Hi-Tec Valkyrie i WP Hiking Boots
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Hi-Tec Valkyrie i WP Hiking Boot overview:
I tend to be a “low-cut” boot guy for all of my hiking regardless of the season. This year I decided to get a boot with a bit more ankle support to provide more protection for snowshoeing and winter hiking. The Hi-Tec Valkyrie i WP Hiking Boot should perform admirably. With enough support for stability on snowshoes and enough traction to keep the rubber-side-down going across a snowy parking lot. I am a stickler for traction with my boots and these have it in spades. A tip of the hat to Hi-Tec for going with the always-brilliant Vibram sole. The size was spot-on. I tend to be a 10 1/2, but went with the 11 for winter layering. This proved to be a perfect fit with wiggle-room for the toes and plenty of stability everywhere else.
My “quest” with these boots was to run them through the proverbial “ringer” right off the bat. I chose a trail with multiple water crossings and plenty of rocks to scale, climb and otherwise test out the durability and sole of these boots. Prior to heading out I noticed the quality stitching and seemingly impenetrable leather uppers.
Hi-Tec Valkyrie i WP Hiking Boot performance:
After the first 30 minutes (and 5 water-crossings) the boots were great. We all know the fear in new “high-top” boots when you first head out. Blister-central! These boots were stiff enough to provide great support (even when purposefully trying to roll my ankle!) and yet soft enough to give a super-comfortable feel. I wore two pairs of socks to imitate my winter standard and there was no movement of my foot inside the boot. They also felt relatively light-weight for a full-size boot. Again, being used to low-cut footwear, they were not as light as what I normally wear, but that aside they did not feel heavy. Hi-Tec Valkyrie i WP Hiking Boot boasts a “waterproof leather upper” and “Dri-Tec waterproof, breathable membrane”. With that in mind, I then set out to test this boot in the worst conditions. The trail I took had 32 water crossings (yes, I’m a nut and counted all 16 on my way out!). Perhaps I pushed the boots a little too far, but they did not pass my water test.
Heading across the first couple crossings, I simply splashed around a bit and everything was high and dry. When I walked through the creek, some water did manage to make its way into the boot.
I am now under the impression that these boots are meant to be waterproof with some splashing and maybe a slip into the water. Throughout the hike, my feet stayed warm and felt dry. The wet socks were only revealed once I got back to the truck. Aside from the wetness, the boots performed admirably. Throughout the day on the trail my feet felt stable and secure in the Hi-Tec Valkyrie with no slipping or movement. The Vibram soles are great as always with plenty of traction (even on wet rocks) both in the dirt and mud as well as with some low-grade bouldering. I did notice the upper part of the boot tended to soften up a bit as I was descending down the rock face. There was some slight movement inside the boot during this test. I have a feeling this was due to the moisture in the boot as this test was done after 20 or so water crossings.
Hi-Tec Valkyrie i WP Hiking Boot specifics:
- Waterproof leather upper
- i-shield repels water and oil and prevents stains
- Dri-Tec waterproof, breathable membrane
- OrthoLite®® sock liner delivers superior cushioning and has anti-odour and anti-microbial properties
- Vibram® rubber outsole delivers outstanding grip, comfort and durability
- 200gm Thinsulate™ insulation
- fleece lined collar for warmth and comfort
- EVA midsole and a rugged rubber outsole for comfort, traction and durability
DRI-TEC – Dri-Tec is a waterproof, breathable membrane made in a bootie construction. Dri-Tec offers exceptional waterproofing, excellent vapor transmission and high mechanical resistance to maximize performance in the wettest of environments. VIBRAM – The Hi-Tec Product Development team have worked extensively with Vibram®, the High Performance Outsoles Specialists, to design and innovate an exclusive collection of Vibram® outsoles that deliver an unbeatable, performance driven balance of durability, traction and protection.
Hi-Tec Valkyrie i WP Hiking Boot Final Thoughts:
These boots, overall, get a B+ in my book. They were very comfortable right out of the box, the fit was great and they provided adequate support and superior traction for a mid-range boot. To be able to push them for 3+ hours, get them soaking wet and still have no blisters and no other negative impacts was a huge plus. Perhaps my definition of “waterproof” is set a little too high? That is the only hiccup in these boots from what I can see. I’m looking forward to many trips, in knee-deep snow with these great boots. For more information on the Valkyrie i WP Hiking Boot and other Hi-Tec products, visit www.amazon.com/hitec.