Lowa Breacher shoes live up to their name. In an army or police team the “breacher” is responsible for (forcefully) opening doors and removing obstacles. These specialists need extra protection against explosives and heavy tools. So everything called “Breacher” can be expected to be extra tough and resilient. And these shoes are no exception.
The Breacher model was introduced in 2023 by Lowa Professional and is focused on being an extra robust combat boot. So you can expect some details you usually find on mountain and climbing boots for extreme conditions on a comfortable shoe you can wear all day. We gave a short preview in our post about IWA 2023 and here’s now a full review.
Materials and variants
Breacher models are made mostly of leather with a single big window made of Cordura. This construction makes sure that your foot is well protected and still you have some breathability. Together with the GoreTex membrane for water proofness you will be as safe as you can be without wearing industrial safety shoes. Still, the Lowa Breacher is a heavy model so it might not be right for people who prefer sandals or sneakers. If you care for safety and stabilization of the foot you should definitely take a second look.
As usual with modern combat boots you have a list of choices when you opt for the Breacher. There’s the standard black leather variant. But there’s also a dark brown variant with Nubuk leather and a Coyote version with suede leather. The Coyote suede variant is also available without GoreTex membrane to trade water proofness for even more breathability.
The leather part is treated with Lowas Rayflect technology so they won’t heat up as much in direct sunlight as other black boots.
The ankle part uses Poron padding to protect your ankles from impact. Toes and heel are covered with an extra layer to protect them and the leather of the boot.
All Lowa Breacher use a two-zone lacing system. So you can adjust the lower part just how you need it and keep it that way. The upper part which you will have to undo whenever you slip in or out of them can be losend without affecting the lower part. Speaking of getting in and out – some combat boots take a while to don or doff. The Lowa Breacher are easy and fast in this aspect.
Noteworthy is the clamp that separates the lower and the upper part of the lacing. It’s not just a tighter hook to pinch the lace but it’s an actual clamp you have to open manually. So as soon as you found your perfect fit, they will stay that way.
All hooks are closed so they won’t catch any vines or things you have to breach through.
Lowa Breacher have a sole made by Vibram. That by itself is an indicator for high quality material. But it’s not the usual pattern you might know from other boots. This model has a mix of blocks that reminds of car tires. Thick and high blocks grip on snow, sand and mud. On these are very small blocks to grip on plain and even slippery surfaces. You’ll find a detailed test below.
The mid sole is built of two zones to fit the needs of your foot better. The shoes are optimized for long term wearing on large hikes.
Testing the Lowa Breacher
We think, there’s no better way of testing a combat boot than with a mixture of long term wearing, especially on hikes, and some out of the normal activities.
Long term test
We’ll update this part of the post if something new arises. Because the model is quite new, the test can’t be as long term as we usually want, yet.
Wearing it daily on longer dog walks and short hikes show that this is one of the most comfortable boots I had so far. I don’t say this easily and you might be surprised. I have to admit, they are on the heavy side and you won’t be able to forget them on your feet. Personally I like feeling high quality gear and the protection it offers. They are not comfortable like sneakers or sandals. Think of the seat of a great offroad car. You might not feel like on your couch at home but well cared for and protected.
Lowa breacher have quite a thick wall with the leather, padding and the membrane so they are stiff. Not in a way that they block your stride but you can feel their support around your ankle.
Still, they are not your average clunky leather army boot. Insole and sole are very well made and way more comfortable than you might expect. If you need some, the Lowa Breacher also fits orthopedic insoles.
Breathability and safety
In terms of breathability, the Breacher are as good as it gets with heavy, leather combat boots. When you run around a whole hot summer day in them you will be sweaty but that’s not really unexpected. With normal hiking or other daywork you will just be fine. Remember to wear thick moisture wicking socks to transport any sweat to the shoe to vent it out. The Cordura patch make the climate within the shoe a lot better than with any leather only shoe. Don’t forget to sprayproof the Cordura parts so they won’t soak up and lose their breathability when wet.
Regarding safety this shoe will fulfill what you can wish for without using specialised protection shoes. Of course, safety shoes for work have their armor parts and mountain climbing shoes have their extra stiffening. But be honest, you don’t want to wear safety or climbing shoes if you don’t have to.
More specialized tests
Wearing them daily sure is the best test for shoes and boots. On the other hand, if you’re not the intended customer, like me, of a combat boot, you need to get creative.
Are the Lowa Breacher waterproof?
I’m always a bit cautious when companies market their shoes as waterproof. When you dig a bit into how outdoor clothing works you learn very soon that only airtight materials are really waterproof. If you want at least a bit of breathability you have to use membranes and these always have a maximum of water pressure they can handle. Unfortunately most shoemakers don’t give a water column like with tents so you never know what kind of “waterproof” shoes are. So I went “all in” and waded through shallow parts of a river and a lake up to the upper brim of the shoes. What can I say – so far they didn’t let me down. Even when standing in a lake for a while.
The weather in the year I got them was very wet where I live and I took the chance to try the Breacher whenever I needed protection from the elements. If you’re used to shoes with membranes you might have realized that sometimes they work great when stepping into a puddle but let you down sooner or later in prolonged damp phases. I took multi hour hikes where I mixed up tarmac with woods, high grass and gravel. All while it was pouring. So the shoes were constantly wet, sometimes submerged sometimes in contact with leaves and other wet surfaces. So far I haven’t experienced any leakage.
Are they slippery?
Some soles work great in the wilderness but let you down when it comes to urban environment. Some shoes are especially notorious for being extremly slippery when wet. So I gave the Lowa Breacher some of the hardest tests I know. I walked through several subway stations with extremely slippery floor when it was pouring outside. And I attended a party (only for the sake of testing, of course). When you have been to a grown up party you know that late at night the floor is usually drenched in all kinds of (mostly alcoholic) fluids. Combine that with a very smooth floor and you end up with the arch enemy of stable stances. I have to admit, I really provoked slipping in both occasions, but the boots just “sucked” to the ground. I couldn’t move them back and forth, only up.
But don’t underestimate them, these boots don’t work only in urban environments. I’m regularly walking our dog in very muddy places or on steep pathways with rubble. The boots did their best to stick to the ground and I’m all but disappointed. Not once did I slip in these trusty companions.
How to care for your Lowa Breacher
Even when you don’t care about how your outdoor combat boots look, you should care for their lifespan. Especially leather boots will live a lot longer if you care for them properly.
- If possible let them dry for 24h before using them again. Don’t heat them up, just leave them open, maybe take the insole out.
- Remove dirt from the outside so any care you apply will actually reach the shoe. There’s no use in waxing mud.
- Wax them regularly. If you need them to look proper, use a thin layer. Let it dry and then polish. If you will only use them outdoors, just put on a thick layer and let it dry. Personally I apply several thick layers before I even wear new boots for the first time. They come in a shape that’s good for using, but waxing them gives that extra bump. (Depending on the brand, leather grease is more or less the same as wax)
- Spray them with waterproof spray. That won’t help with caring for them but it will help with keeping them breathable. And be a nice person and use a proofing spray that’s friendly to our environment
I’m a bit notorious for wearing heavy boots all year round. So I was very much looking forward to giving the Breacher a try. And I couldn’t be more happy with them. They are comfortable, waterproof, breathable, safe, stable and extremely tough. They really live up to their name.
In fact I’m thinking of getting another pair. I tried different brands and models over the years but the Breacher seem to be the best mix out of “heavy combat boot” and comfort. At least for me. I don’t say this likely but they are my favorite pair of boots at the moment.
Speaking of names, Lowa makes the height part of every boots name. Even when there are no other options. The “Mid” version is the only one available. There are rumors but it’s not very likely that there will be another height available anytime soon.