Lowa Baltoro ReviewJuly 16, 2011
- Nubuck leather upper requires little break-in and won’t scuff easily; Leather liner conforms to the foot for more precise fit; Midsole effectively supports mid-size pack loads (about 40 pounds)
- At 3.1 pounds a pair, they’re heavy considering the pack load they accommodate; With modest rocker, they fall a bit flat-footed, and do not roll as easily from heel to forefoot as some boots.
You’ll be in good shape with these boots if you’re headed to a warm, relatively dry climate for two to three days of backpacking.
The Baltoro is a finely crafted, rugged backpacking boot that’s most at home in warm, dry climates. Water-resistant, but not waterproof, it has a flexible leather upper, plus a soft leather lining that provides a custom fit and is perforated to keep feet cool.
The first things we noticed about the Baltoro were the top-notch materials used in the boot and the flawless construction. It’s most apparent in the upper, which is constructed of water-resistant suede leather that, right out of the box, bends like your old baseball mitt. And Lowa is one of the few companies that still lines boots with amazingly soft leather, which has a couple of benefits. First, the leather just feels great, as it gives easily to soften the ride, but holds up remarkably well over time, and eventually conform to your foot for a more custom fit.
Of course, the challenge with leather is that it feels warmer than a synthetic lining when you’re in hot and humid conditions, as we had while testing. Fortunately, holes in the liner (at the heel and tongue) allow air to escape and flow through more holes in the exterior of the upper. And we found that this air-conditioning system does help, but we’d still recommend that you use this boot in places with relatively low humidity, especially of your feet tend to get hot and sweaty.
The boot designers put plenty of thought into making the Baltoro as comfortable as possible. Our testers liked the lacing hardware, which included rings on the forefoot and side of the ankle, allowing us to fine-tune the laces and lock them in multiple places. And here’s a fine detail—the tongue fit extremely well partly because the boot’s gusset is made of thin leather rather than fabric, which is typically more bulky.
Our testers’ praise was more moderate when describing the midsole and outsole, which supported moderate loads well (around 40 pounds). When wearing heavier packs, we wished that the great upper was paired with a more supportive underfoot structure. The boot is not as smooth-striding on the trail as we would have liked. The curvature of the base of the boot is less than what we’ve found on others we tested, and transitioning from the heel to the midfoot was not as smooth.