I stopped wearing boots for backpacking back in 2000. Trail shoes and runners dry quicker, lighter, and more effective for my backpacking and hiking overall.
However though I rarely wear boots for hiking and backpacking, when I do, it is for particular conditions –
- Slushy, snowy, and muddy conditions for day hikes or short trips; think a step down from ski boot conditions.
- Some trail work for when the terrain is full of rock or sand.
- For when I am traveling or in camp. I find dry and clean(ish) boots seem more presentable than my dirty, muddy, and banged-up trail runners. And they provide warmth in camp for cool conditions.
In other words, though I don’t wear hiking boots nearly as much as my hiking shoes of choice, I still wear boots reasonably often. For many years, I wore Hi_Tec Altitudes as my light hiking boots option to fill this niche. Light (for boots), budget-minded, no frills, and practical. About right for much of my gear use, in other words.
Alas, all my gear wears out, including my hiking boots.
When I needed a new pair of boots, a budget-minded company called NortiV8 approached me about testing a pair of their Waterproof Hiking Boots Outdoor Shoes. Or, as I think of them, light-duty hiking boots.
For the past couple of months, I’ve used these boots for the use cases described above and found them very similar to the classic Hi-Tec Altitudes in terms of weight, style, use case, and price.
The NortiV8 boots are a mixture of fabric and leather, weigh 35oz/ 980g (without replacement insoles) for the pair, and have soles best for trails if not for scrambling or similar. The lugs aren’t particularly deep and the boots are neither very stiff (useful for scrambling) nor floppy as you’d expect something more useful for running.
The boots run true to fit if on the slightly wider side, as expected from boots. People used to trail runners (not shoes) may find them a bit wider than accustomed. Much like my Hi-Tec boots, they fit right out of the box, proved comfortable, and the aesthetics gave an overall pleasing pair of boots.
Of course, these boots will run hot for non-cool-weather hiking. And though labeled as “waterproof,” all experienced hikers know to treat their shoes with something like SnoSeal to keep them waterproof and condition the leather. I usually don’t use waterproof footwear, but I do for the use cases noted above.
I find the NortiV8 hikers as practical budget boots. They retail for $90 and sell on Amazon for as low as $57. Again, very much in line with prices I’ve seen for the Hi-Tec Altitudes.
In the field, the boots kept my feet warm with a lighter hiking boot sock I’ve used since 2019 just for these types of boots; dry (I treated the leather after initial use per my usual practice)., and the laces stayed in place. The boots felt neither too tight nor too loose. As always, I swapped out the thin factory inserts for the ones I prefer.
Again, I consider these light-duty boots. I would not want to take them for crampon use, scrambling, or most off-trail travel. And indeed, not anything in warmer temps.
But I have other shoes for those purposes. And the NoritV8 boots work well for my intended uses discussed.
The NortiV8 boots make excellent budget footwear that fills a niche for this type of use. If my similar Hi-Tecs are any indication, I suspect I’ll also wear these boots for 5+ years. I’ll stick to my trail shoes for most of my hiking and backpacking but break these out for the situations mentioned.
Disclosure – NortV8 provided the shoes for my review. If you purchase the shoes through Nortiv8 I receive a small commission.
I have had 3 pairs of the Hi-tec Altitudes that I wore around the house for working outside, cutting firewood, etc.. However, the newest versions are nowhere near as comfortable as the old ones and seem to be much poorer quality. I’ll have to check out these NortiV8 boots!
I hear you! Annoying when manufacturers essentially make a new product but keep the same name. The Salomon Ultra 3s are essentially different shoes from the 4s. Sigh.