Lowa has been designing boots specifically for the military that provide ankle and underfoot security and support in grueling conditions for over 20 years. The Z-8S model are one of their most popular tactical boots but come at a higher price tag than most of their competition.
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Because of this, a lot of people may be tempted to go for something less expensive such as the Danner Tachyons or SWAT boots, but although these cheaper boots are light and comfortable, they’ll only last a couple years until you have to replace them.
With all that being said…
Are the Lowa Z-8S worth it?
If you’re looking for a lightweight, supportive, and durable tactical boot then the Lowa Z-8S are worth it. I’ve been wearing them now for years and they’re still going strong. I would recommend the Lowa Z-8S to anyone serving in the military, law enforcement, or those who just enjoy the great outdoors.
Now just because I say that these boots are worth it, that may not be good enough for you. $320 is a lot of money to throw on a pair of footwear and you want to make sure that money will be used wisely.
I’ve worn many boots in my time with the military, and I’ve found that you either get a boot that is built tough but extremely uncomfortable, heavy, and blister the heck out of your feet….. or you buy a cost effective boot around $200 that is very comfortable and lightweight (like a Danner Tachyon) but will only last a year or two at most. You may be able to get more out of them, but you’d really have to baby them.
For years I’ve worn the standard issued combat boot the military gives you when you first join.
It wouldn’t take long during a 13 kilometer ruck march before I started to feel my feet move around inside the boot. Once that boot came off, I would have these massive blisters! (To be honest, after walking around for 10 minutes those boots would kill my feet)
After a couple years I decided to make a quick decision with the rest of my course mates and purchase a pair of boots just over $100 (they were the SWAT side zipper boots). It solved the blister problem for those long rucks, but after a year of rigorous use and time in the field, they just fell apart. I literally made a hole in the size of the boot, and the zippers stopped working on one of them (I wouldn’t recommend a size zipper combat boot to anyone in the combat arms).
I needed a boot that would keep my feet comfortable and supported during long ruck marches or patrols and also while hiking up rocky terrain. Lowa’s Z-8S boots have done the job!
I was hesitant to spend over $300 for a pair of boots… but they’re worth every cent.
Are the Lowa Z-8S Comfortable?
The Lowa Z-8S are very comfortable. The bottoms of these boots are soft and absorb a lot of impact, which is very important in a combat boot. Wearing something on your feet for up to 24 hours a day during those long military exercises or deployments, it’s a big deal when your footwear is comfortable.
They do a great job at keeping your foot snug inside which helps in preventing some nasty blisters.
Are the Lowa Z-8S Durable?
The Lowa Z-8S are extremely durable! If they weren’t then they wouldn’t be worth roughly $330. I’ve been wearing these boots for almost 3 years now and there hasn’t been any signs of them falling apart, other than the laces, but that’s a cheap fix. The Lowa Z8S are an extremely durable boot!
Even the grommets that the laces go through, typically after years of normal use those would begin to loosen or break off. I’ve had many boots, for personal and professional use, and after about a year that’s exactly what would happen. But the grommets on the Lowa Z-8S have been holding up!
One thing that’s really impressed me about the Lowa’s is how well the boot as a whole has held together. Many times I’ve experiences the boots separate from the sole since it’s glued, but there has been no indication of the sole coming apart with my pair.
How much to they weigh?
The Lowa Z-8S weight just over 3 pounds for the pair. When I went from walking in my standard issue combat boot to the Lowa Z8S, it was like walking on a cloud. Now, there are definitely lighter combat boots out there, and if you’re not going to be wearing a boot through rugged conditions, then you may be okay going with a lighter boot, but for such a tough and durable boot like the Lowa Z-8S, I was surprised at how light they were.
Will they look good?
Probably not the most important aspect of these boots, but the Z-8S look good! “Look good, feel good, play good.” Am I right? These boots definitely have a sharp design, and the colors available (Coyote Brown, Dark Brown, Black) are all pros in my opinion. I personally went with the Coyote Brown and I was very impressed. Now, looks aren’t everything… but if you were wondering, then there’s your answer.
Are they weather resistant?
I didn’t go with the GTX boot, but even after spending time wearing the standard Lowa Z-8S in the rain and walking through snow, they held up extremely well and kept my feet warm and dry! I haven’t tested them walking through a river… but I’m betting the results wouldn’t be the same.
I know people who have gotten the GTX Z-8S, and in warmer climates they noted how they wished they went with the non-GTX ones. So be sure to know what you’ll be using them for mostly. There will always be a trade off between having a boot that can withstand deeper water and a boot that is breathable.
But for resisting wet weather, they’ve done an excellent job at keeping my feet comfortable. Hot weather, well they can get a bit warm, but that’s to be expected.
Are the Lowa Z-8S worth the money?
These boots do come with a high price tag (even higher if you go with the GTX boot) but I am telling you, you get what you pay for. There are less expensive options out there but after a year or two you’ll probably be looking at getting a replacement. Like I said earlier, I’ve been wearing this boot for over 2 years with no signs of falling apart. Make sure though that you pull the upper portion of the boot around your calf up when putting your foot in. If not, the area where your heel enters and slides against may wear over time and tear.
How are they in the rain?
If you’re coming inside from the rainy outdoors, be prepared to hear “Squeak! Squeak! Squeak! Squeak!” for a little while. If you’re kicking the door in though then a little squeak won’t make much of a difference for the element of surprise. Overall in normal rainy conditions these boots will keep your feet dry. Don’t go walking in a river though and expect the same results!
Are they true to size?
I would say yes, the Lowa Z-8S are true to size. I typically wear an 11 shoe and I went with a size 12 boot. There is some wiggle room and I may have been able to go down a size, but it works for me! It also depends on if you wear multiple layers of socks. I would say they are true to size though. If you do have issues with sizing, check out their website to be sure and I’m certain they would do an exchange no problem.
How do they feel while hiking or ruck marching?
Incredible. My feet felt secure and stable during hikes or while ruck marching with no blisters at all. A bit sweaty, but that could be due to the amount of gluten I eat. This boot was built to take a beating. In all my time wearing them I haven’t had any ankle issues.
How has the rubber outsole lasted?
I can’t see any of the rubber sole being worn to any serious degree. They’ve been through a lot of rough terrain, hot weather, and winter climates and they still look and function great. Keep in mind, traction on ice isn’t the best.
Should I get the Lowa Z8S Gortex or not?
It depends. Are you going to be wearing this boot in warmer climates or are you going to be in colder / more wet environments?
Like I stated earlier, these boots have kept my feet dry and warm in cold / wet climates. There aren’t any drain holds on the side so water can’t get in that way. The materials are such that water literally slides down the side of the boot. They don’t absorb water easily at all.
All I can say is I am extremely happy that I selected the Lowa Z-8S to wear while serving in the military.
Whether you’re in the field, climbing rocky terrain, ruck marching for hours, repelling from a helicopter, moving in urban environments, the Lowa Z-8S will keep your feet comfortable, protected, and will do so for a long time.
I have heard, and I would agree, that after your rifle the most important piece of kit is your boots. Having footwear that protects your feet from blistering and bleeding after hours of marching or on patrol is ideal.
I hope this information has been helpful, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!