Friday, November 03, 2017

Gear Closet: Lowa Aerox GTX Mid Surround Hiking Boots Review

Hikers looking for a lightweight, athletic boot that provides plenty of protection and performance on the trail are going to absolutely love the new Aerox GTX Mid Surround from Lowa. Comfortable and nimble, these boots are going to redefine the way you think about the performance of your hiking footwear, particularly in warmer environments.

Lowa has long been known for designing some of the most durable, high performance boots on the market, offering options for hikers, backpackers, and mountaineers. But the Aerox GTX is unlike anything that the company has offered before, deftly blending the feel of a trail running shoe with the performance of a light hiking boot. The result is a fanatic set of footwear that fast packers and day hikers alike will appreciate.

One of the key elements of the Aerox GTX is the inclusion of Gore-Tex Surround, a new type of technology that is designed to keep our feet healthy, dry, and happy at all times. The breakthrough with Gore Surround is that it allows a shoe to vent out heat and moisture, while still managing to remain completely waterproof at the same time. This helps to avoid getting sweaty feet while out on the trail, which can ultimately lead to hotspots and blisters. And while other hiking shoes have offered good ventilation in the past, they've usually done so at the expense of waterproofing. The fact that the Surround technology can allow heat and moisture to escape, while preventing water from getting in, is truly remarkable.


I've been able to test the Aerox GTX in the warm environments where I live and can say that it definitely lives up to is billing. My feet were substantially cooler and drier than most other hiking boots that I've worn in the past, without sacrificing performance in other ways. I've wandered across streams and braved heavy downpours completely without fear, with practically no water finding their way inside. In short, if you hike in hot, wet environments, you need to get a pair of these boots as soon as possible.

With a trim, athletic cut, the Aerox GTX feel more like a running shoe on your feet than a pair of boots. I happen to prefer the more snug fit, although you'll likely have to leave your thicker hiking socks at home. The more form-fitting feel of the shoes helped me to feel more connected with the ground, allowing me to move faster and with more agility on the trail, which is something that I always appreciate.

The break in time for these boots was minimal as well, thanks in part to their supple synthetic uppers, which also aid in the venting process. Those same uppers give the Aerox GTX a unique look that is very different from most other boots in the Lowa line-up. These have a sleek design to them that really standout from the crowd, while still remaining true to the company's outdoor heritage.

Underfoot, Lowa has outfitted the Aerox GTX with a lightweight, yet rugged, sole that holds a solid grip even on slick, wet surfaces. I've used the boot on muddy trails, climbed over wet rocks, and across surfaces that offer a mixture of dirt, sand, and grit. In all cases, I had solid footing underneath, and never felt unsure about my ability to move quickly and confidently. That same sole features a set of perforations that run along the side, which again further aids in the process of venting out heat and moisture. This is all part of the Gore Surround design, and while it may look unusual upon first inspection, those small holes play a crucial role in helping to keep our feet cooler and drier.

About the only type of surfaces I haven't tried these boots on yet is ice and snow, although I'm sure they'll perform well there too. That said, if you're venturing into a colder environment, I'd recommend wearing something with a bit more insulation that the Aerox GTX has to offer. These shoes are definitely made for use on warm weather outings, with the caveat that if you're taking part in a highly aerobic workout in the cold – such as snowshoeing – they will likely still serve you well. These are boots that are built to go fast in a wide variety of conditions.

Priced at $240, the Lowa Aerox GTX Mid Surround is pricer than most other lightweight hiking boots on the market. But, these boots aren't designed for the weekend warrior looking to take a casual stroll on the local trail. Instead, they are built for an outdoor athlete who wants to move fast and light without sacrificing performance. Lowa's long history of making boots that are dependable and versatile truly shines through here and if you're looking for footwear that won't compromise your outdoor adventures, you'll find a lot to love in this shoe. For those of us who demand more from our boot, the Aerox is worth every penny.

(Note: The Aerox GTX Surround also comes in a low cut model for $220.)

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