Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Review: Hi-Tec V-Lite Sonoma WPi walking boots

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Recently Fitness Footwear sent me a pair of Hi-Tec V-Lite Sonoma WPi walking boots to test.

My first pair of fabric walking boots were made by H-Tec and so I was looking forward to see how fabric boots in general have changed and, in particular, to seeing what Hi-Tec fabric have done to their fabric boots.

My first pair might not have been capable of tackling the roughest ground but they were comfortable and they were light.

Straight from the box these new Hi-Tec boots look so different and so much better, so much more like serious walking boots than the ones I remember even if the colour is a little paler than I would have preferred.

The outer provides good toe and heel protection while the sole and midsole are stiff enough to provide both protection and support while remaining comfortable.

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Initially I found the boots to be slightly stiffer than expected and I don’t consider this bad because it suggests plenty of protection for the feet inside and walking around soon eased the upper enough to fit closely and comfortably. The lacing system is easy to use and adjust, the tongue sits in place comfortably and I felt ready to tackle so rough ground.

At this point I became aware of heel lift in both feet and so I tried to tighten the laces a bit more to prevent it but was unable to anchor either of my heels securely in the heel cups.

Several times I thought I had achieved a tight fit but as soon as I walked on sloping ground my heels lifted inside the boots, my left heel being more prone to lift than my right.

Eventually, I was able to lock my heels into the boots but only by lacing them so tightly, above my feet, around my ankles that within minutes they were too uncomfortable to wear. This is due to an unfortunate combination of my stiff feet with their high arches and the precise positioning of the eyelets for the boot laces.

Had I tried these on in a shop I don't think I would have persisted with them but the heel lift seemed to slight I thought (and hoped) it would resolve itself. Regrettably it didn't and I was unable to find out how well these boots would perform. The toe and heel protection is both substantial and solid without ever feeling cumbersome. The sole and midsole combine well to provide support, comfort and protection while the tread pattern looks hard wearing and pretty grippy. I am disappointed I couldn’t get the fit right because they are so comfortable that I wanted to try them on rough ground and high hills to find out how they would really perform - the build quality and everything else about them says they will perform very well.

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