Welcome to this edition of Products. This is where we cover new outdoor products of all types including tents, hiking boots and jackets.
We’re starting the very first edition of Products with a new product that’s been one of the most interesting I’ve ever reviewed, the Para boots from Hi-Tec. I had the opportunity to test out the Hi-Tec’s newest invention and I was impressed. Let’s get into what these wild new boots are all about.
The Para boots are not like any other boots you’ve seen before, I can guarantee you that. Hi-Tec has taken a brand new approach to making a rubber boot.
Basically, if a rubber boot sacked up with a hiking boot, you’d end up with the Para boot. All the advantages of hiking boots and rubber boots are mushed into one comfortable, easy to put on, very waterproof hiking boot.
As with any boot, there are pros and cons. For what this boot is trying to do, namely be a replacement for a rubber boot, there are a lot of pros.
With all the rubber and neoprene on the boot, I can’t imagine there being a way for water to get in. I’ve stood in many puddles with these boots. I’ve stood in surf and mud and snow and nothing has got through yet. I’m still testing but I’m sure they will hold up for a long time to come.
I found the boots quite warm. I spent a few weekends at Mount Cain and these were my primary boots when I didn’t have my ski boots on. I can’t recall even a second where I felt like my feet were cold. A lot of that time was spent standing in the snow.
The lugs on the soles of these boots are huge. They have bigger, more aggressive tread than most hiking boots I’ve seen. That means awesome traction in mud and dirty trails. They may not fair so well on slick rock but I think they would hold their own because of the density of the rubber. It’s not super hard like some hiking boots are. That usually means stickier rubber.
Easy to put on and take off
There isn’t anything easier to slide on and off your foot. There is a small loop on the back of the boot to pull on quickly and the foot opening is big enough that you probably won’t even have to use the strap. There are small rubber kick-offs on the back of the boots to catch when you are pulling the boot off with your other foot, great for when they are covered in mud and soaking wet and you don’t really want to touch them to get them off.
A couple of the colours like army green and navy blue are more subdued but I got the bright yellow ones. Not going to miss those ones in the woods! They’re certainly an eye catcher in a group of people too. I can’t count the number of people that I’ve had ask me what I’m wearing on my feet.
Way more comfortable than rubber bootsI’ve spent a considerable amount of time in rubber boots and they’re not very comfortable. Every weekend that we sail that’s not bright sunshine, I’m in my rubber boots. Because of how wet and slippery sailing gets, that’s about all I can wear. Anywhere on land that, I will be in my Para boots instead because they’re much more comfortable.
Great dancing shoes
One of the highlights at the second Backcountry Festival at Mount Cain this year, and maybe THE highlight of the festival, was an epic dance party in the woods with power generators, big speakers, flashy lights and 4 DJs. I’m pretty sure I danced on the snowy dance floor for close to 6 hours. Not only were the Para boots comfortable, those big, rubber lugs kept me upright while others were sliding around and flailing (and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just dancing).
Not very adjustable
One of the few things I wish I could change is the strap adjustments. Like a rubber boot there isn’t much to adjust. There is a small pull at the top of the boot with 2 eyelets that you can tighten a bit. It doesn’t offer much to adjust. Having a bit more would offer more flexibility when you have bigger or smaller socks on during different times of the year. The current configuration does help the water tightness though. There are no seams below the adjustment which means absolutely no way for water to get in.
What started out as a fun test for these crazy new boots actually turned into a great adventure with effective new gear. I wouldn’t take these boots on a 7 day hike with me but as replacements for rubber boots, they’re a huge upgrade. You won’t get the height from these that traditional rubber boots attain but if dancing through 4 DJs on a sloped icy dance floor says anything, they’re very stable and comfortable!