Lowa Focus GTX Mid ReviewNovember 14, 2012
- Very well constructed.
- Supportive construction – a strong heel cup and firm upper hold the foot in place
- Good protection—underfoot, sidewall, and toe
- Handles well under medium pack loads
- Versatile enough for rocky terrain
- A thin, flimsy throwaway footbed that doesn’t provide support.
- Expensive compared to comparable boots.
- The fit may be too narrow for wider feet.
The Lowa Focus GTX is a solid and stable boot that works well for ambitious day hikes and overnight backpacking on established trails with packs around 20-35 pounds. It is very well made, with good support and protection, and it shines in rugged terrain—an excellent choice for day hikes in rough, rocky country.
Lowa’s Focus GTX is a waterproof/breathable nubuck and mesh, medium-low volume hiking and backpacking boot for ambitious day hikes or backpacking with moderate loads.
Support and Stability
The Focus has a close fit across the foot, which made it supportive and kept my foot in place, though people with wider feet may find the fit a little too narrow. The heel cup is very snug, keeping your foot in place in rigged terrain, and the sole is fairly stiff adding further support. For schlepping heavy loads (40-50 pounds) in rugged country, most people will want a burlier boot, but the Focus GTX works very well for more typical loads on trails.
Protection & Comfort
The upper has light padding around the ankle, and the polyurethane midsole provides very good protection against rocks. The trade-off for protection and stability is that the underfoot cushioning wasn’t outstanding, though it was adequate as long as I wasn’t heavily loaded. The abrasion-resistant nubuck upper is very comfortable, especially considering how supportive it is.
The close fit and great support made them very stable and they handled on- and off-trail hikes with conviction. I didn’t run into any significant limitations in rough terrain or under moderate (30-35 pound) loads. The one problem they have is a common one the footbed that comes with them is just a light foam piece that offers no real support, and quickly smashes down into nothing. Replace those with some supportive after-market footbeds and the Focus is an excellent boot.
There were no problems with the Gore-Tex, the boots remained waterproof in rain and during a ten-minute soak in a tub of water, but in hot, dry weather my feet felt a little warm, as is usually the case with Gore-Tex lined boots and shoes.
Editors note: We have also tested the women’s version of the Lowa Focus GTX.