By Jason B
Boots are an essential part of any outdoor kit and the innovation that continues to take place in the footwear industry almost rivals Moore’s law. I will be reviewing the LOWA Aerox Mid which has incorporated some of the newest technology from Gore and LOWA.
Lowa has been making boots for over 90 years which is pretty amazing. Their current motto is “Details that Matter” and all of their boots are handcrafted in Europe. They are also ISO 9001 certified meaning that they have a quality management system in place that helps them provide “the highest quality construction and process standards.”
The Aerox Mid is the next evolution of the Aerox low in Lowa’s All Terrain Sport line. The boot features Gore’s new Surround technology which is a 360 degree bootie built into the boot. There is then either a thin sponge like layer or in this case holes in the midsole to help increase breathability. In layman’s terms every step forces moisture like sweat out through the Gore Surround bootie keeping the foot cooler, but the membrane won’t allow moisture or water to flow into the boot. The Gore website has a technical explanation.
In addition to the Gore Surround the Aerox Mid also features the construction that Lowa is known for like the MONOWRAP Stability Frame, lightweight microfiber and synthetic upper and the LOWA Surround Trac outsole.
My initial impression of the boots is positive. I am a size 9 with a fairly wide forefoot. The boots fit well. The toe box is comfortable – not too snug with average lightweight hiking socks. The arch supports seems adequate and the heel cup does a nice job of cradling my heel. Style is very much a personal preference, but I like the style and look of the boots. The orange highlights on the boot are noticeable but not obnoxious. The sole features “V” shaped chevrons on the outside of the sole and hexagon shaped lugs on the inside of the sole. The lacing is LOWA’s version of speed lacing – the round laces run through fabric sleeves with only one metal hook on the outside of the upper for tying. The tongue is sewn to a piece of stretchy fabric that completely covers the area under the laces. This should help keep out debris from coming in through the tongue and laces area.
I generally evaluate boots on three main criteria – comfort, durability and usability. Please check back once I have put some miles on the boots for an updated review.
Update – Lowa Aerox Mid Dec 13, 2017
I have put 132 miles on the LOWA Aerox Mid boots thus far. I have used the boots for daily walks with my dog on the Mississippi River Levee next to my house in New Orleans; hiking at the Woodlands Conservancy in Gretna, Louisiana; hiking at Northlake Nature Center in Mandeville, Louisiana; backpacking in the Black Creek Wilderness in Mississippi; hiking Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida; walking around Key West during recovery operations after Hurricane Irma; hiking in Bear Brook State Park in New Hampshire; hiking in Devil’s Den State Park in Arkansas; and backpacking the Carol Dorman trail in the Kisatchie National Forest. Temperatures on these trips were all over the place from the upper 80s in Southern Louisiana to the 30’s in New Hampshire, Arkansas, and Northern Louisiana. Precipitation was mostly clear and sunny, but I did hike in the rain in Arkansas and New Hampshire. Trail surfaces ranged from the paved top of the Mississippi River Levee to gnarly technical rocky trail in New Hampshire. Needless to say, the boots have been through every condition except snow.
As I mentioned in my initial thoughts, I look for three main characteristics when reviewing boots – comfort, durability and usability.
Comfort was amazing right out of the box. I am a US men’s size 9, and the boots fit well. The toe box is roomy but not sloppy and the heel cup is solid. In my opinion, the boots are even more comfortable now that they are broken in. My feet were happy in them even after spending six plus hours carrying a 35 pound pack on the Carol Dorman trail in the Kisatchie National Forest. The trail featured sandstone rock formations, sand, and stream crossings and at no point were my feet uncomfortable.
Durability has been good as well. The upper shows no wear even after rocky hikes on technical terrain in New Hampshire and Arkansas. The suede toe and heel rand did a nice job protecting my foot from sharp rocks and roots. The MONOWRAP stability frame ensured that the boots shrugged off sharp rocks and kept my heel firmly in place on challenging terrain.
The sole of the boot is also proving to be durable. There is some noticeable wear on the outer chevrons and hexagon shaped lugs. This is pretty common for my footwear. I don’t think the wear pattern is excessive for 100 plus miles on the boots. I don’t expect this to be an issue, but it is worth noting.
Usability is the final characteristic. For me these lightweight boots are perfect for every season but the dead of winter. They breathe adequately to use in hot weather. My feet definitely were hot in the 90s but that is pretty common. I found that the sweet spot temperature wise with these boots is in the 60s and 70s. I like that the boots are light, and this makes a huge difference on all day hikes.
I think these boots work well in a variety of terrain. I had good traction on the muddy trails here in Southeastern Louisiana, and I felt like I had good stability on the rocky slabs in New Hampshire. The Gore Tex SURROUND bootie worked well. I crossed streams and hiked through swamp with confidence that the boots would not leak and my feet would stay dry. I personally found the boots stable enough for carrying 40 plus pound load while backpacking. I know this is not how Lowa advertises using them, but they worked great for me on the less technical trails in Mississippi and Louisiana. I would probably default to something with more stability if I were carrying heavy loads on technical terrain.
Final Update January 28, 2017 LOWA Aerox Mid
Since my last update, I have put another 70 miles on the boots bringing my total miles to 201. I have used the boots while walking around downtown New Orleans, hiking on the Levee with my daughter and dog, hiking at the Woodlands Conservatory, exploring the swamp trails of the Jean Lafitte Swamp, and while backpacking on the Richardson Trail in the Homochitto National Forest in Mississippi. Temperatures have been mild mostly in the 50s with a few days dipping into the low 30s. I experienced some light showers while backpacking in the Homochitto National Forest.
As I mentioned earlier, I evaluate boots on three main criteria- comfort, durability and usability. These boots have grown more comfortable the longer that I have used them. I find that I reach for them for everyday wear in addition to when I go on outdoor adventures. I even used them during an all day work party fixing up a Mardi Gras float, which is why they now have white paint stripes on them. The upper is soft and molds to my ankle and foot well, and the midsole provides plenty of support and cushion.
I really wanted to test the durability of the boots, and after 200 miles, I believe they are good for at least another 200 miles of hiking. The upper shows no weak spots or wear areas, and the lacing system still looks new. The sole of the boots has continued to wear down, but not more than I would expect for 200 miles of use.
The final characteristic is usability, basically what types of trail are the boots good for. In my opinion they are good for all types of trails. They have performed well on rocky and rooty trails in Arkansas and New Hampshire and on the more dirt and duff trails here in the Southeastern United States. Traction has been good in all conditions except thick, shoe-stealing mud, but they performed on par in muddy conditions based on my experience with other boots. I used them backpacking again and I never felt uncomfortable carrying a 35 pound load, though LOWA does not advertise them as backpacking boots.
Overall the LOWA Aerox Mid boots are a great all around boot. I would be comfortable wearing them year round in milder temperatures and as a three season boot where there is snow in the winter. Thanks for reading my review and to 4alloutdoors.org and LOWA for supplying the boots for this review.