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Hi-Tec introduced the Sierra Lite i WP hiking boots. I got to see a pre-production model at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in January, and received a pair to test. The conditions in the later winter months in Western Pennsylvania can vary from one day to the next. A fluffy covering of snow can disappear by an end of an unseasonably warm day.
The 2011/2012 winter was one of the mildest on record for the area, and the Sierra Lite i WP boots got some work in some light snow, but the terrain returned to its usual pastel tones of green and brown not too long into March.
The boot has a full-cut upper, so I targeted longer day hikes that were mostly eight miles or longer. The medium length hikes were paired with some tough terrain with trails littered with exposed roots and rocks as big as baby heads.
A spectacular day hike through Coopers Rock, West Virginia with the Pittsburgh Hiking Meetup group was the most severe terrain. The hiking trails are flanked with boulders larger than my 6-foot height. Many smaller rocks spill over onto the trail forcing you to look where your steppinge instead of enjoying the majestic views of the area.
The Sierra Lite I WP boots have a Vibram outsole which is one of its highlights. The Italian company kept true to its reputation, and the multidirectional lug pattern on the outsole provided firm footing on Cooper Rocks choppy trail terrain.
The upper boasts Hi-Tec's ion-mask waterproofing technology. The upper is constructed with nubuck leather and withstood the wintery trails in Hartwood Acres and Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve in February. The snow wasn't terribly deep, but the few inches that settled on the ground did not penetrate the boot's upper. And shallow quick stream crossings during spring hikes did not engulf the inside of the boot.
I carried a lighter load in testing the Sierra Lite i WP with most of my day packs weighing between five to ten pounds. I did not test the boots with a heavier overnight pack, but Hi-Tec does advertise the Sierra Lite i WP are geared for that as well. And based on some of the shaky footing through Coopers Rock that I had to navigate, the ankle support seems capable for overnighters with a much heavier bag.
Hi-Tec even throws in some decent Ortholite footbeds that are much better than most manufacturer provided in hiking boots. (MSRP $180)
Jason Elliot is the Editor and Publisher of OutdoorInformer.com. Elliot has established a respected following with the top industry professionals and gearheads for his nonbiased reviews of outdoor gear and apparel. Elliot is a regular contributor to Examiner.com, Trails.com and other publications on top of his editorial and writing role with OutdoorInformer.com.
Elliot left a successful fifteen-plus year management career that he worked at Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies to pursue his passion for writing about the outdoors. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from La Roche College.
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