Earlier in the week we were sent a pair of Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity HPi shoes for women so we’ve spent our weekend running around the peak district testing the shoes against the elements. The shoes are designed specifically for adventure sports such as trail running.
First up, design. We were sent the black/aquamatic/squash version which looks stylish and feminine. The shoes have reflective safety details, mainly by the laces and on the toe cap, for improved visibility. They also have a seamless upper design coupled with a breathable mesh. However, we were not so keen on the plasticy coating (the heat seal overlays) covering parts of the shoe. The outsole, meanwhile, is a Vibram sole with Flex-Zone Outsole Technology, and a EVA midsole and dual density EVA.
One of the first things you notice about the shoes is how light they are. A pair of size 4 V-Lite Infinity’s weigh in at around 550 g. This has been achieved by using the aforementioned heat seal reinforced overlays to provide additional lightweight support, and a lightweight 3D counter balance midsole.
In terms of comfort, the Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity HPi shoes were very comfortable to wear. The fit is nice and snug, and the Seamless Upper Zone Engineering mesh in the upper part of the shoe is able to mould to your feet for a more customised fit. The shoe offers plenty of support while the raised area in the sole by the heel area (which is also noticeable from the exterior) gives you that extra bit of cushioning during harder impact.
It is obvious that Hi-Tec has not had to compromise on performance for weight. The V-Lite Infinity HPi shoes have been treated with ion-mask technology. About the technology, all I can say is wow. Just wow. Ion-mask is a plasma technology which alters the surface of the shoes in order to provide superior liquid repellency properties. So unlike conventional DWR treatments, which can add weight and bulk to a shoe, ion-mask does not affect the existing performance properties or weight of a shoe. The treatment is invisible.
As a result of the treatment, when the shoe comes into contact with water, the water simply rolls off the surface in beads. Its pretty fascinating to watch actually, and we’re very impressed by the technology. After splashing around in muddy puddles, we also noticed that the shoes held off the dirt pretty well too. Although there were a few mud stains at the end of our test, we expected them to be in a much muddier state. We also noticed that the shoes were very quick to dry. This is because ion-mask reduces the uptake of water.
In terms of grip, the V-Lite Infinity HPi shoes were excellent on rocky areas and standard trail surfaces. However, on wetter and muddier trails, as well as on wet grassy areas, they provided a good level of stability but probably lacked that cutting edge to provide the runner with 100% confidence on such routes.
There is no question about the durability of the Infinity shoes. The Vibram sole is extremely sturdy while the moulded toe cap provides extra protection in this area.
Overall, we were pretty impressed by the Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity HPi shoes for women. A definite draw of the shoes is the ion-mask technology. In our opinion, the upper material does not even feel waterproof and considering how thin the material is, we were very impressed that water could not penetrate through it.
If you want to know more about the Infinity range of shoes head over to www.hi-tec.com/infinity