When I received the boots in the mail, I wore them around the house for about an hour that afternoon to help break them in before a climb up Longs Peak (14,256ft., 5k elevation gain, 15 miles roundtrip) in Colorado. We opted to hike via the Keyhole Route with my wife and our good friend. This was my third time to ascend this route and I felt it would be a good test for the Lowa Terek GTX boots and it surely was.
There are some people that say you should ease into boots and start with light hikes, building incrementally and so forth. That is not my way of looking at things. I wanted to shock these boots and see how they would perform. On Lowa’s website, it gives the following brief synopsis for the boot: “Lightweight backpacker designed for long distance, on-trail hiking with a full pack.”
When we started at 2am, the boots felt stiff at the trailhead and I was using thick Thorlo wool socks at first. When I went to tie the boots I remember wondering what to do with the tongue stud. After a few minutes of trying different configurations, I realized lacing in an “X” pattern provided the best pressure distribution amongst the various points on the boot. This was a cool feature of the boot.
We went about 2.5 miles with our headlamps and then I did a sock change because the thick Thorlo’s were rubbing in different areas of both feet and this was making me uncomfortable. I went to a medium thickness sock, used for downhill skiing with my narrow Lange boots. The sock change helped the boots perform better for me as the last on this boot seemed slightly narrower than other boots I have worn.
We got to the keyhole and it was howling 70 mile per hour winds. I did another sock change and put on work socks (very thin) to see how these would work. I ended up doing the rest of the hike with thin, black, work socks. A little unorthodox but it felt great! At no point along the entire hike did I experience hot areas in the boot, no matter which type of sock I had on. In addition, at no point did my feet get cold, even with the wind around the Keyhole whipping hard enough seriously impact wind chill.
Longs will give any boot a good beating. It is a tough, long climb and I was impressed with the Terek boot. Not only were they comfortable with work socks but they performed well, traction-wise, on class 2 and 3+ climbing moves (ledges, narrows, homestretch). I had some blistering around my mid-ankles from the Flexfit ankle support but I expected this because I could tell it was going to take time for the ankle to move better with my foot. In addition, I tweaked my ankle coming down and without the boot, it would have been much more than a tweak. They have great protection in that regard.