I have used Hi-Tec's all-leather hiking boots for backpacking, on and off trail, for decades. They used to be perfect for me in every way. I like that they are all-leather (necessary for bushwhacking) but lightweight. They have always been comfortable and need no break-in time. However, over the years they have been more and more poorly designed (especially the lacing grommets and the laces themselves, which break after a couple weeks of use) and cheaply made. This spring one of the grommets detached from my boot after about a week and a half of use. Both of the laces broke after another couple weeks because the metal threading hooks are situated so that they cut through the laces eventually. Sizing has become sloppy--when I started buying Hi-Tecs (the old wonderful all-leather women's Sierra V-Lites), they fit my feet perfectly. My feet have always slid around more in the Altitudes, but the first Altitude boots still stood up to real backpacking, not like the heavy $200 boots, but acceptably long (perhaps 8-10 weeks of heavy backpacking.) This past spring, these Altitude Glides fell apart within 3 weeks. The heels on both boots crumbled, and one delaminated. I looked at a pair of my old ones when I got home--on those, the heels are made of something different and feel much sturdier.
These would be fine for dayhikes and working around the home, but don't stand up to rugged backpacking.
Feels true to size
Feels true to width
Was this a gift?:
Bottom Line No, I would not recommend this to a friend
My main focus was to find day-tripper hiking boots that would provide good ankle and foot support, were waterproof, good on challenging terrain (ie uneven, rocky and rooty trails), were lightweight, and were not as pricey as backpacking boots.
I have good hiking boots already that I primarily use for backpacking, and I didn't want to put extra wear and tear on these. So I was ready to invest in day-use only boots.
I shopped around and tried several brands (Zamberlan, Merrel etc). This product came out on top, and the price, especially when on sale, can't be beat.
Though I have difficult feet to size, I haven't had to break these in. I did end up buying one size larger (women's 10) than what I normally take. They have been awesome!
I took them to Africa recently on a 10-day trek and they stood the test of 8-hour days of trekking, averaging 15 km a day. I am extremely happy with them.
Was this a gift?:
Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend this to a friend