Hi-Tec Boots featuring Ion-Mask Technology

I heard about the Hi-Tec Ion-Mask boots with a so called new water repellent polymer technology a while ago and initially thought it was just a gimmick – how wrong I was! Now I have a pair of these bad boys and before I go on about the techie side of them lets talk about the shoes themselves.

The Boots

Most of the time when something is being sold as a new technology you often expect the basics to be lacking – but not here. The soles are from Vibram, a leading performance brand. What surprised me about these soles were that, unlike a lot of sub £100 boots, the soles and traction actually weren’t a consistent hardness all over. The benefit with this is that the parts that aren’t as rigid offer more flexibility than others soles, so when you move around you realise that your not as restricted with your movements as you might expect with a standard pair of boots.

Before trying these on, my boots of choice were Scarpas mainly because of the build and especially their comfort. Well these boots have gone one better in the comfort zone, offering a lighter, more trainer like feel but without sacrificing any of the performance aspects. The inner soles are also excellent and have a good sculptured shape that fits snug without feeling cramped but whilst letting your feet breathe.

The build and stitch quality live up to the rest of the boot’s specs and one of the parts I really like is how the tongue is only loose halfway down with a webbing like effect all over. The materials used feel strong but lighter and with this you don’t get the feeling that something heavy and bulky is strapped to your feet.

Ion-Mask Technology

Okay now the science part. You can’t resist dipping these Hi-Tec boots in water when you get them and then you begin to realise this water repellent polymer technology isn’t just a clever marketing ploy – it really does work. If you do this to a normal leather boot the water will begin to get absorbed into the leather and effectively ruin them. With these Ion-Mask boots the water just repels off as beads. For most boots this kind of effect can be achieved by waxing the leather part but this doesn’t last and you can’t wax any other materials parts. Ion-Masking technology, however, can be applied to any material (polymers, metals, fabrics, ceramics, glass and paper) allowing it to keep its material properties but repelling oil and water at the same time.

So how does the Ion-Mask technology work? The technology was developed by P2i Ltd (part of the UK Ministry of Defence) and is part of their patented plasma enhancement technology which has taken 6 years of research and development. Plasma is used because of it’s unique molecular properties at binding porous or complex objects on a sub-microscopic scale. The surface of the object is enhanced by gaining the properties of the deposited polymer, while leaving the other desirable properties of the object completely unaltered. This process is much more efficient using less raw materials and no need for aggressive heating compared to a conventional dipping method and is therefore much more environmentally friendly.

Pictures of the Hi-Tec Ion-Mask boots


These boots initially look to be rather gimmicky but even taking away this polymer technology you still have a fantastic, comfortable, solid, lightweight performance boot. Then add this technology, which actually does work exactly as stated, and you are looking at an extremely well priced boot that is built for even the most rugged terrain and weather.

The only negative points I have are that I would have liked an all black version and it would have been nice if the shoelaces had the polymer technology as with the rest of the shoe. However, I was so impressed I have added it to my Christmas gadgets list. This is one not to be missed available in sizes for men and women (see below).


25 thoughts on “Hi-Tec Boots featuring Ion-Mask Technology

  1. PeteJ

    Nice to see some Star Wars type technology that this is actually functional and these look awesome hiking boots.

    Interested in what other outdoor wear can benefit from this technology.

    Added to my Christmas list – Dear Santa…

  2. Simon Page Post author

    Ion Mask technology is more than fine – its great.

    I have been wearing a pair for well over a month now and have had a few scuffs but I haven’t noticed any problems because of it.

    You would need to slice the surface of the boots off to make any real impact on the ion mask – I can’t think of any activity where this would happen?

  3. Phil Haines

    This is a reply to my email to Hi-Tec regarding the problems of scuffing.
    “Regarding your question on how to care for these boots, we have been advised to inform our customers of the following ….
    Do not use any alcohol based cleaners or solutions. If need to be cleaned, wipe over with a damp cloth and dry naturally away from any direct heat.
    Do not need to protect with anything before use.
    Normal boot polish can be used to keep the leather supple if required, as long as the polish is not alcohol based.
    We do recommend our customers to Nikwax with regard to cleaning products – they can advise the best product to use.
    Hope the above information is of help to you and that you continue to enjoy your new boots!!”

  4. Graham

    Bought these after reading this page, because Hi-Tec’s website a bit complicated and I couldn’t find a pause button. Got them for fishing when it’s raining and also just in case I accidentally step into the water, which I have done on countless occasions. Normal boots soak up water no matter how much waxing I applied, so these were a godsend. Have been using for about a month and have had dry (and therefore warm) feet all day every time I go fishing. Thanks for the info.

  5. pattherat

    just got a pair of ion-mask boots.wow didnt even have to break them in straight up ben arthur it was like wearing trainers,but due to some scrambling i have givien them a good few scuffs,will Dubbin or polish be best

  6. Doug Scriven

    Just bought a pair of ion-mask boots today, I went for a six mile walk over the moor two hours after buying them to try them out and I was amazed how comfortable they were.
    The moor is saturated after weeks of rain and little if any fine weather, my feet were bone dry after the walk and I felt as though I had had the boots for months, no unpleasant breaking in at all.
    Well done hi-tec

  7. pattherat

    bought a pair of these boots in april 09…and had to hand them back today 28 december 09….why? coz they were letting the wet stuff in!was told it was a bad batch and instead of refund took another pair to TRY OUT again,was really dissapointed by the leak because they were great boots straight onto the munro’s with them no breaking in at all.so fingers crossed it really was a BAD BATCH.p.s. the leak was the bottom three eyelets .

  8. Simon Page Post author

    @pattherat – I’m sure it is a bad batch as you are the first negative comment I have heard about these boots and both my pairs have been going strong for over a year now. Let me know how you get on with the other pair. All the best.

  9. Mat

    I got a pair of hi tec sonoma ion mask at first the water just rolled off, but now after just a month my feet are still dry but the water doesn’t bead off like they did when new. Should this happen or should I get them to swop for a new pair.

  10. Dave

    Hi, I’ve had two pairs of these ion mask boots now. Over the past couple of years I use them two to three times a week and have never cleaned them. The first pair I bought when they were first advertised did leak at the tongue attachment. I checked online and contacted hi-tech who advised I sent them to there testing facility. They were quickly replaced by a brand new pair of the new version. I can honestly say they are lite, totally waterproof and comfortable to use. The only thing I would say against them is that they like to shred laces. But I can forgive this minor indiscretion as I still totally love them. I wish lots more stuff was ion masked.

  11. Neil Alexander-Boxall

    I purchased a pair for both my wife and myself over a year ago after extensive research online. Both were instantly comfortable and we use them nearly every weekend for 10-12 mile walks. Our feet are always dry even when walking through long wet grass. – One question though – how do I cover the scuffs at the toe area of the leather?

  12. Peter Sanderson

    Just got a pair of these from Amazon having had a pair of Hi-tech Whistler 600. and so was confident in the sizing. I was right they have gone on and feel as comfortable as my old boots. Looking forward to doing some long distance walking in them next year.

  13. J. Cusworth

    I have had my Ironmask boots for two years and have loved them but the last couple of times of wearing them they have let in the wet from the grass. My local Tog 24 shop (where I purchased them) suggested that I use their own brand Leather Conditioner to cover the scuffs. There is nothing on the jar to say that it contains alcahol and so I don’t know if this is why the problem has started. If any one knows if anything can be done to make them waterproof again I would be pleased to give it a try as I am so disappointed with them now.

  14. J Ramsden

    So what happens when the Ion Mask eventually wears out (or off)? I’ve had these Hi Tec Altitude WPi boots for just over a year now and they are starting to let in water. Am I safe to start using boot polish and / or dubbin on them and if so, what’s the best brand or type to use?

  15. Ken Pawley

    A very pertinent question from J Ramsden but a resounding silence since Dec 15th. Where have you gone Simon Page, a nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you?


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