The Lowa Locarno GTX Lo. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Lowa Locarno GTX Lo. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Price: £140
Country of manufacture: Slovakia
Weight: 990g/pair
Colour: brown
Sizes: men’s 7-13; women’s 4-8

The Locarno GTX Lo is, in Lowa’s words, where lifestyle meets outdoor.

The shoe is designed to be stylish and understated enough for everyday wear around town while still providing the performance demanded on the trail.

The Locarno hybrid shoe uses mainly Nubuck leather for its uppers, with a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane. There’s also a small fabric section around the ankle cuff.

Styling doesn’t shout ‘outdoor’ and the shoe was instantly comfortable. Lacing is simple: six pairs of metal eyelets allowing easy putting on and taking off of the shoes. Once laced up, they stayed in position well, with no heel lift and the foot was held in position on downhill sections too.

The uppers are quite soft and quickly mould to the foot’s shape. There’s reinforcement at the toe and heel, but neither of these are particularly stiff, so won’t protect against hard rock terrain, but on moorland and countryside trails they provided just the right amount of support and protection.

The Lowa outsole worked well. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Lowa outsole worked well. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Although supple, the uppers resisted scuffing well over a prolonged period of testing. There’s a subtle Lowa logo embossed in the side of the shoe, along with cut-out patterning.

The ankle collar has good padding, along with the tongue. The raised section at the rear of the uppers has another subtle embossed Lowa logo in a contrasting beige section. This provides ankle support and doesn’t intrude uncomfortably into the Achilles’ area.

The insole is shaped to support the heel and arch and provides just a little cushioning.

But most of the underfoot absorption comes from the midsole and outsole. The midsole has a DuraPU polyurethane section and Lowa’s Monowrap system, which holds the foot in place and gives stability on uneven ground.

The outsole is Lowa’s own Hybrid Trac with 4mm-deep lugs and extra traction areas at the heel and toe.

The rubber is dense enough to offer durability – important if these are going to be your regular everyday shoes – while providing some extra shock absorption.

The outsole worked very well on the trail, with good grip on a variety of surfaces, from gravel paths, to grass and rock. Traction on rock was very good, as was braking. The Lowa shoes offered good comfort with underfoot cushioning working well over longer distances and the Nubuck uppers supporting the foot.

The Lowa shoe was equally at home on the trail and on the High Street. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Lowa shoe was equally at home on the trail and on the High Street. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

On warmer days, there was some build-up of moisture, not surprising from a shoe with a waterproof membrane. But the addition of the Gore-Tex lining meant the Locarno GTX could be used in all weathers. It kept out the rain during testing and the sole also worked well in the wet.

The Lo version of the Locarno is the normal, shoe-height model. There is also a mid-height model.

During testing, the Lowa Locarno GTX Lo worked well and was comfortable on trails, in town and for everyday use, in fact they became the footwear of choice for most occasions. The understated styling doesn’t shout out the fact that this is actually a technical outdoors shoe, but it performed well on our test routes.

It’s fairly weighty so don’t expect to hit the trail running in the Lowa shoe, but that also reflects its sturdy construction.

The forefoot area is a fairly normal width and we didn’t experience any pinching, but with all footwear purchases, we recommend you try before you buy to ensure the shoe fits your foot shape.

The Locarno GTX Lo gained a best buy rating. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Locarno GTX Lo gained a best buy rating. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Quality was very good.

The shoe comes in three colour choices for men, with half sizes up to size 12. The women’s version comes in only one colour and has half sizes through it range.

The Lowa Locarno GTX Lo fulfilled its role as a shoe for most occasions. It will suit the outdoor type who wants an everyday piece of footwear with understated styling, while still offering the technical performance for moderate hill use and trail walking.

Performance 34/40
Comfort 27/30
Versatility 8/10
Quality 8/10
Value for money 7/10
Total score: 84/100

  • The Locarno GTX Lo shoes were provided to grough by Lowa.

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