Things the box might not tell you about the Explorer GTX Lo

The Explorer GTX Lo is among Lowa’s most feature-rich shoes built specifically for backpacking. From its wetness-defying leather shell down to its sticky Vibram outsole, the hiker, indeed, has a lot going for it.

Having said that, the shoe in question has characteristics (and consequently benefits) that you might not know right from the get-go. These so-called hidden elements are as follows:

Heel wedge. If backpacking is a car race and underfoot cushioning is every vehicle’s speed booster, then the Lowa Explorer GTX Lo is winning. Yes, this piece does not just have a bouncy midsole—it also has a cushy wedge at the heel, which increases the shoe’s ability to absorb shock.

Flared heel. While somewhat minimal, the shoe’s rockered heel makes landings feel more natural. It also works with the midsole’s heel wedge in delivering smoother heel-to-midfoot transitions.

Climbing zone. Flip the Explorer GTX Lo upside down and look at the front end of its outsole. That smooth-yet-patterned forefoot section is the shoe’s climbing zone. Its presence translates to enhanced toeing grip on edges (a maneuver called edging in the realm of approach shoes). Yes, because of it, you should be able to do some very light climbing in this trekking gear.

Additional info

  • This Lowa backpacking hiker has a boot-type sibling in the Explorer GTX Mid, which earned Backpacker Magazine’s Best Gear award back in 2019.

Facts / Specs

Weight: Men 17.3oz / Women 14.8oz
Use: Backpacking
Cut: Low cut
Features: Lightweight / Lace-to-toe / Orthotic friendly / Removable insole
Waterproofing: Waterproof
Width: Normal
BRAND Brand: Lowa

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Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.