U.S. Elite recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Lewis Ports, a representative of Lowa, which is a best-in-class brand that is handcrafted in Europe. We had the opportunity to gain insight into the secret sauce of Lowa boots. Our session with Lewis gave us invaluable perspective on the brand and we are stoked to share our experience.
The history behind Lowa boots is really incredible. In 1923, Lowa was founded by a Bavarian cobbler named Lorenz Wagner. Lorenz began his business in a small town near the German Alps called Jetzendorf, where the company is still based to this day. Not long after Lowa’s humble beginnings, the German military started buying Lowa boots for their soldiers, opening the door for what would become Lowa Task Force.
Lowa Task Force officially launched about 20 years ago, concurrent with the conflict in Kosovo. Britain actually contracted with Lowa for the Desert Elites for the Gulf War. To accommodate today’s Border Patrol forces in Texas, Lowa created the color Desert. They recently replaced the Coyote color with a new, lighter version called Coyote OP to comply with military duty uniform regulations.
Lowa boasts that their boots are 100% Made in Europe. Now, I know a lot of you guys (including us, generally) prefer to buy gear that is Made in America. However, Europe offers a level of craftsmanship that is virtually unparalleled.
A defining feature of Lowa boots is their polyurethane injection molding technology. Many boots in the tactical class contain an EVA molding system. Lowa’s exclusive polyurethane, DuraPU™, is not a foam like EVA. Rather, it is a soft, pliable plastic. EVA foam is glued into a boot, making it less durable and giving it a shorter lifespan. Polyurethane is literally poured into the upper to mold the sole on a molecular level, creating a bond with the upper to create a seamless midsole. This bond allows the boots to last 2-5 times longer than an EVA boot. EVA foam is great because it is a lightweight and comfortable material. However, polyurethane, while slightly heavier than EVA, is denser than the porous foam. Because it is a soft, light plastic, there is a rebound effect that cannot be achieved with a foam.
One of Lowa’s most unique technologies is their Monowrap® construction frame. The Monowrap® system incorporates an incredible combination of features to make it super supportive. First, the frame is built with a Dual Density Polyurethane heel counter for heel stability. A strong, full-length PU shank stabilizes the underfoot. The PU Monowrap® frame provides excellent, lightweight lateral stability. Lastly, the boots rest on a durable rubber outsole that is suitable for all terrain. The soles have a multi-directional tread which is self-cleaning and can provide strong grip in any direction.
There is a second insert in some boots that offers a unique support for supinators and pronators. Additionally, select models are available in wide sizes, up to an EE.
Lowa has a partnership with Gore-Tex® that allows them to integrate Gore-Tex® into their boots with an exclusive design. Most shoes with Gore technology use a large Gore-Tex® booty and trim it down to size for whatever shoe they put it into. In Lowa boots, each booty is taped directly into the boot, pre-molded to the size of the boot. Lots of guys prefer Gore-Tex® boots because of the added protective layer against diesel fuel, battery acid and blood-born pathogens. All of Lowa’s boots are also treated with DWR (“durable water repellency”).
The ankle support of Lowa boots is superior. The tongue of the boots is to the outside, fitting with padding just outside the tongue, which cushions the ankle to accommodate flexing. The construction allows a precise fit to the ankle, which is extremely important when running or traveling on foot for long distances. Some models also feature I-Lock (like the Innox), while others have a hook or an eyelet located right on the instep of the boot to support and place the heel correctly on the midsole.
A high-quality rubber is imperative to a high-functioning boot. Lowa uses Italian rubber - actually, the same rubber used by the world-renowned tire company, Pirelli. The perfect combination of strength and stickiness allows the rubber soles of Lowa boots to grip rock while still maintaining their durability. The bottom soles are multi-directional, allowing a strong hold to any surface. They are also self-cleaning, which is a nice bonus.
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