Outdoors Magazine

Gear Closet: Iowa Aerano GTX Hiking Shoes Review

Posted on the 20 May 2019 by Kungfujedi @Kungfujedi

If you're looking for hiking boots that can see you through the most rugged of adventures in the backcountry or in an alpine setting, chances are Lowa makes something that will meet your needs. After all, the company has been around for more than 95 years and has built itself a reputation for offering durable, dependable boots that can take on the toughest of challenges. But what if you're looking for something comfortable to wear on your less demanding adventures? Say, a day on a local trail or for light hiking while traveling abroad? As it turns out, Lowa makes a great option for that too and it arrives in the form of the new Aerano GTX hiking shoe.

One of the hallmarks of the Aerano GTX is is high degree of breathability. That's because Lowa incorporated Gore-Tex Surround technology into its design. The breakthrough aspect to Surround is that it is Gore's most breathable material ever, while still maintaining full waterproof protection. As the name implies, it can also be used in 360º construction, which makes it perfect for use in shoes, providing plenty of comfort and ventilation whether you're just taking it easy around the lodge or you're tackling a challenging trail in the backcountry.

Does the use of Gore-Tex Surround payoff on the trail? Where I live the temperatures have already climbed into the 80º-90ºF (26-32ºC) range this spring, which is pretty warm considering summer is still more than a month away. Still, while testing these boots I found them to keep my feet comfortable and try throughout, which is no small feat when things start to get hot. Wet, sweaty feet can sometimes rub against the sides of the boots, creating hotspots or blisters. That wasn't the case at all with these shoes however, which felt comfortable from the moment I put them on with very minimal break-in time required.

Some of the elements that always help Lowa boots to stand out from the competition are excellent traction across a variety of surfaces and plenty of support for the foot. The Aerano delivers on that legacy quite nicely, although the shoe's outsole isn't nearly as aggressive as some of the more capable (and more expensive!) footwear in the Lowa line-up. But this isn't a hiking shoe meant for alpine ascents or long backpacking excursions. Instead, it is designed for hiking less demanding trails at a more casual and relaxed pace. It excels at doing that however, making it a fantastic option for experienced hikers who appreciate the benefits of better stability and traction, but are looking for something less bulky and lightweight, without compromising performance.

That said, as with most Lowa boots and shoes, the Aerano GTX isn't designed to be the lightest on the trail. In fact, these shoes weigh in at 1.76 pounds (.8 kg) per pair. That's fairly substantial when compared to other options available on the market, although the difference doesn't seem so great when you put them on your feet. Besides, Lowa makes up for the additional ounces with excellent durability and foot protection, making the trade-off well worth it for serious day hikers and adventure travelers. After putting quite a few miles on my test pair, they have shown almost no signs of wear, save for a bit of dust and dirt here and there.

Inside the shoe, Lowa has given the Aerano a soft, comfortable liner that cradles the foot nicely. In fact, when paired with the shoe's arch support and footbed, the Aerano feels really solid underfoot. This not only helps to keep your feet rested and feeling good after a long day of hiking, it provides a nice sense of confidence too. While wearing these shoes you won't hesitate to scramble over rocks, slosh through water, scammer across mud, or pretty much anything else you might find on the trail.

The Aerano GTX's $210 price tag will probably cause some to take pause when it comes to shopping for hiking shoes, but I can assure you that it shouldn't. Yes, you'll find lighter, less expensive options on the market and they will most likely be fine for the casual hikers who hits the trail a few times a year. But, if you truly love to hike, find yourself trekking in the woods or mountains on a regular basis, and value great footwear, the Aerano is more than worth the asking price. The construction is top notch -- as you would expect from Lowa -- which means you won't have to buy another hiking shoe for a very long time. When you factor in that level of durability, along with comfort and performance, you'll quickly discover that this is an investment well worth making.

The Gore-Tex Surround technology plays a nice role in the shoe's overall performance for sure. Warm weather hikers will appreciate the level of breathability that it offers, while still managing to keep moisture at bay. Hopefully we'll see this material used in more hiking shoes moving forward, as it is definitely a nice bump in terms of maintaining a balance in breathability and moisture control. It is definitely a stand-out feature for the Aerano and an indication of the difference between hiking footwear of this caliber versus shoes and boots offered by lesser brands.

Find out more about the Lowa Aerano GTX here.


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