Excerpt from Forbes, The Best Hiking Boots of 2023, According to Rigorous Testing, by Hannah Singleton
Best Backpacking Boots
A Sturdy Workhorse That's Suprisingly Lightweight
- Backpackers carrying heavy loads
- Day hikers who want serious ankle stability
- Anyone who wants a durable boot that will last years
• You hike in hot climates and want to maximize breathability
Combining the look of a burly leather backpacking boot with the weight of a modern shoe, the Low Renegade is one of the best backpacking boots I've tried. It checked every box in my tests: It's supportive, breathable, has excellent traction and is water-resistant. And most surprisingly, it's a few ounces lighter than the Salomon Quest 4, which I ranked as the best backpacking boot in 2022 (and is still a worthy alternative.) However, the Renegades won out in my most recent test because they are just as comfortable but have a slightly slimmer profile and toe shape, making them less bulky and more versatile for technical terrain.
What sets this boot apart is its durability. It's crafted out of a Nubuck leather that lines the entire upper, and a Vibram rubber outsole that is stiffer than that of other boots so it doesn't break down after a season of use. And then there's the midsole: It features PU foam, which is stiffer than EVA foam but doesn't pack out as quickly-crucial if you'll be carrying a lot of weight on your back. (According to Low's website, PU midsoles will last two to five times longer than EVA midsoles.) This combination of rubber and foam creates a tall, stiff sole that made me feel like I was elevated on a platform and invincible against all rocks. So while these boots aren't as springy and responsive as some of the other boots on this list, they sure are sturdy.
The Renegade also has a number of intelligent design features like the back tab to easily slip on the shoe and widely-spaced lace hooks at the forefoot that allow you to tighten down the boot around the front of the ankle. Best of all, it comes in narrow, medium and wide widths to accommodate a range of foot types-I tested it in wide and found that it secured my foot in place but my toes still had enough room to breathe. And while it's the heaviest boot on this list, it's still lightweight for a classic, fully-leather boot.
When you're already loaded up with 30 pounds of gear for an overnight trip, this weight increase will be negligible (unless you're an ultralight backpacker.)
Overall, there's very little to complain about with this boot. I wore the Renegades on a casual day hike and while hiking with a heavy 60-liter pack; each time, my feet felt fresh and I did not get any blisters or hot spots. If you're a dedicated backpacker who hikes varied terrain and lengths and you only buy one hiking boot for all your adventures, make it this one. But if you need a more breathable boot that still offers superior support, you may want to opt for the Salomon Quest 4.
LOWA stands behind their products with a one-year warranty from all manufacturing defects.
Content Courtesy: Forbes
Photo Credit: 1,5 Max Seigal; 3,4 Derek Labato