We just discovered a fabulous walking, hiking and athletic shoe line with a bit of a techie name; in fact tech is in the name: Hi-Tec Footwear. There are so many things to love about their selection of shoes, whether it be a trainer shoe, a super comfy walking shoe or more of a hiking boot. They even have great sandals for hiking as well. While they offer shoes for both men and women, we only reviewed the men’s line this time around and given their tough exterior and more masculine colors, we think it’s a fabulous choice for male adventurous travelers.
First up is the Walk-Lite Witton walking shoe. We chose this one because it’s not just an incredibly comfortable shoe with great support, but it’s also very stylish. We love the durable full-grain leather uppers and rugged Vibram outsole combination, which makes these tan (great neutral color for traveling) suitable for hiking, but also perfect for casual wear and nice enough to wear to a casual restaurant in the evening. This is particularly useful if you don’t have the space to pack several pairs of shoes for a trip that combines adventure with culture and food.
The Walk-Lite Witton has a patented RollinGait System, which is designed to support the natural roll of your stride, ensuring comfort with each step you take. Sweet! Anthony tested these out on a short hike (the terrain was not rough and had plenty of grassy hills and dirt paths) as well as on a fairly lengthy city walk. Even though every shoe needs time to break in, we give it a two thumbs up for comfort right out of the box.
This fabulous designed shoe is made of leather and suede and has mes inserts and tongue for outstanding breathability, a necessary in a walking shoe. It’s very durable and has an adjustable lacing system for a more personalized fit. Its compression molded EVA midsole absorbs impact, which helps to reduce the strain on your body. And, as noted above, their Vibram RollinGait System supports the natural roll of the foot, reducing overall fatigue. Bravo!
The next pair we wanted to test was a shoe for more sporty activities, so we went with the V-Lite Flash Force Low i. The first thing we noticed about this hiking shoe/walking shoe combo is that it is incredibly lightweight. The V-Lite Flash Force hiking shoes are designed for performance, whether you’re hitting the trail or the track, which is again, is important for travelers who need a shoe that is useful for several scenarios, to avoid those heavy bags.
Fun colors too. We decided to go BOLD so tested out their red trail shoes, which feature i-shield waterproofing and durable synthetic uppers to keep your feet dry and comfortable. The OrthoLite Impressions sockliner offers comfortable cushioning and anti-odor properties, keeping your feet fresh. Like the Walk-Lite Witton, the shoe has Vibram’s patented RollinGait technology which supports the natural roll of your stride, to help decrease your chances of foot exhaustion after a long walk.
It’s hard to tell from these images, but the quality of this shoe is higher than we expected. In traditional Hi-Tec style, they include the i-shield, which creates an additional layer of protection that helps keep footwear clean and dry quicker. This is a must have for any adventure traveler. It stands out, whether underneath a jogging pant or a pair of jeans.
Anthony noted how snug the shoe feels, which in our experience testing shoes, not only adds to the comfort, but the feeling of not wearing a shoe at all, a godsend for those longer walks. Their Ghillie and eyelet lacing system is part of why it fits so snug, but the shoe design adds to a more perfect fit as well.
For example, they use what they refer to as an OrthoLite Impressions sockliner with slow recovery foam. Its purpose? To add to the cushioning and we could feel the difference. Anthony and I both tested out this shoe for a medium sized hill hike and both agreed on its superior comfort upon first wear. It also has anti-odor and anti-microbial properties built in, a nice feature for travelers.
Super comfy, it’s got a very durable rubber outsole and great traction, which we tested out walking up a dirt path with tons of gravel and rocks — no slipping. A high five to the Hi-Tec team for a great combo of style, durability and comfort.
Note that they also have a wide range of sandals to choose from. I’ve hiked in sandals before to get the breathability necessary when it’s a very hot summer day. That said, most sandals don’t have the kind of traction and ankle support you need for longer walks and hikes.
The folks at Hi-Tec specialize in sandals for hiking. One caveat here is that a good hiking sandal is lighter than a traditional hiking shoe and because they’re waterproof, you can walk right through the stream and not worry about damage, because they air dry so quickly.
Shoes and boots completely cover your feet, so it’s not hard to imagine that wearing open-toed footwear would increase ventilation. Hiking in sandals means there is more skin exposed, increasing the surface area exposed to air (which is not as hot as the inside of a boot).
We think these are great choices for super humid traveling destinations like Southeast Asia and Africa, although be sure to take note of things like poison oak, ivy and other insects and bugs in the area you happen to be before making a choice about whether to go with an open-toe or closed toe solution.
Unlike other types of toeless footwear, Hi-Tec’s hiking sandals feature thick outsoles and deep lugs for handling obstacles commonly encountered on the trail. Just like hiking boots, their hiking sandals provide padded midsoles and outsoles that offer comfort and support. Remember that hiking sandals are not poolside flip flops but solely for walking trails.
Good hiking sandals feature deep lugs that give the bottoms of your feet plenty of traction. As long as the terrain isn’t too rough, your sandals should prevent slippage while keeping your feet cool. Good packing travelers take note: with less material and bulk, a pair of sandals weighs significantly less than shoes or boots. Below, the women’s Galicia Strap weighs just over five ounces while men’s sandals like the Laguna Strap weighs only around nine ounces.
For more information on their shoes including how to order, visit their site at: http://us.hi-tec.com/.