From the end of summer and into fall, I’ve been out tromping Oregon’s trails in the new Lowa Irox GTX Mid trekking boots. I’m a big fan of Lowa boots. I’ve been wearing them for years, with my favorite models being the lightweight Zepher and classic Renegade. The Irox are a synthetic boot built to take on a wide range of trail and weather conditions, and were designed with input from famed German mountaineer Ralf Dujmovits. When given the opportunity, I took a pair out for a spin.
When I first saw the Irox GTX, I was impressed with their sleek appearance and light weight for being such a beefy trekking boot. They sport a rugged outsole designed to handle the toughest terrain, and heavy-duty toe and heel guards for extra protection. The high ankles looked to provide exceptional stability—good for avoiding rolled ankles on loose and uneven ground. Having gotten accustomed to hiking in lightweight runners over the last few seasons, it would be interesting to see how I would adapt to getting back into a bigger boot.
Where I found the Irox GTX to truly shine is in their water repellency, thanks to their Gore-Tex liner.
On the Trail
My first outings with the Irox GTX were on Mount Hood this summer. It was hot and dry—not my favorite conditions for breaking in new boots. To help keep my feet cool, I chose thin, light hiking socks. Because I size up a half-size for heavier boots (allowing room for my hot, sweaty feet to swell), I found that I had a little too much room inside—likely due to my sock selection. This was remedied by just tightening them down a little more.
As I got underway, I found them to be a little stiff out of the gate. The high ankle and rigid midsole didn’t immediately allow for much flexibility. On the level straights, this was particularly noticeable. However, when the grades increased and the terrain became loose and uneven, I was appreciative for that extra support and balance. As the miles wore on, I started to get accustomed to them and they eventually became a bit more flexible and comfortable. Their light weight let me easily maneuver here and there without them ever feeling clunky.
Where I found the Irox GTX to truly shine is in their water repellency, thanks to their Gore-Tex liner. This first occurred when I had to slog up a seeping slope (say that three times fast!) and wound up in ankle-deep mud—practically to the rim of the boots!—for a good distance. After that ordeal, I stood in a running stream for several minutes to rinse the mud off. My socks and feet remained clean and dry, and I was able to keep on trekking in comfort.
On subsequent outings, I got them out in the rain, more mud and on slick terrain. I also employed heavier socks which helped improve their fit. Their water repellency continued to impress—no need to rock hop across creeks and puddles, just straight through. Up and down big steps covered with wet rock and autumn leaves, they easily held fast with minimal slippage. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to get them out in the snow, but I’m betting these would be superb in snowshoes or crampons.
Pros and Cons
PROS: The Irox GTX is a super-sturdy trekking boot that glides over just about any terrain. It’s water repellency is superb, making it ideal for wet environments, off-season trekking and (presumably) snow travel. Good breathability keeps feet cool and comfortable, even on hot hiking days. They are resolable and 100% vegan!
CONS: A little stiff getting started, but break-in time was reasonable. Personally, I’m not a fan of Lowa’s factory footbeds (in any of their boots), as I don’t find them very supportive of my feet. I usually replace these with a Superfeet or SOLE footbed.
If you appreciate sturdier, more rugged footwear for covering long miles, these just may be what you’re looking for.
With the recent trend toward light runners, the Irox GTX may be too much boot for today’s PCT section- and thru-hikers, but perfectly suited for tackling tougher terrain, light mountaineering and off-trail excursions. Conversely, if you appreciate sturdier, more rugged footwear for covering long miles, these just may be what you’re looking for. Their comparable light weight gives them an edge over heavier leather trekkers, and their exceptional water repellency makes them perfect for the soggy Northwest. As for myself, I found these to be an ideal shoulder-season boot for tromping less-than-ideal trail and weather conditions. Look for me in the snow with these this winter! $260
SPECS: Lowa Irox GTX
Insole: Climate Control Footbed
Outsole: LOWA Elika
Midsole: Dual Density DuraPU
Weight: 2.6 lbs/pair
This review is based on the personal experiences of hiking guidebook author Eli Boschetto. This product was tested in a variety of weather, temperature and trail conditions. Individual results may vary.
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Main photo: Lowa’s Irox GTX trekking boots.