Those shoes became–after a difficult and long initial break-in phase–my every(hiking)day standard footwear. At the beginning they were stiff and I had some smaller blisters on my small toe. I felt the upper hooks pressing painfully through the leather on my ankle bone. Additionally, those hooks hooked into each other while walking and more than once I stumbled because of that.
How I solved those initial problems:
- I used a special hiking boots grease to impregnate and soften the leather which worked fantastically (and which also changed the color from a reddish light brown to a darker brown)
- When tightening the laces at the beginning, I paid a lot of attention putting the thick leather lined tongue on my ankle to protect it. After a while the boot was shaped into this form and I didn’t need to do this anymore intentionally.
- I took a hammer and tightened the aperture of the inner hooks a little bit. But I did it very carefully so that I still would be able to lace the boots easily.
All of this actions worked out very good and led to the boots being my favorite pair of hiking boots now. What would I change in my initial evaluation after this time?
Foot climate is great, grip is definitively wonderful, stability is great, comfort changed from 4 out of 5 to 5 out of 5. Cushioning is still not perfect. As I wear orthopedic insoles it’s not to bad, but when I do longer hikes on successive days it could be better. I would rate protection with 5 now because I never hurt my feet somewhere, and I would definitively rate durability with 6 out of 5 stars because the sole after all this kilometers is still exceptionally good and shows very few signs of wear and tear. As for the leather part: I clean them approximately every fifth month and put some protecting grease on (thick layer worked in with the heat of a blow dryer. You have to do it without the laces!) and I think if I continue to do so, they will stay alive for a very, very long time.
It took us a while, but we really became friends 🙂
In my eyes the Iowa Wendelstein is even an overachiever: Lowa markets this boot under the category “travel and leisure”. A lot of so called hiking boots I wore, are much less suitable for hiking than this one.
So here are my clues:
Don’t buy them if …
- You want to start a longer trip tomorrow
- You hike only once a year and won’t wear them to other occasions
- Your main goal is to have ultralight shoes
- You have no difficulties with long decents with trail runners (then buy trail runners!)
- You are used to or need thick cushioning
Buy them if …
- You are a frequent hiker and want high quality, not too heavy hiking boots which lasts for a very long time
- you accept the long break-in phase
- you want hiking boots which look like hiking boots
- you hike rocks and debris
- you want an all year round, all weather hiking boot
Note: Nobody gave me money or products to write about the product mentioned here. The links aren’t affiliate links.