⭐⭐⭐⭐ (out of 5 stars)
I tested the Lowa Renegade in snowy conditions and scree around Ruapehu, on day walks in the Auckland Waitakere Ranges and through a couple of river crossings and found them to be suspiciously comfortable.
The Vibram sole is grippy, particularly in snow conditions, and the testing experience was completely blister-free. The upper is made from nubuck leather and the ankle area is well-cushioned. While these features both contribute to comfort, it is their lightweight construction, involving a patented technique in the midsole that reduces weight without compromising stability; that is the key.
The men’s version weighs 1110g while the pair I tested weighed just 890g. The lining is Gore-Tex, which proved waterproof when walking through long grass and in wet conditions. My feet stayed warm despite one track with seemingly endless river crossings in chilly water, although they did get a bit waterlogged at times. I have quite flat, broad feet and found there was plenty of room for my toes. It’s easy to get good firm lacing and a snug feeling when laced up, without anything pinching where it shouldn’t – this is probably due to the padded tongue and ankle area.
The boot gave a feeling of solid support but not so much that you can’t feel the ground you’re walking on; similarly, the sole, while flexible, is still robust. There’s also excellent ankle support. I get the feeling the sole would be more likely to wear out before the rest of the boot, but they would be durable – I gave them a good bashing over the course of a month and they still look like they just came out of the box.