I’m new around here and recently got into hiking. Will be going on my first 5 day hike (whale trail) in 2 weeks time.
I’m about to purchase some boots. Can anyone give their opinion on the following 2 boots: Keen durand mid boot and Hi-tec V-Lite flash hike?
Thanks in advance
Hi Vodor, I don’t know much about the boots, except that Hi-tec used to suck (I don’t know if they improved). What I can suggest is that you don’t waste time buying it, because you’ll need to walk them in sooner rather than later. Rather find out they give you blisters before you go on the trail than 1 day into the trail.
Thanks for your advice. Going to Cape Union Mart shortly and i’ll get their perspective.
I also plan on “walking my boots in” this weekend.
Hi Vodor! Firstly, welcome!!
I would suggest doing your homework on how to size hiking boots before heading to Cape Union Mart. I have often found their sales staff to give incorrect advice and try to sell you things you don’t need. I realise their job is to sell stuff, but as the saying goes, “let the buyer beware”. This video is quite old, but the advice is solid: How to Fit a Hiking Boot - YouTube
Both those boots seem perfect for the Whale Trail. Both of them focus more on comfort than durability, so don’t expect them to last more than 2 years. As far as comfort goes, I’ve heard a lot of people rave about Hi-Tec’s out-of-the-box comfort with zero break-in time. In the end I think it’s going to come down to personal preference.
I have found liner socks to reduce the chance of blisters A LOT. Might be something you want to experiment with. I personally use the Injinji Liner Crew socks. You can get them from Drifters or Sportsmans Warehouse.
Enjoy the Whale Trail and give us some feedback when you’re back
Hi Arno, thank you for your advice.
So me and my wife bought us a pair of Hi-tec V-Lite Altitude Pro RGS each. We’re off to Constantia Nek tomorrow to break them in.
Thanks for the liner socks recommendation, I definitely need a few pairs.
Have you been on the Whale Trail?
Excellent! I haven’t done the Whale trail, but everyone I know that has done it raves about it. The combination of a beautiful hike with the luxury of slack packing sounds like a treat.
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).
I’ve heard many stories like yours Scout. Hi-Tec boots used to be legendary. The original Hi-Tec McKinley had a full bore leather upper with stitched mid-soles and easily replaceable Vibram outsole. It was almost indestructible. Unfortunately that is no longer the case.
For shorter hikes or infrequent multi-day hikes, Hi-Tec’s are totally suitable, but if you plan on heading into a wilderness area where a failed boot could mean serious trouble, I would highly recommend a more serious boot.
Like some of these who have replied above, I also had my fair share of Hi-Techs; three pairs over about 10 years… But that was in the 1990s, and the quality definitely has gone! You used to be able to go hiking for 5 days with a pair straight from the box (with some socks management, similar to what Arno has also mentioned). Nowadays they seem plastic and cheap quality.
On the other hand, a couple of years back I bought a pair of Keen shoes… Out of short-notice desperation, and the only shoe that was reasonably priced and fitted my feet. I was pleasantly surprised! They didn’t last much longer than a year, but I did do some serious walks in them; one being bundu bashing up and down on a rock climbing excursion with Arno. Through bushes and water… And not a single blister!
So if they suit your foot shape, I can really recommend them. They’re not made to last very long compared to your top-range boots, but you do get a price benefit; actually perfect for entry level.
Last thought… Go for fit before brand… Everyone’s feet are different. Technical shoes are a very personal thing. Happy hiking!!
@vodor How was your hike? Were your boots okay?
Oh boy the hike was nothing like I’d imagine; mesmerizing and majestic with all its beauty. Accents & descents were not as difficult as I expected. Weather was great, mostly overcast days, with the odd bout of drizzle here and there.
We went in the first week of August, so we saw many whales, even a beached calf on our last day. Boots were amazing, they were light yet hardy - no sign of blisters what so ever. Our food, clothes & sleeping bags were transported to the huts daily so that made it super easy for us.
Availability of power is a bit of an issue at many of the huts, so I’d recommend you bring your own solar charging powerbanks and lights.
It’s a great multi-day hike for first timers. I will definitely be back in the future.
Excellent! Sounds amazing. If you feel like writing up a trail review, we’d love to post it on our site (we’re going live on Friday). Let me know if you’re keen and if I can send you a template/guideline
Sure, I’m keen, send the template to me.
My wife did the last 650 km of the Camino in her Keen sandels after her Merell’s started giving her feet grief. Does anybody in SA stock Keens other than Cape Union Mart who only have a very small selection?
Try Drifters (driftersadventurecentre.co.za). I think I saw Keens there.
Keen is exclusive to the Cape Union Mart Group - you won’t find them in any other retailers.
While they carry a small selection, Cape Union will order in whatever style you want. This may take a month or so as they will annex it with their next shipment.
The brand has just become uber expensive for South Africans after import duties, offering little value for money in comparison to other brands. This is why they now only have a limited offering