Hiking Footwear

I have been planning to write reviews of footwear for a long time. So finally here we are! I will do a round up of some of the ones I have had, sorry some I have not got pictures of and others I have forgotten names. The plan after this is to review each pair I get. A general note, I wear many for day-to-day use and despite what any labels say put my own waterproofing spray on them, usually.

Hi-Tec

I have been a long time user of Hi-Tec footwear, at least 15 years and for the most part I have loved them.

Buxton, trainer & boot

I have had several pairs of these in both trainer and boots. They were on special offer in the local store at one point and after having a pair for in excess of a year purchased a couple more to ensure I wouldn't have to worry for a few years. They are solid on the feet, many would not like but I do. In the summer they can get a little hot but they have survived everything I have thrown at them, sun, sea, sand, rain, mud, long walks, short walks, every day use, etc. The trainers lasted over a year and the boots due to less usage over two years.  The boots provided good support too. A pair I would buy today without hesitation if I could.

Bryce (left) and Buxton (right)

The Hi-Tec Bryce (left) and Buxton (right), a few weeks after purchasing the Bryces and over a year after the Buxton.

Hillside, boot

Like the Altitude once I find a good and long lasting shoe I tend to keep going back to it. I have now had two pairs of these, the current pair over 1 1/2 years old and still has life in them. They have gone through snow, mud, sand, sea, rivers and much more and still survive. (Product link on Amazon)

The Alto (left) and Hillside (right).

Altitude, trainer

These are close to the Buxton's above. Again solid on the feet but long lasting if a little hot in the summer. Again would not hesitate to buy another pair. (Product link on Amazon)

Alto, trainer

These are one of the few disappointments I have had. Purchased in 2014 my initial thoughts were how comfortable they felt and how good the walking was in them. The soles were nice and soft and walking was smooth. The grip on wet surfaces, in the woods for example, was not too good and within six months they were worn out. Not sure if these was a fault or they simply were not designed for what I was using them for. I note there is now a new version out, Alto II, with different tread and material which may well be better. (Product link on Amazon)

The Alto (left) and Hillside (right).

The Alto (left) and Hillside (right), at time of purchase.

Trailblazer, trainer

These, purchased in 2016, were nice and comfortable and with good grip. I purchased them for use during the summer months and proved to be nice and breathable. These were the first pair that had an insole, or at least an insole that I noticed. I noticed it because of the extra support given to the arches and boy did it make a difference, so much that I will be purchasing more to use in other trainers. The trainers lasted a year before they were worn through, good enough for what I wanted and more than I was expecting considering the use they have got and at £25 excellent value for money. Sadly no longer available otherwise I would use them again. (Product link on Amazon)

Bryce, boot

Purchased these January 2014 from a new shop that had recently opened nearby. Like many of the others I thought they were nice and comfortable to start with. Six weeks later though and I found the bottoms had worn through, that is with little usage too. Hi-Tec support were good and helpful, however the shop I purchased from was far from helpful and we had to argue to get a refund, that was before the end of February 2014. It might just have been a faulty pair, the shop though never gave me the chance to find out though. (Product link on Amazon)

The Hi-Tec Bryce (left) and Buxton (right).

The Hi-Tec Bryce (left) and Buxton (right), a few weeks after purchasing the Bryces and over a year after the Buxton.

Others

Karrimor, Bodmin, trainer

I purchased these back in 2014 after having problems finding a pair of Hi-Tec or North face locally at a reasonable price. Straight off they were some of the most comfortable to wear and walk in I had ever owned. Not too hot, blisters an issue on first few walks but then I find that with many shoes before breaking them in. Two months usage, walking and day-to-day, and they were worn out. Big disappointment as it was nothing beyond my general usage, if anything less than my general usage. The supplier was not interested and no reply from the manufacturer. There are new versions of this trainer out which might be better. (Product link on Amazon)

North Face, Hedgehog, trainer

I purchased these (I think they were version II) back in 2012 and loved them from the outset. Light and breathable not to mention comfortable. Good grip in most conditions, not too hard to walk in and survived very well through all conditions. They lasted about a year for walking and day-to-day use. I would certainly buy them again. (Product link on Amazon)

Merrell, Moab, trainer

I was not looking for Merrell, I was looking for some more Hi-Tec but the few that were in stock did not fit across the toes. I have avoided other manufacturers as I have found Hi-Tec to be cheap but excellent value. These Merrell trainers were dearer than I wanted to pay but I needed a pair that were breathable, thinking we might have a hot summer, so had little choice. I have been using them for two months so far and although it is still early days they are comfortable and very good for walking in. I will do an update on these at a later date. (Product link on Amazon)

Merrell, Moab

Summary

At present I am using Hi-Tec Altitude (trainers), Hi-Tec Hillside (boots) and Merrell Moab (trainers). I cannot comment on the latter too much as I have only recently purchased them. It would be difficult to choose a favorite out of all the ones I have used. The North Face Hedgehog and Hi-Tec Trail Blazers would certainly be my top two for summer use. For all year round I wouldn't like to say, Hi-Tec Altitude, Buxton and Hillside have all served me well.

Sadly the Hi-Tec outlet in Swindon closed down and the local outdoor stores typically have a limited, and usually more expensive, ranges. I do not like ordering online for the simple reason of fittings. I went to the local Blacks store to buy a pair, after fitting them on to find they were painful around the toes. Had I got these online, ignoring the delay, would then be the hassle of returning them. Thus I much prefer to go in and try.

There are some more of the Hi-Tec that I would like to try, if only I could find them locally. There are other brands too I would like to try more of, the North Face Hedgehogs were fantastic for the summer months and the Merrell Moab Edge. But on a budget there are only so many you can afford or indeed use at a time.

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