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Hands-on Gear Review
Lowa Tiago GTX Mid Review
Cons: Below average lacing system, lacking in comfort, not very durable
Bottom line: The Lowa Tiago is a lightweight hiker that provides exceptional stability and water resistance for its weight class.
The Lowa Tiago GTX Mid is a lightweight hiking boot in midweight's clothing. Its appearance is certainly deceptive, with a high ankle collar and multiple layers of split leather in the upper, creating a heavier look. We were very surprised of its lightweightedness on our feet and our scale, weighing even less than two other lightweights in this review! It proved to be an athletic boot underfoot, with solid support and great water protection.
The big brother of the Tiago, the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid, is a meatier midweight model from the same manufacturer, with higher scores across the board, except in weight. Another high collared lightweight in this review is the Merrell Capra Venture Mid GTX, which features a completely synthetic upper. To read up on the entire selection of hiking boots we tested, head over to our full Men's Hiking Boot review.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
With the Tiago GTX Mid, Lowa created a lightweight hiker than still provides significant support and water resistance, two qualities frequently lacking in this category. We liked its streamlined look and feel around our feet, as well as its forward rockered design. With a $175 price tag, it's one of the less expensive models we reviewed, but it's performance proves it to be anything but cheap.
The chart below shows how the Tiago GTX Mid (shown in blue) ranked overall when compared to the competition.
The details related to performance during testing are provided in the sections below, divided into individual metrics.
We would never call the Tiago GTX Mid uncomfortable, but relative to several other boots in this review, it didn't stand out. Initially quite comfortable, out feet tired after several hours of hiking with a medium pack, especially when walking across uneven, rocky paths. We did like the rockered outsole, which encourages you forward with every step. It is more narrow around the arch and forefoot than most of its competitors, but as it is available in medium and wide versions, most foot sizes should be able to find the right fit.
Four lower mixed metal and webbing, one middle lock, and two upper hook eyelets comprise the lacing system. Similar to the Renegade, we weren't impressed with the middle eyelet. It didn't lock as well as that on the Salomon Quest 4D II GTX or Arc'teryx Bora2 Mid, and we frequently missed hooking it with the laces when not paying close attention. That said, our heels sat nicely in the heel cup without needing any extra tying techniques or knots.
This boot fits snugly, which doesn't help air ventilate throughout the foot cavity. The Tiago was one of the least breathable boots in this review.
In terms of ankle support, this model floats somewhere between the typical performance of lightweight and midweight hikers. Measuring six inches from the footbed to the highest point on the ankle collar, the Tiago GTX Mid is the tallest of the lightweight hikers, and just as tall as the midweight Vasque St. Elias GTX. It also features a full length stability shank to reduce lateral torsion under the midsole. The combination of a tall collar and stiff sole generates good stability, particularly for its weight class.
The proprietary Lowa Multicross outsole gained purchase on pretty much any terrain we faced. The multi-directional lugs bit into mud, wet, and dry rock well, and even fared well when scrambling. It's tractional weakness was found when slogging up scree fields, but it still made it to the top. For more traction from a lightweight, see the Merrell Capra Venture.
Weighing 2.49 lbs, this boot is light for its height. We were impressed by the amount of performance we got from this boot, without carrying around any extra baggage. The lightest boot in this review was the Columbia North Plains II Mid, tipping our scales to just 2.04 lbs.
Barely measuring below the Renegade, the flood height for this model is 5.875 inches, again the best of the lightweight hikers. It withstood frequent creek crossings and our five minute test in Lake Tahoe. The split leather upper quickly soaked up water, though, which increased its weight and lowered its ability to breathe until it dried out.
You can try to reduce water absorbing into the upper by treating the leather with an appropriate conditioner on a regular basis.
During an inspection at the end of the testing period, we couldn't find any significant signs of wear and tear, except minor scuffing around the base of the upper. There are several pieces of leather sewn together to form the upper. Mere single-seamed stitches attach the leather part of the upper to the fabric tongue, which we feel are points of potential failure down the road as the forefoot continually flexes.
We found this model to be well-suited for moving quickly through even difficult terrain with light packs strapped to our backs. The traction, stability, and water resistance of this boot set it up for a variety of scenarios and environments. With their narrow profile, these are also discreet enough to get away with wearing your hiking boots around town. Maybe.
We think this model presents a modest value. It didn't score the highest in any metric, but it performed at or above average across the board. We found the combination of solid stability and water resistance in a lightweight package to be worth its list price of $175. That said, we think the Keen Targhee II Mid is a much more valuable lightweight hiker.
If you love the idea of moving fast in lightweight hiking boots, but don't want to miss out on solid ankle support, the Lowa Tiago GTX Mid could be your match. With its tall height comes water resistance that is a cut above its weight class. It's not as durable as several other models in this review, but its moderate price tag will keep some money in your pocket.
— Ross Robinson
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