SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

The Hi-Tec Highly Breathable, Highly Lightweight Adventure Shoe

I’ve been a minimalist most of my life. During my college days, I kept my life’s belongings in a locked trunk that rested at the foot of my bed. I didn’t need much then, but things changed for me after marriage: Two kids and a mortgage later, my minimalist days were over.

With the Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity HPI shoe, my minimalist days have returned in the form of trail running footwear that contours to my feet and is highly breathable.

The age of the trail running minimalist has taken over the footwear market.  Since Vibram’s FiveFingers Barefoot running shoes entered the fray, I’ve been skeptical.  The barefoot effect is not for everyone.  And I’m not a fan of wearing gloves for my feet—even if Vibram constructed the soles like a set of Radial tires.  It’s the features of the minimalist shoe that I was after, not the barefoot-like feeling.

Hi-Tec’s line of V-Lite Infinity footwear series provides every feature that the trail running minimalist is after.  Of course, they’re lightweight.  Of course, they’re breathable.  With the contoured design and breathable synthetic upper, the barefoot feeling is certainly achievable with the V-Lite HPI.

What about waterproofing?

The V-Lite HPI shoe doesn’t exactly proof anything, but does resist water uptake because it’s treated with ion-mask technology (not proprietary to Hi-Tec).

While sounding gimmicky and nerdy, the ion-mask offers remarkable benefits: it’s hydrophobic, breathable, lightweight, stays clean, and dries quickly. According to P2i (the company behind ion-mask), a protective layer is more than 1,000 times thinner than a human hair; it’s molecularly bonded to the entire surface without affecting the look or feel of the product and isn’t compromised by every-day wear.

As you may have gathered, these shoes aren’t for snowshoers. They’re a trail running shoe through and through.  However, Hi-Tec is using features and technology that the snowshoe market might want to adopt.

Breathability and lightweight features are always at the top of any snowshoer’s list when it comes to gear.  And it seems Hi-Tec has an arsenal of technology baked into the V-Lite HPI shoes: ion-mask, FLEX-ZONE (outsole technology), 3D Counter Balance, SUZE Digital (Seamless Upper-Zone Engineering), Vibram, and XCM Technology.

So, what’s the big deal?

The V-Lite HPI shoe stands the test of time.  In my opinion, not many minimalist shoes can withstand months of abuse—on and off the trail.  I enjoyed wearing the V-Lite HPIs as an every-day shoe.  Their lightweight design adds an incredible amount of comfort and consistency.  That’s not a bad way to treat your feet when going from point A to point Z.  And the HPIs are surely a treat.

And, if you’re wondering, I still have my locked trunk.  Nowadays, its resting place is in the basement.  Instead, my Hi-Tec V-Lite HPIs have earned their place at the foot of my bed.

More HPI features:

  • Extremely breathable synthetic upper
  • Seamless Upper Zone Engineering upper design
  • ion-mask hydrophobic technology
  • Heat seal overlays for lightweight support
  • TPU shank support with ESS protection
  • Moulded toe cap
  • Reflective safety details
  • Microfibre collar lining
  • Comfort Tec contoured footbed
  • Exclusive Dual Density
  • Vibram Outsole Dual Density
  • 3D Counter Balance Midsole Lightweight
  • TPU shank

For more information on the Hi-Tec V-Lite HPI shoe, visit http://www.hi-tec.com/infinity/us/product/21/vlite-infinity-hpi. For more information on the Hi-Tec’s line of V-Lite shoes, visit http://www.hi-tec.com/infinity/us/product.

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