Women’s specific last (narrower toebox and heel cup)
Can handle mid-weight pack
Very comfortable (aside from the minimal insole)
No instep lock on lacing
After-market insole is necessary
A very solid-feeling, sturdy light hiker with enough versatility to take you from light day hikes to longer backpacking trips, with ample support for unstable terrain. Great for trekking with a medium-weight pack. Comfort is good for an aggressive boot, though the footbed is noticeably hard—don’t expect your feet to be pampered.
Support The to-the-toe lacing combined with a women’s specific fit provided much-needed stability over loose rocks and uneven terrain, but I found that the laces did not “lock” my foot in as well as I would have liked. As a result, the mid-foot area felt too loose—higher volume feet may not have this problem.
The polyurethane midsole means the Focus GTX is stiffer than most of the other hikers in the test (compare to Scarpa Moraine Mid or Keen Ambler Mesh), but this support is essential for longer hikes with pack weight. This boot won’t shy away from long marches in scree, though it will feel a little too burly for mellow trail ambles.
Quality and Construction As always, Lowa delivers with high quality materials. The upper is made with abrasion-resistant suede leather, Cordura and microfiber, and the Gore-Tex liner makes the boot fully waterproof. The proprietary outsole provided good grip on uneven surfaces, and the manufacturer claims the tread design is “self cleaning” (not tested.)
Comfort Overall, the Focus GTX is a very comfortable boot for those with narrower feet, specifically in the toe-box and heel cup. For those who find higher-cut boots uncomfortable around the ankle, there was plenty of cushion in the cuff which eliminated the chance of bruising. Fair warning: the cheapo insole is disappointingly thin, and the footbed is as hard as they get, so you may find yourself purchasing an after-market insole.
Durability I didn’t get a chance to extensively test the durability of these boots, but I think it’s fair to say the rubber toe rand and leather sidewall construction are going to give this boot a very long life-span.