The Eco-Friendly Boot
Walking may be inhenrently green, but as outdoor enthusiasts it’s only natural we want to push ourselves even further – whether it’s taking public transport to get to walking sites, collecting litter on our rambles or campaigning to protect and preserve our local, national and global environment. When it comes to gear, however, comfort and practicality can mean being green takes a back seat. Indeed, some of the wonder materials that make modern walking such a breeze are far from ‘natural’ – which is why Hi-Tec’s new Altitude IV WPi NT Enviro boots are so exciting.
Designed with the environment and your feet in mind, the boots were ‘inspired by’ and launched in association with the National Trust. Both the boots and their packaging are made from natural and recycled materials, with green touches throughout. It starts with the box…
Made from 80% recycled cardboard and, of course, 100% recyclable it’s printed with soy-based inks and comes from an FSC-certified supplier. There’s also a clever fold-out handle than means you don’t need a plastic bag to carry them home, and the wrapping is eco-friendly too. In fact, the only thing we had to put in the rubbish bin was a small, thin plastic sheet, but even this can be recycled if your local recycling collection accepts such items. Opening the box reveals another nice little surprise…
… a small tag on the boots is made from recycled, natural paper – and seeded with wildflowers to help start your own little meadow!
But on to the serious stuff – the actual boots themselves. On initial inspection the Altitude IV WPi NT Enviro looks much like the other boots in Hi-Tec’s range, most notably, of course, the V-Lite Altitude Ultra WPi on which it’s based. Look a bit closer, though, and the eco-friendly features stand out. The most obvious is the recycled rubber outsole, which is made from 15% post consumer waste and thus flecked with little white and grey bits. That, and the slightly foamy-looking tongue and scree collar is our only cosmetic complaint – but well worth the minor trade-off when you considering you’re helping to save the entire planet!
The uppers are constructed using water-based cements, and finished with naturally-dyed, reduced-chrome leather; avoiding the heavy chemical mix required in conventional tanning. Another nice – and equally unnoticable – touch are the recycled metal steel shanks, which are manufactured from 90% post consumer waste. Inside, your feet will find Nature Tex 50/50 lining, a 100% regenerated mesh which uses 50% recycled post consumer waste and 50 % recycled pre-consumer waste from plastics sourced from recycled water bottles. Environmentally that’s great, and we’re sure they’ve made it breathable, but we’ll report back on this point after we’ve given them a good field test.
Even the way the components are made is greener – with something called “Injection Molded EVA” reducing the ammount of waster produced in the making of the cushioning bits. And beyond the product itself, the custom-made retail point-of-sale materials (like boards, stands etc) are manufactured from recycled materials. Heck, even the bag they were shipped to Walk in was biodegradable! So overall, the Altitude IV WPi NT Enviro is a worthy demonstration of how we should consider every stage of the consumer process – from sourcing greener materials to recycling them when we’re done. As Hi-Tec admirably acknowledges, the Altitude IV WPi NT Enviro isn’t the ultimate green solution, but rather “the beginning of an important and significant journey” for the company which will involve “small but greener steps in the right direction.”
The Altitude IV WPi NT Enviro WPi (SRP £90) is fully waterproof and available in men’s sizes 7-12’s (inc ∏’s), women’s 4-9’s (inc ∏’s) and juniors J13-6’s (SRP £50). For stockist information – and your chance to win a walking holiday worth £1000 – visit www.hi-tec.com
In the coming months, walk will be reviewing the Altitude IV WPi NT Enviro to see how it fares out in the field, so stay tuned.