Posts tagged hitec
I have never been a girly girl. I don’t remember ever doing the pink thing. My mum can probably confirm or un-confirm this, but I’m sure that I have always much preferred green or blue or brown or black to pink, and have always preferred getting out and about than painting my nails or wearing dresses. It’s just not my thing; I always prefer a different option.
So when I opened my latest shoe box from Hi-Tec my first thought was… wow… they’re pink. So pink. So very pink.
These are the Hi-Tec Sierra Lite Original, a lightweight suede and mesh walking boot.
Colour aside, they have a great retro walking boot look to them, and are indeed very light. The suede and mesh upper is thin in most places, but they have a padded collar around the ankle for support and comfort. There is a removable sockliner for cushioning and a (bright white) rubber outsole for grip.
And did I mention that they are bright pink?
Hey, I’m up for pushing my fashion boundaries because let’s face it I’ve never actually been fashionable. So I got them on my feet, laced the bright white laces up, and went for a short walk with my sister.
My first impressions were actually very good. Our chosen route was four miles up a steep grassy path onto the ridge close to my house, along the muddy Viking Way, and back down the hill on a tarmac pavement. The mud meant the soles are not so white and the upper is not so pink any more, but they gave me good support and kept my feet dry in the squelchy conditions.
I want to give a specific mention to the laces. Strange, I know. But I found the laces on these boots were a) plenty long enough to tie in a double bow – something that is often not the case and then really annoys me, and b) sat really well on the boot giving me a good and secure fit. The eyelets are in exactly the right place – I had total control over how tight the boot was over the top of my foot and around my ankle, without one being dictated by the other.
Since that first walk I’ve worn them a fair bit around and about, including one Friday when I wore them to walk home from work. I actually ended up walking over seven miles that afternoon, mostly on pavement, and I found them very comfortable for that. I did have a problem with the rubber outsole, though… when it’s damp underfoot that sole turns any metal and even cobble stones into an ice skating rink. I had a few dodgy moments when stepping on manhole covers and nearly ended up on my backside when I stood on a metal strip embedded into the paving slabs – eek! It’s strange because on the grass, gravel and muddy footpaths I was provided with steady grip. Just be careful when walking on normal pavements in the rain…!
I don’t think Hi-Tec have designed the Sierra Lite for long distance treks across peaks or full day hikes on all terrains – they haven’t got the cushioning or support needed for that. What they are is a walking boot absolutely ideal for low level trails and rough ground over short to mid-distances. Think walking the dog across fields, Sunday afternoon walks in country parks and nature reserves, long strolls along coastal paths, that sort of thing. The price certainly reflects that – £49.99 is a perfectly reasonable amount to spend on a pair of decent walking boots for general outdoor use.
If I am totally honest I would never have chosen these for myself – colour aside, I would generally go for something with additional support and more cushioning. But I will say that I do like them. I like the retro-esque styling (they also come in a beige colour!), and they fit really nicely and are comfortable. I’ve even grown to like the pink. A bit.
The Hi-Tec Sierra Sina 200 WPI shoes are warm, waterproof and durable snow boots designed to keep your feet warm and dry whatever the weather. With a leather and nubuck upper, they incorporate a 200g Thinsulate insulation, a moisture wicking lining, and a Vibram rubber outsole ideal for snowy and icy conditions.
I chose these myself from the current Hi-Tec range after being offered a pair to review. I liked them the most from the selection because they didn’t actually look like snow boots… they are just like skate shoes, which I love to wear thanks to their comfort and style.
Here are a few photos of them before I took them out in the rain…
These were comfortable from the first time I wore them, which was actually to walk to the shop one pretty yucky day in early January. It was raining, was very cold, and even though I was worried about ruining the light coloured nubuck leather uppers on these, I wanted to give them a try. My feet thanked me – they were toasty warm, completely dry, and lovely and snug in these Hi-Tecs.
Actually I needn’t have worried about the upper. Sure these shoes don’t look like new any more, but the uppers didn’t ruin, they just dried out (thanks in part to my Stuffits!) a bit darker than before. They are comfy shoes, not smart ones, so that’s fine.
I also took these with me to Finland, where they have proper snow (and proper winter temperatures)! These were my shoes of choice when wandering around in the evenings – they are much less bulky than normal snow boots like my KEENs so I could wear them with my straight cut jeans, and I reckon they kept my feet as warm thanks to that insulated lining. I’ve come across Thinsulate in gloves and hats before, but this is my first experience of it in shoes – it works.
I found myself wearing these to work for a day too. I decided I needed something properly warm and comfortable thanks to the very icy pavements – I didn’t want to be stuck in the office at lunchtime thanks to unsuitable footwear, or break my neck getting to a meeting. The Vibram soles worked a treat and, even though I was definitely careful – I didn’t want to end up with anything broken, I felt very secure with these on my feet.
I do like these a lot and I have been wearing them a lot while it’s been cold. They an easy-wearing shoe, cosy and comfy, that keeps what’s on the inside dry and warm even if the outside is disgusting.
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.
This last few weeks I have been testing out these Hi-Tec Altitude IV boots. Hi-Tec teamed up with The National Trust to create a boot inspired by nature and developed with their environmental impact in mind. These are about getting out into the countryside wearing something that won’t harm that countryside.
Since they arrived we’ve had heavy frosts, beautiful (cold) sunshine, torrential rain and even snow drifts, and I’ve given them a good wearing on walks around my local Lincolnshire. We’ve been on tarmac and on footpath, on bridleway and on gravel – I may not have been able to do an all-day hike in them just yet, but they’re well broken in now and so it is time to tell you what I think.
It seems to make sense for Hi-Tec to team up with The National Trust to make a special family of boots – I mean, The National Trust are all about protecting the country’s heritage and open spaces, and Hi-Tec are all about making products that help us get out and about in those places. But these are more than that – these are a significant step forward in Hi-Tec becoming a greener company.
Every part of the boots has been designed to make as little an impact on our world as possible. The use of recycled materials has been key. This is great news – I wonder if other companies will follow suit (and if Hi-Tec will start to use these materials and methods in their other items from now on)?
Packaging was important too. The boots come in a shoe box made from 80% recycled cardboard and 100% of which can be recycled, using soy inks to brand. It also has an integral handle, eliminating the need for a carrier bag – a nice and appreciated touch in this carrier-bag-hating world.
Thankfully in the development of these boots Hi-Tec were keen to create something that could actually be worn by keen walkers and hikers – a practical boot – rather than just an environmentally friendly show-piece. As such, what we have here is a lightweight and waterproof walking boot that is comfortable to wear (more on those points shortly).
The website explains that the uppers are constructed using water-based cements, manufactured from naturally dyed reduced chrome leather which don’t require the heavy chemical processes used in tanning. Recycled metal steel shanks and a durable recycled rubber make up the outsole, and the injection moulded EVA is a greener way to work with the cushioning material inside the boot.
These also feature ion-mask hydro management technology – this is what is supposed to keep your feet dry, stopping the boots from getting heavy when the uppers get wet, and also helping to keep the boots clean.
Hi-Tec haven’t gone all out on the looks have they? They’re just brown with grey bits and green bits, just very traditional. They are even that usual (boring) dark tan leather colour that most traditional hiking boots are. But they’re not ugly or anything! They are just a very ordinary looking boot where function has come before style – but I guess there is nothing wrong with that, they won’t date or (or are they already dated, I’m not sure). These boots will appeal to many, I’m sure, and the styling fits with the heritage of the National Trust perfectly, but they’re not what I would look at first if I was stood in an outdoorsy type shop surveying the wall of hiking boots. They’re not going to offend anyone and you can wear them with just about anything suitable for walking in. Not stylish or fashionable but practical and useful, and that’s probably the best way to view them. These are boots made for walking, not looking at, after all.
Fit and Comfort
The first thing to say is that every time I’ve worn these it’s been cold. Very cold. And with my hiking socks I’ve had no issues with warmth. Even last Sunday when I did five miles or so in the snow (it was an absolutely glorious walk, I enjoyed every step and really must share the snowy photos on my blog), my feet were kept comfortably warm in these. Not a drop of water got through either – even when the uppers went dark brown and looked damp, the inside was bone dry, an absolute must for walking boots. So the first two vital specifications get ticks – warm and dry. I might update this later in the year once we’ve had some warmer weather (we might be waiting some time), to say how they fair keeping the feet cool when walking distances in the heat, but for now I am confident wearing them in whatever the British winter chucks at them.
Lacing these up is easy and secure, although maybe the laces are a little short to tie in a double bow (or are my ankles really wide?!) – just a centimetre or two more would have made this much easier. The insole is shaped with arch support which made these very comfortable, and while there is cushioning inside the boot it is not thick or cumbersome once the laces are tied.
They are light on the feet, much lighter than I thought they looked, and even when covered in mud I didn’t find these boots too heavy or hard work. Being leather and rubber etc they were so easy to wash off under the outside tap and have come up clean and looking fine again each time. They are a bit creased around the top of the toes and the ankle already, but that is totally acceptable on a broken in leather boot – they show no signs of cracking. I have one or two scratches on mine now but again that is not unusual and has not affected either the look or the practicality.
Splodz Blogz Verdict
I wouldn’t choose this style of boot if I was stood in a shop looking for a pair, but I am impressed with the fit and comfort and like the green credentials of these. I will happily continue to wear them in this my Get Outdoors year and look forward to many more miles to come. Maybe I should swap the laces for some lime green ones though?!