Hi Tec V-Lite Infinity Trail I

This is a 2 stage review; stage 1 is conducted when the product is first worn, stage 2 is a summary after 3 weeks of steady use.

They Say – Our trail running shoes are fit for everyone from occasional runners to pro’s. So if you like racking up footsteps on mountain paths or just like a run through the park then these shoes are for you. Our shoes feature Ion-maskâ„¢ water management properties and exclusively designed Vibram outsoles for superior traction and durability.

  • - Ion-Mask hydrophobic water management technology
  • - V-Lite infinity design and build technology
  • - S.U.Z.E. Seamless moulded upper
  • - ESS shank support with rock plate protection
  • - Multi density trail specific midsole
  • - Exclusive Vibram trail outsole

See the shoes online at http://www.hi-tec.com/gl/products/trail-running/2031-9318/v-lite-infinity-trail-i/

gs kodak 001

We Say – Stage 1. I loved the look of the shoes, they’ve got a nice vibe going on, understated but still colourful. I wore them fresh from the box this afternoon on a 20km trail run. The terrain was 10km of pebbly beach and the remaining 10km on a mix of gravel track, grass and tarmac road and path.

They’re heavier than my road shoes but that is to be expected in order to have the sole and ankle protection that’s needed for the trails. They also feel flatter, closer to the ground. I couldn’t feel the rocks or pebbles, I don’t mean that, just that there wasn’t so much padding so I could feel the terrain better, and respond quicker to it as a result.

My calves began to ache a bit after 15km, probably due to the fact that the shoes are heavier than my usual shoes and that whenever you change shoes after having got used to another pair, you’re going to awaken muscles that you didn’t need for the old pair and you do for the new, merely because they’re built a little differently. It was no big deal, in fact, I like not letting myself settle into a routine, it keeps all of me sharp. Ideally you’d use 2 or 3 pairs of shoes a week, on different terrain each time, in order to keep all of you fit and ‘in use’. I don’t always follow that advice, but if you can, it’s beneficial.

The aching calves didn’t stop me enjoying the run. I had one grassy bank that I took at speed, 50 metres straight down, a very steep and wet slope. The shoes gripped amazingly well, I was in control all the way and could turn and ease up quickly at the bottom. So full marks for grip.

After 10km of pebbly beach my feet or ankles aren’t aching and I didn’t stumble once. That’s a good sign, shows the soles and ankle supports work well.

I wouldn’t wear these Infinity shoes on long stretches of tarmac by choice, not unless I was committed to moving towards a more barefoot style, as they’re not padded enough for that and unless you’re wean yourself off the padded shoes you might have some injuries coming your way. But it’s inevitable that unless I drive to a forest and then run the trails there, I’m going to have to cover some tarmac in order to get to the trailhead. These are fine for that task, the 3km I did on tar today didn’t hurt and I’ll take them on that route again, no problem. I might try a few longer tarmac runs over the next couple of weeks, to see how they fare, as actually I am pretty interested in trying to move towards minimal padding. I tried before but when too quick and got injured, so this time I’ll take it easy. Will update this in 3 weeks time. For now though, the Hi Tec V-LITE INFINITY TRAIL I are on their way to getting a big thumbs up.

Stage 2 – Well, I have in fact been wearing this shoes on tarmac. I’ve been testing 3 pairs of pretty flat shoe this month; these, then some KEEN hiking boots and the Merrell GTX multi sport shoes. They are all devoid of much padding underfoot and without planning to do so I seem to have got myself further down the minimal footwear route than I thought I would do in such a short space of time. It’s felt really comfortable and ‘right’ to wear these on longer tarmac runs, and it seems to have done me some good too.

I’m not claiming any miracle cure, but I have stopped wearing knee supports these past couple of weeks and this could be down to the lack of padding (we’ve all probably read ‘Born to Run’, we know the drill regarding too much padding – it’s not good for most of us). On the other hand, I’ve had small niggles that I have had to be aware of, mainly in the hamstring area. I put these down to the shift from overly padded shoes. They’re not serious but at the moment I’m keeping my eye on them as I run.

I have noticed that if I’m running through wet grass these do let some water in. They are good at not letting stone chips and debris in though, that’s only happened twice this month.

Overall I reckon these Hi Tec V-Lite Infinity Trail I shoes are a sound bet for mutli surface running and good value for money. A lot of my running recently has been at night as I’m testing out headtorches too and it’s good to have a pair of shoes that I’m confident in; if you’re running along dark trails you need to know that when you hit a dip or divet you’re going to be protected and with these I am. Chances are your trail run won’t start right outside your door either, there’s going to be some tarmac involved, and these cope with that change of surface well too, in my opinion.

Finally, looks wise, they brush up nicely after getting dirty. A wet rag gets them clean enough, then I stand them out of sunlight, near the radiator. The soles aren’t marked at all after this test, but you wouldn’t expect them to be seeing as they’re made by Vibram.

See the shoes online at http://www.hi-tec.com/gl/products/trail-running/2031-9318/v-lite-infinity-trail-i/

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