Lowa Camino GTXThe Lowa Camino GTX hiking boots are the kind of boots you wear for a decade. They are super-comfortable, relatively light and have the strength and grip to tackle any terrain. View Latest Deal
I have been wearing my last pair of hiking boots for over a decade. They have been everywhere around the world with me, including on 10 day hikes through the Andes in Peru and Patagonia.
It was with great reluctance that I went to the local store to find a replacement last month, and I came home with a pair of Lowa Camino GTX hiking boots and I couldn’t be happier.
I took them away with us on a 3 day hiking vacation in the Swiss Alps last week and put them through their paces.
No breaking in. No testing before hand.
Aside from a tiny bit of rubbing on long ascents in the first day or so, they have been a dream.
Up and down varied terrain in the Alps, through streams, over rocks and grass. They have tackled everything with aplomb!
If you are after a durable, strong, not overly stiff or heavy hiking boot you can rely on in more difficult terrain – these might just be for you!
Lowa have been making hiking boots in Bavaria, Germany for nearly 100 years. So, they know a thing or two about building boots to last.
But, it’s all in the details.
The lower part of the upper (just above the actual sole) has a half inch strip of rubber (bumpers) around the heel and toe. This really ensures the boot lasts. It helps you when you hit a rock, drag or kick your toe or just scrape on something as you walk. So, if you hike on anything but pristine trails, you know what I am talking about. I have already hit rocks in just one or two hikes!
The upper itself is super-tough, well stitched and has a lacing system that will go for years. More on that in the comfort section.
There is nothing I can fault in the quality and construction of this boot (yet) and I have had the pleasure of wearing out many a boot over the years (I am 46).
The Camino GTX is designed to keep ahold of your foot. However, it does not compromise on comfort. I bought these boots and walked in them for 3 days without breaking them in. So, that will give you an idea how comfy they are.
That is not to say you might not have some issues, as everyone’s feet are different. But Lowa has done a great job keeping them sturdy, but still comfortable.
The inner is also nice and soft, and well moulded where it counts. Wrapping around your heel to keep it from slipping, and keeping the mid-portion of your foot in place, while still allowing your toes to move.
The laces are also very well designed. With 3 sections designed to keep the most important parts of your foot in place
Because there are riveted hooks, you can make these as tight or lose as you like. It gives you the ability to tune the fit of the boot to a T. And the extra mid-rivet at the top, keeps the tongue from sliding too, which can get annoying and painful over time. I forgot to tighten mine one day, and about an hour in I noticed some pain on the side of my ankle/leg – until I fixed it.
The sole of the Camino GTX is not a full-length shank, which I have still not gotten used to. My last pair were, so the change takes a bit of time.
If you don’t know what a shank is, let me explain. To keep the sole of hiking boots still to help you work in difficult terrain, the manufacturers put in a stiff plate called a shank. Sometimes it runs most or all the length of the boot, but in this case it is only about 6 inches long. That means the boot flexes just past the middle, allowing for a more natural and comfortable step.
If you are not used to a high fitting hiking boot, then it can take some getting used to – having a boot that comes up so high. It is not uncomfortable though. Even I was worried, as the Camino GTX is higher than my last pair.
Like almost every hiking boot on the market today, the Lowa Camino GTX has a very grippy Vibram sole to keep you from slipping.
Vibram is the “go to” company for rubber soles, so you know you are getting quality. It is a bit like getting YKK zippers. They are just the best.
This particular model has a decent thickness with great grip. And they are replaceable should you wear them out. Almost good to know, as finding nice hiking boots is a pain, and when they fit well, but the sole is worn out. It’s annoying to have to replace them. In this case you don’t!
And because these boots are so high cut, they also give you loads of ankle support. So, no matter what the terrain, you shouldn’t roll your ankle or misstep easily. Of course, if you are the type who hops, skips and jumps up a trail, then you better get a light shoe or even a trail running shoe instead. These are not those!
The flexibility in the toe area (with the half shank) also helps you find your footing better too. Or so I found. When compared to a full-shank/stiffer boot, they are a lot easier to walk in.
If you go hiking in all sorts of weather or even have to cross the occasional stream, you know how important waterproofing is. That is why a modern hiking boot like the Camino GTX comes with a Gore-tex liner.
Gore-tex (like Vibram) is the “go to” brand for waterproof and breathable material. Which is exactly what you need in a boot. Of course, there is always a compromise as you can’t have the best of both. But Gore-tex does a decent job.
Waterproof – hell yes. Breathable – kinda.
I passed through a few streams on my hikes last week and had zero issues with water (you can see from crossing a stream above, confident that they would not leak). Considering the whole inner and tongue is completely sealed right to the top, that is no surprise.
It was not overly hot, but it was warm, and I did not find I sweated profusely in these boots either. Sure, I always dry them and my socks out over lunch. You do sweat in them, but no more than you would expect and not more than I have in any other comparable boot.
Are the Lowa Camino GTX boots worth the hundreds of dollars you have to pay for them? Yes.
The only question you have to ask yourself is if they are worth it for you.
These are not a boot I would recommend for a casual, once in a blue moon kind of hiker. They are made for all sorts of terrain and to last for a very long time.
For me they are an investment, like all my outdoor gear. I will wear them very summer, and sometimes in shoulder seasons, and hopefully only replace them in a decade.
When you look at it like that, they are only costing me 20-30 bucks a year!