Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity HPI Running Shoes
These are the V-Lite Infinity HPI trainers from Hi-Tec. They are a lightweight trail running shoe and are in the top end of the range made by Hi-Tec, who are normally known for fairly low price point training shoes for the court and gym. You’re looking at a £90 pair of trainers here.
V-Lite is a vertical build concept that strips away as much weight as possible “without sacrificing performance or durability”. These shoes are full of technology – V-Lite isn’t a technology of it’s own but rather a combination of lots of other techniques that give products in the range something special.
Hi-Tec sent me a pair to wear and review, and I have to say when I opened the box a big smile grew across my face. Right now in my life I am very much into trainers and boots, shoes for the outdoors. And look at them, they look fab, and I have really enjoyed testing them out.
We all know that the look of a trainer actually doesn’t matter these days, it’s all about how the shoe has been made, what shape they are, and whether they are perfect for your feet or not. We go to running stores and instead of pointing at a pair we like, the expert shop assistant looks at our feet and tells us which pair to try on.
The main bulk of the shoe is “SUZE”: that is Seamless Upper Zonal Engineering, Hi-Tec’s innovative one-piece mesh to provide protection, breathability and support. Support is added using heat sealed overlays which are positioned over the mesh construction adding little weight. I like how you can see the workings of the trainers – all the stitching and plastic bits have been put exactly where they are for a reason.
Very important for trainers which may well get a little damp is the ion-mask hydrophobic technology (which I also came across on my review of the Hi-Tec Altitude walking boots) which keeps the trainers dry on the inside. These also have breathable synthetic upper, with seamless design and microfibre collar to keep your feet safe from blisters.
I mentioned these are trail running shoes – they have the vibram outsole which gives superb grip. Flex-zone allows the foot to flex naturally, and the 3D Counter Balance running platform offers support and cushioning for a straighter centre of pressure (and so less chance of injury).
Thankfully these look good too though! It is fair to say I really like these. They are colourful but not garish, and quite feminine in design. The combination of bluey green and orange is fresh and clean, and the mesh (which is an important technology element of the shoe) looks great. The little plastic lacing elements add interest and the positioning of them gives the trainer a great profile and view from the top. They have been designed to look great on the trail but also as a pair of casual shoes.
Splodz Blogz Verdict
I have to admit that I have not been for a run in these trainers. Not yet anyway, I really am trying to concentrate on walking before I give trail running a go (the more I walk on footpaths at the moment the more I am tempted to break out into a jog) – maybe later in the summer after my two big events are done. I have walked a fair few miles in them though, on tarmac/concrete pavement and on uneven and more natural footpath. The vibram sole gives great grip and the cushioning is very good. I’m actually very tempted to make these my MoonWalk shoes – they are so light and fit really nicely, I could absolutely see myself wearing these for a marathon power-walk.
The trainers are fairly narrow but with the mesh construction they kind of mould to your feet, and with the support bits added on the outside of the shoe there are no awkward or annoying bits or seams inside. This gives them a bit of a unique look I think, I’ve not seen trainers constructed like this before anyway. Even with them being narrow I found there was plenty of room inside the shoe even when my feet were just a little larger at mile ten!
The microfibre padding around the ankle area suggests these could be used without socks – I guess if you’re fell running which may include stepping in streams etc what you need is something that will dry quickly. So in the absence of actually running through a stream I gave these a good wash with a hose pipe (before the ban kicks in!) after coming back from a walk, and left them to dry. I was really impressed – I reckon a normal pair of trainers would have taken at least 2/3 days maybe longer to dry out, but these were ready to wear the next evening. I guess the woven mesh like construction helps and the microfibre is naturally quick drying.
Technology aside, I have actually found myself choosing these trainers over others in my collection to wear with jeans – and not just because I needed to give them a fair test before writing my review. I have to say I really like the styling, it’s fresh and clean but different and stands out.
These Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity trainers are priced at £89.99 and as such are positioned as an expensive pair of casual trainers or an entry level trail running shoe.