When a hiking boot claims to set a new benchmark for trekking fit and comfort, the cynic in me is always a little dubious. My ‘glass half empty’ brain is wondering whether, in making a boot exceed all previous comfort levels, the manufacturer has had to cut corners elsewhere. Will it still offer genuine mountain boot robustness, protection, and longevity for instance? Either way, having worn a few pairs of mountain boots over the years that were more of a pleasure to take off than to put on, I’m always up for the challenge of finding out whether there’s anything out there that offers real all-day comfort and protection in the mountains. As such, when the team at Lowa got in touch to see if I’d put their Lowa Camino GTX to the test I was more than happy to cast my cynical eye over them.
Lowa are already a brand that have impressed me. The weird thing is I have never actually owned a pair so how on earth did I arrive at that rather positive judgement? Let me explain: you see, the last time we were looking to part with our hard-earned cash to buy new walking boots for the kids – boots that would probably last them only about 6 – 9 months due to the ridiculous rate at which their feet grow – after a lot of research and narrowing down we opted to buy them both Lowa boots. They are hands down the best boots they’ve had.
The fact that both of them at the ages of 3 and 5 can wear a beautifully lightweight boot that offers loads of protection and comes with a Gore-Tex liner amazed us. They haven’t looked back and we’ve not once witnessed wet socks or achy feet and toes whinges. Whereas most manufacturers scoff at the idea of dropping their technology and design principles down to the smallest of sizes for the youngest of adventurers, Lowa have not. That’s why they get my respect and admiration.
Would that respect and admiration extend to the Lowa Camino GTX though?
The Lowa Camino GTX is pitched as a serious boot for long treks and mountain tours. Think covering many miles over multiple days and arduous, often isolated terrain, and you get the picture. Trekking and mountain tour boots have to offer equal measures of comfort and protection due the miles they’re expected to cover. They have to be capable of dealing with everything from long single day hikes and multiday wild camping adventures to extended tours of the high Dolomites where the terrain is more technical and demanding. All in all, it’s a lot for just one boot to be able to muster.
The Lowa Camino GTX are SERIOUSLY comfortable!
Rather than breaking the boot in gently with a series of short hill walks I decided, perhaps foolishly, to test their out of the box comfort with a long, strenuous mountain walk around the Glyders in Snowdonia. Honestly, I’ve never had out-of- the- box comfort to match these from any other fully fledged mountain boot. They are incredibly comfortable. I fully realise that different boots suit different people and would whole-heartedly recommend you trying on a variety of boots first in a dedicated outdoor shop, but for anyone out there with flat, wide feet like mine, these are a revelation that have to be considered. I almost felt a little bad repeatedly telling my wife how great they felt after she’d mentioned a touch of rubbing developing in her favourite boots.
The combination of FlexFit, which allows for a little ankle movement, the anatomically shaped tongue, which help to eliminate pressure spots, and the unique X lacing system, which was something I’d never seen before on a hiking boot and worked to hold the tongue in position both vertically and horizontally, all combined to envelop your foot in a cushion-like manner while ensuring that your heel remains secure. Basically, it made for one truly happy walking experience.
The Lowa Camino GTX Offer So Much More Than Just Comfort Though!
Don’t for a minute, however, assume that these are glorified outdoor slippers. They most certainly aren’t. Any boot that is designed to cope with the rigours of mountain trekking tours and multiday adventures have to, by their very nature, be able to cope with all that nature and terrain can throw at them. In this vein, the 2.2mm of nubuck leather, protective rubber rand to guard against rock abrasions, and a proven Gore-Tex liner all work to ensure that these boots will keep your feet dry and fortified.
Underneath the Vibram Apptrail, a dedicated trekking outsole design, offers a slightly increased contact area, which certainly helps spread the load when the miles are high. It also has a more pronounced front heel edge to help alleviate soreness when descending by improving the downhill traction on steep ground. Anyone who knows the scree slope down from Glyder Fach to the Tryfan South Ridge will understand me when I say that this almost hidden feature on the boot (certainly not something that most people look for when buying) is a really positive addition. It’s not a handbrake by any means but it definitely feels more secure descending steep ground than the vast majority of boots I’ve worn.
I can honestly say that these will now adorn my feet on a very regular basis. At 1550g for the pair they offer so much comfort, protection and versatility. The price (£240) reflects the fact that these will be a long-term investment from which I thoroughly expect to get years and years of enjoyable service. The fact that they are indeed resolable re-enforces this. Given the array of boots and shoes I already have at my disposal I was half-expecting to wonder how they’d fit into my collection and just how often I’d wear them instead of my current favourites. The truth is that for any long mountain day, expedition or tour that doesn’t require a crampon, these will be my new go-to boot.
For more information check out the Lowa website: https://www.lowa.co.uk/shop/product-31-camino-gtx
If you want to check out the awesome Snowdonia route that I took these boots on click here: http://pottyadventures.com/mini-adventures/hiking/snowdonia-sunrise-group-hike/