Did you know that Hanwag and Lowa are brothers? You probably didn’t.
Hans Wagner started Hanwag in 1921. Two years later, his brother Lorenz decided to give him a run for his money. Their third brother also started a footwear brand, but that’s a story for another day.
Both are Bavarian, both are high-quality footwear brands, and both specialize in hiking boots. Which brother do you think did better?
It’s easy, we will give you an all-inclusive view of each brand, and our opinion, so you can decide for yourself which pair of boots is worth your money.
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1. Lowa – The Newer Brand
Did you know that Mount Everest was a huge contributor to Lowa’s success? Wait until you hear the rest.
A Short History of the Brand
Based in Germany, Lowa was founded in 1923 by a Bavarian cobbler called Lorenz Wagner. Starting his first factory in 1930, he faced a lot of challenges until the production boomed post-WWII, in 1946.
However, bad luck was Lowa’s companion in 1953 when it declared bankruptcy. Only for it to work its way to the top again in a decade.
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Mount Everest was a primary reason for this success, being the main attraction in two milestones that proved to be vital in Lowa’s history.
In 1963, Lowa boots were Jim Whittaker’s choice while being the first American to summit Everest. 37 years later, Davo Karnicar made the same choice while completing the first uninterrupted ski descent of Everest.
Materials and Manufacture
Lowa’s primary focus is technical innovation. Most of its products are made using the breathable and waterproof fabric that we have seen many times on this website, Gore-Tex®.
Additionally, it uses Vibram® rubber soles for maximum grip and protection against different types of terrains.
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Continuing with the Derby lacing technique and the Nubuck leather that covers the shoes, which is among the reasons Lowa boots are sturdy and reliable.
Lowa follows a sustainable manufacturing strategy. By 2015, 16% of its annual power was being generated by a photovoltaic system.
Lowa’s boots and shoes are made in Europe, in Germany, Italy, and Slovakia.
We have picked two pairs of shoes among Lowa’s most popular products. Let’s take a look.
Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
This pair of boots is for hiking enthusiasts for a lot of reasons. For starters, the ankle support offers high stability and resistance on difficult terrains.
Secondly, the rugged Vibram outsole helps to maintain an optimal grip to ensure you are comfortable at all times.
In addition, due to its durable materials and sturdy built the boot is versatile and long-lasting.
The fabrics are leather and synthetic, and it comes in numerous color variations.
Lowa Men’s Ranger III GTX Hiking Boot
The Ranger III has a slightly higher price tag than the Renegade on average. It is comfortable for long-distance walking and the shock-absorbing soles offer protection on difficult trails.
The X-Lacing is also a nice added value to the shoe for an optimal foot hold.
The Ranger III comes with waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex lining, Vibram outsoles, and Bi-Density DuraPU® comfortable midsoles to absorb shock.
Lowa’s boots lie in between the extreme sides of the market. They are not cheap, but they are also not what you’d call expensive.
Starting at around $200, Lowa’s most expensive boots have a price tag that reaches $400-$450.
Are Lowa’s Boots and Shoes Worth the Price?
There’s no doubt that their shoes are among the best in the market. The prices are a bit high, we know, but the quality makes up for that.
In addition, Lowa has an extensive range of designs, it’s not limited to just a few. You can definitely find what you need in their product line.
All in all, we think Lowa’s boots are worth the price.
2. Hanwag – The Brand That Came First
Hanwag preceded Lowa by 2 years. Did it make any difference? Let’s find out!
A Short History of the Brand
Hanwag was founded in 1921 by Hans Wagner. The brand’s name was inspired by his name. Now we also know that his brother did the same thing with Lowa.
Based in Vierkirchen, near Munich, the company started by manufacturing made-to-measure footwear and doing shoe repairs. Focusing on making boots that were functional, fitting, and sturdy.
After that, they developed to include nearly all outdoor sports and activities – hiking, trekking, mountaineering, travel, etc.
Up to this day, all of Hanwag’s products are made in Europe, in Germany, Hungary, Croatia, and Romania.
Materials and Manufacture
Hanwag has four main priorities when manufacturing their boots: durability, reliability, sustainability, and technical innovation.
They use sturdy materials that will protect against rough terrain and heavy shocks. Their boots are for all-seasons use, even though a bit more suitable for winter.
Hanwag doesn’t only design trekking and mountaineering boots but also makes lightweight shoes for travel and everyday city life.
Among the main materials and technologies they use, we can mention:
- their famous Double Stitched technique which they have used for over 90 years to make their boots extremely robust;
- soft leather lining, using 100% chrome-less tanning;
- Vibram® soles and comfortable midsoles;
- eco-friendly wax.
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We have selected two of Hanwag’s most popular products, Tatra II GTX and Alaska GTX.
Hanwag Men’s Tatra II Wide GTX Trekking Boots
Tatra II is a classic boot and one of Hanwag’s bestsellers. It comes with high ankles for good support and protection, and a wider forefoot.
The comfortable footbed will help during long hikes, while the protective heel and toe caps will offer more security.
The boots are available with Gore-Tex or leather lining.
Hanwag Men’s Alaska GTX Mountain Boot
Alaska GTX is a good option for hard weather conditions and difficult terrains.
It comes with Nubuck leather and Gore-Tex membrane lining, making the boot waterproof and breathable.
The heel shock absorption and Vibram outsole make the Alaska GTX comfortable and offer a good grip.
Hanwag’s prices are almost the same as those of Lowa. Starting at around $200, their most expensive boots can reach $450-$500 depending on where you purchase them from.
Are Hanwag’s Boots and Shoes Worth the Price?
Compared to similar brands, Hanwag has moderate prices. A pair of their boots will last for a few years, so $200 seems like a good price to pay for that.
And during those years, you will enjoy high-quality materials, innovative designs, and comfortable hiking adventures.
So, we think Hanwag’s products are indeed worth it.
Read next: Keen vs Merrell Hiking Shoes: A Comparison
3. Which Brand is Better?
Since both brands have similar prices on average, we will base the comparison on the design and quality of the products.
Lowa‘s shoes seem more on the trendy side to us. They offer the perfect balance between traditional shapes and innovative designs.
On the other side, Hanwag seems more focused on making boots that will last for a long time with their double stitching technique, with designs being more classic.
These are the two points where these brands slightly differ from each other because they are very similar in general.
So, we think we would choose Hanwag for a pair of boots that will last for a long time while keeping Lowa as an option for trendier designs and good quality.
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What do you think? Have you tried any of these two brands? Let us know in the comments.