Lowa Tibet GTX Hi - Hunting Boots
|Lowa Tibet GTX Hi Hunting boots during a recent pheasant hunt|
If you’ve followed this blog you know I’ve been real high on Meindl brand boots and have been rocking the Meindel Denalis (Vacuum Hunter) for more than a decade. I love those boots and they have done great by me. I can’t recommend them enough.
This past season I was about to order my new pair from MeindlUSA when I came upon a great deal via Amazon on a pair of Lowa Tibet GTX boots. These are boots that I’ve had my eye on for a long time. The Meindl Denali’s are priced at $300 and these Lowa Tibets were priced at $329. The regular MSRP is $425. I felt I could justify the extra $30 and went for the Tibets. My brother rocked a pair of the regular tibet GTX’s for nearly a decade. He loved them and highly recommended them.
When compared side x side they are very similar but the Lowa’s are beefier, stiffer, and have a couple “luxury” features that I was excited to try out.
When I received them and saw them in person I was very pleased with the quality. I slipped them on, laced them up and they fit very well. They were a little stiff as could be expected but not uncomfortable. They fit perfectly.
I first weather-proofed the leather with a combination of Obenaufs LP and Nikwax then proceeded with the breaking in process. I did that by wearing them around the house for a couple days, then wore them on short hikes while I ran the dogs. They felt great and offered superior support. I then did a couple other hikes in them and by the time hunting season rolled around in September I felt they were adequately broken in and ready for hard use.
After 3 months of hard use I’m very happy with my purchase. I’ve had some long days in these boots and I can say my feet feel better than they have in a while. These boots are fantastic. I’ve been in every condition so far except for deep snow and they’ve held up really well. Saturday we found ourselves in some very wet conditions and were wading through a 2-3 inches of water for extended periods of time and they had 0 leaks. When I got home I cleaned them up and reapplied my leather conditioner regimen and was pleased to see how well they are wearing. Again, excellent materials and craftsmanship on these boots.
One feature that really stands out is the lacing system. The lacing is separated into 2 “lacing zones”. These lacing zones, 1 on the forefoot and 1 on the upper, allow you to customize the lacing tension. At the bottom of the boot 2 of the eyelets have roller balls inside them, this helps to smoothly tighten this area down without putting excess pressure at the eyelet and prevents the leather from stretching weirdly of putting extra stress in these areas. They allow you to put equal tension on the lower section of the boot so you have a better more even fit… It’s slick. Above that they put locking eyelets so once you have the fit you want the laces don’t relax and loosen as you lace up the boot. I’ve found that super helpful. Once I have my fit dialed I don’t need to adjust throughout the day. Above that, in the middle sections where you get the most flex they’ve put flexible eyelets in so you get more flex and movement in that area. It’s a stiff boot but it still flexes when you need it to. The speed lace loops at the top have a nice bite into the laces so they stay in place during the lacing process. Lastly at the top of the tongue (which is very wide thick and comfortable) they’ve put what they call x-lacing where you secure the tongue in place with the laces. Overall, it a super well designed system and you can tell that a lot of thought and engineering went into these boots to create and overall pleasurable experience. From the foot bed to the fit and flex lacing system and tongue it all works well together.
I’m super confident that I will get many years of good use out of these boots. If I compare against the Meindl Vaccum hunter the only drawback I can see is the weight and the Meindl’s are a little more comfortable overall, especially out of the box. I have had 2 pairs of the Meindl Vacuum hunters over the past 12 years and they wore very well and last for a long time. One pair survived 2 resoles and were still going strong until some of the stitching finally gave up the ghost. These Lowa Tibet’s are more rugged and are a little stiffer but I’m cool with that and I expected that. For side-hilling and such the Tibet’s will be superior. They will be great in the Chukar hills and are great in steep mountain county. Day-to-day upland hunting the Meindl’s would probably, if I’m honest, fit the bill better but I like having the extra stability and toughness the Lowa Tibet’s offer. As far as durability goes… time will tell, but I’m confident they will last. I’m very happy with this purchase.
This is my second pair of Lowa’s. I also have a pair of Extreme Hunters. Those boots are insulated and I only wear them on cold, nasty days. Or days when I’m in several inches of snow. I’ve been very happy with them so I’m sure I’ll love the Lowa Tibet GTX Hi boots for a long time. Lowa is a quality name and brand you can be confident in.
These boots I’ve discussed are a little pricey but when it comes to quality footwear I’m a strong believer in you get what you pay for. Quality well built boots should last for years andI feel like you should your moneys worth out of them. I have friends that say they would never spend that much but end up buying new boots every year or two because the $100-$150 boots break down so quickly. Buying a quality boot is an investment that I think pays for itself in the long run. Also, these are just what I’ve been rocking and what I like. Your opinion and mileage will differ. Get boots that you like, that fit your budget, and hunting style. I would also look at Crispi, Schnee’s, Asolo, Danner, Redwing, Solomon and find what you are looking for.
BTW I just did a quick Google search and found the Tibets for as low as $314 on a couple sites so shop around.
Note: The last 6-7 years I’ve been wearing Darn Tough Socks. Made with merino wool, I swear by them. It’s pretty much all I wear year round. For hunting I like their hiker boot socks and in colder weather I wear the Hunter over-the-calf extra cushion. They come in a variety of sizes and thickness for any condition. They have light warm-weather socks as well. I love them all. I bought my first pair at a local camping store and during my purchase the sales clerk warned me that they would ruin me for any other socks. He said that’s what he had experienced and then asked the other two clerks what socks they were wearing and they all showed me their Darn tough socks and said the same thing. Kind of funny but he was right. Oh, bonus, they also have a lifetime guarantee.
|Current Hunting Boot Arsenal (right to left)|
Meindl Denalis, Lowa GTX, Lowa Extreme Hunters, Sorel Caribou, RedHead Rubber Boots.