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The Ranger re-booted

Matthew Chatfield

I’m hoping to spend a lot more time out patrolling the countryside this year, and so I have been on the lookout for a new pair of boots. And given the wet winter we have had, I’ve been looking quite hard at the Hi-Tec waterproof range. So these last few weeks I’ve been testing out a nice new pair of Hi-Tec Altitude Pro walking boots. Are they just stylish weekend hiker-clogs; or reliable workhorses? My old plates have been finding out.

First of all, the headline. Waterproofing: it works. They’ve had to put up with a lot of water and mud, but I can say that these boots genuinely are waterproof. I’ve got my trousers wet before my socks even had to worry; and what’s more, the nerdy-sounding ‘Dri-Tec Waterproof membrane’ genuinely does appear to deliver, as promised, the ability to keep my feet from getting sweaty. Quite a trick when it is also keeping the water out. Maybe linked to this is another striking thing about the boots – they are substantial, not light and not particularly forgiving if you’re looking for flexibility. That suits me as I want support and protection; and to be able to walk on the boots all day and not worry about turning my ankle down a rabbit hole.

The other advertised feature is Vibram RGS. Unlike the waterproofing it’s a little harder to know what that exactly is, as it seems to promise pretty much everything: “world renowned traction, comfort and durability”. Certainly the tread of the boot is unusually well-defined, and provides excellent grip – as I found out today slithering down a muddy bank, and yet remaining upright. Which wasn’t always the outcome in my old boots. The test for this particular feature will be how it wears, as a new boot should be pretty grippy anyway, but after a season of tramping around it will be interesting to see if that property is undiminished. I’ll let you know.

Another thing with wearing boots for work is that you need to be able to get in and out of them quickly, usually in a windy layby behind the car, when making the transition from office to site and back again. This is one place the Hi-Tec Altitude shines for me – the quick-release lacehooks work a treat, and the boots slide on and off with ease even when wet, covered in mud or worse. This is a real boon for a high boot like this, and a feature I use daily.

So, my verdict? These are very good boots. They are comfortable, easy to take off and put on, and the waterproofing is outstanding. I’m going to be field-testing this pair for a little longer – I’ll let you know how I get on.


September 2016, and the boots are about seven months old. Still wearing very well indeed, comfortable and undamaged. One of the inner soles is coming away and needs repositioning every time I take it off, but otherwise nothing bad to report.

May 2017, and the boots are sixteen months old. After a dry winter the waterproofing hasn’t had much work but the soles have kept going, and they are showing no real signs of damage. The uppers are wearing a bit and that inner sole is still a nuisance, but I reckon these boots have at least another year in them at this rate.

Hi-Tec Altitude Pro walking boots
Hi-Tec Altitude Pro walking boots after seven months’ wear.

My thanks to Wight Catwalk for the photographs. 

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

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