No doubt a fair few regret having to bin their comfortable black LOWAs due to the introduction of brown as the common UK Forces boot colour, but recognising there is still a sizeable after-market out there for their product the German company has now introduced the classic Mountain GORE-TEX® in brown, albeit with a couple of minor changes to bring the original design forward.
I am comparing the brown Lowa Mountain GORE-TEX® with my original and much treasured 'white collar' versions in black, but if you bought black Lowas in recent years you should find little difference between these and boots in the new colour. Starting from the bottom, the current boot uses the excellent Vibram® Tsavo outsole (the earlier Vibram® outsole on my old boots no longer seems to be in production) which has an excellent self-cleaning tread pattern that also works well on most terrains, especially if carrying a heavy load. Above this is a polyurethane mid-sole, unchanged in design as well-proven throughout this century, which gives really good cushioning on hard going. A 25mm rubber rand around the boot protects from scuffs and knocks.
Uppers are high quality 2.6mm water-repellent leather throughout and the high tongue gusset and outer collar are also leather rather than fabric. The flex point at the top of the Achilles tendon is well padded with soft leather, of similar quality to the collar around the sides and back. This collar is slightly lower than the one on my original Lowas, but this is common to most modern combat boot designs and addresses a comfort issue for troops who spend long hours sitting in vehicles. The lining is hard-wearing Cambrelle, which has climate control properties, and the waterproof membrane is GORE-TEX® for maximum efficiency.
Finally, the lacing system is unchanged over the years, with four D-rings, a lace lock and three upper open hooks each side plus an open hook on the tongue. The only change is that the hooks are now cast alloy rather than the original, and more flimsy, pressed metal.
Everything about the Lowas tells you they are a quality item and out of half a dozen pairs on test I fully expect them to be one of the two pairs of brown GORE-TEX® combat boots that I keep for myself rather than passing on to others for long-term evaluation.
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