Hi-Tec revamps classics and unveils new footwear at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market
It’s funny, you don’t expect to learn about the history of certain gear when attending a trade show, but it happens. When I stopped by the Hi-Tech booth, not only did I see some rad footwear, I also learned a thing or two. For instance: did you know that Hi-Tec was the first company to offer a lightweight hiking boot? I certainly didn’t. I also found out that this company isn’t afraid to tout their past while marching ahead with a solid selection of shoes and boots.
Hi-Tec first started making shoes for squash players in the UK back in 1974. I didn’t know that was the type of thing that required specific footwear, and luckily for us they shifted their focus when they arrived on the US scene in 1978. The Sierra Sneaker was the industry’s first ever light hiking boot, and Hi-Tec’s answer to those clunky, all-leather beasts that dominated the market. For 2013 the company is honoring their past with the Sierra Light; essentially this boot is an updated version of the model that started it all. They come in a variety of funky colors that can make a statement and get the job done during light hiking pursuits. The Sierra Light iWP is also a great looking boot; primed for single day adventures but packed with enough comfort to do the job on multi-day backpacks as well. Every company has their own unique technology, and Hi-Tec is no exception.
Ion-mask hydrophobic water management is what keeps their kicks water resistant and waterproof. That’s right, you won’t find any GoreTex in their lineup, and this means your feet will be all the cooler for it. GoreTex is great for waterproofing, but we all know it’s overkill for summer hiking in dry climate areas. I got a demo of how ion-mask works with the boot material to keep water out, and so far I’m sold.
Of course, Hi-Tec isn’t just boots; in fact, they’ve honored their squash-loving roots with the Figaros. This sleek shoe is comprised of a suede/mesh upper and grippy Vibram outsoles. They have a shoe or boot for just about any pursuit you can think of, and are for the most part pocket-friendly. And yes, for you hardcore mountaineers out there, Hi-Tec will be rolling out a high-end crampon ready boot, the Bergamo WP, in early 2013. Looks like they’ve got it all covered, now if they could just explain to me how one actually goes about playing a game of squash…