How to describe the Hi-Tec Sensor GT?
It’s like a trail running shoe fell in love with a slinky low-cut hiking boot, and this is their love child.
It leans more to its hiking than its running pedigree, thanks to its sturdy upper and fairly chunky midsole, and its 490g mass*. Compare that weight with most performance trail shoes, which are in the 250g to 300g range in the same size (men’s size UK 11).
It is classic swings and roundabouts though: that extra bulk means it will be better for some people new to hiking as well as make them feel more confident on short trail runs over scary technical and rocky terrain.
I spent some time in them at the Oxpecker, a two-day trail run in KwaZulu-Natal’s Battlefields area in early June. I didn’t run the event in them, but wore them as my before and after shoes.
They really were brilliant at keeping my feet warm during the chilly June evenings. Their fairly bulky uppers mean they’re excellent at insulation, as well as protecting feet from injury (like stubbing your toes on rocks, or bruising the underside of your feet when you step on sharp pointy rocks).
However, during the day, and while wearing them back at the Durban office, I found them hot, rigid, and not breathable, especially on short walks. I do prefer lightweight, flexible shoes for both walking and running, but each to their own.
The Sensor GT will undoubtedly be appreciated once the mercury drops. I’d definitely rather be wearing these while hiking in cold conditions than a pair of dainty minimalist trail shoes.
It has a removable EVA innersole which is handy to dry the shoe quicker should it get wet, as well as for airing the inside of the shoe after activity.
Its compression-moulded EVA midsole, gave it cushioning that added to the shoes’ comfort when I walked over rocky areas. You simply have to think less when the shoe is chunkier than when it is less protective. Different horses for different courses.
The carbon rubber outsole has aggressive lugs and these mean your traction over less grippy surfaces (think: rocks, mud) is better. On the flipside, the spaces between the lugs are perfect for mud to collect, so expect your feet to start feeling rather heavy after not too many paces. Ultimately, grip has to be valued over lightness.
The Sensor GT is a beefy, well-built shoe that will venture almost anywhere you want to go. Should you need to run from A to B, you can, but it doesn’t pretend to be a real trail shoe.
*For UK size 11, weighed with a little mud on the outsole.