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Average Score: 4.8 out of 5.0
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From shoveling snow in the slippery driveway to bare booting on packed low elevation trails, the winter-focused Valkyrie i Waterproof hiking boot by Hi-Tec provided me with a firm base on a multitude of terrain. It also came through comfortably while snowshoeing in the mountains and keeping me dry while walking slushy city streets.
Typically, if I need another defensive layer against the nasty elements of mud, snow and rain I tend to slip on a gaiter. Certainly that’s an option with any boot, but the Valkyries has a waterproof liner and rubber rim for extra protection that goes around the toe and heel.
The reason I know it works is because I purposely opted to cross a few frigid streams not by rock-hopping but by walking right through the water, granted on the return legs of the journeys just in case.
My feet stayed warm and felt dry. My socks got wet. But that happens when you walk and wade through water. Does that mean the boots aren’t waterproof? They’re certainly water resistant.
Backed by a one-year warranty and 60-day comfort guarantee, the boots are ballyhooed with a waterproof leather upper, waterproof and breathable bootie membrane, rubber heel and toe, rustproof metal hardware lacing system, nylon shank, Ortholite sockliner and Vibram rubber outsole.
Also on the feature docket is something the manufacturer calls “i-shield hydrophobic technology” which is a protective invisible layer that wards off dirt and water.
Hi-Tec is known for making affordable lightweight hiking boots generally priced under $150. The boots are billed as waterproof and tend to weigh just a couple pounds or so. The company has broadened its collection since its austere 1974 beginnings in England as a maker of shoes favored by squash players. In the 1980s, the organization entered the outdoor footwear game. A few years ago, it moved into the apparel world and today has an arsenal of footwear including casual shoes, sandals, and multi-sport offerings. The company’s head office is in The Netherlands, the country of birth of its squash and tennis loving founder Frank van Wezel, with its USA branch headquartered in Portland, Oregon. The company has annual sales of more than $150 million.
The boots, provided to me by Hi-Tec, were a good fit straight from the box . It’s supposed to be a winter boot, which in my mind signals words like beefy and bulky, but these in no time felt like any other properly fitted boot. The Vibram soles were grippy even after getting wet.
The cushy soles did well holding the human load. Since I used these for easy hikes and outdoor snow removal (and bringing in wood for the wood stove), I didn’t have the chance to try them with heavy backpacks or in deep snow.
With more than 40 years in business, Hi-Tec has a solid rep and the Valkyrie doesn’t change that. It’s a good-looking durable winter workhorse.
Warm and functional, it would be interesting to test these during an entire winter.
At $129.99, it’s probably a fair price, its value increasing as the mercury plummets.
Though many outdoor lovers in winter land may do well to ward off the season with an extra thin layer in the socks arsenal, the Valkyrie is a good first step for those looking for a snow-slaying companion.
Image courtesy Hi-Tec