Lowa Alpine Guide
Materials: leather, lightly insulated, vibram soles
Use: winter hiking
Break-in Period: some, but not much
Price Paid: $150
These are interesting boots. I like them but don't love them. They're claimed to be designed for alpine climbing situations. I have used them for winter hikes and snowshoeing. I do not use them for actual winter climbing. These don't work well enough with crampons. They are good for rock scrambling and hiking though - especially in snowy conditions.
I went back and double-checked the original marketing language that Lowa wrote to describe the boots. It says something to the effect of 'can be used with crampons for glacier walking.' That's fine. You can use strap and 'newmatic' crampons with these just fine for walking on ice. But the boots are not nearly supportive enough for any real front pointing. That said, they are comfortable, the soles are aggressively lugged vibram that work very well in the snow/mud/slush/ice and are quite sticky on both dry and wet rock. They are warm (lightly insulated with 'Outlast'). They are mostly waterproof.
Another reviewer mentioned that there is a small area where the lacing ends down by the toes that leaks. I have experienced this as well in very wet conditions.
They are excellent winter hikers that should not be confused with real climbing boots.
Use: rough trail, scrambling
Break-in Period: Brief, comfy right away
Weight: don't know
Price Paid: don't recall
I have had these boots for about 18 months now. They are comfortable and supportive when hiking with a heavy pack, though they are a tad narrow for my American spoon-shaped dogs, they are comfortable and good for rock scrambling.
While far too soft for any extended front-pointing in crampons, they do okay on low angle glacier ice though they crank on your ankles a bit because they aren't very high or stiff. My main complaint is that the synthetic material that connects the tongue to the sides of the boots isn't very water resistant so my feet get wet after 4-6 hours in the snow.
Where to Buy
The Lowa Alpine Guide is not available from the stores we monitor.
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Here's what other sites are saying:
Taking you to the mountaintop with heart and sole, these Lowa backpacking and mountaineering hiking boots are lightweight and stable for exceptional support. Handsome and rugged suede uppers are padded at sides, tongue and collar. Semi rigid Vibram
- Sierra Trading Post refers to the men's version