Hi-Tec Para boot review

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Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby silvermanphoto » Feb 19, 2013 4:13 pm

I've just started wearing the great new Hi-Tec Para boot and wanted to report on them.

http://www.hi-tec.com/gl/paraboot

The combat boots I've worn for several years weren't cutting it. They weren't waterproof, took too long to put on, and the side-zip access was always jamming with mud. I wore a pair of Muck Boots but decided that they were too heavy for climbing on rope and for the TAG hikes of a mile or so with 500' or more elevation gains while carrying 20 lbs of rope and gear.

The Para is basically a full-rubber Wellington, waterproof all the way up, that somehow feels like a hiking boot. They're just being introduced into the U.S. market, and I found them on Amazon for $85 (for some reason, different Amazon retailers sell them as high as $135, but one of the stores on Amazon sells it for $85.) Has a Vibram sole with a really aggressive tread that has given great traction. In a trip to the back half of The Gouffre the treads were full of really sticky mud, but it handled the mud mountain up to the Motis Room without any slipping, and I had no trouble climbing breakdown piles afterwards even with the treads full of mud.

It doesn't have laces, just a pull-tight fastener, which means that the size is a little flexible: I usually wear a 10.5 shoe and bought the size 10 Paras, and the fit is perfect, not loose in any way. The rubber material (neoprene-lined inside) is bulletproof (well, cave-proof, anyway) and after about four long trips it's taken no scuffs. Looks brand-new after I hose the mud off each trip. They work great on rope too, my Pantin ascender fits well on my left boot and the right was easy to slip into my foot loop.

The ankle is a bit lower than I wish it was and I wonder if I'm more likely to twist my ankle without a high boot, but except for that, it's so much better than my old boots in every other way. Now that I can splash through shallow streams without a second thought, I wonder why it took me so long to buy a waterproof boot.

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Re: Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby Lava » Feb 20, 2013 11:21 am

Thanks for the review! I'm extremely tempted to get these. I like the idea of using them not only as caving boots, but also as hiking boots on the long-distance hikes to the caves here out west. Do you think they'd be comfortable hikers? Also, are they heavy?
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Re: Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby Scott McCrea » Feb 20, 2013 11:43 am

This looks like a good boot. However, I have never associated even a little bit of quality with the Hi-Tec brand. I hope this proves me wrong. Let us know how they are holding up.
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Re: Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby UnderGroundEarth » Feb 20, 2013 11:53 am

Marty Abercrombie has been wearing these boots caving and pit bouncing. Although, I think he got his for MUCH MUCH cheaper, around $30 or so.
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Re: Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby mabercrombie » Feb 20, 2013 12:10 pm

I got mine for about $40 bucks on Steep and cheap (or one of the other discount outdoor gear websites). I have been using them for about 3 months and so far I am really impressed with them. They have a super aggressive/deep vibram lug sole and area almost as comfortable as my hiking boots. The eyelets used to hold the drawstrings in place concern me, they protrude from the boots a little and will probably get torn off in a crawl or something. The overall quality seems to be about as good as the newer bata-boots.
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Re: Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby Carl Amundson » Feb 20, 2013 12:14 pm

They look good, I wish they came in a wide width.
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Re: Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby Caver John » Feb 21, 2013 12:11 pm

With the whole outside of the boot as rubber, they probably don't breath very well. This could cause uncomfortably wet feet for those of us who sweat alot. Has anyone had that problem?
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Re: Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby silvermanphoto » Feb 21, 2013 5:13 pm

Scott, I'd say they're about as tough as my Swaygo :) Of course, I burned a hole in my Swaygo recently by crawling through mud with a halogen spotlight inside, so I guess nothing is indestructible when you let cavers play with it.

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Re: Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby BrianFrank » Mar 13, 2013 2:39 pm

silvermanphoto wrote:Scott, I'd say they're about as tough as my Swaygo :) Of course, I burned a hole in my Swaygo recently by crawling through mud with a halogen spotlight inside, so I guess nothing is indestructible when you let cavers play with it.
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The detachable webbing has really helped us out. This past Friday someone in our caving group needed help being pulled through a tight hole. It was simple to take the webbing off the Swaygo and throw the end to pull him up.
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Re: Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby Cavermax » Apr 21, 2013 9:06 am

I just recently got in my new pair of para boots. I have not caved in them yet but I have been wearing them everywhere I go and I freaking love them. These things fit my feet like a glove and my feet do not slide in them even on steep hillsides. I have noticed a couple of very small places (very small) where the sole bonds with the boot that was not perfect but a small dab of shoe goo took care of that. I like to wear a thin pair of poly pro liner socks inside the boot and with the neoprene lining my feet stay perfectly warm. I have not noticed too much sweating, even out side fishing on a 70 degree day. When I bought these boots I made sure to buy in american sizes not european ( there is a difference ) I bought a size ten american and I wear a 10 1/2. I could not believe how well the boots tightened over the whole surface of the boot really securing my feet in them. I do wish that they were a bit taller but they cover my ankle and I really don't think the danger of twisting it is increased by the slightly lower boot. The Boot has a small cutout just at the bending portion of the boot which allows for wrinkle free flexion in the boot. I always hated this about rubber boots since over time it could really start to create a hot-spot on my ankle. These guys are easy on and off so removing them to pour out water or remove a rock is nothing more than a brief 20 second stop. If they hold up these will have to be one of the best caving boots I have ever put on my feet.
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Re: Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby werewolf » Apr 21, 2013 11:27 am

junkman wrote:They look good, I wish they came in a wide width.


Extra wide in my case.
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Re: Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby Hunabku » Jul 8, 2013 8:52 am

Can anyone that has actively been caving in these boots give an updated report?

I ordered a pair of Wellco Gen2 Hot weather boots ($100+) and the sole fell off the right boot on the second cave trip.

I am trying to decide on wether or not I should even consider these.

I ordered my girl a pair of Mic Canyons from France and they are ideal, but I fear getting the size wrong for me would be a major hassle and $$$.

If these Para's are failing to meet the demands I guess I'll have no choice...

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Re: Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby mabercrombie » Jul 8, 2013 9:58 am

I have been caving in mine for several months and have nothing bad to say. I recently wore them for a 6 mile (round trip) hike to a wet river cave and they were every bit as comfortable as my hiking boots. The only complaints I have is that they do not grip as well as a new pair of bata boots, they do grip better than an old pair of bata boots, and that once they are wet the neoprene keeps them wet for much longer than other boots.
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Re: Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby silvermanphoto » Jul 12, 2013 9:39 am

An update 5 months later: Boots still look like new after I hose the cave off them each trip. Not a shred of wear on them, they're really bulletproof. Marty is right that they take several days to dry when the neoprene inside eats soaked.

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Re: Hi-Tec Para boot review

Postby Hunabku » Jul 15, 2013 8:47 am

Thanks for the updated reviews. I guess I am going get a pair.

Anybody seen any good deals on them out there? Best I am finding is around $115 on Amazon.

ETA: I found some for $78 but they don't have my usual size.

Have you guys found these to run larger or smaller than your usual size?
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