Vasque Mantra 2.0 GTX trail shoe works well for hiking or for walking. It is lighter in weight than many other boots. It is waterproof and made to keep out trail debris. People found these very comfortable for a rainy day walk around the suburbs through puddles and street rivulets. But they really proved themselves on tough rocky, steep trails in the Columbia River Gorge.
They provided great stability and protected my feet from the sharp rocks.
Vasque Mantra 2.0 review : Men's Gore-Tex Hiking Boot
Lightweight Hiking Shoe for Natural Trails
For day hikes when you are only carrying a day pack, you don't need the full support of a hiking boot. But you do need a shoe that is stable and protective. It needs to have a sole that will help prevent slipping on gravel and dirt. The sole must protect your foot from feeling the rocks and roots. I also look for a waterproof shoe so I don't have to worry about splashing through puddles or getting wet crossing small rivulets.
The Vasque Mantra 2.0 does all of this. It has a Nubuck leather and airmesh upper that reduces weight. The Vibram sole should last a long time, but it is also built with great flexibility to allow you to walk with a good heel-to-toe roll-through of each step. Some wearers complained that you can still feel rocks through this shoe.
The fit is great for people with a wide forefoot, but it still has a narrow enough heel. I have a wide foot and wore this comfortably through over four miles on my first outing with it.
The lacing system is boot-like, so I had to do some modifications to get the kind of lacing I prefer to make sure my heel was retained in the heel cup.
The body of the shoe is full-grain Nubuck leather, very smooth, tough and attractive.The leather pieces are sewn together with stitching that is so precise it's amazing. The well-padded collar around the ankle is well formed and supportive as well as protective of that sensitive area. The sturdy leather over the heel has two fingers that extend up on the sides of the Achilles padding to help limit lateral movement in that area.
The shoe strings that come with the current Renegade II model are round and woven of a polyester material. The laces in my old shoes appear to be made of similar polyester and never showed any wear of the miles. While it’s a small thing, I prefer the flat shape of the old laces, which in my experience are less prone to slipping the knot.
Outsole and Soles
I have no complaints about the service the outsole on my old Renegades gave. The Vibram soles are often considered the gold standard for all kinds of footwear, but especially for hiking boots. The Vibram EVO sole on the new Renegade II shoes and boots is advertised to provide "sure-footed traction in rugged terrain." Based on past personal experience, the Vibram reputation and a quick glance at the actual sole on the shoe, I have no reason to doubt the claim. The sole on the new Renegade is deep and rugged-looking under the ball of the foot and most of the heel. At the extremities of the sole under the toe and the back of the heel, the sole has more material to give longer wear in the high friction areas.
Now for a few words on the GORE-TEX membrane, the midsole and the shank, parts of the shoe which are not visible. The waterproof feature is an absolute must here in the wet Pacific Northwest and its performance is well-known from years of use world-wide. I suppose that there are some locales that would not benefit from GORE-TEX in boots and save a little cash and a little weight and breathe a little better. But overall, if there is the slightest chance that your natural trail will cross a stream or a snow bank, or a remote chance that you will get caught out in a sudden rain shower, you might end up believing the membrane is essential, as I do.
There is not much to say about the PU (Poly Urethane) Midsole, or the full length nylon shank. These two features help give the shoe form and contribute some shock-absorbing capacity. In a recreational hiking shoe such as the Renegade these components are man-made materials in order to keep the shoe light, while contributing enough stiffness to give support to the feet. This is basic stuff, but part of the foundation on which Lowa has built a lot of good shoes and a great reputation.
So there you have it, a light hiking shoe that this light hiker likes a ton.