The water-phobic boot for winter

Hi-Tec Altitude Ultra boot

If you hadn’t noticed, the snow is very deep and it’s time to dig the waterproof boots out if you haven’t already. I’ve had mine for a couple of years and they’re worth talking about because they’re very waterproof. No, really seriously waterproof. Scientifically you’d call then hydrophobic.

They look like ordinary walking boots from Hi-Tec. They feel like them too. But they’re not.

This is because a company called P2i is involved. It has a process by which the garment is treated at molecular level. It’s a bit like putting a load of boots into a microwave – the top layer of molecules is actually altered subtly so that the water rolls off it. Here’s a YouTube video demonstrating how it works:

I attended the launch of these at the London Aquarium a couple of years ago. I notice the comments on the YouTube video suggest they won’t work for long; my two years suggests they will indeed, but of course if your socks get wet above the boot there’s nothing to stop the water seeping down and making you uncomfortable – not the boot’s fault, a wet sock trickling down from the top just does what it says on the tin.

I’ve been very comfortable in these for a couple of years now and will wear them again today. As the thaw starts I’ll probably switch to golfing shoes – my feet will get wet but they are completely brilliant for grip when the snow turns to ice underfoot.


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