One of the mainstays of the Hi Tec walking boot range is the Altitude range of boots that are now in their '4th generation' and which are a lightweight ankle type of boot weighing in at only 600 grams in weight per boot in a size 8. The altitude boot comes not only in a choice of two colours (black or brown), but also a choice of full grain of nubuck leather upper. I have tested the full leather version in brown, however I doubt there is little difference to the weight between the versions.
The sole of the boot is glued and made from MDT (Multi Direction Traction) carbon rubber that appears to be extremely hard wearing, as even clocking up a few miles in these, the soles still look fresh from the box. The sole also incorporates an injection moulded EVA (Ethylene vinyl acetate) midsole that provides a good cushion, yet is very lightweight so helps to keep the weight down. The shank on the boot on the other hand is steel, so Hi Tec have opted for strength over weight in this area, but this compromise is a good choice in my opinion as it hasnít added that much weight to what is still a light weight boot.
The upper part of the boot is well made and padded and has a four loop and two speed hook lacing system that is made from rustproof brass hardware. The collar and tongue of the boot is made from a soft padded leather, so from the first time that you put these boots on, they feel really soft and required no breaking in and although my first walk in them was only around three miles, I encountered no rub or pinching and could have happily walked a lot further with no issues. One slight downside to the boot in this area is that the tongue is open on the sides down to the top loop, so they are not waterproof to the top of the boot, but around two thirds up, so although they are going to be OK in drier areas, theyíre not necessarily going to be the best boot for walking around wet or marshy areas.
The inside of the boot incorporates a dri-lex moisture wicking lining and a removable comfortec insole that both help to remove moisture from your feet and reduce the sweaty feet smell from the boots. These are also nicely padded to cushion your feet from the rigours of the ground and make them really comfortable. Hi Tecís many years of making sport shoes have obviously influenced a lot of areas of the boot in the padding and ventilation areas of these boots and this is no bad thing, especially if you are looking to use these boots in the warmer weather, or indeed you suffer from sweaty feet.
In summary these are a good lightweight comfortable boot and considering the price (£75), they give you a lot for your money. The soles appear to be very hard wearing and are going to last well but that said, I think that they are aimed more at the light family type of walker than the hard and seasoned trekker. The relatively low cut tongue also means that although these boots are going to be good in relatively damp conditions, they are not designed for really wet conditions.
Altitude IV WP walking boots kindly supplied by Hi-Tec