I've recently been looking for a new generation hiking shoe - something lightweight yet stable, something all purpose and something that is easy on the eye (I've been called something of a 'stylish mountain goat' so no pressure!).

Luckily for me I came across this beauty from Hi-Tec and I thought it may just be the shoe I've been waiting for. It was time to put them through its paces.

It's described as the ultimate crossover shoe as it will literally take you straight from the mountains right to a flat-white in Bree street, Cape Town. It's a lifestyle urban adventure shoe that fits the modern man about town and country! So, enough talk, let's walk! 

Test 1: Urban

So I felt very fly cruising around my hood! The Bo-Kaap hills take no prisoners, so I must say, I loved how secure and supported my feet felt. They quickly shaped into the impact-absorbing OrthoLite® foam insoles and I was really surprised by the additional arch support and special heel cradle. They also stabilised my ankle on the uneven roads where even Uber drivers fear to tread. I now ask the question: cobblestone roads? Which cobblestone roads? 

Test 2: Mountain

I picked up the pace with a little run up a steep singletrack with loose ground and rocks. It was time to test the grip and support factor. Having a lightweight shoe really makes you nimble on the loose rocks but the real bonus is that you are not slip-sliding away.

Purposely I stepped on rocks of all shapes and sizes (I don't discriminate against any particular rock, I like them all) and the impact was nicely absorbed. However, the sole remained a bit stiff and hard, which is something to get used to. The lace up system is very well designed and the overall foot support really impressed me. I felt very comfortable that my ankle and foot was safely secured with enough movement in the toebox. The upper mesh and synthetic part also proved to keep out the debris after I shot through some loose ground on a downhill section. The i-Shield technology also worked wonders as the shoe was easy to clean after my foray in the dirt. 


Test 3: Multi-terrain

The rest of the day I spent drifting between the city centre, sipping on coffee and taking the dog for a walk in the mountains. The shoes proved to have excellent breathability and no signs of initial blisters or 'numbness' (hooray! always a plus with a new shoe!)

The last test was not planned, but I did take the dog-child on a quick skateboard cruise and we both approved the grip and fun factor of the V-lite's with flying colours! 

Final comments


  • Impressive outer-sole grip for up and downhill all-terrain

  • Lightweight, comfortable and all-round foot support

  • Easy and straight forward lace system, creating superb ankle support

  • Strong synthetic & mesh protection layers, keeping dirt, water and debris out

  • Perfect for a mix of long local hikes and urban city walks


  • Some stiffness in the sole on the hard terrain which needs some getting used to

  • Not ideal for technical trail running

  • Toebox has enough space, but the big toe tends to push against the front on steep decent sections

Technical facts: 

  1. V-Lite: Reduction in weight of all used materials and components.

  2. i-Shield: an invisible protective layer that repels water and dirt, leaving no stains or water damp.

  3. OrthoLite® Impressions: insoles with slow recovery foam delivers superior cushioning and long lasting comfort.

  4. MDT (Multi Directional Traction): outsole with multi directional lugs for superior grip and quick release of dirt.

  5. XLR8: shock absorbing midsole which is 10% lighter, provides 10% greater rebound and 10% better energy absorption than regular EVA.

Overall: I'm really impressed with these shoes and I would recommend to add the V-Lite Wild Life I Low to your adventure gear. It's definitely a multi-sport and functional shoe for outdoor activity, yet stylish enough to rock them with your everyday lifestyle outfit. These shoes are a great hybrid for off-road and on-road activities - the balance between these two terrains really is the happy place for the Hi-Tec Wild Life V-lite's! 

Go Hi-Tec!

The Secret Adventurer