User Review: Lowa Trekking
Use: backpacking, mountaineering
Break-in Period: couple weeks
Price Paid: 250 DM (?)
I bought these boots in Germany about six years ago. They've served me rather well -- I finally retired them this fall after trashing them in the Austrian Alps.
Each boot is made up of eight different pieces of leather. This translates into a lot of seams, and the boots are not particularly waterproof, even when treated with Nikwax.
However, the boots are extremely comfortable -- probably due largely to the leather lining -- fits like a glove -- and durability has been decent. After six years of use, the seams are starting to go, but then so is the rest of the boot.
I probably wouldn't buy this boot again, but it did serve me well. I'm not a big fan of boots pieced together out of many smaller pieces of leather -- because of both waterproofness and durability issues.
The sole on these boots -- inhouse, not Vibram -- has been good, grippier on rock than Vibram, presumably because it is softer -- but also less durable (same reason). One big complaint: the lack of a significant heel. A heel really helps when descending on either snow or mud -- it digs in and serves as a brake. This boots don't have much of a heel, which probably makes them more comfortable, but, as mentioned, can be problematic. One more complaint -- the midsole/shank is not really firm enough: it doesn't sufficiently protect from sharp rocks, ice, etc., and after a long day of hiking on rough terrain my foot, particularly the arches, was often sore.
I should note that I used these boots in conditions that were definitely "over their heads" this summer. I used them for many weekend trips in the German Alps, then killed them with a five day trip in the Austrian Zillertal (sort of an Austrian version of the High Peaks region of the 'Dacks, on the Italianborder).
Overall, a decent boot. Very comfortable. The company is trying to break into the North American market for leather boots --they've had a lot of success with their plastic boot: the Civetta, formerly Denali Red Hot.
One more thing: I should note that these were far and away the most popular boot in the German/Austrian Alps this summer. Which is sort of justified: for non-technical trailhiking in good conditions, they are *very* confortable.