Review: Hi-tec MultiTerra trail shoes
A girl can’t spend every day cycling. Indeed, I am looking forward to returning to my usual multi-sports life once I’ve hauled myself around the mighty Bealach Mor Cycle Sportive in a fortnight’s time.
The other day I only had an hour free and so instead of heading out for a short bike ride (anything less than 2 hours on the bike seems unsatisfactory these days!) I went for an off-road run. Since I’ve not run a great deal over the last few months (due to the cycling) I wasn’t about to set any speed records but I did find my legs coped pretty well with the uphills. I discovered that hours in the bike saddle have built stronger glutes, thighs and calf muscles.
I also took the opportunity to test-drive a new pair of Hi-tec trail trainers. Aimed at the growing adventure athletes’ market the Hi-tec Multiterra Traga HPI trainers include a long list of features. Check our the official Hi-tec site for further details. The features I was most interested in were the sole; the mesh upper that prevents debris getting in but allows excess water from boggy land or rivers to escape; the feel of the shoe while running and walking; and the fit.
One thing, before I get started, I want a little rant about the lack of women’s trainers over the size of 8. I am a size 8.5. I know a lot of other women who have feet bigger than an 8, too. While we could choose to wear men’s shoes this means we also need the same wider foot as the average man. My feet, however, are a size 8.5 and very narrow so I require a narrower-fit women’s shoe in an 8.5. Come on all your manufacturers, it’s time to extend your sizing for women. (One of the few makes that I have found that fits a narrower foot is Inov-8. I do wonder how people with wider feet manage with Inov-8s though!)
Anyway, back to the Hi-tec Multiterras. At £60 they are well priced and the minute I popped them on they felt comfy. There was quite a lot of shoe, including Nubuck leather and comfortable lining, for the money. The elastic/toggled laces are also a great detail and are ideal for easy slip on-and-off and for getting the right fit. I think it would be better if the toggle could sit on top of the shoe when tightened instead of against the foot but it didn’t bother me too much when out and about.
Out on the trail the shoes offered “great feel”. What I mean by this is that I could feel the ground underfoot. This isn’t so good for harder surfaces but when running off-road I like to be able to feel the ground beneath me. It feels more like barefoot running and gives me greater confidence of foot placement. These shoes are ideal for trail running. There’s enough comfort and grip for this kind of terrain. On particularly muddy paths or wet grass then the grip is not as good so I’m not sure I would use them for a steep hillside.
Running through puddles the water does come in but it quickly disperses. The Multiterras also felt robust enough to last a season of trail running. The soles are well made and should also put up with a lot of wear and tear especially at the toe end, which always takes a hammering when off-road.
I would have liked a slimmer fit but my 8.5 feet meant I needed a men’s shoe. I felt my foot moving a bit from left to right but a thicker sock mostly eliminated this. I can see these shoes being a favourite for trail running in parks and where there are good off-road routes. For hills, steep climbs and descents and muddier conditions I’ll most like stick to my trusty Inov-8s.
In summary, buy the Hi-tecs if you’re starting to venture into some off-road trails. For the price they are a great entry-level off-road runner’s shoe and should see you through you first couple of seasons if you also combine off-road running with on-road in your normal trainers. My other thought is that they would be ideal for walking off-road, for easier-going adventure races and for water-based activities such as sailing.