Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity HPi Ion Mask Trail Running Shoe

 

They Say - ‘Our V-Lite Infinity is ready to go as far and as long as you are! With an extremely breathable synthetic upper and Seamless Upper Zone engineering for the upper design, you’ll have the ability to go go go all day long. Ion-Mask â„¢ hydrophobic technology ensures that the shoe will gain less weight when used in wet environments, while a heat seal overlay provides lightweight support. TPU shank supported with ESS protection will take you from trail runs to roads and back again. Also features a molded toe cap and reflective safety details for anything you do after the sun goes down. The microfibre collar lining and Comfort Tec contoured footbed on this adventure sport shoe adds touches of added comfort to your workout. Even more flexibility comes from the Vibram dual density outsole. The 3D counterbalance midsole is lightweight and utilizes a TPU shank for added stability.’

We Say - I’d already seen the Hi-Tec mission statement which is printed on the inside of the box, on a previous pair of their shoes that I tried out. I’m not usually sucked in by marketing speak but I especially like the use of the word ‘real’ in this case. Coming from a world where so much I’ve come across/read/seen/heard recently has seemed fake, I’m encouraged by the words ‘A real brand, with real products, for real people’. It’s a bold, brave and proud statement. Brave? Well, by stating that they’re real, they’re inferring that other companies and their customers aren’t in some way (if all were real, why mention it?). I like this opinionated attitude, at least they’re taking a stance and speaking their mind.

I took the Hi Tec description of this shoe at face value. ‘Our V-Lite Infinity is ready to go…’ Ok, I thought, lets see about that. lets make the first time I wear them a pretty testing run. I was due to run the Beachy Head Marathon the next month, so I got them out the box, tried them on for size, decided they fitted ok, and then put them back in the box and prepared to wear them for the first time on what some would describe as one of the UK’s most challenging trail marathons.

They performed very well in that first race. They gripped the ground and stablised me excellently, for sure. The course had around 3,500 feet of altitude gain, most of it on unsteady chalk, and on top of that it was freezing so there was a bit of slippery surface around at places, but I didn’t fall once, I’m pleased to say (unlike some others, who fell over pretty badly as we approached one food stop which was surrounded by ice).

They didn’t hurt during the 4 and a half hours it took me to do the run either (no pinching at the tips or sides of the toes as my feet expanded, as they tend to towards the end of a long run) and I didn’t get any noticeable blisters either, nothing more than the little ones at the tops of my toes which seem to form after every marathon. The soles and arches of my feet felt fine afterwards too; not bruised or aching at all, so I knew they’d supported me well.

It’s very difficult to judge during the course of a race if the weight of your shoes is slowing you down (if they’re heavy) or helping you along (if, like these shoes, they’re light). During Beachy Head my ankles didn’t get as rigid as much as they usually do, although that could have been down to increased training and competition (I’d run 2 other marathons already that month so was ‘in shape’) so that may have been down to them not having as much weight on my feet to lift/control. Who knows for sure. But holding one of these V-Lite Infinity in one hand and another branded trail shoe in the other the difference is very noticable, these are so much lighter that I guess it stands to reason that if you’re carrying less weight, then you’ll be able to run just that little bit easier. The question is, for a shoe to be much lighter, have the makers left anything vital out? Will I turn my ankle easier because the upper shoe support system is less rigid, or stand more chance of hurting the tops of my toes/feet if I crash into a fallen tree because the toe-cap area is made of thinner material, or suchlike? Well, I haven’t noticed any issues as yet, and I’ve been using them just over a month now. I’m running as hard in them as I ever do in my other trail shoes and haven’t suffered any adverse injuries so it looks like Hi Tc have done a great job of replacing heavier components with lighter ones, and not compromising on quality and durability in the process.

On the subject of quality, the soles are made by Vibram. They’re the soles to trust when it comes to walking boots, and have been for a great many years. To have them on my trail running shoe means, to me, that I have complete confidence that they won’t let me down at all, and that they’ll treat my feet nice.

I’ve worn these shoes frequently since Beachy Head, most recently today on a 20km run that was 15km trail and 5km on road. They dealt nicely with the hardness of the road, in small doses. And I like the look of them too. They’ve got a nice colour scheme going on, and the hi viz yellow laces and soles are comforting now the nights have darkened and I’m often out running on the roads after sunset.

When it comes to keeping out water, they’re ok. We haven’t had too much wet weather this past month, but on the odd occasion I’ve had to run in rain my socks haven’t got that wet. Don’t expect to stay totally dry in them. That’s not such a great critisism though; having tried out loads of pairs of trail shoes these last 3 years, I never expect total dryness from any of them. I’d say, therefore, that these Hi Tec are well capable of keeping you dry as you run through wet grass, but prolonged rain and running in puddles would have your socks getting wet.

My only small criticism is that usually I do get small stones/twigs/sand working their way in during the course of a run. It never gets so I have to stop and empty out the shoes more than once, and most times I don’t have to stop at all, but perhaps a wider/taller tongue may eradicate the chance of this happening altogether?

In Summary - I’m really impressed that a shoe designed to protect me from the same terrain as my hiking boots do can be made this light. Compared to these, my other pair of trail shoes feel like wooden blocks. The grip these V-Lite offer has been totally equal to any of the multi terrain adventures I’ve thrown at them. A large part of trail running is having the confidence to really go for it even when sometimes you can’t quite see or judge what’s coming up. To do this you have to trust your kit, especialy your shoes. And I’ve come to trust these Hi-Tec Infinity.’

To see the V-Lite Infinity HPi Shoe on the Hi-Tec website, please click here -

http://www.hi-tec.com/uk/mens-v-lite-infinity-hpi-graphite-zest.html

To find out more about Hi-Tec and to see their full range of shoes and clothing please check their website out by clicking below

www.hi-tec.com

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