December 1st, 2010 by Ben
With all of the technology and engineering Hi-Tec has put into their designs, they really have shoe making down to a science. The M550 is the newest incarnation from Hi-Tec and our playtesters received it with open arms. This shoe hybrids technology and materials used in previous 4:SYS and H700 models to create the perfect player’s shoe. Unbeatable support and a light breathable upper combined with the locking lace system gives your foot the superior ventilation that is usually cast aside with the stifling materials used to provide support.
Our testers tried this shoe out for an average of 20 hours and gave it an overall rating of 4 out of 5. Though views were slightly varied throughout the categories they all agreed that Hi-Tec has produced a high performance shoe for a wide range of skill levels. Our testers for this playtest ranged from B to Top 10 Pro in skill and from 15 to 55 in age. We have paraphrased our tester’s comments below for easier reading:
Out of the box, the shoes were comfortable to wear and had a minimal break-in period. Comfort and Arch Support both received a 4 out of 5 rating on average. After allowing adaptation to the new materials during court movement, all of the testers agreed that the shoes exhibited aspects of comfort that allowed them to forget that they were even wearing shoes, commenting that, “after the initial break in [they] were very comfortable. It is one of the few shoes I’ve worn that allows you not to think about the shoes while playing.”
Foot Support / Stability- 4.5
Stability is where this shoe really shined. All of our testers agreed that the stability was outstanding, “The most stable low tops I have worn.” Even our testers with ankle troubles found the shoe to be very supportive and reassuring when it came to planting and changing directions. Typically stability is sacrificed at the expense of comfort, as softer materials tend to be more comfortable, but lack the stability of a stiffer structure. This was not the case for the M550 as our testers found that the stability played nicely with the comfort.
Backing up the stability was the traction of the shoe, which was well received by our testers. One of the players mentioned that, “On one occasion I was playing with an individual that was slipping all over the court, and I had no problems while wearing the Hi-Tec shoe.” The Peak Force gum rubber outsole is what can take credit for the great traction our testers experienced on a variety of different surfaces.
The only complaints to come from our testers pertained to the fit of the shoe, commenting that the opening seemed a little small, which caused some discomfort with the positioning of the tongue on the foot. The stiff materials presented a problem for some at first but after a brief break in period they could all agree it was not an issue.
With comfort, traction, and stability highlighting the performance of this shoe, it is easy to see how Hi-Tec hit the mark for those looking for a competitive high performance shoe. The testers spoke on their experience and Hi-Tec has the science to back it up, now it’s your turn to give these shoes a run for your money and see how a well-made shoe can amplify your experience on court.