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When to Replace Hiking Boots & How Long They Last

broken hiking shoe

All hiking boots have a lifecycle, even the highest-quality ones, and you will eventually need to replace them with new ones for safety and comfort.

However, your boots can last you for several years with proper care. You will need to replace them when you notice specific damage or the tread is wearing down.  

For many hikers, it can be hard to part with a pair of boots that are comfortable and well-loved, but even the most high-quality boots cannot last you forever.

Because hiking boots can be an investment, you first want to make sure that you purchase the best pair you can for your budget.

Look for ones made of compounds like Polyurethane (PU) because it is lightweight and provides a high degree of support.

Make sure to read buyer reviews to see what others had to say about the comfort and construction.

How Do You Know When Hiking Boots Need Replacing? 

when to replace hiking boots

You can ensure that your boots reach their maximum lifetime by adequately caring for them and maintaining them regularly.

However, even with meticulous maintenance and care, you will reach a point where your boots will no longer be in good enough condition for the types of adventures you want.

If you suspect that your boots may be reaching their end of life, look for the following things, which will tell you that it’s time to say goodbye.

There Are Significant Holes or Rips

A small hole or rip may not affect your boots much, or you can possibly have it repaired. However, large holes or significant tears can become a safety issue for your feet, suggesting it’s probably time to move on to new hiking boots.  

Your Boot’s Changed Shape

If your boot has changed shape since you bought them, it can cause a stability or balance issue and lead to falls. Note whether your boots have become flatter, lopsided, or broader, and replace them if they have. 

Your Tread is Worn

hiking shoes tread

The tread is one of the most essential parts of ensuring you don’t slip, fall, and injure yourself during a hike.

Check the tread pattern regularly to ensure it’s not so worn out that it will no longer appropriately grip when you need the traction.

Depending on the boot’s age, cost, and other wear and tear, you may opt to have the boots resoled, but often it makes sense just to replace them. 

Sole of the Shoe Is Coming Loose 

Another obvious safety hazard is if the sole on the bottom of your boot is coming loose from the boot’s body. A loose sole can cause trips and falls.

Again, you may be able to get by with replacing the boot soles if the boots are in otherwise good condition, but if they were not particularly expensive boots, you should opt to purchase a new pair instead. 

We made a selection of great insoles for hiking shoes to save your time and effort.

Ankle Support is Worn Out

ankle support worn out

Things to look for on the ankle support include the cushioning, the shape of the ankle collar, and whether or not it has any cracks or other damage.

Not having the proper ankle support when you’re out on the trail is another way to risk injury. 

Boots Have Lost Their Comfort

There is no need to keep wearing boots that hurt your feet or are not comfortable to wear. As your boots age, they may give you blisters or cause your feet to ache when wearing them.

All of these things, or any type of discomfort, signify that it is definitely time to replace your boots. 

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How Long Do Hiking Boots Last 

How Long Do Hiking Boots Last 

Depending on the quality of the hiking boots that you have purchased, they can last between 500-1000 miles. Lightweight trail running types generally last about 400 to 500 miles. 

Other factors determining how long your boots will last include the terrain you hike on and how much you use them.

A low-quality hiking boot may only last you 200 to 300 miles. If you hike about 10 miles a week, that means that your boots will not even last you a full year.

The highest quality boots can last up to 1,000 miles, but generally not longer than that. At 10 miles per week, that would give you about two years of use.  

What Can I Use Instead of Hiking Shoes?

replacing hiking boots with trail runners

If you don’t like the feel of your quality hiking boots or want another option, many hikers choose to purchase a pair of trail runners instead.

Trail runners look more like sneakers than boots and are more lightweight. Because they are lightweight, they dry faster and can make the hiking experience less fatiguing.

These shoes are also more flexible than hiking boots, so if you are used to the stability of a boot, they may feel strange to you at first.

However, many hikers find that they enjoy this extra flexibility. 

Remember those trail runners, even good ones, generally don’t last as long as good-quality hiking boots so you will be replacing them every 400 to 500 miles.

FAQs

How Often Do You Replace Hiking Boots? 

Generally, hiking boots will last approximately 500-1000 miles depending on their quality, the terrain you hike on, and other factors. Regular hikers can expect to replace their boots every 1 to 3 years.

If you wear trail runners, you will need to replace them every 400-500 miles. 

How Much Does It Cost to Resole Hiking Boots? 

Usually, the cost to replace hiking shoe soles depends on how damaged they are. You will need either a full resole or a half resole. You can expect that a half resole will cost around $25 to $50, and a full resole will cost between $40 to $70.

As you can see, you will want to consider the original cost of your boots when deciding if a resole is worth the price.  

Can Hiking Boots Be Repaired?

Visiting a Cobbler to Fix the Hiking Boots
Visiting a Cobbler to Fix My Hiking Boots

Yes, hiking boots can be repaired in many cases, depending on the extent of the damage. Common repairs include replacing the outsole, repairing or replacing the upper, and fixing stitching or lace eyelets.

However, it’s important to assess the cost and feasibility of the repair compared to the cost of purchasing new boots.

A quality repair to a minor issue can keep your boots safely working for a bit longer before replacing them. 

Frayed or worn laces can simply be replaced with new ones and would be inexpensive to fix. However, loose eyelets or cracked midsoles would require the attention of a cobbler.

Always consider the repair cost with the cost you paid for the boot. This analysis will help to decide whether to repair or replace the boots.

If your tread is worn, you must replace your hiking boots. Do not attempt to hike without shoes that gives you a good grip and protects you from slipping.

Oliver Jones, Member of American Hiking Society

The same thing applies to worn treads.

For most of the shoes under $100, you may not want to invest money in these repairs, but rather, purchase yourself a new set of boots instead. 

If you consider buying new hiking shoes, we’ve compiled a list for each type of foot and ankle.

If your feet run wide, you may want to check for the best hiking shoes for wide feet.

Some people, just like me, need to look for flat feet hiking boots, as we need more arch support.

And for people who are suffering from plantar fasciitis, there are boots specially made for your feet. Here is a great selection of plantar fasciitis hiking shoes you may want to look at.

How Do You Fix a Hiking Boot Leak?

repairing hiking boot leak

Time needed: 8 minutes

If your hiking boots have a crack or hole causing them to leak, you’ll need to locate the source of the leak and use a specialized adhesive to seal it up. It usually takes only a few minutes to make this repair and is one that you can do at home. 

To repair a boot leak at home, complete these steps: 

  1. Locate the Area (Or Areas) That You Need to Repair.

  2. Clean the Area (Or Areas) Thoroughly With Isopropyl Alcohol. 

  3. Apply a Special Waterproof Shoe Adhesive.

    Use one like Aquaseal SR or ShoeGoo, over all the soles’ cracks. Make sure that you are filling in everything as entirely as you can. 

  4. Rest the Shoe

    Sole down, on a flat surface and allow it to cure for the designated time. It usually takes about 12 hours for the boot to fully cure, so a good rule is to leave your boots sitting until the next day.