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Monday, 12 April 2010

Review: Test-walk of Hi-tec trail boots

Eleven-year-old daughters are notoriously difficult to please. Little Miss Outdoors is no different and she knows what she likes, especially when it comes to clothing.

"Funky, black, pink and purple are good," says Little Miss. "Brown, blue and boring are not."

Thank goodness then that outdoor clothing has come such a long way since my childhood when brown, blue and boring were about as funky as it ever got. These days jackets, rucksacks, fleeces - and even socks, gloves, hats and walking boots come in bright colours, pretty patterns, trendy designs and with a great deal of child-appeal.

Over the years I have been known to bribe Little Miss Outdoors into walking a hill by buying her a flowery fleece or a bright pink kagool. There was a beautiful lilac and purple rucksack that did the trick, too.

Then with the Easter hols looming the kind people at Hi-tec decided to pop a nice new pair of girls' walking boots in the post. The Junior Renegrade Trail Walking boots were timed well on two counts: firstly Little Miss had grown out of last year's boots (children do that annoying growing thing a little too often sometimes!) and secondly I was keen to get Little Miss away from the computer and up a hill.

At the same time those nice Hi-tec people also sent me a new pair of leather V-lit Altitude walking boots.

And so one one warm-ish and not too wet afternoon Little Miss and MumOutdoors set off to summit one of our local hills, Conic at Balmaha.

Said Little Miss of the boots: "Yeh, these look kinda cool. Not too boring and the pink is nice, especially on the bottom of the boot (she meant the chunky, grippy sole).

"They don't slip on my heel, either, and they are comfortable and I've tied the laces tight. All those things I know you're going to ask," she added, cheekily.

During the walk itself Little Miss answered my further quizzing: "Yes, they are light enough. No, they don't feel too heavy. Yes, they are gripping the ground. No, I'm not getting wet feet even in the puddles. No, I don't mind if they get muddy because I'm now 11 and not a baby who worries about the pink getting splashed. Yes, they make walking downhill and uphill easy. Yes, I definitely like these. I really do. MUM! Are there any more questions?"

So, I'm thinking, that if the boots are pleasing to an 11-year-old girl who can be short on patience and big on style then they must be pretty good boots, eh?

And mine? Surprisingly I found the leather boots to be really comfy, too. I'd memories of those leather walking boots from my teen years that took months of blisters to turn into something vaguely comfy. The Hi-tec V-lit Altitudes also felt light on my feet and despite having long, thin feet they remained snug for the full hill walk. In particular I thought the padding on the tongue and the inner sole was really generous. The soles were good and grippy. And the leather kept my feet really dry even when I joined Little Miss in a bit of mud wallowing and puddle paddling (well, any excuse really!).

If you want to read all about the technical attributes of these Hi-tec boots - and there are plenty of great details for the very reasonable price tag of £35 for the junior boots and the reasonably reasonable £100 for the women's leather boots – then click on the links above.

I prefer to talk about outdoor kit in terms of comfort and practicalities (and, of course, looks). Both these boots scored well if you're looking for comfortable, no-need-to-wear-in footwear that will handle spring and summer walking on good-to-better trails (puddles and mud included). For stockist check out the website

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