Technology Guide

One thing is clear by now: Outdoor boots have become much more than just a simple upper married to some run-of-the-mill sole. A host of technologies are now the keys to comfort, functionality and fit. But which technology is found in which boot? What is a last? How is the sole designed and which materials are used to make it? This technology guide will provide you with some fundamental insights into the design and special features of every LOWA boot and highlight the qualities that go into creating the perfect fit.

A FOCUS ON WOMEN

No one would argue that a woman’s foot is different from a man’s. For this reason, LOWA has been producing outdoor footwear designed particularly with the anatomy of women’s feet in mind from the very beginning. At first glance, you will not notice much of a difference between shoes designed for men and women. But it all changes once you slip on a pair. You immediately feel the many functional details and the sophisticated technology that goes into female footwear.

SPECIALLY PADDED TONGUE

To prevent pressure points, the tongue of women’s shoes includes a layer of viscoelastic padding. Under the influences of the body’s natural temperature, the padding then adapts itself to the anatomic structure of the instep and shin. As a result, the tongue will not shift to the side, and the comfort of the footwear is increased markedly.

LOWA WOMEN’S LASTS

To create the perfect fit, the lasts used for female footwear have been specially designed with the anatomy of women’s feet in mind. The last plays a key role in the ultimate fit of a shoe. Women’s feet have less volume than men’s feet. As a result, the instep height and the ball area of these lasts have been modified.

SOFT PADDED EDGING

Women’s calves begin lower than men’s do. For this reason, the outdoor footwear that LOWA makes for women is equipped with a specially-padded edging. That is both soft and flexible.

MID-SOLE AND INSOLES ESPECIALLY FOR WOMEN

When women walk, their joints and ligaments absorb much of the ground reaction forces produced in the process. For this reason, LOWA uses a more flexible mid-sole to provide good cushioning. The insole provides a pleasant-to-wear sensation in the shoe. It is made of soft, viscoelastic foam and a supple upper material. The result? A snug home for the foot.

INNOVATION AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL

Alpine boots are the essence of the LOWA brand. They set new standards. The feedback provided by the company’s athletes flows into the development of new models. Innovative technologies, inventive materials and advanced sole design then deliver performance in the mountains. True to the Formula 1 principle, the innovations are then added to the company’s classic mountaineering and hiking boots.

CLOSE TO THE GROUND & CLOSE TO THE ROCK

Secure footing, sensibility and grip are created in particular by the space between the foot and the ground. For this reason, the technologies known as CLOSE TO THE GROUND and CLOSE TO THE ROCK are designed in a way that reduces the space between the ground or the rock to the greatest extent possible. At the same time, careful attention is also paid to such factors as grip and rolling properties. The overall height of the boot is minimised in order to increase control and produce a natural wearing experience.

CLIMBING ZONE

The flat design of the front sole and low profile depth improve traction on the rock. In turn, they simplify the process of climbing.



 

ANATOMICAL FIT

A decisive factor for good heel fit is the lacing system itself. An optimal tension is created using FIT WING technology, which positions the heel and creates a perfect fit.

SHOCK ABSORBER

Every time a foot is planted the heel is subjected to its greatest stress. To reduce this stress and create comfortable heel support, an integrated heel cushion was developed for the insole. Dynamic polyurethane foam that is known for its exception cushioning and rebound properties is used.

I-CORE

The I-CORE carbon inlay acts as the intelligent core of the sole design. Its exact positioning produces optimal, stress-appropriate stability. This carbon inlay reduces the need to add reinforcing elements in the sole, something that helps cushioning elements.


 

FIT WING

A decisive factor for good heel fit is the lacing system itself. An optimal tension is created using FIT WING technology, which positions the heel and creates a perfect fit.

DOUBLE SPEED LACE

The speed-lacing system developed by LOWA is a unique feature in the marketplace. This dual-lace system enables the laces to be adjusted in two different zones – for the toes and the mid-foot. Thanks to this system, the boot can be perfectly adapted to any particular situation, a real plus for mountain climbing. The speed-lacing system enables boot wearers to quickly and easily tie their footwear and also provides optimal support on any type of terrain.

FIT RIBBON

The minimalistic lacing strip produces both the highest level of functionality and maximum weight reduction. The two directly interwoven laces are easy to tie and run optimally through the boot. In selecting the material, LOWA focused on the durability and toughness of the laces.


 

FLEXFIT SYNCRO®

FLEXFIT SYNCRO® technology involves an asymmetrical upper design. It enables the boot’s upper to move “in sync” with the wearer’s upper leg. This feature significantly improves walking comfort – particularly on paths, trails or rough terrain. The technology focuses on a key aspect of walking: A person plants his or her foot not centrally under the hip, but rather somewhat farther in the middle.

SLINGSHOT

To provide optimal stability to the heel and to maintain a strong link between the front and rear foot, a special form of heel rubber is attached using tension. This SLINGSHOT effect generates a powerful restoring force, creating optimal grip and excellent adaptability.

FOR DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE ROCK

When it comes to climbing in the hall or scaling Alpine terrain, developers of climbing and bouldering shoes have one clear goal in mind: optimising grip and precision. As part of this work, the members of the LOWA JUNIOR team join the LOWA PRO team in providing valuable input. Optimal fit is created through the use of innovative lacing systems and weight-reducing materials.

Velcro® System

The properties of the LOWA-designed Velcro® end parts designed by LOWA combine a pleasant feel with optimal functionality. The rings shaped like the letter “D” are from a single cast and are able to withstand extreme stress as a result.

BOA® CLOSURE SYSTEM

With the help of a minimalistic twistknob arrangement, the innovative BOA® closure system guarantees maximum performance. The closure mechanism can be used easily and quickly. It delivers long-term comfort on ice without having to be readjusted. It can also be operated with just one hand.

PRESTRESSED CARBON INSOLES AND RAPTOR CRAMPONS

Like a lot of people, developers of ice-climbing boots are determined to lose weight. They use Raptor crampons and a special prestressed carbon insole to achieve unbelievable weight optimisation and improved performance.

STABILITY AND COMFORT

From multiday excursions in the Alps to an afternoon jaunt in a nearby forest – a broad range of technologies comes into play to create a perfect fit for backpacking and trekking boots. The main aim here is to provide individually adjustable stabilisation of the foot and a high level of comfort. This goal is achieved with the help of innovative lacing systems, padding and sole design.

“CEMENTED” CONSTRUCTION

Just like LOWA’s Alpine boots, the company’s backpacking and trekking models are produced with “cemented” techniques. In this process, the upper of the boot is “pinched” around the last and glued to the underside of the insole. This form of construction is extremely stable and makes it possible to resole the boot.


A LOOK INTO THE HEART OF A TREKKING BOOT

The complexity of an outdoor boot frequently becomes clear only on second glance. A pleasant wearing experience is created by a range of functions along with various layers of material.


 

C4-TONGUE

The specially designed boot tongue substantially enhances the comfort of the footwear. The tongue includes extra padding for the outer portion of the foot, and the upper end of it is especially soft. This asymmetrical padding provides optimal support to many areas of the foot. In response to the foot’s natural anatomy, the notches for the ankle area have been placed higher on the inside than on the outside. A flexible bending application has also been integrated into the inner part.



X-LACING®

Optimal positioning of the tongue, without any slippage or pressure points: This is what X-LACING® technology is all about. This special lacing system fixes the tongue both vertically and horizontally. The lacing system gains independence from the height of the instep as a result, making it perfect for any type of foot. In this technology, the pressure of the laces is borne not just by the hooks and is transferred to the tongue as well.

I-LOCK

Just pull tight and position in place: To simplify the job of tying boots, LOWA has developed a special type of locking cam hooks. The special feature: The system holds the laces in place in two different areas. Once the laces have been pulled tight on the lower level, they can be locked in place with the help of the cam hooks. The lock releases by snapping the hook brackets open. The instep laces can be adjusted.


FLEXFIT®

The feet can roll more easily if a hiking boot is easy to bend. Such a feature saves energy when the wearer climbs hills and provides real comfort in the process. For this reason, LOWA has integrated a flexible zone and a lace loop into this area. This involves the re-positioning of the boot’s eyelets and the use of a flexible lace hook that improves heel comfort and facilitates bending.

LOWA FLEX®

To add flexibility to each eyelet, the lacing systems through which laces are threaded are installed separately. These sections are made of soft leather trim or textile materials that prevent pressure points from being created. Thanks to the flexible arrangement of the eyelets, the laces can easily be pulled all the way to the toe area without producing any excessive pressure on individual areas. But the tongue always maintains its optimal positioning.

ROLLER EYELETS

Laces need to run flexibly and smoothly through the eyelets. Small balls installed in the metal eyelets keep the friction created by the laces to a minimum.

FOCUS ON MULTIFUNCTIONALITY

Multifunction shoes are just right for customers who are looking for footwear that they can wear on easy hikes or use for everyday purposes. LOWA laid the foundation for this category 20 years ago when it introduced the RENEGADE model. Thanks to the injection-moulded production techniques being applied, the shoes are lightweight and can be used for all sorts of activities. A number of technologies also create optimal shoe comfort – as a result, all-terrain sport models are just right for athletic activities.

DOUBLE INJECTION

To provide optimal cushioning and improve comfort, the sole of the shoe is attached to the upper in a complex injection-moulding process meaning the upper shoe is placed in a specially-designed mould. The form is filled with several layers of a PU foamed material. This creates the sole and directly joins it to the upper.


 

“STROBEL” CONSTRUCTION

All injection-moulded models made by LOWA are produced with so-called “Strobel” techniques. In this process, a non-woven insole is attached to the upper by using a stitch named after its inventor, Strobel. This stitch is made by a special Strobel insole applying machine. In the process, the upper and the non-woven insole become a single element, and the sole can be injection moulded.

A LOOK INTO THE HEART OF A MULTIFUNCTIONAL SHOE

Light, dynamic and stable – a broad range of features goes into the creation of comfortable multifunctional shoes. A brief look into the shoe design and construction.


 

LOWA MONOWRAP®

To create optimal stability and provide perfect support to the foot, LOWA developed a new, three-dimensional design of the midsole in 1995. This frame is called LOWA MONOWRAP® and perfectly envelopes the foot, providing support where it is needed the most. The frame, like the rest of the sole, is made of polyurethane.

SUPPORT FRAME

In the form of the LOWA-MONOWRAP® frame, the midsole supports the foot in those places that are subject to great stress. The sole design is only slightly raised.


 

STABILITY FRAME

In STABILITY FRAME design, the sole is highly elevated. The LOWA-MONOWRAP® frame creates the optimal structure for the upper and provides a high level of stability.

SPORTY, INNOVATIVE, DYNAMIC

They are light, fast and unbelievably dynamic – LOWA’s All Terrain Sport collection (ATS) brings a new generation of outdoor shoes to life. These athletic all-rounders can handle any type of terrain you throw at them. One word sums up the essence of this new footwear: “multifunctionality”. Innovative technologies are used throughout the shoes, from the sole to the laces. Each one of them makes a strong contribution to improved comfort and performance.

SPEED LACE

This system enables laces to be quickly and individually adjusted. Shoe wearers can easily climb in and out of their footwear with the system’s help as well. The laces run smoothly through the ample eyelets. The lower eyelets can be adjusted, too.

GORE-TEX® UPPER

The GORE-TEX® upper construction is designed without comprise for athletic activities on all sorts of terrain. Thanks to the systematic use of synthetic materials, this upper provides stability and protection to those places where it is needed most. Through the use of textile material, the remaining areas enjoy increased breathability. The upper is completely waterproof thanks to its GORE-TEX® lining.

STABILITY AND CUSHIONING

To create optimal cushioning and enable wearers to stand safely and securely in their footwear, the LOWA MONOWRAP® frame is made of a special PU foam material, LOWA DynaPU®.


 

GORE-TEX® INVISIBLE FIT™ TECHNOLOGY

This innovative technology attaches the GORE-TEX® lining directly to the upper, eliminating wrinkles and kinks in the process. The boot provides perfect comfort. The use of a single-section fabric upper also eliminates stitching and, thus, friction and irritation. Thanks to the deliberately minimalistic use of material, outdoor athletes can look forward to enjoying maximum breathability and incredible lightness.

SEAMLESS

The use of a single-section fabric upper eliminates stitching and, thus, friction and irritation. The result? Increased comfort.

PERFECT FIT

No wrinkles or kinks thanks to the direct attachment of the GORE-TEX® lining to the upper material.

MINIMALISTIC AND COMFORTABLE

Less weight, complete breathability and more comfort through the reduced and minimalistic use of material.


 

GORE-TEX® SURROUND™

When it comes to GORE-TEX® SURROUND™ product technology, many people have to do a double take: Holes in the soles? Can it really be waterproof? The answer is a definite “yes”. Footwear that employs this technology is completely waterproof. The heart of this technology is the special design used under the foot. Because most sweat glands are located on the soles of people’s feet, the sole of the shoe is designed in such a way that warm air and sweat can flow downward through a membrane and into an open-celled spacer. From there, they can escape through the side of the shoe. The result is 360° climate comfort in the shoe. The wearer’s feet will remain dry even when temperatures climb to higher levels. This, in turn, minimises chafing and reduces the threat of blisters.


 

The open design of the sole enables moisture and heat to flow down through the GORE-TEX® membrane and then escape through the side of the shoe. The result: a pleasantly dry foot feeling for dynamic activities.

The midsole is the heart of comfort, rolling properties and shoe cushioning. It is usually made from a foamed plastic. LOWA uses polyurethane (PU). The midsole consists of thousands of foam bubbles. The result is a material that is light, flexible and extremely durable. After every use, the material reverts back to its original position. LOWA has exclusively developed a special PU foam material that meets all cushioning, comfort and durability criteria: LOWA DynaPU®. The special feature: The material is extremely stable. It retains its stability and substance even when it is pressed together 1,000 times. As a result, the finished shoes will maintain their optimal cushioning ability even after you have walked many kilometres in them.

To complement its dynamic polyurethane cushioning material, LOWA employs another material that adds new emphasis to the area of durability: LOWA DuraPU®. Unlike LOWA DynaPU®, this special cushioning material is primarily used in ATC models and markedly increases the shoe’s performance, something that produces special toughness and stability.

THE EFFECT

The effect is felt directly by athletes, outdoor fans and travel lovers. The shoe feels light and soft, and adds a spring to your step. When you move quickly, you will sense the restoring force as the material returns to its original position, a change that pleasantly cushions the foot.


THE PERFECT COMBINATION OF FUNCTION AND LOOK

Anybody who travels the world will tell you that comfortable shoes are the be all and end all of each trip. LOWA’s travel collection consists of trendy all-rounders equipped with a broad range of functions that complement their modern design. Outdoor fans do not have to forgo the comfort of sports shoes in their daily lives either. Innovative sole design and materials ensure optimal padding, long service life and a springy feel.

FIT FRAME

In this construction style, the sole is designed as a type of shell that forms a perfect home for the foot. The result is guaranteed comfort.

GORE-TEX® SURROUND™

Breathable and comfortable – LOWA also uses GORE-TEX® SURROUNDTM technology in its travel line. With the help of the sole’s open design, warm air can escape from the shoe and fresh air can flow into it. This produces 360° climate comfort throughout the entire shoe. The sole itself is completely waterproof.

PERFECT WEATHER PROTECTION

With its collection of cold weather boots, LOWA has added footwear that is just right for the teeth-chattering time of the year. From mountaineering boots to shoes for urban winter – LOWA always combines a high level of functionality with modern details. In addition to a balanced mix of material for freezing winter days, the footwear’s special sole construction creates the best-possible grip. To keep the wearer’s feet warm at all times, LOWA uses an optimal mix of insulation that consists of a number of membranes and lining materials.

Vibram® Arctic Grip

Vibram® Arctic Grip represents state-of-the-art sole technology. The cold-weather grip system is the most-advanced technology for winter footwear that Vibram® has ever invented. The technology combines a Vibram® mixture that has been optimised for durability and all-round performance with an advanced rubber-mixture filling that delivers incomparable grip on wet ice.


 

OPTIMAL INSULATION FOR COLD WINTER DAYS

When temperatures begin to dip, perfectly designed insulation that is both breathable and warm is an essential part of any outdoor experience. To deliver this support, LOWA draws on two high-quality brands: GORE-TEX® and PRIMALOFT®.

GORE-TEX® Panda

With the help of additional layer of lining (100% polyester), this GORE-TEX® membrane keeps feet warm and dry under normal winter conditions.

GORE-TEX® Partelana

When the temperature falls below freezing, the GORE-TEX® membrane equipped with additional warm lining (80% polyester/20% wool) provides optimal comfort.

GORE-TEX® Duratherm

Once winter conditions become extreme, the feet are given extra protection by a GORE-TEX® membrane equipped with an insulating layer of lining.

PRIMALOFT® 200

With the help of high-quality synthetic insulation of 200 g/m², the wearer’s feet will always be warm in winter weather.

PRIMALOFT® 400

High-quality synthetic insulation of 400 g/m² is just right for people venturing out into extreme winter conditions.

CHILD FRIENDLY DOWN TO THE LAST DETAIL

It is a well-known fact that life’s real adventures are waiting just outside the front door. To enable the youngsters of the world to take them on, LOWA produces highquality shoes that are designed especially with the anatomy of children’s feet in mind. As part of its design work, the company’s development department works closely with the paediatrician Dr Micha Bahr from the medical centre in Ingolstadt, Germany. The department’s aim is to create both high levels of stability and adequate flexibility.

SPECIAL LASTS FOR CHILDREN

The lasts used for LOWA’s children’s footwear are not simply mini-versions of the lasts used for adults’ feet. They have been specially modified to reflect the anatomy of children’s feet and reduced in size. In addition, the height and width of the heel, toe and instep areas have been modified.

STABILISING UPPER

To ensure that the ankle is completely enclosed and stabilised, the height of the upper used in children’s hiking boots is somewhat higher then the height of adults’ boots. This feature also protects children’s ligaments, which are much more elastic than the ligaments of adults.

SLINGSHOT AND RECESSED BAND

Those two features stabilize the ankle and ensure, that the heel gains optimal stability in the shoe.

SOFT PADDING

To promote foot development and to avoid influencing the development of the fat pad on the children’s feet, the shoe is equipped with a layer of soft PU padding.

SUPINATION SUPPORT IN THE SOLE

The sole has been reinforced in the mid-foot area to prevent injuries that occur when people do such things as turn their ankles. But the sole is also flexible enough to support a natural flexing action made during walking.

SMALL OR WIDE – THE FORM IS WHAT COUNTS

The heart of every boot is the last. But what is a last anyway? How does it work, and why is it so critical? As a rule, the last creates the boot’s form and is thus the placeholder of the foot. But it is hardly an exact copy of the foot, with its toes and ankles. Rather, it is a dynamic form that has to fulfil a number of different requirements. There is no single definition that determines how a last should be formed exactly. Every shoe maker has its own philosophy. The lasts used by LOWA are based on more than 90 years of shoe-making tradition and years of development work. The goal is always crystal clear: The boot should fit perfectly.

LOWA creates a balanced relationship between support and freedom of movement. The feet are parts of our bodies that are subjected to extreme demands. Sensing technology is responsible for a feeling of well-being in the boot and creating comfort. In developing its lasts, LOWA aims to establish the best-possible positioning of the foot in the mid-foot area and give good support to the heel. At the same time, the foot is not compressed into the boot in order to prevent the development of pressure points. The toes have plenty of room above and in front of them to give them space to breathe. The company also pays careful attention to prevent a feeling of excessively spaciousness from being created when the boots are worn.

S LAST (SMALL)

In a S last, the forefoot area is smaller than the same area in a normal last. The ball area is reduced for this purpose.

W LAST (WIDE)

In a W last, the forefoot area is wider than the same area in a normal last. The ball area is enlarged for this purpose.

WXL LAST

In a WXL last, the toe area is enlarged and the ball volume increased to expand the forefoot area.