Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity

I am usually very picky about what I run and hike in but when I saw the opportunity to test a Hi-Tec trail running shoe, I thought I would go out on a limb and try something different.  I chose to test the V-Lite Infinity in a size 12, the same size as my road running shoes.  My running shoes are EE and I requested that but I did not see any indication of them being a wide cut on the box so I was a little worried about that when I got them.  When I took them out of the box, I was amazed at how light they felt.  I believe the “V” in V-Lite means very light.  The website claims a size 10.5 weighs 11oz.  I went to the post office and weighed one of the shoes and it weighed 12.1 oz.  I compared it to my road running shoe and it weighed 12.6 oz.  The shoe came in an olive/taupe/sunflower color that I thought was very nice color combination.  Some of the pictures below, the shoes look like there is blue in them.  There is not any blue, it is the reflection of the blue sky on the heat seal overlays.

 

Below in italics is information taken from the Hi-Tec website.

 

DESCRIPTION

 

An incredibly lightweight, adventure sports shoe. The Infinity HPi can handle a broad mix of terrains in the harshest weather whilst offering plenty of support and allowing the wearer’s foot to feel and adapt to the surface. The toggle and cord closure also provides quick and easy entry, for the athlete seeking that extra speed.

FEATURES

 

  • Extremely breathable synthetic upper
  • Seamless Upper Zone Engineering upper design
  • ion-maskTM hydrophobic technology
  • Heat seal overlays for lightweight support
  • TPU shank support with ESS protection
  • Moulded toe cap
  • Reflective safety details
  • Microfibre collar lining
  • Comfort Tec contoured footbed
  • Exclusive Dual Density
  • Vibram Outsole Dual Density
  • 3D Counter Balance Midsole Lightweight
  • TPU shank

 

I slipped the shoe on and immediately felt very comfortable in the shoe. The worries I had about the shoe being too narrow went out the window.  They did not feel tight at all. Usually a new shoe feels stiff and tight but this one felt so good on my foot, I put the other one on and wore them all day around the house. The upper part of the shoe is made of breathable synthetic material that Hi-Tec claims are hydrophobic meaning the material absorbs much less water ensuring quicker drying time.  It also keeps dirt away for easier cleanup.  In the middle and the rear of the shoe, there is a clear overlay that adds support.  The toe has a molded cap and the back of the shoe has more support than the rest of the shoe and a loop to easily pull the shoe on.  The shoe has a dual density mid and outsole.  They are made for people with a slight pronating step (meaning when I step most of my weight goes to the inside of my foot).  The tongue and the eyelets look and feel very durable and seems like they can take pulling as hard as you want to tighten your shoe.  I really like the large reflectors that are in the front and back of the shoe.  The reflectors are nicely designed to not stand out in the daylight but are very bright when light hits them in the darkness.

 

Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity
Breathable uppers
Extra support in rear of shoe with loop to aid in putting shoe on.

 

Shoe Bottom
Reflector large and bright.

I usually like breaking in my running and hiking shoes for a while before I go on a long run or hike.  The V-Lites felt so good when I wore them around the house all day I thought I would try them out on a long hike the next day.  My son and I had a 20 mile hike on the calendar so I put on my new shoes and we were off.  We went down toCongareeNational ParknearColumbia,SCto do our hike.  The temperature was 25 degrees when we started and was expected to get up to around 60 degrees.  I wore a mid weight wicking hiking sock thinking I may be a little cold at the beginning and a little hot near the end but they should be just right for most of the hike.  These shoes are definitely not cold weather shoes but I did not expect them to be either.  My feet were cold at the beginning and the ground had frost on it.  Once we got going my feet were very comfortable.  When the frost began to melt away the ground was wet but my feet stayed dry.  The shoes felt very good even though they were brand new and did not have any break in time.  By mile 11 it was in the mid 40’s and my feet felt good.  By midday it was around 60 degrees and my feet never felt hot.  The shoes did allow my feet to breath.  The shoelaces never once came untied which I liked.  Nothing is more frustrating than shoelaces that won’t stay tied.  At mile 16 I started feeling a hotspot on my left inside heel.  Once we got done with our 20 miles and I took my shoe off, I had a small blister where I felt the hotspot.  I was surprised that is all I had since I did not break in these shoes or wear them on any type of hike before this day.

 

My initial opinion on the Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity’s is this is a comfortable, lightweight, quality shoe that is ready to go when you take them out of the box.  I was very impressed with their performance on our long hike.  The soles would repel dirt and mud so I didn’t have to worry about mud sticking in the tread causing me to slip.  I look forward to trying them on a trail run and more day hikes.  More to come in a month.

Update 02/12/2012

 

Since my initial review, I have had many opportunities to wear the Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity trail running shoes.  I have worn them almost on a daily basis as an everyday shoe because they are so light weight and comfortable.  I have worn them on several day hikes and several trail runs.

 

As an everyday shoe, I have found the V-Lite to be very comfortable even when I wear them all day.  My legs do not feel fatigued and my lower back does not hurt like it does when I am wearing dress shoes or casual shoes. I can be on my feet all day with them and have no issues.

 

I really like wearing the V-Lites for day hikes.  I have found them very comfortable no matter the terrain. It can be a well groomed level trail or a steep incline or decline full of rocks and roots and I feel confident hiking in them.  I have yet to have issues with mud sticking to the bottom so I always have good traction.  My most recent hike was yesterday.  I was traveling for work and I came to a place where the Appalachian Trail crosses the road.  It was around noon so I decided to hit the trail.  I always carry everything I may need for just the occasion when I travel.  It was snowing and it was sticking so I thought it would be a good time to test the V-Lites in the snow.  I was a little concerned about my feet getting wet and cold but I wanted to see how they would do.  I took off and my feet were already getting cold.  These definitely are not cold weather shoes.  Once I started up the hill at a brisk pace, my feet started to warm up.  The only time they got cold was when I would stop for a picture.  Snow never stuck to the bottom of the shoe so I always had good traction.  Again, I found them very comfortable to wear.  I hiked for about 50 minutes and wished I had more time.

 

V-Lites on a quick hike in the snow

The main reason I wanted to test these shoes was for trail running.  I have been running for 6 years now but trail running is somewhat new to me.  I have found I really enjoy trail running and would rather run on a trail than the road.  The V-Lites are my first “official” trail shoe.  I have always used my road shoes for the trails.  Even though the V-Lites are .5 ounces per shoe lighter than my road shoes, they seem to have more support on the technical trails and I get better traction in them.  I have run in the V-Lites several times on a trail since my initial review.  I find them very comfortable to run in and have not had any more issues with hot spots or blisters.  They do repel dew and very light water but they are definitely not waterproof as I found out when I ran through a stream on one of my runs.  Once wet, they do dry out very quickly and they are easily cleaned up by just wiping them down with a damp towel.

 

Me suffering through a trail race in my V-Lites

I don’t notice any excessive wear or any damage on the Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity trail running shoes.  I have found them very comfortable to wear over the past month in many different situations and look forward to more trail runs and day hikes with them.  Final review to come in about a month.

 Final Review 03/27/2012

Since my last review I have been able to use the Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity trail shoes on several trail runs and I have even worn them on the road  just to see how they felt.  I continue to be impressed with the V-Lites on the trail and they even felt good on my road runs.

 

Most of my trail runs are around 4 miles and I have not had any issues running that distance with the V-Lites.  I decided to increase my mileage and did a 7 mile run.  It had rained the day before so the trail was muddy in some spots and slick in others.  The trail is somewhat technical with several roots and rocks.  From prior runs on trails with the V-Lites, I was very confident that I did not have any worries on this run.  As they have done in the past, they came through with flying colors.  I did slip one time on some very slick mud that was on a hill but I think I would need long spikes on my shoes to have kept from slipping on that mud.  The rest of the run was great.  My feet and legs felt good when I was done and I didn’t get any hot spots. I have not had any issues with these shoes on any of my trail runs.

 

Done with the run.

I also tried the V-Lites on a road run.  It was a 5 mile run and I really liked the way they felt.  Like I mentioned in a previous post the V-Lites are 0.5 ounce lighter than my every day running shoes.  I was running about the same pace with the V-Lites as I always do on this route so I don’t think I was faster in them but they felt good and I feel confident wearing them on any type of surface. I wouldn’t hesitate wearing them on a longer road run.

 

I have been really impressed on how well the Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity trail shoes have felt on all my runs and day hikes.  I have not had any issues with wear or any quality issues.  The shoe laces have never come untied or loose.  I do not double knot my shoes in case I want to tighten or loosen the laces quickly on a run so not having to double knot my laces is very important to me.   The V-Lites repel mud both on the sole for good traction and on the shoe itself.  What mud that sticks to the shoe, easily wipes off.  The shoes are breathable so they are going to be great to run in this summer when the temperatures get hot. I look forward to many more day hikes and trail runs with these shoes and I am even going to sign up for an off road triathlon (a kayak, mountain bike and trail run race) this summer.  I want to thank Hi-Tec for supplying the V-Lite Infinity trail shoes for me to test and 4AllOutdoors.org the opportunity.

 

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