Several months ago, I bought the Lowa Innox GTX Lo TF shoes and since then I’ve been regularly wearing them on my hiking trips and for everyday activities. The Lowa Innox GTX Lo TF shoes belong in the Task Force Tactical line of the Lowa shoes (hence the TF in the name), but they are not much different from the Lowa Innox GTX Lo hiking shoes. I’ve decided to buy the tactical Innox shoes, because they look more casual (black color and no shiny details) and thus I can also wear them for work and other non-sport activities, without standing out. According to Lowa, the hiking and the tactical model of Innox shoes have the same specifications such as weight, materials etc. The only difference is that the tactical model is in a discreet black color.
I decided to buy the Lowa Innox GTX Lo TF hiking shoes primarily because they are very light (a pair weighs merely 1.7 lbs./770 g) and have polyurethane midsoles while most other brands utilize EVA midsoles. Polyurethane midsoles provide better stability and have a longer lifespan than EVA midsoles. For more information about midsoles check out the Midsole section in our Guide to Hiking Footwear. Over the last several months I’ve been wearing the Lowa Innox GTX Lo TF hiking shoes on hiking trails and for everyday activities in changing weather conditions. Here is what I learned about the Lowa Innox GTX Lo TF hiking shoes.
The Lowa Innox GTX Lo TF hiking shoes are suitable for:
- Everyday Use
The Lowa Innox GTX Lo TF shoes belong in the category of lightweight hiking shoes and are therefore best for swift hiking on technically easy trails. The shoes have synthetic uppers (mesh fabric) with a polyurethane frame for better durability, shock-absorption and stability. Lowa calls this system the Monowrap Frame and many Lowa shoes and boots utilize it. In the toe area, the shoes have a suede leather protective rand for better durability on rough terrain. However, keep in mind that the Lowa Innox shoes are best for non-rocky terrain and established paths due to the synthetic uppers (which are less abrasion-resistant than leather). I haven’t worn them on rocky terrain and I also don’t plan to, because for such trails I use a pair of robust Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid hiking boots. The Salewa boots have more durable uppers (suede leather) and a polyurethane all-around rand for protection against abrasion from rocks and stones. Therefore, they are my go-to footwear for difficult rocky trails while I use the Lowa Innox shoes for comfortable hiking on established paths.
Underneath the uppers, the Lowa Innox GTX Lo TF shoes are equipped with Gore-Tex lining which keeps your feet dry in rainy weather, but also reduces the breathability of the shoes to some extent. I’ve been wearing the Lowa Innox GTX Lo TF shoes in rainy weather regularly and so far, they only leaked once – when I was out in heavy rain for no less than six hours. However, good water-resistance comes for a price. The breathability is, in spite of the mesh fabric on the whole upper part of the shoe, pretty mediocre. Hiking in warm weather, when the temperatures exceeded 20° C (68° F), always entails sweaty feet. The good news is that Lowa also offer Innox shoes without Gore-Tex lining (Lowa Innox Lo) which is probably much more breathable. However, since the weather in my home region offers more rain than sun and warmth, the waterproof GTX model suits my needs better.
The Lowa Innox GTX Lo TF shoes are equipped with ACT insoles, polyurethane midsoles and Lowa NXT outsoles. When I wore the shoes for the very first time, I noticed that they are a little higher in the heel area than other shoes, but not in an uncomfortable way. Instead it felt like they provide superb support and stability. Support and stability are indeed the main advantages of the Lowa Innox shoes in comparison to competitive products.
The insoles are comfortable, and it seems that they are also treated with an antimicrobial agent because the shoes didn’t get smelly even when I got sweaty feet in them. However, after wearing the shoes daily for four months I noticed that the left insole started showing some signs of wear. This is not a big deal because you can easily replace the insoles. The outsole has deep lugs and I never encountered any problems with the traction.
Comfort and Fit
The Lowa Innox GTX Lo TF shoes are as comfortable as running shoes but provide much better stability, traction and support. Due to their low weight, they are perfect for long hikes on easy trails. They also fit me perfectly and they didn’t cause any pain or blisters when I first wore them.
I’ve been wearing the Lowa Innox GTX Lo TF shoes for everyday activities and for hiking on easy trails. I thoroughly tested them on the Moesgaard Trail and concluded that I feel like I’m hiking in running shoes but with better support and stability which is indeed a great thing. Had I actually been wearing running shoes, I would feel the pebble stones under my feet but in the Lowa shoes I didn’t feel a thing.
I recommend the Lowa Innox GTX Lo TF shoes to those who need a pair of comfortable hiking shoes for technically easy trails (for rocky terrain you need hiking boots – for example the robust Lowa Renegade boot). If you often hike in warm and dry conditions, go for Lowa Innox Lo (without GTX) instead as this model does not have a Gore-Tex lining and is thus much more breathable. The best things about the Lowa Innox GTX Lo TF hiking shoes are their low weight, stability, support, traction and shock-absorption. The disadvantages are breathability (Gore-Tex) and price. The Innox shoes are at least 15% more expensive than similar products from brands such as Salomon, La Sportiva etc. However, competitive products do not provide as good performance as they utilize cheaper materials. Especially the PU midsole will amp up the price, regardless of brand.