Hi-Tec Altitude IV WPi NT

Not often the packaging gets top billing is it? But it’s part of the story of the new Altitude IV WPi NT from Hi-Tec.

Hi-Tec are holding hands with the National Trust and they’ve brought out a range of boots for the family, kids, mens and wummins, all made to the same spec. That spec is concentrating on it’s environmental credentials which starts with the packaging. Recycled, recyclable material and if you look bvelow a fold out handle that actually feels tough enough to use to carry the boots home. 

The boots themselves are cut from leather which has reduced chrome content tanning (I covered this a while back in my ’09 innov_ex write-up, leather is a huge waste problem) which is the way forward if product quality can be maintained and the glues are water based.
The sole has 15% recycled rubber content, and you know, it doesn’t really matter what that content is as it won’t affect grip, but reduces the volume of new rubber used. Good call.
Recycled EVA is used in the sock liner and the midsole EVA is using an injection process which they say is making less waste. Also hidden in there is a recycled steel shank (yes, there are still steel shanks out there). As all the scrap I strip out at work eventually gets shipped to the far east for processing, I’m saying the shanks in these are made from something I hacksawed in times past.
The upper has the now familiar Ion Mask treatment, which does work very well, but as usual Hi-Tec cut the the baffles at the sides of the tongue way too low, so water will pour in if you dip into a burn or a bog above the fourth eyelet. It’s the single area that their boots trip up and I wish they would fix it.

I really like that fact that they took the kids boots as seriously as the adults, and I think the styling is probably about right for the market these are aimed at.
The sole tread pattern looks like a good one, the ankle cuff is low and very soft, the tongue is well padded, so these should be no hassle to wear.
£85 gets you a pair, I’ll get them dirty and report back.

6 thoughts on “Hi-Tec Altitude IV WPi NT”

  1. I do like the handle on that box – just a simple, well thought out idea.

    Gotta say that the comfiest boots/shoes I’ve ever has were some HiTechs back in the mid 90s, lasted 3 years of daily abuse with no complaints, not even new laces. At the price I paid they were tremendous value for money.

  2. I wore the old fabric/suede Trails for years, they were great. It’s good kit, and it’s getting better next year.
    Usually have proper sole units for the UK too!

  3. I like that ‘environmental credentials’

    So they’re not made in china then?

    Bet the factory they’re made in isnt that green.

    So you dont need a bag for them. Sorry i’ve gotta laugh, its as if plastic bags are the root of all evil,the fact is they’re biodegradable these days but try getting one from a supermarket. And whenever I get a bag I re-use it anyway.

    Its just another company jumping on the green bandwagon to increase its sales.

  4. Slippery slope, that is exactly why I took these boots on test, I wanted to look at whether the whole thing is a “greenwash”. It’s a hugely important debate.

    A green product and green manufacturing are two entirely separate things.
    Some brands are pushing their ethical operation from raw materials to the customer, the Bluesign mark is something to look for there.
    Here we have a product that standing on its own has a lower environmental impact.
    Both are still shipped around the globe when someone down the street could be making them, economics evolve and present us with these, if you were to look at them anew, frankly ridiculous scenarios.
    How to make things better without everything crashing down around our ears is the hard part.

    We need to be sceptical, and we need to cut folk some slack at the same time to keep things moving the right way. Not easy to do.

  5. I have stood by and watched the discussion about the Hi Tec ion mask boots (mainly put off by the reports of leaking through the non-waterproof tongue and a few other issues.

    Still, the concept was attractive – Goretex-lined footwear has a limited life before it leaks and highly water-resistant but flexible leather is a good balance.

    So, despite getting on well with the Salomon Fastpackers, the eventual leaking and occasional grip issues made me look at this option again. I’ve recently been using the Altitude Ultra Luxe and they certainly seem to address the issues that caused concern. They really have kept out the water, even through some seriously wet conditions (obviously they will get a little damp over several days use)and the Vibram sole unit is as good as I’ve tried on a reasonably light boot/mid. The tongue is a bit clumsy (too much fabric)and I like others have noticed a bit of potential achiles pressure (it has not been an issue over time, fortunately). With a good fit and comfort (for me at least) at £75 Hi Tec are doing a good job. The Ion Mask is good, but anyway you can reproof with Nikwax or whatever when the effect wears off. Despite not wanting to go back to ‘traditional brown leather boots’ I fear I may have succumbed. They are a bit heavy though (about 1500g the pair) – so to the developments next year, will there be lighter options?


  6. They’re trying to bring themselves into line with everyone else, so the next couple of seasons will see some styling changes, as to weight? Some models maybe, not all will improve by the looks of things.

    Hi-Tec are a bit stuck, they’re a huge company and sell a lot of their, I have to say this I’m afraid, very dull models, so if they ever abandon that they’re screwed.

    All the footwear from them I’ve tested is “nearly there”, they need proper pre-production testing and to listen to feedback. That low-cut tongue gusset thing amazes me, I can’t believe they’re putting that into new models.

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