Review: Lowa Irox GTX Mid
By Justin Crossley, Rokslide Assistant Editor
Like most of you I have used quite a few different pairs of boots over the years. Some of the boots have worked out well and some not so much. Even though I have a couple go to boots I am still always on the lookout for my next “favorite” pair. As I was checking out all the great looking boots in the LOWA booth at the 2017 Shot Show in Las Vegas I was drawn to their new Irox GTX® Mid.
The Irox looked light weight, durable, and breathable. When I picked them up I also noticed that they seemed like they were stiff enough to provide good support and the outsole felt like it would meet my needs for grip. They seemed like they would be a great option for my early season trips when I didn’t need a full 9” tall leather mountain boot so I ordered up a pair.
When the Irox arrived, I put on some merino socks and laced them up for a test fit. I wear size 9.5 typically and these fit great in my size. I have a bit of a narrow foot with somewhat high arches. The width was perfect for me but I would think they would be a bit snug if you have wider feet. I wore them for a few days to break them in and was still happy with the comfort and fit. So far so good, and I was ready to start giving them a real test as I trained for hunting season and hit the hills for spring turkey and bear. After a couple spring hunts, I continued to put the miles on the Irox throughout the summer as I trained on our local mountain and then finally some longer backpack hunting trips early this fall.
With over 250 miles on these boots I have not gotten a blister and rarely even had a hot spot. I found the insoles did not give the amount of cushion I like so I switched them out with an aftermarket pair which helped. I still feel the foot bed is on the stiff side and noticed some foot fatigue on days when I hiked more than about ten miles or so. The only other discomfort I noticed was the top of my foot would get sore when not moving for a while such as sitting and glassing or driving. This is something I notice with a lot of boots and believe it is from my high arches combined with tight laces. Speaking of the laces, I was easily able to get them tight and they stayed tight throughout the day. I can’t even think of a single time they came untied.
Since hunting takes me off trail and onto steep terrain, foot and ankle stability is very important. For a light weight, shorter boot I feel the Irox provide great ankle support. The torsional stability was also adequate when I was hiking up and down steep side hills. I feel these boots offer a good compromise between light weight and stability.
The LOWA Elika outsoles grip very well on everything I’ve thrown at them including wet rock and grass, steep side hills, up and down logs, mud, and snow. I feel confident as I cross streams, boulder hop across hillsides, or hike up and down steep slopes. The rubber that covers the toe and heel protects those areas from sharp rocks and hasn’t peeled at all like most boots I’ve had. I feel the tread material is very quiet and provides exceptional grip, but also wears very well. I give LOWA an A+ on the outsole.
When I’m hiking and hunting my feet sweat a lot and I need my boots to breath as much as possible while still protecting my feet. The Irox excelled here since they breath very well and dry quickly. I feel they are a perfect choice for early season, warm weather hunts. I don’t feel they are an ideal choice for late season, cold weather hunting if your feet normally get cold. As with most boots, these include a waterproof GORE-TEX® membrane layer to keep moisture out. The pair that I tested did not keep moisture out very well at all and my feet would get wet while walking in wet grass or crossing small streams. I’m not sure if I just got a bad pair but they failed here.
**Update on the GORE-TEX®** I did a more controlled test by slowly pushing the boots under water with my hands. The right boot leaked almost immediately but the left boot didn’t leak until I got right to the top of the tongue. Since Lowa rarely has leak issues they asked if they could send me a new pair so I could test the waterproofing on them. I did a controlled test just like above and held them in the water for over a minute. I am pleased to report there were no leaks and I’m sending the old pair of boots in to Lowa so they can investigate the cause of the leak on the first pair.
Overall, I’ve been satisfied with the LOWA Irox GTX® and think they are a great option if you’re looking for a lightweight, breathable hunting boot. I recommend swapping out the insoles if you like a soft foot bed which I prefer. For a boot that weighs only 22.65 ounces each these are very stable and provide good foot and ankle support.
You can comment on the article or ask Justin questions here.
I did a quick video review early on in my testing which you can watch here.