Friday, 26 July 2013


Hi Tec trainers have had two totally distinct identities at different times of my life. Originally, they were the shoes that kids were mercilessly teased for wearing (Patrick football boots also gets a nod) instead of Puma Kings or Nike Tiempos or whatever crap their mothers had bought them from Brent Cross. Then all of a sudden, everyone 'discovered' that the Silver Shadows (and the squash shoes) were actually great trainers, and so the brand that etched sorrow into the minds of so many British children during PE, had been redeemed. There's a Tom Hanks film in there somewhere. More info here on the shadows:

Videotime and I often imagine what the Hi Tec offices are like. We usually come to the agreement that it's a portacabin on the edge of a cliff near Beachy Head; where they share an outdoor toilet with the CEO of Gola or Carlton Sports. Sometimes they bring each other cups of tea, and try to avoid getting trapped in conversation with their neighbours on the other side of the portacabins, the research and development team of Winmau, the manufacturer of dartboards.

The matronly uncoolness of the brand is something to be admired. They're the trainers of headteachers, swing voters, Mondeo men, Games Workshop employees and sporty grandparents; and I'm sure the marketing team would be the first to tell you that if you want to look 'cool', then Hi Tech isn't for you. "Go to Dolcis or Clarks on your high street", they'd say, "buy yourself some proper shoes and get yourself a panda pop and go to your local roller disco - then upload it on youtube, because that's what your lot do nowadays". "When you want proper trainers to do sporty things like not-very-fast jogging or playing badminton, come to us, we're the 4th portacabin along, next to Carlton Sports. Please bring milk."


James Neill said...

Bold move just putting their actual sales director in the advert although her passion for the Silver Shadow really shows through.

Italian equivalent - Diadora ?

The Thick Repeater said...

I agree. A bold move from Hi-Tec's marketing there.

An italian comparison: Diadora, or even Ellesse? But even then, both those brands have a natural mediterranean glamour to them, that makes Hi Tec look even more like the John Major of sports brands.

Another comparison might be: Cica? or Le Coq Sportif?

James Neill said...

To be fair to Cica, they only make kids shoes.

Le Coq Sportif have a decent logo and probably reside around the Kappa level.

Purple, turquoise and emerald green - Hi Tec have found a niche and they're still going strong 40 years later.

Don't under estimate the power of stingy patents.

James Neill said...

* parents

The Thick Repeater said...

HI-Tec's patents are probably as stingy as the parents who buy Hi-Tec.

Watch this space for Kappa/Coq post coming soon.

CUPCAKE 2000 said...

Story from my youth:

Father once came home from work and very excitedly told the family he had some surprise news for us: we were now the proud owners of some Hi-Tec shares! It was, in context, very very disappointing. I was a snob even then.

He used to wear their Squash shoes, so obvs thought that Hi-Tec were the jam. An incorrect assessment of their standing, in so many ways.


The Thick Repeater said...

That's amazing. How many shares are there in Hi-Tec?
5? 6? did you own like 3 of them?