Over the last few issues of COMBAT & SURVIVAL Magazine we have talked a fair bit about the new GORE-TEX® technology Extended Comfort class of footwear fabrics, which has increasingly been coming on-stream in the military product ranges of their four brand partners - namely Haix, Lowa, Meindl and YDS. On Page 32 of the March issue W.L. Gore were giving five lucky readers the chance to try out these boots themselves. One of the new desert boots using an Extended Comfort laminate fabric is the ZEPHYR GORE-TEX® from Lowa.
Last month I reviewed the Lowa Z6-S GORE-TEX® model, in the UK MoD Brown compatible colourway, which was born out of the Zephyr GORE-TEX®; if you look at the secondary image on this page you will see many similarities between the two but, unlike the Z6-S which is intended for three-season use and incorporates the GORE-TEX® MS Light Rock breathable laminate, the Zephyr GORE-TEX® uses the the GORE-TEX® Vision 3LY Extended Comfort breathable laminate so it is ideal for warmer climes. We have been trying out the Mid-height Zephyr GORE-TEX® in the Desert colourway, but this model is also available in black for uniformed personnel who need a warm weather GORE-TEX® 6-inch boot and an 8-inch high leg version is also available in both Desert and Sage (i.e. green) for military users.
Incidentally, to check out how the Lowa Z6-S GORE-TEX® performs in the cold I wore my brown pair on my short notice trip over from Devon to Hohenfels in Bavaria in late January to cover Exercise ALLIED SPIRIT. As I was travelling light (just 10kg in total in a daysack containing cameras, laptop, ancillaries, wash kit and spare Sue-Me shorts) by train, plane, and hire car I needed a comfortable pair of boots that I could drive in as well as tackling a cold (below freezing) and wet training area conditions. Teamed up with Snugpak Merino socks (see last month) they both kept my toes toasty and performed very well in mud and light snow.
Back to the Zephyr GORE-TEX®. Unfortunately I have not yet had the chance to wear them in arid outdoor conditions (the footwell of my car with the heating turned up to the max does not really count, though I have driven a fair bit in them to check out comfort) as I have not had the opportunity to jet off to the sun since the guys at Task Force Distribution (who handle Lowa military boots in the UK) sent them. However comfort-wise they are really good, and although only a middle weight boot they are pretty substantially made, so based on my experience of both how the GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort membrane works in hot conditions and how good on the foot the Z6-S boot is, not to mention the track record of other Lowa boots I have owned over the years, I fully expect the Zephyr to live up to the manufacturer’s excellent name.
The desert coloured Zephyr and the brown Z6-S are clearly closely related, but both use slightly different GORE-TEX® breathable membrane waterproof sock liners - for better grip on sandy going the Zephyr also uses Lowa's Cross rather than Cross Duty sole pattern This article with detail images of the boots was first published in the March 2015 issue of Combat & Survival Magazine.