5 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Walking Boots

A good pair of walking boots are incredibly sturdy, with the ability to stand up to a great deal of wear and tear – but as is always the case, nothing lasts forever.

A good pair of walking boots are incredibly sturdy, with the ability to stand up to a great deal of wear and tear – but as is always the case, nothing lasts forever.

Eventually, your beloved pair of walking boots are going to naturally succumb to the wind, rain, and pounding they endure on all those hikes.

But when, exactly, should you replace your walking or hiking boots? We know it can sometimes be genuinely difficult to part with a pair of boots that have seen you through some of your best hiking memories – but eventually, you’ll need to say your goodbyes and send them on their way.

We’re going to take you over five signs that indicate it might be time to invest in a new pair of hiking boots – before your feet pay the price. Read on to find out the five signs that it’s time to trade in your old hiking boots…

Wear on the soles

As you might expect, after a while the soles on your walking boots are going to become worn. The many miles of hiking will slowly wear the tread down, which will reduce the amount of grip on the bottom of the boot.

This means that you’re more likely to slip and hurt yourself, so it’s important not to let the outsole become too worn, and obviously if any cracks our tears appear then you need new boots straight away.

If you can feel smaller stones and other trail debris more than usual then it could be because the soles are wearing away.

No cushioning in the midsole

Walking and hiking boots come with a layer of cushioning in the midsole to help soften the impact on your feet, ankles and legs. However, over time this cushioning will become compact and, therefore, less effective.

A good way to tell whether the cushioning has gone in your boots is to do the ‘press test’. This is where you press the bottom of the boot (on the outsole) upwards into the midsole to simulate the pressure when walking.

If you see lots of compression lines in the side of the midsole then the cushioning is fine, but if you see fewer, heavier lines, then it’s a good sign you need to replace your walking boots.

They’re leaking

Having cold, wet, soggy feet when walking is one of the worst things that can happen. Not only will it make your hiking experience miserable, but it can be quite dangerous, especially if it’s cold.

Most walking boots will come with a level of waterproofing, but to enhance this, it’s best to use some kind of water repellant. You should, ideally, apply this every few months just to keep it topped up.

However, if your boots are cracked, torn, or are just generally wearing away then no amount of proofing is going to keep the water out. It’s at this point you’ll definitely need a new pair.

You’re in pain

Most of us get a bit achy and tired after a hike, but if you find your legs hurting more than usual then it could be a sign there’s a problem with your boots.

If you’re getting blisters, then this could indicate you’ve stretched your boots and your feet are moving too much inside them.

Aching knees, ankles, and feet could show that the soles and cushioning have become too worn. Listen to your body – a change in walking boots could be just what you need.

General wear and tear

Sometimes there isn’t a huge problem with your boots, but they just suffer from general wear and tear.

Issues such as frayed laces can be resolved easily just by replacing them, but problems like broken eyelets or fraying stitches may require a little more investigating.

These kinds of problems could even warrant a new pair of boots as they can affect things like waterproofing.

How to look after your walking boots


How to look after your walking boots

While your walking boots will eventually give in, there are some things you can do to prolong their life. So, we’ve picked some of the top tips to make your walking boots and shoes last.

Clean them after use

If your boots get caked in mud when on a hike, you need to make sure you give them a good clean when you get back.

Read more: How To Clean Your Walking Boots Or Shoes

Otherwise, mud and water can seep into the boot, which can not only damage it but also make it uncomfortable next time you put the boots on. The same goes for clearing out any stones or debris stuck in the tread – this can damage the sole over time.

If you’re finding more debris getting inside your boots, then this could be a sign you have a hole somewhere or the boot collar isn’t doing its job properly. Again, this could mean you need a new pair.

Waterproof them

As we said earlier, your walking boots will have some level of waterproofing, but they might not cope with particularly wet weather unless you use some waterproofing treatment.

By applying this treatment every few months, you should improve their lifespan dramatically. It’s not a 100% guarantee to keep your feet dry but it’ll definitely help.

Save them for hiking

Walking boots can be incredibly comfortable, and it can be tempting to wear them for everyday use.

However, this will contribute to the wear down of the soles, particularly if you’re doing a lot of walking on concrete. Saving them for your hiking and/or walking activities will make sure they last a lot longer.


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