LOWA long known for their classic hiking boots, like their award winning Renegade Boot, is branching out into a casual line up with four styles named after cities on the west coast of the United States. I will be reviewing the Seattle GTX Lo.
The Seattle GTX Lo is a “waxed canvas & leather shoe designed to keep feet looking and feeling great. Casual and urban styling meets the comfort and performance you expect from a LOWA. Durably waterproof/breathable.” It has a full grain leather and fabric upper, features a traditional Gore Tex lining and a lugged Vibram sole.
My first impression of the Seattle GTX Lo is that it is a nice looking shoe. I like the leather and fabric design and the contrasting color of the PU midsole. The olive color is more of a dark brown. I thought it might have some hints of green in it. The Seattle is also available in Black. In my opinion the shoe looks great and will go well with everything from jeans and khakis to hiking pants.
I have worn various LOWA boots over the years and I am usually pretty dialed in on my fit for a men’s size 9. These shoes seem to be a bit on the narrower and smaller size than some of their other products. The arch placement seems correct, but my toes definitely feel like they have less wiggle room and both my big toe and pinkie to are in contact with the shoe. However, with thin socks and wearing them around the house for short periods of time, they are not uncomfortable. I will have to see how they do after wearing them for several hours.
I am also intrigued by the sole. There are small lugs on the bottom of sole that look like they are capable of handling more than just casual walking around town. They look like they can handle more aggressive trail. I am excited to see if that is true.
The LOWA Seattle GTX Lo retails for $190 and can be purchased online or at your local store.
I generally review footwear on three main characteristics – comfort, durability and functionality.
First Update – LOWA Seattle GTX Lo – July 26, 2019
I have put almost 40 hiking miles on the LOWA Seattle GTX Lo over the past couple of months in addition to normal daily wear. My trips included dog walks on the Mississippi River Levee in New Orleans, LA, an overnight camping trip to Buccaneer State Park on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, a hike to Snow Lake in the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington, and a hike on the Limberlost trail in Shenandoah National Park, VA. Weather has ranged from light rain during urban use and some mud, rocks and a few stream crossings on the way to Snow Lake. Temperatures have ranged from the upper 90s to the low 60s.
One of my initial concerns was on the size of the shoe. I mentioned that I normally wear size 9 LOWA products and that the Seattle’s felt tight. I decided that the 9’s were too small and went up a full size to a 10, and it has made a huge difference in how the shoes fit. The larger size fit much better. I have room to wiggle my toes and my foot is not squished in the mid foot area. Based on my experience, I would recommend going up a full size when purchasing these shoes.
I normally evaluate shoes on three main criteria – comfort, durability and functionality. The LOWA Seattle GTX Lo has performed well in all three categories. I hinted at it above, but going up to a larger size made a huge difference in the comfort of the shoe. I also found that they do have a break in period of about 20 miles or so before they molded to my foot and the leather loosened up a bit. Since then the shoe has been comfortable. I tie them loosely when wearing them traveling or for urban wear which allows me to pull them on and off without retying them each time. I tie them tightly while hiking or using them outdoors so that my foot stays secure in the shoe on uneven terrain.
The durability of the shoes has been great as well. The Snow Lake trail is rocky, muddy and fairly challenging with several thousand feet of elevation gain and loss. The Seattle GTX Lo had no issue at all with the trail conditions. The lugged sole did well in the mud and the leather and fabric upper shrugged off the rocks with ease. The lighter colored midsole shows dirt but is easily wiped off. Overall high marks for durability.
My final criteria is functionality. I travel a bit for work and I try to find new trails wherever I go, and I feel like I need to carry a hiking shoe or boot and then shoes for work. The Seattle lets me take one shoe that can do both. The shoe looks nice enough to wear with everything but a suit, and still has the outdoor chops to hike most trails. The lugged sole has good grip and traction in mud and on dry rock, I didn’t really try it on wet rock. The leather and fabric upper gives decent protection against rocks and roots. One ding though is the sole is thin and I can definitely feel every rock and root on the trail. Not a bad tradeoff to reduce the number of shoes I take with me when traveling.
This concludes my first update. I have a trip to Alaska coming up where I will challenge the LOWA Seattle GTX Lo’s with some more challenging terrain. Please check back in about a month for my final update.
Final Update – Lowa Seattle GTX Lo
The Seattle GTX Lo’s have been from New Orleans to Alaska and to the greater Washington DC region. Overall, I am impressed. They are a functional urban shoe that looks great and still has the chops for light day hikes.
Since my last update, I have put another 20 miles hiking in the shoes for a total of 60 over the past couple of months. This is in addition to daily wear. My main trail use with the shoes took place in Juneau Alaska. I used them hiking the Auke Lake and Nugget Falls trails. I also used them playing disk golf Alaska style in the rainforest with significant elevation gain and lots of green foliage. Temperatures ranged from the upper 50s to the mid-70s in Alaska and a more normal summer temperature range of 80-90’s in Northern Virginia. The shoes were worn in light rain and on muddy trails with puddles.
As I mentioned before my three main factors I use when reviewing shoes and boots are comfort, durability and functionality. The LOWA Seattle GTX Lo has performed well in all three categories. The increased sizing made a significant difference in the comfort of the shoe. They are now the first shoe I reach for when heading out the door, it doesn’t matter if it is a trip to the local hardware store or a night out on the town.
The durability of the shoe has been top notch. Even with over 60 miles of hiking use, the upper and sole don’t show any signs of wear.
I find that the functionality of the shoe is superb. Having a shoe that I can wear in casual work environments and also take on the trail is a huge bonus. It may not seem like much but when I am packing for a week long trip to another country or continent it is nice to have one less thing to worry about.
Thanks to 4alloutdoors.org and LOWA for the opportunity to participate in this review.