A number of reviewers say the Hi-Tec Altitude IV Waterproof for men and Hi-Tech Glide Waterproof for women represent a great value. It boasts excellent traction in all types of terrain, including wet rock. The boot's seam-sealed construction is reasonably waterproof if you're willing to treat the leather every so often, and you can usually expect a year or two of heavy use out of them.
Spartan comfort. A few detractors call the Hi-Tec Altitude IV Waterproof's footbed hard, with very little cushioning. In one case the owner had hoped to hike in thin socks -- although that's not usually the best choice for a leather hiking boot -- only to be disappointed by the lack of padding. The insole is removable, however, so you can always substitute your own. A substantial, supportive arch is a high point for many users, and these boots fit true to size.
At just under 2.5 pounds for the average men's pair, the Hi-Tec Altitude Waterproof is respectably light and, better yet, owners say it doesn't need any break-in period. "10 minutes in, they are like an old friend," writes one reviewer at Campmor.com.
Stands firm on wet rock. Although we found the occasional criticism -- like one SportsAuthority.com poster who says, "traction is a little unstable on snow" -- most users rave about the Hi-Tec Altitude IV's performance in all conditions, including on slippery wet logs and rocks. Maintaining good traction on wet rock is a weak point for many otherwise excellent hiking boots, especially relatively stiff leather models.
Given the Altitude IV's low price, the continual praise for its excellent traction is a pleasant surprise. Reviewers point out that it's not supportive enough for backpacking with a heavy pack, but it does well for hiking over rugged terrain.
Great value. The Hi-Tec Altitude IV isn't going to win any longevity awards, but that doesn't stop hikers from purchasing them repeatedly. "They seem to last about a year before starting to show much wear and tear," writes a Campmor.com user who's on his seventh pair. A SportsAuthority.com poster says he's on his eighth pair of these boots and considers them to be a great value.
The Altitude IV is extremely popular as a work boot, too. Whether they're hiking or working, owners admit the waterproofing doesn't last forever, but say it holds up reasonably well if you occasionally re-treat the leather. Overall durability can vary widely. One Campmor.com user got only about 70 miles of use from his pair before the treads began tearing away; another says at SportsAuthority.com that he managed five years of waterproof use from his boots. In general, the Hi-Tec seems to average one to two years of service.
Review Credibility: Good About 375 Amazon.com shoppers review the men's version of the Hi-Tec Altitude IV, giving it 4.4 stars out of 5. Most say the boots are comfortable and amazingly durable for the price, although some users go through about a pair a year.
Review: Hi-Tec Men's Altitude IV Hiking Boot, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2013
2. Sports Authority
Review Credibility: Good Roughly 40 reviewers give the Hi-Tec Altitude IV Waterproof an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 at SportsAuthority.com. They say the boot offers great traction and doesn't require a break-in period. Some like the Altitude IV so much that they purchase multiple pairs, just in case it's discontinued in the future.
Review: Hi-Tec Altitude IV Waterproof Hiking Boot Mens, Contributors to SportsAuthority.com, As of March 2013
Review Credibility: Good The Hi-Tec Altitude IV is one of the more popular hiking boots listed at Campmor.com, with a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 after more than 20 user reviews. Many praise the shoe's comfort and lack of a break-in period, although we found one complaint about a hard footbed and another concerning tread that tore away from the outsole after just 70 miles of use.
Review: Hi-Tec Altitude IV Hiking Boots - Men's, Contributors to Campmor.com, As of March 2013
Review Credibility: Good More than 70 owners review the Hi-Tec Altitude IV, giving it 4.5 stars out of 5 and praising its comfort, durability and overall value. Quite a few bought it to wear at work.
Review: Men's Hi-Tec Altitude IV WP, Contributors to OnlineShoes.com, As of March 2013
Review Credibility: Good More than 20 Trailspace.com customers post feedback on the Hi-Tec Altitude IV. It gets only 4 stars out of 5, but is still one of the top-rated hiking boots here. Hikers say traction is excellent even on wet rocks.
Review: Hi-Tec Altitude IV WP, Contributors to Trailspace.com, As of March 2013