I received a pair of Lowa Uplander GTX boots a few weeks back and thought I’d give a few initial impressions. Keep in mind that I haven’t really had the opportunity to put them through any truly serious paces, nor did I do anything to break them in. I just pulled them on and started wearing them.
Comfort: they’re as comfortable as any new pair of boots could be expected, if somewhat more rigid around the top than I’m used to – then again, I’ve been wearing Oakley Assault Boots for a while, so I’m used to something more more like a sneaker/tennis shoe than a boot. Inside they are well padded and don’t pinch or bind.
Support: Excellent. Great ankle support, solid construction without seeming clunky, though at just under 3lb for the pair they’re at the limit of the weight as I’d want to wear.
Fit: Spot on. I’ve gone through several different brands in the past and it seems like every one fits a little differently. I’ve literally worn everything from a 9.5W to an 11R depending on the manufacturer. I received these in 10.5 (which is what my feet are supposed to be) and they fit perfectly.
Durability: Still too early to tell. I wore them while helping a friend dig a ditch (which sucked: one of Durin’s Folk I’m not), working my uncle’s pecan orchard and on the range. Mud and rot rinse right off, the tread still looks brand new and I haven’t marred the exterior yet.
Water Resistance: So far so good. I’ve waded in them, stood in a rain-filled ditch (not quite to the top) and worn them while working in a water-soaked field. No wet socks yet.
Sole/tread/tracking: The sole is Vibram with a midsole LOWA developed along with Vibram. The tread pattern is different enough from typical military patterns that spoor won’t scream “Tactical guy!”, nor is the tread pattern as sharp and distinct as some other manufacturers (which I prefer) but it is distinctive enough that a good tracker is going to be able to distinguish it once he’s familiar with it and knows what to watch for. The build of the heel is relatively innocuous too, so heel strikes won’t be as overt as some boots.
One thing I didn’t realize going in is that these LOWA boots are hand made in Slovakia; this definitely shows in the quality of the boot.
That’s it for now; sorry there’s not more to it, but I just haven’t had the opportunity to do more. If I’m unable to evaluate them any more stringently I’ve got another evaluator on the hook. He’s going to wear them on some trails in the Adirondacks on leave and during some field work at Lejeune. I’ll keep you up to speed.
For my current evaluation: definitely worth the price (they run around $299), especially given LOWA’s reputation for boots that last a long time (my budget doesn’t allow for a new pair of boots every year, and certainly not a couple of times a year).