Firstly, the lace hole controversy... The previous model (which I have) has lace holes at the top, which are not fully protected by the tongue (though this has not caused leakage for me). Lowa have obviously changed the lacing arrangement on newer models, though.
I really like these shoes. Firstly, they suit my feet perfectly. I have Renegade shoes and Renegade boots, and both are super comfortable.
The shoes are excellent. They are lighter than boots, but while they (obviously) lack ankle support, they feel sturdy and give good traction. I've used them for everything from a walking holiday in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada to walks to the pub, and they've never let me down. The full leather upper and Goretex lining mean that they are a bit hot on very warm days, but I'll live with this. My part of the country tends to be a bit wet and muddy, so mesh uppers aren't always practical - leather shoes are much easier to keep clean.
I will be replacing mine with a new pair of the same. The brown are nice, but I also wish that Cotswold stocked the other colour option.