Gear review: Hi-Tec Altitudes

A review of the only model of hiking boots I’ve used in over a decade: Hi-Tec Altitudes




For my three-season backpacking and shoulder season backpacking, I wear trail runners.

Trail runners are light, they dry quickly and, with a light pack, they provide more than enough support. I’ve done off-trail scrambling, climbed peaks, walked through canyons and explored the outdoors while wearing lightweight footwear.

Boots are now something I wear while skiing. Boots for backpacking? Something I leave to my past excursions.

Except there are times when I do wear boots.

When do I wear boots?  Boots are worn by me for day use under the following conditions:

  • When doing trail work. The handling of tools, the loose pebbles and often muddy areas means I prefer boots. Digging some back slope while pebbles are in my shoes is no fun.
  • Mud season. Wet and muddy terrain is no fun either when wearing trail runners.

  • Slushy snow conditions such as found in spring or early winter.

  • Travel. A pair of leather boots blends in a bit more for places vs sneakers while still being practical if walking around a lot.
In Guarcino, FR Italia. The small mountain village where my grandfather’s family originated
  • Around town. In winter, when there is a light amount of snow on the ground, the boots are good from getting from my house, to the car, to work and back. I don’t always need big and clunky pac boots or similar. And my normal every day shoes get soaked. The leather boots are a nice happy-medium.

The boots I’ve been using for well over a decade now are the Hi-Tec Altitudes in one form or another. Inexpensive (about $75 +/- in stores. Less if on sale), comfortable and relatively light for leather boots. There is nothing fancy about these boots nor are they meant for mountaineering. They are simply good, all around boots for when the conditions warrant that also have the benefit of not being terribly expensive.

A pair lasts me about 4-5 years on average. I also make sure to treat the boots with Sno-Seal at least twice a year. (All waterproofing eventually comes off)

Why day use only? Because after a day or two, I find all shoes get wet anyway. 🙂 See above why I mainly use trail runners. Wet and light shoes are better than wet and heavy shoes.

Overall Summary

I still prefer trail runners for most of my hiking based outdoor activities. But when I need or want boots for certain conditions, the Hi-Tec Altitudes are my  “go-to” boot of choice.

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10 years ago

Thanks for the boot tip. I was never aware that Hi Tech were high quality. I just purchased my first pair of Asolo’s about a month ago and they weren’t cheap. But they are super comfortable. I use the 10 year durability number. I still have a pair of Vasque Sun Downers that are over 10 years old. I feel that a good pair of boot should last at least 10 years. Maybe that’s asking too much but that’s what I am hoping for my Asolo’s. Thanks for the post.