SOM Footwear is one of my favorite sneaker brands made in the USA. I've worn their Norwood Classic shoes for a while, so I figured it was about time to test out their popular mid-top sneaker: the HiLite.
Below is my full SOM Footwear HiLite review including what I really liked about the shoes, some potential improvements, and who they would be a good fit for.
About SOM Footwear HiLite Sneakers
First off, for those of you who are unfamiliar with SOM Footwear, they are handmaking really high quality minimalist shoes out of their facility in Montrose, Colorado. Their shoes make you feel like you are walking (or running) barefoot, hence the SOM acronym, Sense of Motion. No matter if you are hiking or just need a good pair of sneakers to wear into the office every day, SOM Footwear has a lot of different low and high top styles to choose from.
Let's focus on the HiLite sneakers though, the ones I've been wearing and testing for the last several weeks.
Starting with my initial impressions and slipping the HiLite high-top sneakers on for the first time, I really like the look and feel of these shoes. They have a sleek black design with the SOM lettering on the side, very minimalist which fits the SOM brand. I have been wearing these shoes with normal everyday casual wear and they pretty much fit with everything.
Lacing them up was very simple and similar to a lot of other high-top sneakers I own. You'll have to undo the laces quite a bit to get your foot in there (or maybe I just have big feet), but the upper part of the shoe is very flexible and there is a nice finger hole on the back of the shoe to help you out. Once I laced them up, the laces stayed tight even with a single bow knot.
If you're a fan of zero-drop sneakers (flat footed, no arch between heel and toe) and like the high-top style, you'll love these HiLite shoes. They feel great on my feet just walking around town, taking my dog Deuce for a walk, and I even wore them on a recent trail run.
Although thin, the material all around the shoe seems super durable. I actually really like that the material isn't as thick as your normal high-top sneakers, because it gives my feet room to move around. A common misconception with high-top shoes is they are meant for ankle support. While a lot of high-top shoes do have extra padding up there, they are actually probably worse at preventing ankle sprains than barefoot shoes. Your feet are naturally "designed" to prevent side rolling, and a thick soled high-top shoe with a narrow toe box can limit the natural movement of your foot and cause it to be more prone to a sprain. The wide toe box on the HiLite shoes gives your foot its natural range of motion back.
Another benefit of the thin material is how breathable it makes these shoes. I've been wearing these sneakers around in the heat of May in North Carolina and my feet are able to stay pretty dry with the natural airflow in these shoes.
What We Like Best
Overall, I am really impressed with the SOM Footwear HiLite sneakers. I think they are a great fit for everyday casual wear and can be used for a variety of physical activities, whether it be running, hiking, or something else. While I am not the powerlifter than Ian is, I can see these shoes also being a great fit for strength training and Crossfit, given the breathability, minimal material, and zero-drop style.
What We Don't Like
I really couldn't find much of a gripe with these HiLite sneakers. The laces are a little short, which prevented me from tying a sturdier double knot, but like I mentioned earlier, the laces "stick" really well and I didn't have any trouble with a single knot coming undone. While they are a little expensive, you get what you pay for - a really durable, minimalist shoe that is great for your foot health and can be worn pretty much anywhere.
We'll have a full video review of these HiLite sneakers coming soon to our YouTube channel, so make sure to subscribe! If you'd like to get a pair of these for yourself, make sure to select All American Reviews in the SOM Footwear checkout so you can let them know who sent you. Let us know if you have any questions about this great pair of sneakers from SOM Footwear!