this hiking shoe has a stiff midsole that helps to protect the foot from jarring impacts, while still managing to maintain a level of flexibility that makes it an ideal choice for a wide variety of outdoor activities.

Lowa has packed quite a few features into these fairly simple looking shoes. For instance, the Innox EVO comes equipped with a Gore-Tex waterproof liner that helps keep moisture at bay. This makes them a great choice for use in damp environments, as the quick-drying and highly breathable fabrics that make up the shoe keep your feet dry and comfortable throughout the day. That's a great combination of performance features to have in any athletic shoe, let a lone a light hiker.

For me, these shoes have a bit of a snug fit, which is something that I happen to like. When it comes to athletic shoes I like to have a good feel for the surface benefits my feet, and these shoes provide that experience nicely. This helps to provide good footing in changing conditions, and gives a nice sense of agility and balance. And since the Innox EVO has a nice, aggressive sole, it feels like you could wear them just about anywhere without fear.

Perhaps my favorite thing about these shoes is there level of versatility. They are great for day hikes of course, but they could also be used for trail running in a pinch. But, they also make a great shoe for travel since they can be used both on the trail or walking around town. If you're someone who likes to travel light, this is an excellent option, as they just might be the only pair of shoes you need to take with you on you travels.

The Lowa Innox EVO Lo hiking shoes are priced at $175, which probably seems a bit pricey when compared to similar shoes from the competition. But because they are so comfortable, durable, and versatile, it actually feels like a true bargain. A pair of these shoes will definitely last you a long time, and see you through a wide variety of adventures. The fact that they look good too is just icing on the cake.

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
Switching gears from the low-profile, light hikers of the Innox EVO, the Renegate GTX which is a completely different boot with a completely different purpose in mind. This is Lowa's best selling shoe of all time, and after wearing them on the trail it is easy to understand why. The combination of support, protection, and comfort they provide to your feet is exceptional, making them one of my favorite pairs of boots I've ever worn.

Whereas the Innox EVOs are great for day hiking and travel, the Renegade GTX is specifically built with trekking and backpacking in mind. These boots are made from Nubuck leather and feature a Vibram Evo outsole that provide great traction on mud, snow, ice, and other wet surfaces. A Gore-Tex liner does an excellent job of keeping water out, while a climate control footbed helps to keep your feet warm and dry. All of this really helps to keep your feet comfortable on longer hikes, making it much easier to trek for miles over a number of days as well.

One of the key elements you look for out of a good pair of backpacking boots is durability, and Renegade excels in that category too. I've worn these boots on a number of hikes, putting some decent mileage on them in the process. Other than getting a bit dirty and muddy, they actually still look brand new and fresh from the box. I've taken them on trails in Alaska, the Adirondacks, and closer to home, and so far there isn't a scratch, cut, or scuff on them anywhere. In fact, when I wash the mud and grime off of them upon returning home, you'd never know that they've ever hit a trail at all. This speaks well for the long-term life of these boots, which will likely serve you well for years of outdoor adventures.

The other thing that I really like about the Renegade GTX boots is that they are very comfortable, even after a long day on the trail. There are a lot of boots on the market that are durable and offer good traction, or can keep your feet protected and safe from the elements. But few boots can do all of that, plus are comfortable enough to wear all day long too. Lowa has made that boot, which is why it has been such a hit with their customers.

The Renegade GTX is a bit of overkill for short, local day hikes. But if you're an adventure traveler who treks mountain trails or goes backpacking through national parks, these are a great options for those more demanding outings. They are perfect for multi-day camping trips or even light mountaineering expeditions. Warm, comfortable, and very durable, these are boots that will see you safely through a wide variety of environments and challenges, with your feet completely protected the entire way. I fully endorse the Renegade boots for those types of experiences, as I know that they'll offer all of the support you'll need, and then some.

Lowa sells the Renegade GTX Mid for $230, which in mind is a very competitive price for this type of boot. When you consider the fact that a good pair of hiking boots is an investment in future adventures, I think you'll find these are a real bargain. This is a pair of shoes you'll have in your closet for years to come. There isn't much more to say than that, other than you can't go wrong with these boots.

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