The Lowa Renegade is a European-designed hiking shoe with quality construction and provides excellent performance. Despite a moderate break-in period, this waterproof hiking shoe works for long daytrips and can last a long time due to its durable high quality leather.
For such a low profile shoe, the Renegade has deceivingly solid stability. It comes standard with a Vibram outsole that grips rock well when scrambling. The specific type of Vibram outsole is referred to as Renovo, which is a grip-oriented rubber tread, making the Renegade more specialized in scrambling on rock. An added benefit of the Renovo ingredient is Lowa’s patented Monowrap technology, a plastic wrap that adds to the stability. It also creates a little protection around the heel area of the shoe. To add to the stability, the lacing has an extra open hook at the end to secure the shoe more firmly to your foot, allowing for more ankle support.
The DuraPU Monowrap frame gives this shoe protection around the heel area. There is a toe guard, but it’s not reinforced with rubber, nor does it offer any additional protection that would be considered a benefit. Light hikers aren’t really known for their protection, but this one scored just average in its class.
The insoles were, by far, the worst in its class. This was disconcerting given the price point. Replacing the insoles is paramount. They advertise the footbeds as “Climate Control” insoles, but the function of these are confusing given how little breathability the shoe offered overall. The Renegades do come in a wide version and when forced, leather can stretch some to conform to the user’s foot. The break-in period lasted about 15 miles for the Renegade to be comfortable. While they did produce a few mild hot spots during and after the break-in period, blisters never formed.
It’s obvious when you pull the Renegades out of the box, these are well constructed shoes. The Nubuck leather, one of the highest quality leathers available, is a relatively low maintenance material that doesn’t require upkeep such as conditioning the shoe as you would in a more traditional leather that cracks and dries out. After numerous miles of off-trail hiking around the rugged terrain of Rocky Mountain National Park, the stitching had not frayed or ripped in any capacity, where other shoes had started to breakdown.
Once these shoes are broken in, the Renegades perform better than any other shoes we tested on day trips, scrambling on class 3 or 4 terrain, crossing shallow streams and muddy trails. Despite the lack of comfort and protection, the Renegade is probably one of the higher performing shoes thanks to its designed use on rock scrambles and its long lasting construction.