Growing up in the United Kingdom throughout the nineties and early 2000s, HI-TEC was a brand that evoked P.E. and after-school club vibes. They were the shoes your dad wore to play squash, or that one pair of gym shoes your mum owned for near-on a decade that never wore away.
To give them some credit, they were certainly sneakers made to last.
Following a period where the brand hit its biggest global revenues through sports apparel throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s, HI-TEC launched HTS74 in early 2017, a more lifestyle-focused footwear sub-line that looked to combine the brand’s outdoor capabilities, with more modern and street savvy aesthetics.
And while HTS74’s intention was to reimagine old styles through a contemporary lens, it certainly wasn’t made to alter the HI-TEC narrative.
“HTS74 was not launched to change HI-TEC past perceptions, [it] was launched to influence and attract a younger fashion-forward-thinking consumer looking for brands that have authenticity and connect with their own unique personalities and values,” says Ian Cameron, Managing Director at HI-TEC Europe.
“We know consumers who remember HI-TEC from their school days are now middle-aged and actively searching to reminisce and reflect on their past. For HI-TEC, we have always considered this a unique brand strength, that we invite our consumers with a passionate emotive recall about our brand and products.”
Amidst a world where both the sneaker and streetwear scenes have never been so congested, it might seem a little optimistic for a brand like HTS74 to garner a loyal following. Despite that, when it comes to standing out from the crowd, in Cameron’s opinion, it’s already half-way there – in part thanks to a proprietary midsole/outsole innovation.
“We use the RollinGaitSystem (RGS) which was created by Vibram in conjunction with HI-TEC specifically for use in our outdoor products,” he explains. “Our research and trend forecasting foresaw the chunky, supremely comfy design concepts that would dominate the street style of wearers many years later driven by this midsole/outsole.
“Now with this HTS74 combines the best of both worlds: super cool stylish trainers with a performance and comfort technology that promotes foot-care and well-being.”
Comfort and well-being still remain key for the sub-brand, and five-years on from launching HTS74, it’s safe to say the brand has come a long way aesthetically, too.
Now previewing its Spring/Summer 2023 collection (which is undoubtedly its best to-date), HTS74 lays bare all its expertise, to present a capsule that really does capture the eye.
The collection itself comprises three main drops, the first two of which pivot around the use of bold colors and take inspiration from eighties Vaporwave furniture, while the third utilizes more toned down pastel shades of color blocking.
Typically, SS23 isn’t expected to land until earlier next year, so you’ll have to remain patient on trying any of its latest footwear out. Between now and then though, Cameron remains focused on growing HTS74 and broadening its horizons.
“We plan to work on new and exciting designer collaborations that will elevate our product awareness whilst maintaining our unique consumer appeal and exclusivity,” he continues.
“Today’s consumer pays a great deal more attention to health, lifestyle and wellbeing. That’s why we believe HI-TEC – not forgetting our history of innovative technology and performance developed over the past fifty years – has taken a huge step change today. That’s what makes HTS74 a very unique and exclusive proposition.”