A couple of months ago, I got an email, entitled “I love your blog”. How could I resist opening it? It was from an employee of Online shoes, who wanted to know if I wanted to get Hi-Tec boots and review them on the blog.
My only obligation was to blog and not ignore them. “Of course”, I said.
I chose the Hi-Tec V-Lite Bellville Water Proof insulated boots. I hike week in, week out all year and also do trail maintenance, yet I have only one pair of over-the-ankle boots. When they wear out, I get another pair. That means, I have one heavy pair. This was my chance to get a lighter pair that still gave me ankle support. That’s why I chose the V-Lite.
I’ve never bought boots through the mail, so I was more concerned about that than the quality of the boots. I ordered my regular size. When I got them in the mail, I tried them on with my heavy Thor-Lo hiking socks but they were too tight. I then switched from trekking socks to Thor-Lo hiking socks and the boots fit well. I took them for a spin around the neighborhood because I was going on a Carolina Mountain Club hike the next day.
Now they tell you to never wear brand-new boots on an all-day hike without breaking them in but I took a chance. I’m the one with the hat on the right, as you look at the picture.
It was only an 8-mile hike on the Mountains-to Sea Trail and quite easy for CMC members. I had no problems and they were lighter than my regular heavy boots.
I was more concerned about the socks than the boots so I went to my favorite outfitter, Diamond Brand Outdoors, to see if they could stretch them. “We can only stretch them on the side, not length wise,” the wise shoe department said. So I kept wearing the “thinner” socks. Most hikers wear these socks and not the heavy ones that I wear, so it’s not surprising that my size couldn’t accommodate the heavy socks.
But what about rain? It’s been raining on and off for weeks in the Southern Appalachians. A few days later, Lenny and I went to maintain our section of the Appalachian Trail. By the early afternoon, the skies opened up. The boots held up quite well. I didn’t slip on wet rocks and the insides stayed dry. I was out another two hours in the rain. I took the picture above of my boots at the back of my car. It seemed more realistic than a picture of them clean and fresh out of the box.
So the bottom line.
The Hi-Tec are comfortable, light and water- resistant. Nothing is water proof except for rubber. They’re light boots and not meant to be used for a long-distance backpack but I will use them for light hiking, short distances and even birding.