Hanwag Blueridge Low ES hiking shoe | Tested and reviewed

Leather hiking shoes aren't exactly trending right now, but that doesn't render them irrellevant. Hanwag's Blueridge Low ES is a case in point: it's a comfortable, capable, and durable shoe infused with modern touches.

from Hanwag
RRP  £165.00
Closeup of hiker standing on a rock wearing Hanwag Blueridge Low ES shoes

by Chris Williams |
Updated on

In general, the hiking footwear market has been expanding for years and continues to do so. This is largely due to the proliferation of lightweight models – but leather boots remain steadfastly popular too. However, an area that isn’t growing so much is the sturdy hiking shoe, such as the Hanwag Blueridge Low ES.

These durable trekking and hiking shoes are being supplanted by lighter rivals influenced by trail running footwear. But some of Europe’s oldest outdoor shoemakers, such as Hanwag, haven’t given up on the segment and continue to offer more classic hiking shoes, albeit injected with touches of innovation and modernity.

The Hanwag Blueridge Low ES hiking shoe looks to be the essence of this, and we took on the task of seeing how it performs. Given customer trends and preferences towards other types of hiking footwear, the Blueridge Low ES will have to work very hard indeed to convince potential buyers who more than likely have an eye elsewhere.

Closeup of hiker standing on a rock wearing Hanwag Blueridge Low ES shoesLFTO
Price: £148.49 (RRP £165)



  • Durable construction
  • Can be resoled
  • Excellent fit
  • Versatile
  • Good eco credentials
  • Mid height version available


  • Midsole isn't very cushioned
  • Swimming against the current lightweight shoe trend

Design and features

Pair of Hanwag Blueridge Low ES shoes one a rock, with one on its side

‘Modern styling, light and multifunctional’ – is how Hanwag describes the Blueridge Low ES. We’d agree with that insofar as the Blueridge Low ES is a leather hiking shoe with some trainer-style flair. In terms of being light, this shoe weighs 490g, which these days is edging into the upper echelons for hiking shoe weight, and on par with rivals like the Oboz Bridger Low Waterproof.

Regarding multifunctionality, on Hanwag’s ABCD footwear grading scale (A being leisure footwear, D being mountaineering boots), the Blueridge Low ES is rated AB, meaning it’s intended for day hikes on gravel trails, hill paths, and lower mountain routes. That sounds bang on what most hikers would be after.

Closeup of Hanwag Blueridge Low ES lacing and tongue

In terms of construction, the Blueridge Low ES is all Hanwag’s work – no Vibram or Gore-Tex in sight. The outsole is called Terragrip Hike Pro and has 4mm, widely-spaced lugs. Meanwhile, the upper is primarily suede leather, but has some nylon fabric inserts (such as the tongue). For waterproofing, the Blueridge Low ES uses Hanwag’s EcoShell membrane – so-called because it’s PFC-free.

Both men’s and women’s versions of the Blueridge Low ES are available in four colour options. There is also a mid-heght version.

Performance and comfort

Closeup of a hiker wearing Hanwag Blueridge Low ES walking down a grassy slope

We tested the Blueridge Low ES in size EU43, and the fit was superb for us. It’s not as wide as a KEEN shoe, but still provides ample space across the forefoot. Comfort at the heel is excellent too, holding it securely while having a lot of padding around the ankle and tongue.

There is little in the way of arch support but we don’t see this as a con, because if you do need specialist insoles, you’ll have them anyway.

Although heavier than most trainer-style hiking shoes, we found the Blueridge Low ES doesn’t feel heavy to wear. There is plenty of flex to feel agile and of course the low cut boosts that too. Yet, it feels vastly more durable than its lightweight synthetic rivals.

Closeup of Hanwag Blueridge Low ES toecap and upper

So, the Blueridge Low ES scores very well in terms of fit and build quality. It’s a little mixed, though, for foot protection. There is a proper stiffened toecap and the heel is pleasingly rigid too. The waterproof lining also works well. But we would've liked to have some kind of rand around the shoe to fend off abrasion.

In addition to being lighter, one of the other popular traits of lighter trail running-type shoes is a squishy foam midsole. The Blueridge Low ES doesn’t have this. Instead, its midsole is relatively dense, which is comfortable in its own right and stable, not to mention long-lasting, but lacks that marshmallow-like cushiness many of us have come to love.

The types of terrain we found the Blueridge Low ES performs best on are gravel tracks, rock, dirt, and shorter grass (wet and dry). It’s therefore well suited to most hillwalking and non-technical mountain routes – its durability makes it quite an appealing backpacking or trekking shoe as well. Being a low cut shoe, it’s not great in muddy or boggy terrain compared to boots but this is hardly a shocking revelation.

Hanwag Blueridge Low ES outsole


This is a space where the Blueridge Low ES scores highly. It gains points for sustainability through longevity because it’s well made and can also be resoled (which is done in the UK through Hanwag’s official repair partner, Lancashire Sports Repairs).

But there is more. All the materials used to make the Blueridge Low ES are sourced in Europe, meaning the materials themselves (especially the leather) are responsibly sourced, and there are fewer shipping miles and emissions involved because Hanwag’s footwear is made in Europe.

The nylon parts of the upper are recycled, and the waterproof membrane is PFC-free.

Hanwag Blueridge Low ES heel and midsole

Price and competition

We think the Blueridge Low ES is reasonably well priced for an essentially full leather hiking shoe. Competitors of a similar design that we’ve also tested over the years include the Scarpa Rush Trail GTX, La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX, and Meindl Response GTX.

Scarpa’s shoe is most similar to the Hanwag in terms of build. We think it's got a better sole, but it’s also £190 compared to £165 for the Hanwag. The Meindl Response GTX is an ox of a shoe – it'll last but where the Hanwag hides its weight quite well, the Response GTX feels clumpy.

La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX is a big hit, and a very serious rival to the Hanwag shoe. For us, it’s a tough call and essentially comes down to which styling you prefer – we lean in favour of the La Sportiva shoe.


Closeup of hiker standing on a rock wearing Hanwag Blueridge Low ES shoes

The Blueridge Low ES is a great shoe – somewhat of a wolf in sheep’s clothing compared to some aggressive and sporty-styled rivals like the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX and Scarpa Rush Trail GTX.

In almost every aspect – value, performance, sustainability, quality, comfort – the Blueridge Low ES scores highly in our view. If you’re set on a reliable all-round hiking shoe that has durability to along with comfort and performance, the Blueridge Low ES has to be on your radar.

How we tested

Chris Williams LFTO

We tested the Hanwag Blueridge Low ES hiking shoe primarily in the Yorkshire Dales throughout the spring season. The author of this review is Chris Williams (pictured above) who is a staff writer and gear tester for LFTO. He joined LFTO in 2021 and has several years of both journalistic and outdoor industry experience.

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