Some time ago I wrote somewhat scathingly about a writer for a national paper suggesting that walking shoes were just as good as walking boots for most hiking purposes. I still don’t agree with him but there are times when you are going for a walk on fairly easy terrain – by that I mean fairly flat, not very stony paths – when a walking boot that goes over the ankle can be unnecessary and rather heavier than needed. With  my current dodgy knee this may be my fate for a while so I thought I would try out a suitable shoe.

A trip to Go-Outdoors was a reminder that there are dozens and dozens of possibilities to choose from.  These days most such shoes are attractive and appear well-made. Most are constructed with a combination of fabric and suede uppers and a sturdy sole. Prices vary enormously from around £30 to well over £100.   I tried several different brands on and most seemed comfortable enough when walking around the shop. So how to choose?

Hi Tec Signal Hill Waterproof Men's Multi-Sport shoe

Hi Tec Signal Hill Waterproof Men’s Multi-Sport shoe

To my good fortune the nice people at High Tec wrote to me around the same time offering a pair of boots or shoes to review. The choice between paying for shoes and not paying is no choice at all as far as I am concerned so  after browsing their own very wide range I plumped for a pair of Signal Hill Waterproof Multi Sport shoes.   In blue – a rather lovely turquoise blue which is a current favourite colour. These cost £74.99 on Hi Tec’s website.

I thought they looked great fresh out of the box. They were sturdy but not heavy. Lacing them up was straightforward –  which is not always the case, some shoes can be quite fiddly. And they were immediately comfortable.  Not in the way that a slip-on shoe can feel comfortable  but in a reassuringly supportive way.

Hi Tec Signal Hill Waterproof Men's Multi-Sport shoe

Hi Tec Signal Hill Waterproof Men’s Multi-Sport shoe

In their new state they were just as presentable as a trainer or other leisure footwear so I just wore them as an ordinary shoe for a couple of days and they were just fine.  Nothing rubbed (they say they have an abrasion resistant heel) or became tight or irritated in any way.

Having passed the walking-about-town test I then went on a “proper” walk with them in my nearby wood. Here they had an opportunity to get a bit muddy and splash through a few puddles and they did that perfectly well. They claim waterproofness and I can’t say that I have tested this out. Even with waterproof boots I find that if the puddle is deep enough or the ground squelchy you can still get water coming over the top of the boot. With a shoe the threshold   for water penetration is that much lower. So they would probably be fine on a firm but wet surface but I wouldn’t expect them to keep me dry if I were to ford a stream.

Hi Tec Signal Hill Waterproof Men's Multi-Sport shoe

Hi Tec Signal Hill Waterproof Men’s Multi-Sport shoe

Even on unchallenging walks it is easy to stumble across something or trip. This shoe has a very reassuringly strong toe cap.  The sole is sturdy enough not to be uncomfortable on stony ground but not so thick as to feel inflexible. Its  elaborate design of zig – zags and grooves and criss-crosses must have been great fun for the designer. I can’t say that I have tested how well it grips in wet weather yet but if I find fault I will update this post.

Hi Tec Signal Hill Waterproof Men's Multi-Sport shoe

Hi Tec Signal Hill Waterproof Men’s Multi-Sport shoe

 

Not being very sporty I don’t think that I am going to find out how suitable they would be for other activities but for a walk in the park I think they are great. But I’d still rather get my knee mended and get back into the hills with my boots.

So where is Signal Hill?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cambrian Way Day 16: Ty’n Cornel hostel to Pontrhydfendigaid

April 16, 2017
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A challenging hike on The Cambrian Way in Ceredigion over difficult but beautiful moorland.   Date walked: 25th January 2017 Distance: about 11 miles Map used: OS Explorer  187- Llandovery Guide book: Cambrian Way by AJ Drake (7th edition) **** We had stayed last night in this most remote but charming  Ty’n Cornel hostel. Paul had been banished […]

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April 2, 2017
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  A wonderful walk on The Cambrian Way in Wales through the beautiful  Doethie valley in Ceredigion, finishing at the most isolated hostel in Wales. Date walked: 24th January 2017 Distance: about 9 miles Map used: OS Explorer  187- Llandovery Guide book: Cambrian Way by AJ Drake (7th edition) ********* Our destination today was a […]

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  Just to re-cap, I had been invited on a press trip via Italian Wonder Ways to be introduced to the pilgrim route called the Via Francigena. This was our third day. Date: 24th September 2016 Location: Tuscany, Italy ************* Hardly a day goes by without my getting emails from my readers demanding another post […]

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February 19, 2017
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A delightful autumnal walk following the Cambrian Way in Carmarthenshire from Llandovery to Rhandirmwyn Date walked: 2nd November 2016 Distance: about 9 miles Map used: OS Explorer  187- Llandovery Guide book: Cambrian Way by AJ Drake (7th edition) ************* I joined  Neil and Paul around 9.15 as they were finishing their Full English (no nod […]

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Cambrian Way day 13: Llanddeusant to Llandovery

February 5, 2017
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A gentle hike through the Carmarthenshire countryside, following the Cambrian Way from Llanddeusant to Llandovery, and encountering some beautiful wild horses Date walked: 1st November 2016 Distance: about 11 miles Map used: OPS Explorer OL 12 – Brecon Beacons National Park (Western Area) Guide book: Cambrian Way by AJ Drake (7th edition) ************** It had […]

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Les Plus Beaux Villages de France: The upper Dordogne, final day – Loubressac to St Cere

January 22, 2017
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For the first time in a weeks walking in the Dordogne we come across the walnuts being harvested. From the village of  Loubressac we followed the edge of the Parc Des Causses De Quercy to the Plus Beaux Village de France of Autoire, visiting the ancient Chateau des Anglais perched on the side of the […]

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Les Plus Beaux Villages de France: The upper Dordogne, Day 3, 4 and 5 – Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne to Loubressac

January 8, 2017
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October 12th: Rest day in Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne October 13th: Beaulieu to Carennac – 10.5 miles October 14th: Carennac to Loubressac – 9.5 miles   This  self-guided walk was booked through Keith Starr of Dordogne Experience. Day 3 was designated a rest day, but we didn’t really feel the need for a rest so we followed a circular […]

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Les Plus Beaux Villages de France: The upper Dordogne, Day 2 – Meyssac to Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne

December 18, 2016
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Those who regularly read this blog may notice a new logo for the UK Blog Awards to the right of this post. I have been nominated in the travel category. I would be very pleased if you would vote for me – before December 19th – by clicking on the logo to link to the voting […]

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Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)