Over the last 20 years, the trend toward lighter gear has pushed many hikers into trail runner territory. That’s OK if your load is light and your trips are on easy trails. But when you want support, stability, and durability, you want the Renegade.
LOWA introduced the now-classic boot in 1997, and though it has undergone a number of evolutions since (it was last updated in 2010), the German-crafted Renegade remains the brand’s best-selling boot. The formula for its success seems simple at first—nubuck leather upper and supportive sole—but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, the Renegade is a big, burly leather boot, built for eating miles and slaying rough terrain, but, dang, is it comfortable. “Sliding it on is like going through a portal into a slipper,” one editor says. “You think it’s going to be stiff and unforgiving, but it’s not.” A plusher-than-usual collar cushions the ankle, a multipiece upper snugs around the foot neatly, and a two-part insole adds a memory foam-like layer beneath the foot. It’s a recipe that makes the Renegade comfortable out of the box—and after a thousand miles.
That’s unusual for a boot with such impressive technical chops. The Renegade, with its PU midsole (great for rebound), PU frame (great for stability), and nylon shank (great for protection), shines on uneven surfaces and beneath oversized loads. It never buckled on volcanic scree slopes in New Zealand, and its Gore-Tex membrane kept us totally dry during three rainy days on the Pouakai Crossing. “We forded countless creeks and walked through ankle-deep muck for hours at a time, and I always felt sure-footed,” one editor says. “At the end of the day, others had to wring their socks out, but my feet stayed completely dry.” In style and performance, the Renegade is a classic, to be sure. Good thing protection, support, and comfort are also timeless.