For men who are serious about hiking, Hi-Tec offers a fantastic range of leather and fabric boots to ensure you and your feet can deal with the most strenuous requirements. Whether for a demanding day hike or a multi-day adventure, the Hiking Collection features advanced technologies, including ion-mask waterproofing and Vibram rubber soles for grip.
- Waterproof nubuck and mesh upper
- Waterproof membrane
- V-Lite design and build technology
- Anti-odor, anti-microbial Ortholite footbed/midsole
- Vibram outsole for durability & traction
- Ion Mask Technology
- Rustproof metal hardware
- 3d Counter Balance
- TPU support shank with ESS protection
- Measured size 9
- Weight – 569 g (20.1 oz)
- Forefoot Width – 101.9 mm (4.0 in)
- Retail – $180
Hi-Tec was originally founded in 1974, but the name and logo came about in 1982. Founded in England, Hi-Tec originally made shoes for Squash. The Hi-Tec Squash shoes are still one of the most sold sports shoes in history. Hi-Tec now is a large company with over 500 styles in over 80 countries worldwide. Their brand manifesto does a good job explaining who they are: “We are driven by our restless desire to ensure people make the most of life. Our products are developed for the needs of the consumers in mind, and innovations will be driven by our desire to understand how they’re used. We are a real brand, with real products, for real people.”
I had worked with Hi-Tec previously on a jacket that Melissa did a review on. At the OR Show last January I stopped by their booth and was intrigued by several products they have been working on. A couple that will be reviewed later. These boots which were released this spring are an updated version of one of Hi-Tec’s first light hiker which was released in 1978.
I tested these boots hiking the trails of Smith Rock State Park and the Deschutes River Trail. Since most of the backcountry trails around here have been covered by snow, pickings were a little slim. I also wore them around town a little and up in some snow. We had a fairly dry winter and spring, so I did not get to truly test them in mud.
The Sierra Lite boots are a light hiker. They are made for hiking without a pack or carrying up to moderate loads. The boots have an upper made of mesh and waterproof Nubuck. The upper has been treated with Ion-Mask Technology. This treatment is a breakthrough in surface enhancement. It works at a molecular level, binding invisibly to the surface of the upper, giving it the ability to repel most liquids. The uppers are already waterproof, but the Ion-Mask helps prevent liquids from seeping into the boots and therefore, makes them lighter when it is wet out. The Ion-Mask technology will also keep dirt from building up on the outside as well.
The Sierra Lite Boots use the Hi-Tec V-Lite vertical build concept that strips away as much weight as possible without sacrificing performance or durability.
This concept is not one concept by itself but rather a collection of materials and construction methods. V-Lite is composed of a lightweight upper material and rust proof lightweight metallic hardware to save weight. The footbed and midsole are made by Ortholite. They are essentially the same unit as there is no cushioning if you remove the unit. The Ortholite unit is a mix of PU and EVA for cushioning and durability. In the heel, there is a 3D Counter Balance of firmer foam to prevent the heel from rolling inward. The boots have a Stabila Flex Plus Lasting Board. This is a multi density, contoured lasting board ensures torsional rigidity and delivers essential forefoot flex. The boots use a Vibram outsole with multidirectional lugs for traction and durability.
The lacing system is fairly straight forward. There are four hardware loops with a webbing loop at the base of the ankle, and two open hardware hooks up on the ankle. Hi-Tec also throws in two different lace colors so you can create the look you want. I took pictures of both colors. Over the toe of the boots is a protective overlay to add some protection for your toes. The upper cuffs of the boots are higher at the front and have been cut out in the heel to provide relieve for the Achilles tendon.
I was not able to find out much information on the sustainability of the materials or any company initiatives. Only thing I learned was the Ion-Mask treatment is not bad for the environment. For this reason, I gave the boots a one in sustainability. Hi-Tec, on the other hand, does make a conceited effort to get people outside and active; I wanted to make sure to give props where it is due.
Comfort Next to Skin (15%)
Foot Length (20%)
Foot Volume (20%)
Heel Width (15%)
Midfoot Width (15%)
Toe Box Width (15%)
I normally wear a size 9 in my boots but have occasionally gone with a 9.5. In these boots, I tested a size 9 and have plenty of room. There is quite a bit of volume inside the boots. For me, it was enough that the boots still had some room even with a thicker sock. I felt like the boots fit well in the heel and the midfoot, but the toe area was a little sloppy feeling if I was wearing a thin sock. I have a medium width foot but am used to wearing wider forefoot shoes with my barefoot running. These boots felt like they had even more volume than some of my barefoot shoes I have tested.
The construction on the inside of the boots is skillfully done. If you remove the Ortholite cushioning, you can see how well the inner liner is connected to the last with minimal seams. The upper portion of the interior around the ankle is a smooth fake leather material which adds to the comfort. I never had any discomfort when testing out these boots. I was impressed as they had a good amount of flex while still feeling stable.
Water Resistance (15%)
The Sierra Lite Boots have been a good boot for light hiking. I have used these boots on several hikes with packs up to 25 pounds and felt like these were plenty supportive for these trips. The boots feel very stable when hiking and have a good amount of flex in the forefoot and ankle. The lacing at the flex point is done with webbing to help allow the boots to flex better. The shank is a good compromise between adding stiffness but also allowing the foot to flex when walking. Since the upper is waterproof the boots do not breathe as well as a mesh upper would, but it was as expected. With the proper socks, I had no issues but did not get to test them in really hot weather.
The cushioning system is interesting as it can be totally removed. If you wanted to use a different insole, you could, but you would probably not have nearly as much cushioning as the included Ortholite insole. Using your own insole would also create excess volume inside the boot unless your feet are really high volume. The Ortholite 3D Heel Counter is not really noticeable to me, but it probably does help. The concept is sound; it was just hard to distinguish. The Ion-Mask technology is really cool. Water just beads right up and rolls off. I did not get to test these in extended wet weather but the little water and snow I used them in was no match. I never had any wet feet. The dirt also seems to stay off better than expected; the boots still look new after taking them out on the trail and town more times than I can count.
The outsole is made by Vibram and had good traction in the drier conditions here in Central Oregon. In the little wet conditions we had I did not have any problems but would be curious how others have done in the mud. The lugs on the bottom are average sized and even gripped well in the snow. I really did not have much ice to test them on but expect them to handle like most other lightweight boots. Over all my testing, I found that the boots have held up well. I have not had any issues with durability.
Overall, I have been happy with the Sierra Lite Boots. They have been comfortable to wear around and feel like they are lower to the ground than some of my other boots are. I am not sure if this truly is the case because I am not able to get an accurate measurement with my calipers. The boots do feel very well when walking in them, which have made them one of the more comfortable boots I have tested. I am really impressed by the Ion-Mask technology as it truly works. While the boots are about average in weight when compared to other light hikers. In the rain or snow, they will not add weight like the other boots as the Ion-Mark treatment will repel the water. The boots come in several colors so you can be as bold as you want to be. Retailing at $180, they are right up there with other boots in the category. They do pack a good amount of technology in there. As always, your mileage may vary.
Pros [field name=iFrame]
- Ion-Mask technology repels water and dirt
- Wide forefoot
- Good traction
- Excellent flex in the boot
- Cannot change the insole without drastically changing the boot fit
- Toe area can feel sloppy with thin socks
[button url=”http://ymmvreviews.com/tag/hi-tec/” style=”black” size=”small”] All Hi-Tec Reviews [/button]
[button url=”http://ymmvreviews.com/tag/hiking-boots/” style=”black” size=”small”] All Hiking Boot Reviews [/button]