Lowa Boots vs Converse Boots

12:31 p.m. on April 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I've been looking at the Lowa Zephyr Desert boots (around $195) and been feeling a bit reticent to spend at that level.  Looking for a light, warm weather hiking/trekking/light backpacking boot. I don't generally carry more than 25 pounds and often times much less.  I tend to do 15-20 miles/day in mountainous terrain and thru hikes of 40-70 miles.  

Everyone raves about the Lowas and I'm sure they're quite good.  I came across the Converse Desert Boot (6 inch height - without the reinforced toe) which many military personnel use that costs about $100 less than the Lowa.  I can't quite determine what sort of boot this is...would it be suitable for the usage described above, or is it more of a general purpose  walking around boot. 

Anyone have first hand experience with these brands?



1:30 p.m. on April 22, 2012 (EDT)
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The converse milspec boots are garbage. Avoid at all costs. .

That being said, backpacking and military use are totally different animals for the most part. You will not be dissapointed with the Lowa, however there are other brands you can look at also. I would definitely stick with a backpacking boot if at all possible. Lowa makes great backpacking boots, however unless you have a specific reason to go with a military/duty boot I would not do so, and this includes big brand milspec boots such as the Lowa ones your looking at.

Like alot of things, sometimes you get what you pay for. Boots in the sport of backpacking are one of the single most important items, and you should make sure you get a pair that fit you well, and are comfortable, and also durable. I was going through cheaper boots about 1 pair a year or so, and then I hunked over the little bit of extra cash to get a quality pair of Zamberlan boots and I havn't looked back for 5 years now. Though price isnt the only consideration, it should help give you an idea. If your paying much less than $100 for a mesh hiking boot your looking in the wrong place, and when you start getting into leather and goretex the price just keeps going up and up from there.

A little more information may help us point you toward some good brands/models to look at. Do you want the following- Waterproof or more mesh/ventillation? Any certain height you want? Sole material? PU shank midsole or eva foam?

Just to throw some boots at you that kinda fit what your looking for from what i can tell. The ventilator seems to be a very popular warm weather boot from what i have seen on many backpacking forums

Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boots

Keen Alamosa Mid Hiking Boots


10:35 a.m. on April 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi Rambler, thanks for the thoughtful response.  You confirmed what I suspected about the Converse boots.  What I wasn't clear on, though, is whether you were classifying the Lowa Zephyrs as milspec boots and not true hiking/backpacking.  It was my impression that they were the latter. I also don't quite know the precise characteristics of a milspec boot.   I'll check out the other brands you mention.  Keep ramblin!

1:48 p.m. on April 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Converse then play basketball afterwards

2:33 p.m. on April 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Converse...then go skateboarding!


4:02 p.m. on April 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi, Marco.

A word of advice, don't worry about spending a bit of cash on good boots. Trust me, $195 isn't very much for something that will make or break your time on the trails. That's the one piece of gear to NOT cheap out on and for the extra $50 or $100 you're spending, it's not a high price to pay!

I've been checking out a nice pair of Hanwags for about $450, but if they don't fit properly, I might have to go back to a cheap $250 pair of Salomons.

8:08 a.m. on April 24, 2012 (EDT)
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That particular boot from Lowa is designed as a milspec boot, though it is also sold at many of the big name outdoor retailers. What typically makes a milspec boot different from a 'regular' boot is the weight, and the reason they weigh more is because they are overbuilt to meet goverment specs. Theres more stitching, reinforcement, full frame or shank etc. Also due to these things they typically dont have as much flex as other boots.

I am not saying by any means that milspec boots cant be comfortable. I wore quite a few over my 9.5 year stretch in the military. What I am saying is there is typically a better more cost effective choice for a backpacker.

I have never used the particular Lowa boot in question, so I am not sure how it would stack up against traditional backpacking boots. Lowa makes solid boots, I am sure its a great boot, but just not so sure if its the best 'backpacking' boot.

10:07 a.m. on April 24, 2012 (EDT)
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10:50 a.m. on April 24, 2012 (EDT)
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LOWA! My mountain hikes are similar miles to yours, love the Lowa's. The question is winter or summer, to choose which ones. 

12:06 p.m. on April 24, 2012 (EDT)
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I got a pair of the Lowa Zephyr GTX Mid boots in February.


I must say, I love the things.

Quite comfy, the soles are cushiony and really quiet even when walking on asphalt.

I live in Florida and backpack in the hot, humid southeast and these boots have never made my feet sweat.


I have owned Vasque, Merrill, Addidas and New Balance mid hiking boots in the past, and the Lowa's are my favorite so far.

you DO get what you pay for.

6:10 p.m. on April 24, 2012 (EDT)
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I had a second thought to add... at times discounters such as Sierra Trading Post has great prices on Lowa's, especially at the end of the season making a great opportunity to stock up on extra pairs.

10:14 p.m. on April 28, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks all for the input.  Agree that having the right boot is most important consideration.

January 26, 2020
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