Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
Price Paid: $160
Boot Survey: Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
(M.A. [Environmental Science], Union Internationale Des Associations D’Alpinisme affiliate member, December 2010)
This evaluation is based on a factor analysis of user comments of the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid boot from two websites, one from Germany and another one from United States of America. The impetus for the study was as a result of defects in a predecessor Lowa boot model, the Lowa Duke GTX, having stitching that was coming adrift.
Lowa suggested that the author may be at fault through usage and poor care and suggested the purchase of its Renegade GTX Mid as the successor model. The analysis was conducted to see if the Renegade what strengths and/or weaknesses the boot had. Factor analysis from user ratings and rankings were used as no other empirical test was available.
Above: The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
For the survey two web sites were used, one from the USA and the other from Germany, the latter is where Lowa has its origin and headquarters. Comments were analyzed from reader reports and factorized as presented below. Information Sources: German: www.idealo.de (Sample size: 16 reviews); US American: www.outdoorreview.com. (Sample size: 35 reviews) Reader evaluations were made between 2006 (April) and 2010 (November).
One-off/single comments were not considered but are mentioned separately below each of the positive and negative tables. All comments were ranked from highest to lowest count in order to signify importance.
Reader/User Rankings: + Positive/Strong Points
Comfort, good fit & Light Weight
No. of VOTES/Mentions
No. of Votes/Mentions
3 general boot
3 sole only
Positive factors mentioned once:
Germans: Good sole, good ventilation;
Americans: warm, good stitching, warranty honored.
Reader User Rankings: - Negative/Weak Points
Gortex Membrane Leaks
Sole Issues (breaks)
Warranty Issue, Replace- ment Refusal
Shoe construc-tion - Lining Broken
Expensive –poor value for money
Poor sole padding/ cushion
Leather upper cracks or breaks
No. of VOTES/ Mentions
4 (breaks) 2 (wears out fast/ not re-pairable)
2 (lining breaks)
No. of Votes/ Mentions
8 (wears out fast or delaminate
5 (Lowa does not respond to nega-tive mail)
2 (stitch-ing & seams break) 2 (poor support)
Negative User Comments/factors mentioned once only:
Germans: Bad workmanship, cracked/broken leather uppers, expensive/poor value;
Americans: Expensive/poor value, poor durability, flimsy plastic lace loops, discomfort experienced.
O v e r a l l S t a r R a t i n g s
The two web sites used, as presented above, demonstrated congruence between German and American consumers.
Both groups ranked comfort in first place with the greatest weighting from the US consumers. However it appears that the “softness” of the comfort characterized by the Lowa Renegade may be achieved at the sacrifice of robustness mentioned by users, this being the second most important negative attribute of this boot.
In second positive place was the waterproof quality of the Gortex membrane. However there appears to be less agreement from German users as to the effective waterproof quality of the Gortex liner. This may be explained by the wetter climate of Germany, as opposed to that of the United States as a whole, placing greater demands on the boot and its Gortex membrane.
Warranty issues were the second most contentious matter, along with soles breaking and boots disintegrating placed first by US Americans and second by Germans in their negative ratings, mentioned by both German and US American consumers. Apparently from consumer reports, unless boots present problems directly after purchase, Lowa is reticent to repair or replace problems associated with their boots (customer service) by either ignoring consumer reports to them and/or placing blame for the problem on the consumer according to user owners.
Warranty of boots presents a problem for both manufacturer and consumer as hiking and mountaineering footwear are specialty items not generally worn every day, so usage has to be considered. A simple, “once size fits all”, approach cannot be considered fair to users.
A third web site, www.trailspace.com not used in the survey here, carried 11 reviews for the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid with an average rating of 4 stars out of a possible 5 stars. These reviews were not incorporated here but did carry the following comment suggesting that there appears to be a compromise for this boot, i.e. comfort versus robustness as pointed out earlier,
“They (the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid) broke in way too quickly and after a few months look like I have them for years without much hiking having been done in them.”
In respect of robustness one must be fair to Lowa that this model is probably not meant for extreme conditions such as a Himalayan trek. Here one user complained that his Lowa Rengade had caused him to abort his Himalayan hike because these boots disintegrated completely. Admittedly, they were 6 years old and one does not know how much wear they had during this time.
The overall star ratings given by consumer were polarized; users were either very satisfied or very dissatisfied with their Renegade boots. This may be due
In 2003 I purchased my second pair of Lowa boots because of me being impressed by their comfort, “buy and hike” – no need to break in the boots. This purchase was the Lowa Duke GTX, the forerunner of the Renegade GTX Mid according to Lowa. As I did not experience any problems with the Lowa Duke, despite warnings that stitching on multi-piece boots could present a problem, I subsequently purchased yet a third pair of Lowa boots. Only recently have I had problems with the Lowa Duke (stitching coming undone, see pictures below) which is the motivation behind my investigating and evaluating the Lowa Renegade.
Above: Three photos of the Lowa Duke GTX showing areas where stitching is coming apart (red arrows and yellow stripe). A Lowa representative on viewing these pictures stated that the above boots, “…appear to have quite a lot of miles on them for a light hiking boot and the leather looks like it’s dried out…”
Below: Underside of the Lowa Duke GTX showing the condition and wear of the soles. Clearly the boot soles still have a good profile and the heels are not worn down.
On approaching Recreation Equipment Inc. (REI)’s footwear specialists in Draper, Utah and Seattle both reported having returns regarding stitching problems with Lowa’s Renegade GTX Mid. REI have their own policy of guaranteeing customer satisfaction. Conversely, Lowa’s customer services manager, Amy McCoy, denies that Lowa boots have a stitching problem, “As far as you hearing that we have a stitching problem, we get less than 1% of all boots sold in the US back for any warranty issue (not just stitching). So I wouldn’t call it a problem.”
Hence it is strange that Lowa owners report warranty issues in connection with their boots and indicate a hard-line attitude by Lowa. It is hard to understand, if Lowa’s claim that only 1% of customers in the US have warranty claims, that Lowa does not demonstrate more accommodation in respect of these complaints. A 1% loss due to replacement would not impact greatly into Lowa’s profits and the gain in customer satisfaction and increased sales would, in all likelihood, more than compensate for this “loss”.
If a clean finish and comfort is your main criteria for purchasing a boot then the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid is a boot to consider. If ruggedness is your priority then this boot may be the wrong choice based on user reports that the sole either wears out quickly or disintegrates.
Many users complained of warranty issues with Lowa. Complaints are summarily dismissed or ignored by Lowa. In only one case surveyed Lowa did replace a defective boot as this was shortly after its purchase (Lowa offers a 12 month guarantee). Lowa users report that Lowa suggests that customers abuse their products and this being the sole reason that problems arise with their product.
In my experience this is a common reuse used by some manufacturers to avoid any responsibility for replacement of merchandise from dissatisfied customers. Lowa is apparently not in the same league of companies like Sony, Sigma, Schwalbe and others who are quick to replace faulty products not withstanding that boots are subject to tough wear but so are bicycle tires!
In favor of the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid is the almost undisputed comfort. Against the Lowa boot is its lack of being a robust boot especially in respect of a durable sole which cannot be repaired. Perhaps the most important issue is the warranty which Lowa keeps very restricted (24 months) and do not appear to concern themselves overly with customer satisfaction other than producing a reasonably good product within the limitations cited above. Considering the price of this boot at around $ 200, this is not a cheap boot and the price-performance may not be in balance especially for what Lowa claims is a light hiking boot; it may well be to look at what the competition offers in the same price range.
In the final instance, considering the aspects mentioned in the reviews above, the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid can only be recommended with reservation.
Response from Lowa
A prompt response to this article came from Peter Sachs, Lowa’s USA General Manager, and is presented below.
Thanks for your report although we are not sure where you are planning to publish this or what your motivations may be.
The reality is that warranty issues are less than 1% of sales. Warranty issues do arise from stitching, sole delaminations, hooks & eyelets falling off and almost anything else one can imagine. In some cases, the shoe is well worn, in others it is like new.
The boots do come with a limited warranty and we do not just warranty anything and everything that a customer returns to us. If we determine that a boot has been misused, not cared for properly or having lived a full life or similar we reject it. If not, we offer some remedy to the customer. That remedy can vary depending on the situation, the boot, the years of use, etc. There is no uniform response.
The boots do not have a lifetime warranty. The Renegade GTX Mid is also made as a day, weekend and light hiker. It is not a thru hiker, it is not a boot designed for climbing 14’ers in Colorado or many of the other things that customers try to do in it. Sometimes, these things do lead to product failure and sometimes the customer is upset to learn that just because they think a boot can do something, we do not think the same. That is why we also sell backpacking, mountaineering and so forth products.
The surveys are interesting but to make them real you have to know the back-story. The back-story is not known for any of the results. The real story is that based on real warranties, our return rate is less than 1 %. We do have records of reasons for failure but those are not available for competitive reasons.
I am not sure what your intention is with your survey. Clearly you have done some homework. I urge you to be judicious in its use & accuracy.
Please feel free to contact me directly with any specific questions.
PS. As a matter of accuracy, the Duke was an offshoot of the Renegade. It was available for about 2 years about 8 – 10 years ago. The Renegade has been available for more than 15 years.
LOWA Boots LLC
+ + + + + + + +
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $150
A fantastic boot. Steady Italian craftsmanship is to be found.
- Size fits like a glove.
- Very durable.
- Every rock that gets stuck in the treads, you will find in your carpet at home.
Lets start by pointing out that I have very picky feet, and a very picky back, and that I am very hard on boots due to hiking every day possible, all day long.
The very first thing I did was coat them with a very liberal amount of mink oil, and it worked out very well. It took a good two weeks, for me to break these boots in, and get them loosened up—this time was very well spent.
These boots have allowed me to go onto, and into, any terrain so far without fail. They fit like a glove on my feet, and have very durable, and thick, soles. You feel very little under you as you walk.
Once again I must admit, the U.S. boot manufacturers have A LOT to learn from the Italian boot makers. You will not be upset buying a pair of these boots. I saw prices averaging, from $150 to $225, for the same boot online, so do comparison shop for these. You won't be dissappointed at all.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $200
Midsole cushioning totally deteriorated after about 5 years and 75 -100 miles of trails. Made an otherwise good boot completely worthless. Will not buy LOWAs again.
- Look good
- Midsole cushioning deteriorates;
- High price for crumbling shoes.
I had a pair that I used two to three times a year for about 5 years, 5-10 miles per hike. This fall I broke them out to go hiking on a 7 mile trail and noticed they were not protecting the soles of my feet from the rocks. When I got home and inspected them I found that the soles started peeling off, and the foam above it had all deteriorated.
Otherwise, the shoes still look great, but now they are useless. I have several other brands of hiking, hunting, and snow boots, all of which have lasted for over a decade, as long as I took care of them. These light hikers' midsoles just crumbled, and now an otherwise great pair of boots have to be thrown away.
I will NOT be buying LOWAs again.
Source: bought it new
The soles of both my and my wife's Lowa boots dissolved after hardly any use.
- Good upper
- The sole dissolves
- Selling shoes with a design fault
My wife and I both both Iowa boots in Thailand some years ago. Both are different models. They are comfortable but we hardly used them at all.
When we did pull them out of the cupboard for a hike the soles completely disintegrated before we even got out the front door, with the sole bottom coming off and the sole innards crumbling. I suspect the humid conditions in Thailand to be the issue. But why sell the boots in Thailand if this is the case?
I consider these an expensive purchase that did not deliver. One would expect the soles to hold up over the years, if they are hardly used. I see several other reports of this same issue. Lowa must know about this design fault.
Materials: Leather, Goretex
Use: Day hikes, rough trails, mud, water
Break-in Period: 5 trips
Good boots for day trips in dry weather on flat surface. The boots are extremely flexible, not so good for scrambling or hiking on rocks.
These boots are more for the weekend finally-out-of-the-office employee that doesn't go out too far. Or a rich person that doesn't mind changing to a new pair every few years.
- Very flexible
- Poor build quality
- The outside leather is soft and relatively weak if wet
- If very wet, might split open on long hikes.
It's unfortunately my second pair. The first pair fell apart after a hike. I used the first pair quite frequently on very easy hike, sometimes in rain or mud but always cleaned it, dried it for more than 24hours as recommended.
After a wet hike, I noticed that the front and front sides of both boots were split open to a point of no-return. My feet were wet the whole hike and I was wondering why.... I still paid a professional to glue it back together but the boots were completely destroyed. I used the boots for less than 3 years, one to two seasons only. Quite disappointing for the expensive price to pay.
After the loss of my boots, I had another hike planned an had no real time to shop around for a new pair and the store I went to only had the same model, just the new style. I'm still hiking with those but I'm always waiting for that one day where I will have to go through hiking with broken boots.
The boots are long to dry. After a few very wet hikes, I noticed that to have them 100% dry would take up to 48 hours. In the information labels, it says that you need to dry them completely after every hike, but if you hike in the rain, it can be from hard to impossible to get them dry if you camp overnight. The next morning, you will wake up with wet boots, in and out.
Source: bought it new
The sole fell apart after minimal use Not recommended.
- The sole fell apart after minimal use
I have had a number of pairs of boots over the years. These don’t even rate as boots. My sandals are much more durable.
Price Paid: $209
I purchased these boots for my work, which involves a great deal of walking over many types of terrain.
Have only had them on for 3/4 of a field season (about 7 months) and they are just about worn out. The sole is split where the Vibram logo is on the left-hand boot, and is generally not wearing well at all. The uppers are still in good condition, bearing in mind I normally wear these 12 hours a day, 5 days a week.
They started out very comfortable with no breaking in required at all, but the inside pad has worn down in the vicinity of the left big toe. This now gives me a hard area of skin where the cushioning has broken down. Oh, and after 2 months of wear I a broke a lace re-tying them when I was in the field, and of course did not have a spare with me. Did not expect to have to carry one after only 2 months.
So in conclusion I am very disappointed in the quality and longevity of these compared to my La Sportiva Trango Trek GTXs, which lasted me 3 field seasons including a great deal of digging and hiking over lava, through desert, swamp, mountains and every other type of terrain you can think of. And I shall be going back to wearing my old La Sportiva boots as they are now in better condition than my Lowas.
Price Paid: $180
I agree with most of the other reviewers;
I have owned a multiple of pairs of these boots and while they are very comfortable, they breakdown too quickly and then subsequently need to be replaced. I expect that the major place that most boots should wear down is with the outer soles. These seem to last.
What breaks down are the uppers. The rubber on the front of the boots starts to come off and a particular part of an outer seem will come un-sewn.
I have owned at least six pair of these boots and they have all broken down in ways that were the result, IMO of inadequate design. It is as if their design life was one to two years (at most).
Materials: Leather, Gore-tex
Use: Rough trail w/heavy pack
Break-in Period: Zero to none
Price Paid: $150
When I give this shoe five stars, believe me they are well deserved. Having tried a total of 12-14 different pairs at three different stores I was not going to stop until I found the perfect fit for the perfect price; one can only imagine how picky I must have come across.
Nevertheless, the first time I sliped my foot into these babies I knew this pair was a keeper. The show feels amazingly soft yet at the same time incredibly supporting. My foot was secure both down and up inclines, and cozy the entire time.
As for water repellency, one gets what he pays for when purchasing Gore-tex, it is no wonder that they are guaranteed to be leak-free.
The best fitting show outthere, at least from the 14 or so pairs I've tried. And moderately priced.
Foot Size: 10
Foot Shape: Normal
Materials: leather and Gore-tex
Break-in Period: great right out of the box.
Price Paid: $124
A great, sturdy tennis shoe is what I call this hiking boot. The soft, pliable sole renders this useless as a hiking boot. They do have good ankle support but the sole is not stiff enough. They broke in way too quickly and after a few months look like I have had them for years without much hiking having been done in them.
They are as comfortable as a hiking boot gets but there is no way they can take a load much heavier than your own weight. I use them to work in the yard, walk around town, short dayhikes and just hanging out. They are absurdly overpriced at full price and I still question if I paid too much for what I got. I still give them 3 stars because of the great comfort and looks.
Materials: Nubuck/nylon upper with a flexible plastic shank
Use: dayhikes only
Break-in Period: none
Weight: 2lbs 3oz
Price Paid: $170
Depending on what you're looking for this boot is either a 3-star or a 5-star boot. This boot is one of the lightest on the market at 2lbs 3oz for the pair! They're amazingly comfortable and the fit is very nice.
On the downside, the midsole is VERY flexible and doesn't offer any torsional stability. You can see this by picking up the boot, toebox in one hand and heel in the other, and twisting your hands in opposite directions, i.e. like you're trying to twist the boot much like ringing the water out of a towel. Note how easy it is to twist the boot. Now try this with just about any other boot and you'll see what I'm talking about.
If you're looking for a really comfortable day-hiker then this is a great boot. However, if you expect to carry any kind of load over uneven terrain then I wouldn't trust it.
Price Paid: $180
I own both the Task Force Edition and the normal edition of this boot. The TF Edition is done all in black leather and the normal edition is done in nubuck. Overall, this is a great design for a boot. The leather on the TF broke in after a couple days and the nubuck felt broken in as soon as I put them on. It doesn't feel like a boot that could do so much, but they really can take whatever you throw at them. I wear mine from hiking to travelling and they never miss a beat. If you're looking to do some serious backpacking, then you may want to look elsewhere, but for lighter backpacking and hiking, these boots are a great investment.
Materials: pieced-leather / gore-tex
Use: work daily in all terrain
Break-in Period: none
Weight: 3-4 lbs.
Price Paid: $130
O land-survey for a living so I live in my boots -- literally... was afraid of a lot of seams at first but this boot is solid and the gore-tex liner keeps my feet dry...I've treated the boot and it seems to keep the water out -- again, the gore-tex liner seals the deal...good support from a high scree collar but it never rubs me raw and hasn't from day one.
Lowa offers their boots in three different widths, which is incredible -- I put the boot on and knew immediately I had to have it...I have never had such a perfect fit around the heel and the break-in was nonexistent...can't say enough about this boot.
Use: Hiking, backpacking
Price Paid: $180
These are the most comfortable boots I have ever used for hiking and backpacking and I absolutely was thrilled to have found the perfect boot. That said, I have used them for 10 days of light backpacking and the soles are tearing off the boot at the glue seams. In contrast I have a pair of leather slippers that have lasted longer walking around for years on my ranch and street running shoes that go 400 miles on rocky trails. Maybe I got a defective pair of boots, but if this is the norm, Lowa's boots are the lowest quality boots I have ever owned.
Use: Off Trail, Light Pack
Break-in Period: None
Price Paid: $99 @ Sierra Trading Post
Great boot, but I abused them greatly. About 15% of their use was on trail and the remaining 85% was off trail in very rugged scree and razor sharp carbonate rock. They lasted about a year, close to 500 miles, and are now retired. They are very comfortable, needed at most one mile for break-in period, waterproof, breathable, and lightweight. If you are planning to use them for a lot of trail hiking and even moderate backpack loads (~30 lbs) they should be okay. Anything past this and you may be asking too much.
Materials: leather, gore-tex
Use: day hikes
Break-in Period: very short
Weight: very light
Price Paid: $100
If you're looking for a lightweight boot for day hikes, this one is ideal. I found it extremely comfortable and sturdy.
After two years of heavy use as a field biologist in a wide variety of areas from desert bouldering to tropical rainforests, these boots have held up extremely well. No dampness, even in very wet conditions.
I'm shopping for another pair at this moment...highly recommend.
Materials: leather and gore tex liner
Use: day hikes and approach shoes with a 40 lb pack
Break-in Period: none
Price Paid: $179
Perfect fit. Softer sole absorbs shock real well. Good ankle support. Lightweight. My last pair of Lowa's lasted for years. Wear them everywhere. They do very well with a 40 lb pack also! And they're made in eastern Europe, not in China.