May 20, 2015
Review: Hi-Tec Alpha Trail Mid WP Hiking Boots
Through rock and rain, these boots took me up to 12,750ft during a Search and Rescue (SAR) course at India's Nehru Institute of Mountaineering.
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The Hi-Tec Alpha Trail Mid WP Hiking Boot is light, waterproof and sturdy.
These shoes were used and abused a lot, yet they thrived. These Hi-Tec Alpha Trail Mid WP hikers has technologies incorporated from Dri-Tec, OrthoLite and Vibram. These shoes were tested during a mountaineering course on a very rough and challenging terrain in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, India. It saved my right foot from a nasty twist, protected it from cold and took me through 80kms of mud and rocky terrain. These shoes performed great at high-altitude in temperatures below zero and snow all around.
Hi-Tec is a Dutch company founded by Frank Van Wezel in 1974. Almost 30 years on, Hi-Tec Sports now enjoys worldwide recognition as being one of the world leaders in sports and outdoor footwear, with distribution in approximately 85 countries. Extreme Adventure Sports is its importer in India.
The Dri-Tec membrane is a clone of the better-known Gore-Tex technology, with micropores that don’t let water in, but allow sweat out. This worked well enough for me – my feet didn’t get wet once while hiking through snow, mud, slush, and across Himalayan streams. (We switched into mountaineering boots once on the glacier). However it didn’t breathe as well as I’d have liked, with my socks getting somewhat wet with sweat over several hours of hiking each day with a 30-kilo backpack.
The upper is a combination of mesh panels between cuts of suede leather – which worked well for durability, but the breathability wasn’t as good as I’d hoped.
The Alpha Trail comes with Vibram outsoles – which is regarded as the best outsole brand in the world. It is durable, very comfortable and provides an outstanding traction on almost all surfaces. One doesn’t have to think twice of slips while hiking when these shoes are put on. This is almost a no-brainer – if you’re looking at buying new hiking boots, make sure they have Vibram soles.
Its long-lasting midsole cushioning is achieved by a high density EVA foam, which should last a reasonably long time. (Foam compresses over time – the higher the quality of foam, the longer it lasts). The boots also have OrthoLite insole liners, giving it a superior cushioning, while still being light and anti-microbial. It’s also easily washable. I didn’t need to break the shoes in, and didn’t get any blisters.
Despite the rocky uphill and downhill terrain, my feet were well protected by the solid heel and toe bumpers. A thick tongue also protects the feet from the pressure of laces. A light shank also provides high stability and flexibility.
The only irritant was that the Dri-Tec membrane technology used still did not make the shoe 100 % breathable. At the end of the day, my socks sweat-soaked (but non-stinky!) whenever I took the boots off. Otherwise, the shoes provides a comfortable hike.
Dubbing these hiking boots as one of the best one can buy in India today wouldn’t be an over-statement. So, despite my personal issues with it’s breathability, I would unequivocally recommend the Alpha Trail WP boots to any trekker today looking for an upgrade or a new pair of boots.
P.s I’ve spent a good amount of time in the Indian mountains and seen people hike in everything from flip-flops to canvas ‘Hunter’ boots – it’s time we upgraded our footwear to some of the best available in the world.
Pros: Lightweight, durable, waterproof, good grip and outstanding cushion.
Cons: Not highly breathable.
- Dri-Tec Waterproof leather and suede upper
- OrthoLite sock liner for outstanding cushion and comfort
- Durable Vibram sole for a great grip
- EVA mid-sole for impact resistance and cushion
Price: Rs. 7,190