Design: 4.5 / 5
Quality: 4 / 5
Performance: 4 / 5
Comfort: 4.5 / 5
Value for Money: 4 / 5
For many kids who grew up in the 90s, myself included, Hi-Tec was synonymous with providing many feet with rugged protection with a range of sneakers for youngsters. May marked an important mark for Hi-Tec sports – a few weeks back, the company relaunched their brand of sneakers with the release of the all-new HTS74 range (the 74 marking the year the company was founded). With the ever-increasing popularity of classic sneakers, it made logical sense that the company, with roots dating back to the 70s, and extending some 44 years, reached into their archives to inspire a fresh new take on their own classics. Thus, two new silhouettes were born – the Badwater 146 and Badwater 157. I received a pair of the Hi-Tec HTS74 Badwater 146 in the White, Evergreen and Purple colourway and was immediately struck by the retro look and feel of the sneakers.
Design and Quality
There’s no doubting the classic beauty that is the Badwater 146. Having hit the streets with the stand-out white sneakers for the first time a few weeks back, I was intrigued by the amount of attention it drew from passes by. On occasion, I was even stopped for a question or two about the sneakers, the most common of which were: “What sneakers are those?” and “Where do I buy those sneakers?” I wouldn’t have expected the first question, the upper features the very distinctive, trademark “harpoon” logo, which quickly refreshes their memory once I’ve responded. In addition to the large logo on both outer panels, the sneaker also includes branding on the sole (“Hi-Tec”), on the heel (“Badwater 146”), tongue (“Hi-Tec”) and on the heel tag (“Hi-Tec”). It is, then, very easy to spot, and very distinctively a Hi-Tec silhouette.
Hi-Tec Sports doesn’t just want the HTS74 range to be yet another retro drop, but assures to present modern and functional trainers. The 146 is available in various colourways, also including “Warm Grey, White and Orange”, “White, Sage Green and Gum”, “Grey and Black”, and “Black, Sage Green and White”. However, the “White, Evergreen and Purple” colourway is by far stands out the most, both in terms of visual appeal, as well as bringing together the classic look thanks to the pastel colours. The shoe is predominately white, with Green and ‘Evergreen’ overlays accents scattered throughout. The colour palette is completed by the Blue lining, which is featured on top of the “Harpoon” logo, as well as on the rim of the shoe opening. The overall look, then, is very similar to what you may have found on the courts of Wimbledon all those years ago with its vintage appeal.
There are a number of mixed elements also scattered in with the design, which include the mesh upper, leather heel, heel tag and toe, as well as a plastic mesh across the middle where most of the shoe’s flex happens, strengthening the overall build. All these elements make for a unique design and feel of the HTS74 Badwater 146.
Performance and Comfort
When it comes to performance and comfort, the 146 continues its classic approach by featuring the original Airball Concept tech, a patented pressurized cylinder seated in the heel of the shoe. While air cushioning and other forms of sneaker technologies have come a long way in 40 years when it comes to sneaker comfort and stride cushioning, the retro Airball fitted to the HTS74 sneakers does a good job at keeping the impact down while walking. In conjunction with the soft rubberised sole, I found the 146 almost perfect for my walking ‘style’. Having already been reprimanded on a regular basis for accidentally sneaking up on people due to my light and inaudible stride, I found that the 146s provided an even quieter step when I walked, and I loved it. The angle at which my foot reaches the ground during my stride matches almost perfectly to that of the sole curvature, which creates less impact when walking.
The 146 is geared towards the modern sneakerhead, mixing a retro look with a modern appeal. As a result, however, you won’t get much additional support when it comes to running, as the “bounce back” isn’t all that great. That said, would you really want to ruin a piece of art by running around the neighbourhood or gym? I thought so.
From first glance, the Hi-Tec HTS74 Badwater 146 grabbed my attention, and it was clear to see that it grabbed everyone else’s too when hitting the town. The 146 is a fashion statement and designed to turn heads wherever you go. The unit is available at a retail price of R1,999 and is able to hold its own against the more entrenched sneaker brands. To get your hands on the range of Hi-Tec Sports HTS74 Badwater sneakers, head on over to the local HTS74 site and place your order directly.
The comeback collection is here – a reflection of the past and future.