I’ll just add my 2c here wrt to Hi-Tec just in case somebody else stumbles across this.
Firstly, I like Hi-Tec. Squash and tennis shoes aside, I got a pair of "hiking boots " when I was still in school and replaced them a couple of weeks ago - those Hi-Tec’s lasted me about 15 years!! Now to be fair, no serious hiking was done with it but it got its share of rough treatment over the years. The only wear on it was the back of the heel that was really worn out and cosmetically it wasn’t the nicest pair of shoes to be seen in anymore.
So, off I went to buy a new pair. Got the shop, put them on, liked them, paid and went home - shoes shopping done and dusted, or so I thought. Upon close inspection, I could see that this pair wasn’t 100% up to quality (stitching issues etc.) so I took it back. A schlep, but I bought a dud and it happens, right? Wrong.
As I browsed for a replacement I couldn’t find one pair that didn’t have similar issues in the whole shop and the Merrel’s were starting to look like my only option*.
To make an already long story short, I eventually found a pair of Hi-Tec’s I liked at another shop but it did open my eyes to the quality issues. Maybe the first shop received a bad batch or they’re trying to move “discounted” stock - who knows - but you have to keep your eyes open when dealing with the budget brand.
*I also owned a pair of Merrel’s but never liked the way they fit me and also don’t see the point for an average bloke to pay that much for a pair of shoes that’ll never be used to their full potential (same goes for Salomon).