This waterproof trail shoe works well for hiking or for walking. Shoe reviewer Rich Bumgardner did the comparison shopping, selection and review of this shoe. He describes why he chose the Lowa Renegade.
Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo Review: Women's Hiking Shoe
Lowas Proved Their Worth on the Trail
Since becoming a fan of Lowa footwear while on a walking vacation in Europe several years ago, I have kept up on changes in their line via the on-line web site at lowaboots.com.
When I learned that they had an update of their Renegade model, it had to be investigated. The Renegade became my favorite trail shoe when the athletic shoes I brought to Austria for walking proved to be no match for the daily rains and muddy trails that greeted me in the forested hills around Seefeld. On a day trip to Innsbruck, searching for suitable footwear led me to a sports store with various brands of light hiking shoes. The Lowa Gore-Tex Renegades that I tried on felt comfortable right away, and proved to be exactly what I needed for the soggy terrain throughout the trip. But not only were they great on trails because of their sturdy construction, waterproof lining and traction-gaining soles, they were my most comfortable shoes for walks on sidewalks and asphalt, or for just standing around for extended periods on hard surfaces. I liked the Lo, below the ankle, shoes so well for light to moderate trails that I purchased a pair of the Renegade Mid boots, which extend above the ankle, for walks in the mountains around my home in the Pacific Northwest.
Now, several years later, the original Lowa Renegade Lo pair has carried me many miles and kilometers in great comfort. There are still miles left on these shoes, but I for one cannot resist a new pair of shoes or boots now and then. We move on then, to the new Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo.
Style and Color
It’s ironic that when I began searching for a pair of hiking shoes/boots in Austria those several years ago, I felt that a brown pair would be the right color for hiking on natural trails. As unlucky would have it, the only pair in my size were in the grey/blue color combination. Perhaps that was not so unlucky, as I often wear them for comfort in the grey urban jungles. Ironic then, that when I went looking for the new model I envisioned a sleek, sexy-looking black pair. As you can probably guess, the only pair in my size I found right away were….that’s right, brown. But the Lowa web site assures me that the men's version comes in Espresso/Brown, Dark Grey/Navy and Black. The women's version is listed in Stone, Taupe/Sepia and Dark Grey/Navy. I was too impatient to hunt for a black pair, and my Espresso/Brown is a nice milk-chocolate shade that is actually very attractive.
The Lowa ad reveals that the Renegade II shoes are handcrafted in Europe, and a look at the size tag confirms that fact, stating "Made in Slovakia." I would add that the craftsmanship is excellent, and obviously made by hands with considerable experience.
Let’s begin with a look at the Lowa "Climate Control" insole. I’m a long-time user of after-market insoles for increasing walking comfort, and while the Lowa removable insoles are not top of the line, they were good enough that when my old pair had been pounded down to the depth of a sheet of notebook paper, I replaced them with a new set of the same insoles, ordered on-line directly from Lowa. That is something that is unique in my experience- being able to order original factory insoles for shoes that are years old; very impressive. Some time ago I vowed to never buy another pair of a well-known athletic shoe brand due to their horrible insoles. The shoes themselves still had a lot of wear left, but the crummy insoles wore out in a matter of weeks. I was told at their local factory store that it was not possible to obtain replacement insoles, and the style of shoes made after-market replacements difficult to fit. I felt cheated by the cheap materials in these expensive sneakers, and still haven’t bought another pair of that brand. There is little chance of that happening with Lowa quality shoes and boots, and easily obtainable original insoles.
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Lowa says "the seamless, waterproof GORE-TEX lining reduces hot spots." A careful visual and tactile inspection of the shoe interior reveals that while not literally seamless, the few seams present, for example under the insole and high up on the well-padded tongue, are joined so well and so flat, that no raised, rough or potentially irritating surfaces are apparent. After examining my years-old Renegade Lo shoes I have to conclude that the seamless construction of the Renegade II is very similar, if not identical, to that of the older model. Both the older model and this new model have seamless construction, and I have never had a seam in my well-worn shoes cause a hot spot. Like trying to prove a negative, it is not possible to definitively state that this way of internally mating materials prevents hot spots, but it seems only reasonable to conclude that, it in all likelihood, it is at least a factor in eliminating hot spots when wearing these shoes.
The interior side of the tongue is well padded and the gussets connecting the tongue to the body of the shoe are of sturdy construction and extend high enough along the tongue to keep out water until you wade in ankle deep. The lacing has been changed from D-ring type, which has served me adequately for a lot of miles. The current Derby style lacing promises to ensure great customized fit for a wider variety of feet. As with the D-rings, the Derby style lacing looks to be entirely adequate to keep you from walking out of your shoes under all but the most unusual, extreme circumstances.