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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Helly Hansen Pace Interceptor HT > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

Helly Hansen Pace Interceptor HT
By Raymond Estrella

June 07, 2014


NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 53
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 213 lb (96.60 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, Minnesota, and many western states. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly ultralight, I try to be as light as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot evening meals. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.

The Product

Manufacturer: Helly HansenWild shoe, man
Web site:
Product: Pace Interceptor HT
Size: US Men's 11
Year manufactured: 2013
MSRP: US $130.00
Weight listed: N/A
Actual weight (each shoe): 14.6 oz (415 g)
Color reviewed: Clementine/Alert Red
Picture at right courtesy Helly Hansen

Quick & Dirty Nitty Gritty

What do we have here? A trail runner that is lightweight yet supportive and very comfortable. A waterproof shoe that actually stands up to solid wet conditions? The most garishly colored shoe I have ever owned? D: all of the above… Please read on for the details.

Product Description

The Helly Hansen Pace Interceptor HT (hereafter referred to as the Interceptors or shoes) is top shoe in Helly Hansen's Trail & Training series of outdoor footwear. Having the most aggressive tread of all their shoes it is still a remarkably light weight shoe when I look at all my other trail-running style shoes.

Tread on me

The Interceptor's uppers are made of synthetic of some kind. They don't share the info but it is some kind of a ripstop nylon. In fact it is a double ripstop. Besides the commonly seen grid pattern the Interceptor's white nylon has an additional diamond grid. As this color is $10.00 (US) more than the other colors I wonder if this is a special material? It sure is tough, which I'll talk about later. The uppers have what Helly Hansen calls HellyTech Performance Membrane. This is their waterproof technology that I can't find anything about. But an educated guess from a guy that has logged thousands of miles in waterproof footwear… it seems like a version of eVent to me. The membrane is under the liner, which is done as a full bootie. I try to show it in the picture below (right).

Front back inside

IMAGE 4    Insert
The neon orange, heavily padded tongue is gusseted to help keep rocks and debris out of the shoes. The gusset runs almost to the top to keep water out too as the HellyTech Performance Membrane is in it. (Actually the gusset can be seen more from the outside, inside the bootie is visible as seen above.) Talk about a slide control loop on the tongue, this puppy has four of them! Those in addition to the full gusset means the tongue stays put. The matching neon orange laces run through a combination of 13 metal eyes and nylon loops. At the back of the ankle is very nice sized pull loop. I have no problem getting my fat fingers in it. Yay!

The outers have a lot going on. The shoe is built with a "roll cage", the strips of heavier material running around and behind the shoe. This is to provide "maximum stability, and protection of the midfoot throughout the stride". (Quoted copy in the words of the manufacturer.) There is also a lot of protection in the form of a toe rand and a rear wear area made from "TPR/Synthetic" material.

The soles of the Interceptor are pretty beefy. They have a pretty aggressive tread in a pattern that accentuates not only going forward but has lugs placed to help slipping forward when going downhill. (Look at the heel lugs above.) The soles have cushioned areas to help minimize shock when running or walking with a pack on. These are the orange spots in the sole.

The Interceptors have a hard plastic TPU (thermoplastic urethane) shank in the midsole to help prevent twisting on uneven surfaces.

Last but definitely not least, the insoles. I just about always replace my insoles when I get new shoes as the stock insoles are usually very thin offering little in the way of support and control. The bright orange Helly Hansen insoles (seen to the right) were fine though, so I left them in. In deer hunting season I can wave them around to keep from getting shot…

Field Data

alking through wet grass

I used these shoes a lot! I probably put in at least 19 days of backpacking and probably another 10 day-hiking. I used them from late spring to mid fall in temps from 90 F to freezing (32 to 0 C). Backpacking trips took place in Minnesota in places like Itasca State Park, Chippewa National Forest, Smoky Hills and Paul Bunyan State Forests. Plus on private and public lands around the Halstad and Hendrum areas of northwestern Minnesota. The picture above was taken north of Halstad.

Dayhiking took place at MB Johnson Nature Park, Buffalo River State Park, or the private land. Most of the hiking was solo, but the kids did go with me for one trip on the North Country Trail to Halverson Lake. My son took the picture below at the trailhead. "Look kids, here is where we are…"

You are HERE

Terrain has been mostly hard packed dirt Forest Service roads or overgrown "grassy" trails. The private land hiking is all bushwhacking. Because of the amount of rain we get here the Interceptors saw a lot of water and mud. Below was a shot on a very nice hot day in Itasca State Park.

Truckin' down Itasca Trail


The first thing that hit me when I got the Interceptors was the color. Back when I was younger (and before knee and leg/ankle surgeries) I was a distance runner. The wilder the shoe looked the better. Well I wish I had these back then. (Hmmm, maybe my knees would be better too, shoe technology has come a long way since the 80's…) The neon orange and red highlights make these quite noticeable.
The next thing I noticed was how light they were as I pick them up. Even though they are a waterproof shoe they weigh less than most of my highly breathable summer trail runners which have a lot of mesh. Once on they are very comfortable and quite supportive.

When I lived in California I used to torture shoes by the high mileage I put on and the very abrasive terrain I frequented. Here in Minnesota I have a new way to abuse shoes. Water and mud. Our soil has a lot of clay in it. (I live in Clay County, go figure…) This helps water stay on the surface of the terrain, keeping it from draining quickly, if at all.

This means that I have to walk on very wet trails much of the time. This state does not have much of what we considered hiking trails in California. But they do have a lot of "hunter trails". These are usually the width of a single lane dirt road. They are not open to motor vehicles and have strategically placed gates of other obstacles to keep four-wheelers out. They are maintained by clearing the trail of deadfall (we get a lot each winter) and then mowing the trail with a huge brush mower. The maintenance takes place at the end of summer (if at all) so that it is ready for hunters to walk on them in fall. For hikers to use them in spring and summer we get to traipse through berries, poison ivy and other fauna. It gets so thick that I rarely can see where I am stepping. Often it is in water as the trails are lower than the surrounding forest and become flooded easily.

So I knew that the Interceptors needed to be truly waterproof if I was going to get much use out of them. On one of my first trips with them I purposely walked into a lake and just stood there with the water halfway up the tongue to see if it would leak. It was pretty funny to see a bunch of little fish get used to me standing still where they then came to check out the orange laces. Well that test worked so I went to town with the Interceptors. Well I went to the forest I guess…

They did great. I never had a single instance of leaking. I did get them wet a few times by stepping in water that went over the top, but it was noticeable when that happened. (They do dry quickly when I had this happen.) I even pushed the limits of the HellyTech Performance Membrane a few times when I got them so full of mud during spring trips (when the vegetation has not come in yet) that I had to spray them off at a car wash. As an example of how wet the trails can be I took a picture hiking on a hunter trail In Paul Bunyan State Forest. Then I took a picture of my feet and inserted it in the big picture. Hopefully you can see why I put a bit of importance on good waterproofing.


The Interceptors have held up quite well. While I don't have the abrasive terrain of my much loved and sorely missed mountains I do go through a lot more vegetation and downfall trees that tear at the outers. I see no cuts or tears yet, but they have gotten stained from all the mud.

I even used them this winter to wear to work as I don't like wearing waterproof boots to walk through snow and then have to change into more comfortable shoes once inside. While this is my first pair from them, I'm pretty impressed by Helly Hansen's shoe technology. I am still using these and will not hesitate to try other styles down the road. I leave with a shot taken outside of Hendrum crossing the Wild Rice River on an abandoned train bridge. This trip was in almost solid rain and even saw snow the next morning when I got up. The Interceptors didn't mind.


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