Lowa Z8S GTX
- By Chris Parkin
- 1 Comments
- Last updated: 28/02/2017
I have had a set of Lowa’s Uplander boots for three-years now and have come to strongly appreciate the brand. Although mine aren’t dead yet, I was pleased to see a totally new boot launched by Lowa, the Z8S GTX, predominantly to fulfil military needs, but one which also adapts well into the hunting market.
Firstly, the dark brown colouring to match MTP camouflage blends subtly with clothing more akin to hunters than coyote or desert patterns. The build is 2mm thick Suede Leather and Cordura with a Gore-Tex liner. It is a midcondition boot, suited to dryer terrain underfoot and warmer weather, so looks appropriate to spring and summer weather rather than autumn/winter. Spring is just around the corner!
They have show a good level of water resistance, given that suede is never quite as resistant as full grain leather anyway. On a side note, suede boots like these are generally very comfortable, allowing great flexibility but keep the suede well maintained, especially in toe areas where it bends and folds, if it hardens it can become uncomfortable, biting into the toes each time they bend up fully.
Treatments are available to refresh the hydrophobic coatings that encourage water to stream off the surface, rather than soak in but adhesion of thick gloopy mud always seems to defeat this in the end.
With an eight-inch height, ankle support is excellent and comfort from the heel and ankle area of the boot is superb, with no areas that dig into you or feel abrasive if wearing lighter socks. The specifically abrasion resistant laces all go through full eyelets, so are supplied extra-long to adequately slacken without having to re-lace the boot. There is no real issue getting your foot in and out, which pleasantly surprised me after being a speed lace guy for years.
External supports blend Lowa’s own Cross Duty sole unit into the boot, which becomes an all-composite build encompassing the whole base of the boot. It doesn’t look like it’s replaceable long-term, but has proven hardy so far. Grip from the sole suited all warmer climates and ground conditions and not a single squeak was heard from the boots, which can drive you mad if they do so. Dexterity underfoot from the patented ‘Monowrap’ midsole was superb and allowed your toes to feel more of the terrain but like all compromises, a stiffer foot bed is probably desirable for extended heavy going. Having said that, I used the boots on some 35-degree treks across the rocky tracks of Greece without any regrets, feeling both sure-footed and well supported over sandy terrain, yet retaining confidence in my footing and gripping during some quite precarious moments crossing high rocks, where ankle flexibility was very reassuring.
I had no problem driving in the boot and it never felt heavy or cumbersome at 1706-grams for a size 11 pair. The external plastic reinforcement ribs of the ‘Fusion’ technology around the soles and foot have remained fully sealed to the suede after six-months and no water has yet leaked. All day wear has shown the lining to wick moisture works exceptionally well, but you do get a slightly baggy feel like a loose sock above your toes on occasion from the loose liner, which always seems to occur with the flexibility of suede boots. I would say sizing was slightly generous given you may wear lighter socks with a boot like this, so don’t be afraid to try a half size smaller than your regular one.