These Hi-Tec walking shoes arrived and I immediately loved the way they looked. I had been looking for an pair of trainers fit for the outdoors that bridge the gap between shoes for serious walking and those for that after-pub stroll, so couldn’t wait to try them on. I had ordered my usual size, although on trying them on they felt more snug that I would have liked so I searched out the thinnest pair of socks that I had and tried them again and they felt wearable. I hoped that they would stretch a little and mould to my feet once they were worn in as I was really looking forward to testing the shoes out.
So, how did they perform…
Fit – As mentioned above, the shoes were initially a very snug fit, but to my relief, did relax a little once worn-in to give a comfortable fit. The shoes now do fit really well, and this may be partly down to the ghilley lacing system and EVA moulded sock liner. If you want to use the shoes in colder weather and wear thicker socks, you might want to go up a size so definitely worth trying them on first if that’s the case.
Support – the shoes are not high enough to offer any sort of ankle support, but this may not be important depending on what you are likely to use them for. I would still pull on my walking boots if I was likely to be covering a lot of uneven terrain, but this is only because I have a habit of slipping about a bit and want to make sure my ankles remain in tact! For the less clumsy of us this won’t be a problem!
Cushioning – the shoes are well padded around the heel and sides, and this gives that snug, comfortable fit and for me meant not a blister in sight. These comfort finishes are disguised well however, as the shoes have a lightweight and slimline look to them overall and don’t look at all bulky or over-padded.
Soles – the shoes have a good amount of grip and I found them to be really stable on wet grass and hills as well as over muddy patches. The soles are made from durable carbon rubber, which apparently takes a lot of abuse when used off the beaten track. The soles are fairly slim, helping with the slimline look to the shoe, however continue up the sides and up the front of the shoe just enough to save them from getting stained every time you cross minor muddy patches, and offers a little more protection from scuffing. I was surprised to see that after using the shoes for a fair few mixed terrain walks (including wet parkland) there were only a couple of small spots of mud of the uppers so the slightly extended soles definitely worked well for me. There is a good amount of support in the mid-sole and I gather that this is due to a steel-shank to aid rigidity, so good for running or walking on uneven terrain. When wearing new shoes like this before I have experienced pain in the arch of my foot, however I didn’t experience any of this with these shoes, and could probably put it down to the extra support that the soles offer.
Uppers – the shoes are made from breathable suede and nylon, and my feet were kept cool and dry. I got these shoes in the Autumn, so haven’t tested them in the heat of the summer, but from what I’ve experienced so far, I am confident that they would perform well. There are drawbacks with the use of light-coloured suede uppers, and even through small amounts of mud and dirt will rub off, they will eventually mark if you use them a lot.
Value for money
These shoes are widely available for around £30 which I feel is excellent value for money. They can be used for such a wide variety of sports and outdoor activities, I think every girl should have a pair in their wardrobe for those last minute camping trips, autumn strolls and messing about in the park with the kids.
I love wearing these shoes so although they are great for long walks, there is no way I am only using them just for that. They have been used for walks to the park with the little one, and all sorts of general outdoorsy stuff. Not only are they really comfortable, but they also look good! The colour-schemes look as good with jeans as they do with walking gear. Overall a well priced and useable shoe! Vicky Bawn
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