If you love hiking just like me, the main issue you may face is WHEN TO REPLACE HIKING BOOTS!
To be honest, it’s very hard for me to determine when I should replace my hiking boots.
The bitter truth is that it’s difficult to get rid of our old equipment and have to purchase new items. It isn’t all that fun! 🙁
But you have to admit that it needs to be done for our health and safety.
As a hiker, hiking boots are like our best friend! They keep our feet warm, safe, and dry. So, it’s important to always check the condition of your hiking boots.
If you are new here, Hi, I am Aisha Preece ! I am an avid solo female traveller and I LOVE hiking! It’s free, good for your health and you get to see so many exciting parts of the world, through hiking 🙂
Puzzled on when to replace your hiking boots? Fret not! I got you covered!
As a frequent hiker who has hiked several trails, I can certainly identify hiking shoes that need replacement with a new one.
Through experience, I have worn-and-tear a decent number of boots.
Keep reading to get the best information and tips on when you should replace your hiking boots, the danger of not replacing them, and what to look for in your new pair.
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When Should I Replace My Hiking Boots?
Let’s talk about the main issue. When should I replace my hiking boots? How long do boots last or even how long do hiking shoes last?
The ideal time you should retire your hiking boots and start looking for a new pair is when you have worn your hiking boots for more than 500-1,000 miles (805 to 1,610 km).
If you are clueless about how long should hiking shoes last or how long should hiking boots last, there you go. Get them changed once it’s done more than 500 miles.
The second sign that it’s time to replace your hiking boots is when it starts showing signs of wear and tear.
For example, there are holes in the toes, stitches are coming loose, the insoles are coming flat, and many more.
Besides, if there’s pain in your feet, it is a sign that your boots are overstaying their welcome, and it’s time for you to start investing in a good pair of hiking boots again.
How Often Do I Need To Replace Hiking Boots?
The other tricky part is how often I need to replace hiking boots.
It depends on many variables, such as the quality of the shoes, how long it has been used, and the usage of the shoes.
Ideally, it should be replaced every three to six months or every 350 to 500 miles.
But it all depends on the usage, the type of hiking you enjoy, and the quality of shoes that you are using.
There is no fixed guideline for you to follow. It all depends on many variables, as stated above.
Tip: From my years of hiking experience, the brand of your boots affects the lifespan of the hiking shoes. If you invest in a good one, it will last longer.
How long do Merell hiking shoes last? Based on my personal experience, they last quite long, but you have to properly store and take care of them.
If you get your hiking boots from a normal website or Amazon, it might not last that long.
Signs That It’s Time To Replace Boots
Still unclear on when to replace hiking shoes or boots?
Continue reading to get a clearer picture.
I have some signs for you to watch out for when your old hiking boots are ready to bid goodbye, and it’s time for you to invest in a new one.
If you are searching for when to replace ski boots, the signs are almost the same as normal hiking boots.
1. You Have Pain In Your Feet
As stated above, the obvious sign is you have pain in your feet.
If the hiking boots are still new and you have pain in your feet, it means you may be wearing improperly laced or sized hiking boots.
But if it’s an old hiking boots and you start to have discomfort and pain in your feet, it’s a sign to start checking out for a new pair of hiking boots.
For example, you might start getting back pain, joint pain, blisters, and aching feet. These are all signs that your shoes are too worn out to be used for your next hike.
Check out all these signs and listen to your body. For example, if you start getting blisters, it means that the protective cushioning is not doing its job very well.
Don’t worry. You just need a new pair of hiking boots, and you are ready to tackle another hike.
2. You Can Feel the Ground Through the Shoe
Another sign to watch for is when you can feel the ground through the shoe.
It is a pretty obvious sign that your hiking boots need to be replaced as soon as possible.
There’s a test you can do to see if your shoes are cushioned enough.
First, you can just wear them around and feel how cushioned the shoe feels.
You can also use your thumb and press the insole where your heel sets and determine if you can feel the ground.
3. The Ankle Cuffs Are Getting Worn
Wearing your hiking boots on difficult trails such as rocky trails is another reason for your hiking boots to get worn out easily.
You can see your ankle cuffs begin to wear and tear.
You can see signs such as lack of cushion, bent ankle support, or ripped fabric, which suggests your ankle cuffs are getting worn.
If your hiking shoes are showing this sign, replace them immediately.
Ankle cuffs are not only important to make you feel comfortable while hiking but also prevent you from getting joint and muscle pains.
4. There are Holes in the Toes
One very common sign that most of us face is there are holes in the toes when the shoes are worn out.
When there’s a hole in the toes, it’s time to bid goodbye to your beloved pair that has clocked in their time.
5. You’ve Had Them For 500+ Miles
How many miles should walking shoes last? The lifespan of hiking boots also depends on the miles.
If you have had them for more than 500 miles, it is better to say goodbye to your hiking boots and get a new pair.
This is also a recommendation proposed by most hiking boots companies.
But it also depends on other variables, such as the quality of your hiking boots, the terrain of your hikes, your walking style, and your backpack.
All these variables will determine how much pressure you put on your hiking boots.
This is the answer to your question on how long hiking boots last.
It applies to walking shoes, too. If you are searching for how long do walking boots last, the answer is the same.
6. The Tread Is Worn Down
Another sign of when to replace hiking boots is when the tread is worn down.
Tread plays a vital role in your hiking boots as it provides grip and traction during your hikes on uneven surfaces that will protect you from any injury, such as slipping.
Notice how important it is to have fresh tread.
When you notice your shoe tread starting to wear down, it’s best to replace them before they become a safety hazard.
Tip: During one of my hikes, one of my fellow hiking mates wore worn-down treads during the hike, and she twisted her ankle while walking over slippery rocks.
This incident has taught me to always check the tread of my hiking boots before any hikes.
Let me show you how easy it is to check on this:
Turn over your hiking boots and check if any areas on the bottom of the boot feel smooth and not the typical bumpy, rigid tread lines.
If it feels smooth, then it is a sign that the tread is worn down, and you need to get a new pair of hiking boots before your next adventure into the woods.
Besides, a worn-down tread makes it more difficult to clean as dirt gets trapped in the cracks and crevices.
7. They Aren’t Comfortable Anymore
As the saying goes, all good things come to an end. The same goes for your hiking boots.
At some point, you will need to replace your hiking boots.
When they aren’t comfortable anymore, it’s a sign that you must say goodbye to your best hiking companion and get a new set of hiking boots.
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8. Shoelaces Are Worn Out
I know worn-out shoelaces are a common occurrence for any shoe used regularly.
The constant pulling, loosing, and tugging of the shoelace makes it easily frayed or worn out. And worn-out shoelaces can be replaced easily.
But hey, do not take it lightly!!! It may be a sign that other parts of your hiking boots are worn out.
Take your time, and examine your hiking boots.
If you feel that the problem is only a set of worn shoelaces, you can try switching them out first to extend the lifespan of your boot.
9. Stitching Is Coming To Lose
Still pondering when to replace hiking boots? I will give you the common tips that I used for all my hiking boots.
When the stitching of my hiking boots comes loose, I will not think twice to get it stitched back. I will immediately invest in a new one.
This is because loose stitching can impair the integrity of the boot and affect its waterproofing capabilities.
When the waterproofing capabilities are jeopardized, your feet tend to get wet easily, and thus, you will feel less supported.
10. The Insoles Are Totally Flat
As you all know, hiking boots insoles are the heart and sole of any shoe. A major sign that your hiking boots have depreciated is when the insoles are flat.
When your hiking boot sole becomes flat, it is a sign that it’s not providing adequate support and cushioning.
Here are some tips on how to detect if your insoles have been worn out:
One of the signs is when you start seeing little hairline cracks in the insole or when the arch support looks worn or out of shape.
Another sign that you need to keep an eye on is when the heel pad is worn away.
It is worn away to the point that it looks like the material underneath the surface of the original insole is coming through.
A worn-out insole can lead to blisters. Personally, it is such a turn-off for me to go on another hike. Thus, always pay close attention to your insoles.
I would like to add that if you think are hiking boots good for walking, the answer is YES! Many people out there use their hiking boots for walking.
Thus, the insoles of hiking boots get easily flat due to overuse of them.
11. The Boots Appear Damaged
When the appearance of the boots looks damaged, it is an obvious sign that your hiking boots need to be replaced immediately without even thinking twice.
When you start noticing your shoes are out of shape, the fabric starts to tear; stitching is coming out, etc, it is a message from your hiking boots that it’s time for you to get a new pair for your next adventure.
Just common sense, ask yourself what are hiking boots used for. To protect our feet, right? Then why are you still using damaged shoes?
12. They Aren’t Waterproof Anymore
Still pondering on “Do I really need hiking boots’’? Let’s look at this waterproof aspect of your hiking boots.
If, in the beginning, your shoes were waterproof, and as time goes on, you feel that your feet start getting wet, it is another sign to get your hiking boots replaced.
Waterproof shoes are important not only for your comfort but also for safety. When your feet get wet, you tend to slip easily as there is less grip.
Pay close attention to this, as this is one of the signs when to replace hiking boots.
13. Eyelets Are Coming Loose
I know you must be thinking that this sign is at the end, so it’s not important. NO! It is one of the major signs that you need to watch out for.
Eyelets are the hole where your shoelaces go through the shoe.
Just imagine your eyelets are broken or coming out from the fabric; how are you gonna tighten or loosen your shoelace?
Loose shoes cause lots of problems, such as wet feet, painful blisters, and unenjoyable hikes.
The Dangers Of Using Worn-Out Hiking Boots
After reading about the signs when you should replace your hiking boots, you must be thinking it’s just a sign, and it won’t bring any harm.
But no! Worn-out hiking boots bring lots of harm.
Below are the harms that worn-out hiking boots bring to the hiker.
- A less enjoyable hiking experience.
Just imagine it was supposed to be an awesome day out with nature, but it turned out to be a painful one due to using a worn-out hiking boot.
Having blisters, wet feet, and discomfort will turn off the mood as you will be watching your steps and bearing the pain while hiking.
- Increased risk of slipping and falling.
Ever tried walking on ice or banana peel? That’s how it feels like to hike with shoes that have worn out and lost their grip.
Worn-out hiking boots increase your chances of slipping and falling, especially on wet and steep trails.
Slipping and falling during a hike due to worn-out hiking boots will cause other injuries as well.
- Potential foot and ankle problem
When your hiking boots are not providing you with enough support, your feet and ankles will bear the consequences in the long run.
You might face Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, or just some seriously sore feet as time passes by.
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How To Properly Store And Take Care Of Boots
If you are searching for how long do hiking boots last or how long should walking boots last on your Google search bar, many variables will affect the longevity of your hiking boots.
One of the factors that will affect the lifespan of your hiking boots is how you store and take care of them.
If you take care and store your hiking boots properly, they will last longer and help you save some cash in the long run.
Below are some steps on how to properly store and take care of your boots to give them the longest life possible.
- Save them for hiking.
I know hiking shoes can be very comfortable to use daily.
But if you want them to have the longest lifespan, then use them only during your hikes. Insoles and treads get worn out quickly if used often.
- Keep them clean.
Clean them after every hike. If it’s wet, dry them first under the sun. If it got covered with mud, wash them once you are back.
Otherwise, mud and water can cause the fabric to deteriorate or lead to cracks in the leather.
- Remove rocks and dirt stuck in the tread.
Removing any rocks and dirt stuck in the tread will protect the sole of your hiking boots.
Applying waterproofing treatments on your hiking boots will protect your hiking boots from water damage.
Eventually, it will help to expand the useful life of your hiking boots. This treatment can be done every few months.
- Store them in a dry, cool place.
Storing them in a proper place when you are not using them will help prevent the boots from becoming misshapen.
What To Look For In New Hiking Boots
After reading about the signs of worn-out hiking boots, you figured out that it’s time for you to invest in a new pair but are unsure of what to look for in your new hiking boots.
Below are some tips for you to follow when you hunt for your next hiking boots.
There are a variety of hiking boots out there, from ultralight trail shoes to mountaineering boots.
Check on those types and choose the one that suits you and your level of hiking.
You can also explore the differences between leather vs synthetic hiking boots.
When trying on your hiking boots, make sure they fit well.
No one loves shoes that do not fit well. Take your time to choose the perfect fit so that you do not get blisters and you can have a blissful hike.
If you are thinking how to tell if hiking boots are too big, my go-to tip for choosing the perfect fit is to stand up straight and check how much room you have behind your heel.
Ideally, for a fitting boot, only one finger should get between your heel and the back of the boot, and that’s how big should hiking shoes be.
Get the one that would not burn a hole in your pocket or within your budget. There are many choices out there in the market.
Spend some time and get to know the components of the hiking boots that you are eyeing.
Understanding the components and materials of the hiking boots is important as it impacts a boot’s weight, breathability, durability, and water resistance.
FAQs on When to Replace Hiking Boots
How Do I Know When To Replace My Hiking Boots?
Below are some signs that it’s time to replace your hiking boots.
- The Tread is Worn Down.
- Pain in Your Feet.
- The Ankle Cuffs are Getting Worn.
- You’ve Had Them For 500+ Miles.
- Aren’t Comfortable Anymore.
- Shoelaces are Worn Out.
- The stitching is Coming Loose.
- The Insoles are Totally Flat.
How Do You Know When Boots Are Worn Out?
Insoles, the inner soles of a boot which your feet come in contact with, are unable to provide the cushioning you require.
Besides cracks and holes, lint-like pieces also start to appear on the soles.
There is no point in hanging on your work boots if you don’t feel comfortable wearing them anymore.
Best Hiking Boots of 2024
Below are the year’s top 5 hiking boots for you.
- Best Overall Hiking Boot: Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX
- Best Budget Hiking Boot: Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP
- Best Backpacking Boot for Rough Terrain: Salomon Quest 4 GTX
- Best Max-Cushioned Hiking Boot: Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX
- Best for Fast-and-Light Mountain Adventures: La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II
How Many Years Do Hiking Shoes Last?
Ideally, hiking shoes are intended to be more durable than trail runners (about 800 miles or 9-18 months for most people).
But they are slightly heavier because of the added protection and also somewhat stiffer than a trail runner.
In general, the durability, lightweight, and extra protection provide the perfect balance for hikers.
Is It OK To Wear Hiking Boots Everyday?
Yes! You can wear your hiking boots every day if you feel like it. If there’s nothing stopping you from doing so, then there’s no harm in wearing it, either!
Many people wear hiking boots every day because they are comfortable, and you most likely haven’t noticed!
Having a good pair of hiking boots is crucial for every hiker. It’s a hiker’s best companion.
But everything comes to an end. The same goes for hiking boots. It will wear and tear at some point.
It’s hard for hikers to determine when it’s time to bid farewell to their best friend (hiking boots). Thus, I wrote this article to guide all the hikers out there.
I hope this article helped you determine when to replace hiking boots.
Lastly, have a safe hike and enjoy every bit of it. There’s a quote, ‘Life Is Better In Hiking Boots’. *WINK* Enjoy!