Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo Hiking Shoe Review

Lowa Men's Renegade III GTX LO Hiking Shoe
Lowa Men's Renegade III GTX LO Hiking Shoe. Courtesy of Amazon.com

This waterproof trail shoe works well for hiking or for trail walking. It has been available for many years and is available in both the second version, Renegade II and in its third version, the Renegade III. They are available in both men's and women's versions.

In addition to the Lo version, there is a Mid version that is more suitable for backpacking. The Renegade GTX Lo could be a good shoe for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago to tackle the natural trails, inclines, and sometimes soggy conditions.

Shoe reviewer Rich Bumgardner did the comparison shopping, selection, and review of this shoe. He describes why he chooses the Lowa Renegade time and time again.

Trail Worthy

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 Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo.

Style and Color

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. 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. 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 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.

Insoles and Replacements 

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.
Lowa Accessories: Insoles and Laces

Seamless Lining

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 or blister.

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.


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.

Shoe Body

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.

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.

Waterproof GTX

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.

Shock Absorption

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. Future versions are likely to maintain the excellent Lowa craftsmanship.