It is typical to have to replace shoes due to a lack of cushioning, ripped uppers, worn out outsoles, and ungluing pieces. These first three things generally happen with use, even if the quality of your shoes is top-notch. Nonetheless, when the sole or the toe rand become unglued, it is likely that the boots are of poor quality. I have had experiences in the past with budget hiking boots that had this problem.
To prevent any surprises while out on the trails, it is important to inspect the uppers, outsoles, and insoles regularly. Moreover, one should keep an eye on the cushioning and support; the best way to test the cushioning is by walking on a level and sturdy surface. If the cushioning does not feel comfortable, then it is time to purchase new boots. If the uppers have ripped, there is not much else to do except replace them.
In the case of cushioning loss or a worn out outsole, one can try to have them resoled, depending on the type of boot. Numerous hiking footgear makers like Asolo, Lowa, and La Sportiva offer resoling services; this way, money can be saved, the environmental impact can be lessened, and the discomfort of having to “break-in” a new pair of boots can be avoided. Insoles, on the other hand, are simpler to substitute. One can buy insoles from the manufacturer or from a company that specializes in them.
How Often Should you change your Hiking Boots?
With regular use (hiking 10 miles/week), you should switch out your hiking boots every 500-1,000 miles, depending on the quality of the boots. By the thousand-mile mark, there ought to be evident signs that it’s time to upgrade. Nevertheless, every boot is different. Some can last longer while others may need to be replaced after light use.
The answer to this question, however, will depend not just on the quality of the shoe but also other elements like terrain, the average usage, and the materials used.
Where To Check for Wear-and-Tear in Hiking Boots
To inspect for wear-and-tear in hiking boots, these items listed below can be either early warnings or telltale signs that you need to purchase new boots right away. Make sure to keep an eye on these factors and make your decision based on the condition of your boots.
Hiking boots/shoes feature eyelets, or the “holes” that your laces go through. Certain models of boots may offer lacing loops as an alternative to traditional eyelets.
Poor quality eyelets or lacing loops, can lead to injury and immense discomfort. This is especially true for high-top boots, as the ankle support won’t be as secure.
How do we identify worn out eyelets/lacing loops on a hiking boot? If you catch sight of the eyelets or lacing loops detaching themselves from the boot, or if there are cracks forming around them, these are signs that you should replace your boots soon. Moreover, if it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep your shoes secured with the laces cinched tight, this could be an indicator that the eyelets are starting to wear out.
If the ankle support of the boot is worn-out, the hiker might try to adjust their steps and put more pressure on one foot than usual, which could result in injury.
If the ankles don’t feel as secure as they used to, it is important to inspect the fabric and cushion around the ankle support for any signs of wear. When the support has been overly used, the padding will be softer and will appear “thinner” than before.
The midsole of the shoe
The midsole of a hiking shoe or boot is located in between the arch of your foot and the ball of it. If the midsole becomes cracked and worn, it will weaken the boot sole and then the insole will be more prone to being worn out.
Therefore, it is important to check the midsole of your boots or shoes for any large cracks or tears. You don’t want to be trekking in the wilderness with a flimsy sole on your foot.
The tread on the Shoes
The pattern on the bottom of a shoe can be quite deceiving; one moment it’s there and the next it’s gone. This usually is a sign that a new pair of hiking boots is necessary. If you are not careful, the tread of the boots can wear off quickly.
If the tread is too thin, the footing of the shoe will become slippery, which can lead to an injury. Examining the tread is a good way to determine if the issue is with the footwear or the way you are walking.
The laces of the shoes
When you go for hiking in varied areas, your boots are exposed to different environmental conditions like dirt, water, mud and so on. Even though it might not look like it, but the dry dust can also cause problems for your shoe laces. Not cleaning your laces can result in them becoming rigid and ultimately cracking.
Even with appropriate maintenance, the laces may still become worn out over time. Always inspect the tips of the laces and assess the state of the plastic covering at the end. If the plastic covering is gone, the laces will start to split and unravel. When the laces are too worn out, they may even break. This is generally due to excessive wear and tear. You should get your boots or laces substituted well before this happens.
The Insole Condition
Are you feeling like your boots are as soft and comforting as a pile of soil or crumbled foam? Then it’s time to throw them away and start looking for some new ones!
EVA foam is an incredibly versatile material, and it’s also quite durable, making it the ideal choice for insoles. However, just like any other product, EVA foam isn’t entirely impervious to wear and tear. Bad insoles are not only annoying, as they can cause blisters on your feet and decrease enthusiasm for future hikes. In more severe circumstances, faulty insoles that still seem tolerable can have a significant impact on you – throwing off your balance and decreasing ankle support which could lead to joint pain.
If you see tiny cracks within your insoles, it’s an indication that they are deteriorating. No need to hastily panic and throw away your hiking boots just yet; simply pay close attention to the crevasses and any substantial cracks that may be forming.
If you begin to observe extreme indentations around the toes and the base of your feet, that’s a sign that your insoles are damaged. If the indentations are pretty deep (where you can put your toes in), it’s wise to buy new insoles or discard the boots.
When it comes to hiking boots, every element of its construction is there for a reason, including the stitching. This stitching is specifically designed to strengthen the boot and make sure it lasts.
If you notice that the stitching is fraying or becoming undone, it is likely time to buy a new pair. Moreover, deteriorated stitching can also reduce the boot’s ability to stay waterproof.
Ongoing discomfort in the feet
If you’re suffering from foot pain, it could be that you’re wearing the wrong size or type of hiking boots. But if you’ve had the same ones for a while and have recently started to have pain and discomfort, it means that your boots may need replacing. When the insoles and soles of your shoes wear out, you’re at a higher risk of getting hurt.
The shoe might not fit as well, or your ankle may bend in an unnatural way, causing joint discomfort. From my own personal experience, I can say that wearing worn-out shoes resulted in serious pain in my hips. Don’t make the same mistake I did – always pay attention to your physical health and consider buying a new pair of boots when needed.
How To Increase The Lifespan Of You Hiking Footwear?
Cleaning is critical if you want your shoes to last longer. Be sure to routinely clean your hiking boots because the dirt can dry and damage the materials, particularly leather. Cleaning leather footwear is simple: just use a brush to scrub away any dirt or debris. Textile footwear may be even easier – simply wet it before brushing off the dirt from its surface area!
If you want to ensure that your full-grain leather footwear is in optimal condition, be sure to treat it with a quality boot dressing regularly. This will help protect the smooth leather from drying out and cracking over time. Furthermore, make certain to store them away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures – an overly humid basement would not be a suitable spot for your hiking boots! Textile and suede uppers require minimal maintenance compared to other materials.
Factors that affect How Long Do Hiking Boots Last
From the materials used for their construction to the amount of hiking you do, there are several factors that will contribute to how long your hiking boots last. Unquestionably, it is impossible to pinpoint an exact lifespan for a pair of these shoes.
Undoubtedly, the more leather a boot is crafted with, the longer it will stand up over time. In particular, full-grain leather boots made out of unaltered cowhide offer greatest resistance to scrapes and scratches and are proven to last longest. The more fabric used to construct a boot, the faster it will wear down.
It is no secret that not all companies are created equal when it comes to quality. Combining top-notch materials and unparalleled craftsmanship, will result in a boot that far outlasts the competition.
When you invest in quality, it pays off: if you want boots that will stand the test of time, be prepared to pay a bit more. Investing a bit more money in quality boots can often result in greater savings over the long-term, as well-crafted shoes tend to last 3-5 times longer than their cheaper counterparts. When I tried some cheaper hiking boots while hiking the Berg Lake Trail and I was left with an unglued midsole by the end of the trek. Those shoes lasted for less than 15 miles…
Your hiking boot’s longevity depends on the terrain you traverse. Rough mountain trails will cause more wear-and-tear compared to smoother paths, leading to a faster deterioration of tread and upper scuffing. The rougher the surface, the quicker it eats away at your boots!
How many miles do you hike?
When it comes to the longevity of a pair of hiking boots, it is crucial to consider mileage instead of time. Much like a car, if your footwear clocks many miles each year then its functional life span will reduce more rapidly than those who are used sparingly. The further you hike annually, the sooner your boot will need replacing!
Ensure that your boots have a long-lasting lifespan by regularly cleaning and protecting them. Dirt is harmful to the structure of any footwear, so having clean shoes will make your boots last much longer than if they were dirty. It’s also advisable to treat your shoes with a water-repellant coating as this helps keep moisture away while making it difficult for dirt or dust to stick around.
If you have leather boots, it’s essential to keep them hydrated since leather is similar to skin and dry skin can easily crack. Apply a protective or waterproofing layer on your boots regularly so that dirt won’t stick around and damage the material. Doing this ensures that your beloved shoes stay looking good for longer!