HUNTER GTX “EVO” EXTREME By LOWA
Editor: Johnny LeMaster
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Just the Facts:
The Hunter GTX® Evo Extreme is designed for hunters who are chasing big game in extremely rugged, above-tree-line terrain. With an extra-high shaft for superb ankle support, and a high wall rubber rand for protection against abrasion, the Hunter provides outstanding performance, warmth and comfort in tough fall & winter conditions. It is compatible with strap-on crampons and snow spikes. Durably waterproof/breathable.
- Upper Material: Nubuck Leather
- Upper Protection: High Wall Rubber Rand
- Construction: Board Lasted – Cemented Sole
- Lining: GORE-TEX®
- Lacing Hardware: Open and Closed Hooks Additional Hardware I-Lock®
- Tongue Construction: C4 – Tongue®
- Insole: Climate Control Footbed
- Insulation: PrimaLoft® 200 gr.
- Midsole: DuraPU™ with SPS System
- Sole: VIBRAM® Masai
- Stabilizer: Hard
- Country of Origin: Germany
- Weight (lb) 4.53
- Resolable: Yes
If you need a pair of boots that can keep up with you and carry you where you want to be most, away from where most people dare to go, then you need to check out the Hunter GTX “EVO” Extreme by Lowa. These three season boots were built for the person who needs a top quality boot for their most extreme adventures, and rugged back country. This boot provides you with the comfort, support, and durability you need when nature is life.
I have spent a lot of my life in boots. Work boots, military boots, and hiking boots. It is fair to say that I have put several miles on numerous styles of boots in many different environments. For many years I was not willing to spend any money on boots for hunting and hiking. Why would I spend hundreds of dollars on boots when the government had provided me with so many pairs for free. I was set, or so I believed. I truly struggled with the idea of spending money on something I already had so many of. Well this is where having good friends who give you solid advice, sometimes in a less than friendly way, are invaluable. At the end of the days my feet were not great, they were wet and cold from walking through the morning dew, they were tired and sore from the virtual lack of insole and rock solid outer sole that provide durability and toughness, my heals and ankles tired and blistered from a few miles of hiking. To this day I still can’t figure out why my friends pestered me so much to get a good pair of boots. Well, I finally came around, and I will never look back. Now I am always on the look out for the next best way to take care of my feet.
Lowa makes incredible boots. Every pair I have put on my feet have been fantastic and the Hunter GTX Extreme is no exception. Like any good boot, when you first put it on your foot it is snug and stiff. The leather upper with the extra high shaft and hard stabilizer in the sole make the boot feel a bit like a mountaineering boot in its initial impression. I wore the boots around the office and home for a couple weeks to get them to break in a little. I even wore them on a short hike to help loosen them up. It didn’t take long at all and I was off to put these boots to the test. The snow was starting to melt and the elk were starting to shed out. It was time to spend some long days traversing mountains looking for bone.
Saturday hit, and the roads were passable I threw my Hunter GTS Extreme boots on, grabbed my dog picked up a buddy and headed up the mountain. I was a little worried about how the boots would do. I had worn them around a bit to get them broken in, but I had yet to take them for a serious hike in varying terrain, nor had I broken them in for very long. We got to the spot and started busting brush. Within minutes we found ourselves walking through a mixture of knee deep snow and thick undergrowth. As we worked our way across the north facing slope, I have to be honest, I was thrilled to have the ankle support that the extra high shaft provided. The C4 tongue on the boot gave me added support, and great comfort. The padding and anatomical shape hugged the front of my ankle without any pinch points. These boots were working fantastic. I wasn’t getting any hotspots, my feet and ankles were well supported, warm and dry. My heal locks snuggly into position. With many lesser boots my heal tends to move around and rub when hiking on hills. With the Hunter GTX Extremes I didn’t have any issue with my heal moving around at all. The toe box on the boot hugged the front of my foot perfectly. It provided enough room for my toes to move without letting them move around enough to rub and cause blisters. These boots were perfect for the task at hand.
We continued our way around, side hilling about three quarters of the way up the hill. Stopping often to glass when we could get a good unobstructed view of the hillside across from us. As we made our way through the hills there was a particular large “flat” meadow area on the hillside across from us that we wanted to go check out. There is a water tank on the edge of the clearing that is frequented by all sorts of game. I wanted to get a good look around that area, see if anything decided to drop some horns on the way to a cool drink. We dropped down the hillside into the canyon, slipping and sliding our way to the bottom. A small creek weaved its way through the bottom of the ravine. With all the snow melt it was too wide to hop across and there weren’t any downed timber bridges in the immediate area. We found a relatively shallow section and made the wade across. At this moment I was bragging about how impressed I was, I had overtopped my boots and my feet were dry as a bone, the Gore-Tex had done its job. My buddy was cursing me out as his boots did not keep the water out as they were supposed to. We started our way up the hillside.
As there was no point in following each other up the hillside on a single trail we split up and paralleled each other about 100 yards apart. Climbing up the steep hillside I was again impressed with my footwear. The deep snow, solid in some areas and soft in others, was no match for the Vibram Masai soles. I can’t tell you I wasn’t slipping around at all, but I had much better traction than I was expecting. I only ended up on face once, which is pretty good with as sloppy as it was in sections. I had decent grip, and even more important when climbing steep areas, was the hard stabilizer in the sole. The sole doesn’t flex like a running shoe, it gives you good support when only able to dig your toes into the hillside. You have a stable platform to support your weight without unnecessarily wearing yourself out.
I continued staggering my way up the hill wishing I had cut back on the cheese burgers over the last year. As I stopped to catch my breath I looked up the hill at my dog. She was on the other side of a log laying across the trail from where I was standing. I found myself wishing I had four legs and the youth she exhibits. After a moment I took a few more steps and climbed over the log, to find my dog sniffing a fresh shed lying in the middle of my trail. Taken back by my good fortune I stared for a moment before I looked farther up the trail, and 20 feet further was the matching antler. This was the best day ever to try out my new boots! What a first trip with them on my feet. I strapped the horns to my pack, pet my dog and told her good girl for “finding” the sheds and continued on to the pond with a huge grin on my face eager to show off my spoils to my buddy.
We continued the day slipping and tripping through the woods. Up one hill and down another, across the flats, and along the trails. Sadly we did not find any additional sheds, but the day had been a success. I got to try out and incredible pair of boots, the Lowa Hunter GTX “EVO” Extreme, that were perfect for this kind of situation. They provide the support needed in steep terrain, and slippery situations. They are waterproof and breathable. The climate controlled foot bed and Primaloft 200 grams of thinsulate keep your feet at the perfect temperature in cold conditions while on the move and resting. The tough leather up and Masai soles combined with the rubber rand that goes all the way around the boot give you excellent protection from banging into the rocks and sticks while trekking through the woods. The support provided by Leather upper, extra high shaft, and the Hard Stabilizer as well as the comfort and snugness the C4 tongue and I-Lock lacing hardware help keep you upright and energized for an all-day adventure. And to top it all off I was rewarded with a decent matching set of elk sheds.
I have worn the boots on several additional shed hunts and a few turkey hunts in the high country. I can tell you that the more I wear these boots, the more I look forward to wearing them. I am sad that the season is starting to almost get to where I will put these boots on the shelf during the hot months. I can’t wait to pull them back out for elk season this year and enjoy them even more. Lowa made an incredible boot in the Hunter GTX “EVO” Extreme. This is a boot for the person that wants the boot that will make their high country trip more enjoyable.
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What Could Be Done Better:
I honestly cannot think of anything I would like to see changed on this boot. I am very impressed with every aspect of the boot. So far it has held up to everything I have thrown at it.
I give this boot 5 Stars.