During the period between the First World War and the Second a small boot manufacture sprung up in the tiny town of Jetzendorf, Germany. Never heard of Jetzendorf? Don’t worry, you are not alone. With a population of less than 3,000 this tiny Bavarian town is way off most people’s radar, but it is home to one of the finest boot-makers in the world: Lowa Boots.
Small side note: did you know that Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest in 1963, wore a pair of Lowa Boots?
Lowa has been producing high quality boots and shoes for more than 90 years, and every new line improves over the last resulting in obsessively engineered footwear.
What makes Lowa great:
With 90+ years of making hiking shoes Lowa has been able to create boots that just simply fit better, earning a global reputation in the process. Here are the key features exclusive to Lowa Boots:
- Monowrap Construction: Lowa’s patented approach of using a polyurethane (PU) frame to create a lightweight boot that is still extremely stable.
- A Stable Light Cradle: Lowa uses an even softer polyurethane in their midsoles. This extra cushion provides for improved shock absorption and extra comfort for your foot.
- Polyurethane for Longer-Lasting Boots: Polyurethane is not cheap and is not widely used, but since Lowa uses it in frame and midsole their boots last at least twice as long as boots with an EVA midsoles.
- GORE-TEX® Liners: The company also has a patented /GORE-TEX® liner that helps their boots fit smoother, decrease the potential for blisters, and creates a durable yet comfortable footbed.
- Automatic Boot Tongue: This allows for the tongue to be constantly centered on your foot. This makes A HUGE difference when you are hiking.
Lowa’s Emphasis on Responsible Manufacturing:
There is no shortage of media coverage on the child labor that large shoe companies employ to provide low cost/high margin footwear. These stories are appalling and while they catch national, and even sometime international attention, these large corporations rarely make lasting changes in their manufacturing practices. However, there are a few shoe manufactures who uphold a higher standard and maintain social responsibility in regards to international labor laws. Every single shoe Lowa sells is constructed in Europe under the world’s most stringent manufacturing, environmental and labor regulations. The company even released a Corporate Responsibility Statement to clarify their stance on labor and environmental issues.
Types of Lowa Shoes:
Lowa is obviously focused on the same type of footwear that their company was founded upon: the Hiking Boot. Yet, 90+ years of shoe design/manufacturing has allowed them to branch out a bit. I am going to highlight a few of their lines that I think are applicable to you guys. But keep in mind they offer a $1,000.00+ mountaineering boot that is for reaching the top of the world . . . (Lowa doesn’t mess around.):
As I mentioned above, their hiking shoes are where it is at! With a ton of great features, unparalleled durability, and focus on comfort they really are one of the finest, if not the finest, hiking shoes available. This line is focused on providing an all-terrain, multi-functional, yet lightweight shoe for day hiking, and weekend backpacking. They come in a range of types and sizes that range anywhere from $250.00 to $150.00 a pair.
Lowa is fundamentally a trekking/hiking boot company and they pour their souls into creating boots that can handle anything. Their trekking line is designed to be light in weight, durable, and offer a soft flex for comfortable hiking with 30-50 pounds of gear. (They also have a sport/speed hiking line that is very impressive)
Casual: The Bandon
I was lucky enough to get a pair of casual Lowa’s to try out as a potential travel shoe. I decided on the Bandon for its potential versatility while traveling.
I think these shoes are fantastic. They broke in almost immediately and are exceptionally comfortable (all while looking fantastic).
They have high backs, which I tend to favor in this type of shoe.
The Bandon is made from rich full leather which gives it a great looking sneaker style and also utilizes the sole/outer technologies found in their hiking/trekking/mountaineering boots. This makes for one incredible casual shoe.
These come in some fantastic color combinations, the brown and burnt laces is my favorite.
If you are new to Lowa, or you haven’t gotten a chance to check out what they have to offer make sure you do. While they are not the cheapest shoes in the world, they are the kind of shoes that will definitely go the extra mile.