At a glance
Plusses: Well-designed, comfortable, durable, resole ready.
Minuses: Fiddly lacing, expensive, heavy
Lowa Women’s Tibet GTX $729
1400g (w), 1800g (m).
Features: The Tibet has been optimised for comfort, fit and function. Hard-wearing 2.4mm nubuck leather uppers are tidy and have few seams. A wide, full circumference rand protects the uppers from abrasion. The Vibram Masai sole provides excellent grip on a variety of terrain, from West Coast river and bush, to high consequence alpine scrambling in snow and on rock. A Gore-Tex lining ensures waterproofness.
Fit: With a reasonably narrow foot, I was very happy with how these boots fitted. The boots moved freely with my ankles, making them more comfortable on long days while also providing adequate support for carrying heavy loads in rough terrain. Roller eyelets also help distribute pressure evenly over the foot for optimum fit.
Comfort: This is a heavy-duty boot with minimal flex, but it remains comfortable with decent padding around the ankle and tongue. The X-lacing system holds the tongue in place and secures the boots, but I found it difficult to tie the laces, with appropriate tension, on the first go. This led to excess foot movement and I developed a blister on first use.
In use: The stiff nylon shank provides enough rigidity to enable these boots to perform in scrambly terrain as well as making them a decent fit for a strap-on crampon. They are designed to help support heavy loads and, my initial blister aside, I found them perfect for this use in Arthur’s Pass and on a hard West Coast tramping trip. I used them on several other trips from mountain top scrambling, river valley and bush bashing, and snowy tops with big packs and they performed excellently. They have great grip and proved stable and controlled under foot even with heavy pack loads.
Value: An expensive boot whose cost is offset by its durability and by the fact the soles can be replaced when they wear through – take care of the uppers and you’ll get years of use.
Verdict: An excellent boot for all-season use, particularly for long trips where packweight is heavy and alpine passes may need to be crossed. Take care of these boots and they’ll take care of you.