My Favorite Hiking Boots: The Lowa Renegade

July 17, 2018Garland Kennedy
Coffee or Die Photo

Our campsite was next to a small alpine lake in the North Cascades, not far from the Canadian border. It was day five of a nine-day trek, and before making dinner I sat down on the shore and looked out over the lake. Even as I relaxed, I still had my boots on. Normally, I’ll remove my boots in camp and wear a pair of light tennis shoes. But not with these boots.

For about four years, I’ve worn Lowa Renegades, and they’re my favorite hiking boots.

Photo by Garland Kennedy/Coffee, or Die Magazine.

I’ve taken them with me from Alaska to Wyoming to Washington. I’m on my second pair now, and I love these things. They’re so comfortable that I sometimes forget to take them off. Of course, comfort comes down to personal preference, but I’ve never met anyone who has worn a pair of these boots and not thought the same.

They come with double-stitched seams and Vibram soles, both of which increase longevity. Weighing in at about 2½ pounds (the exact weight varies based on size), they’re reasonably light, though far from ultra-light. In terms of the weight-to-durability ratio, these boots excel.

My original pair of Lowas, which I bought in high school, survived through years of harsh treatment and finally died when the waterproofing gave out. Lowa makes their boots with a Gore-Tex layer for waterproofing, though after months of use in the field, the fabric finally developed a hole. Given how long these boots survived, I’m happy with them.

Photo by Garland Kennedy/Coffee, or Die Magazine

But that leads to my sole critique, not just of these Lowas but of hiking boots in general: I’m not convinced of the veracity of waterproof footwear. It’s true, these boots kept my feet dry most of the time, but when I cross a river, my feet are going to get wet. And after that, because the boots are waterproof, my feet stay wet. Waterproof boots also take a long time to dry, especially in the cold. Waterproofing certainly has its place, such as in snowy environments, but I really wish Lowa offered these boots in a non-waterproof design, too.

Despite that, these boots are tough, not too heavy, and very comfortable. The Lowas flex enough to feel good but also provide solid ankle support. The nearly perfect combination of these features is what draws me back to these boots in a market saturated with options. At around $230, they’re not inexpensive, but I don’t think any boots worth wearing are.

My Lowa Renegades have served as a faithful friend for years, and I plan to wear them again on my next adventure.

Garland Kennedy
Garland Kennedy

Garland Kennedy is a contributing writer for Coffee or Die. As an avid backpacker and outdoorsman, he has explored wide-open spaces all over North America — from the forests of North Carolina (he’s a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in medieval history) to the mountains of Alaska. His previous bylines include gear reviews on

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
‘Butter Butter Jam!’: Troops Loved, and Hated, the M249 SAW

For nearly 50 years, the SAW has played a major role in America’s wars. Now it’s being replaced by new weapons.

February 8, 2023Mac Caltrider
Coffee Or Die Photo
Space Force Vows ‘Above and Beyond’ Cleanup of Maui Spill

Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastalir, the commander of the U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific, said a team will t...

February 8, 2023Associated Press
Coffee Or Die Photo
Navy Releases First Photos of Chinese Balloon Recovery

In the newest images released by the Navy on Tuesday, sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group...

February 7, 2023Associated Press
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks at the Pentagon in Washington, Nov. 16, 2022. Lawyers for a group of Navy SEALS and other Navy personnel who oppose a COVID-19 vaccination requirement on religious grounds want a federal appeals court to keep alive their legal fight against the Biden administration. Congress voted to end the requirement in December 2022, but vaccine opponents note that commanders can still make decisions on how and whether to deploy unvaccinated troops, under a memo signed last month by Austin. AP photo by Susan Walsh, File.
Vaccine Litigation Lingers After Lifting of Military Mandate

Lawyers for a group of Navy SEALS and other Navy personnel who refuse to be vaccinated for religious...

February 7, 2023Associated Press
Armed Forces Service Medal
Who Earns the Armed Forces Service Medal?

The Department of Defense honors heroism in combat in many ways, but there is also an award — the Ar...

February 7, 2023Noelle Wiehe
Soldiers carry the coffin of Eduard Strauss, a Ukrainian serviceman who died in combat on Jan. 17 in Bakhmut, during a farewell ceremony in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. AP photo by Daniel Cole.
Russian Forces Keep Up Pressue As Ukraine Anniversary Nears

Russian forces are keeping Ukrainian troops tied down with attacks in the eastern Donbas region as M...

February 7, 2023Associated Press
Chinese spy balloon
Blown to Bits! Chinese Spy Balloon Blasted, Plummets Into Sea

The US Air Force downed the Chinese balloon that's been soaring over the US.

February 4, 2023Carl Prine
germany, european union, ukraine gas reserves
Ukraine Wants To Store Europe’s Strategic Gas Reserves

Ukraine maintains 12 underground gas storage facilities with a total capacity of about 31 billion cu...

February 3, 2023Nolan Peterson
  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved