Prior to owning LOWAs, I owned a pair of Kathmandu hiking boots. I was fortunate enough to be given these by my parents in high school; they got me through my first trip to Fiordland, visited many huts, and got me through many hunts, however, they weren’t waterproof, the laces would continuously undo, and they did not provide much ankle support. They had a very soft sole, so when in more alpine/snow/ice conditions, I wasn’t very confident, as edging into the side of steep slopes was quite difficult.
My first pair of LOWAs were a Christmas present two years ago, the women's Tibet boot. I had no issues wearing them in; I haven’t had blisters or pain of any sort, which I was quite surprised about (as normally any shoe needs a bit of time to mould to your foot).
I have orthotics, and these fit into my boot well. The Tibets are extremely supportive and have a stiff shank, so straight away I found my hunts were more comfortable, and I was able to walk for longer distances.
These boots are also very waterproof; I could now walk through creeks and have dry feet (something I had never known). This is more noticeable in winter conditions; paired with good socks, they keep your toes nice and toasty.
I found tahr hunting I was more confident in the steep, icy terrain; I could use the edge of my boot to my advantage and get across steep country with reasonable ease. They are compatible with crampons, which is also a massive advantage.
Recently, I was gifted the Lady GTX III Wide. These are specifically designed for bush hunting, and much like the Tibets, they are comfortable, waterproof, provide ankle support, and have worn in easily.
As part of training for Fiordland, and Search and Rescue, I have been ticking off local tracks, which include Mt. Thomas and Mt. Richardson. The X-lacing stud on both boots means the tongue stays in place, and you can lace your boots up; they’ll stay in place and help aid that ankle support. I am looking forward to taking these on multiday hunts/tramps over the summer months.
For my Tibets, I wear these when hunting in the tops, hunting tahr in winter (when I need to use crampons), and have also worn these bush hunting. My Lady GTX III, I mainly use in the bush or tramping. I am very fortunate to have two pairs of boots that can cater to all my different hunting needs.
For any woman looking at purchasing a pair of boots, I honestly don’t think there is another brand that competes with LOWAs. If you spend most of your time in the bush line, I would recommend the Lady GTX III Wide, however, if you do venture into the alpine and spend time hunting in winter conditions or using crampons, the Tibets would be better suited.
As I have mentioned, they wear in quickly and comfortably, are extremely waterproof, and provide great stability. Having good footwear is essential, and one of the items I do believe is worth spending your money on.
There isn’t a better feeling than reaching your destination with no blisters and knowing you could go further in your boots if you need to.