How long do hiking boots last?

Let’s face it; hiking boots are expensive and take long to break in. It, therefore, makes sense that you would want to know how long your favourite pair of hiking boots will last.

Hiking boots do more than help you reach the summit- they make the journey worthwhile! It is therefore understandable that you would want to hold on to them for as long as you want.

But like everything else, your hiking boots will someday need replacing, and you need to prepare for that.

The good news is that hiking boots are built to last. If you just bought a new pair, you don’t need to worry about replacing them in a long time depending on how often you use them.

How to Know That Your Hiking Boots Need Replacing

Hiking boots are usually hardy and can comfortably handle a fair bit of wear and tear. However, like everything else, nothing lasts forever.

Eventually, your boots will give in to the rain, wind, and rugged terrain they have endured on all those hikes. So, when do you know that you need a new pair of boots?

The Soles Are Worn Out

After a while, the soles of your hiking boots will wear out. The miles of hiking gradually wear the tread down, which ends up reducing the grip on the bottom.

When this happens, you will be more prone to slipping and without knowing it you might end up hurting yourself. It is therefore vital that you don’t let the soles wear to that extent.

Usually, you should consider replacing the boots if you notice any cracks on the soles. Ideally, if when walking you can feel smaller stones and other debris underneath your boots, it’s a clear indicator that your soles are wearing away.

There Is No Midsole Cushioning

Hiking boots will usually have cushioning in the midsole when they’re new. This helps to soften the impact on your feet, ankles, and legs in general.

Over time, this cushioning becomes compact which renders it ineffective. One way you can tell whether the cushioning of your boots is wearing away is by doing the ‘press test”.

The test involves pressing the bottom of the boot upwards toward the midsole to simulate the pressure generated when you are walking.

If you notice a lot of compression lines in the midsole sides, then your cushioning is fine. Heavier and fewer lines on the other hand mean that you need to invest in a new pair.

The Boots Are Leaking

This is probably the best indicator that it’s time to rest your hiking boots. When hiking, soggy and wet feet are the last things you want.

It’s not only a miserable situation to find yourself in but it can be dangerous especially when you are hiking in cold weather.

If your hiking boots are leaking, I doubt that you are going to enjoy your hike. Most hiking boots will come with some level of waterproofing that can be enhanced by applying a water repellent every few months.

If your boots are however torn or cracked, a water repellent will not be of any use. Such boots will definitely leak and should therefore be replaced as soon as possible.

Experiencing Pain after Hiking

It’s natural for your legs to be a bit achy after a long hike but when the pain becomes too much, it could be a sign that your boots are not as effective as they should be.

If you find that you are developing blisters after hiking, it means that you’ve stretched your boots and your feet are moving a lot.

Achy ankles, knees, and feet are a clear indicator that the cushioning and soles of your boots have worn away. Don’t ignore such signs – a hiking boot change could be just what you need to enjoy your hikes without all the pain.

Just General Wear and Tear

Sometimes the cushioning and soles of your boots could be in good condition, but the boots have general wear and tear.

Issues like frayed laces can be dealt with by replacing the laces but such issues as fraying stitches and broken eyelets need to be investigated further.

Such problems might mean replacing your boots because they end up affecting qualities such as waterproofing. And a hiking boot is useless if it’s no longer waterproof.

What Is the General Shelf Life of Hiking Boots?

Hiking boots vary from one brand and make to another which means that the shelf life will also vary.

High-quality hiking boots can last for 500-1000 miles which is a huge range when you think about it.

However, the total mileage that your hiking boots can handle comes down to several factors and vary from one hiker to another.

The hiking terrains, your weight, type of shoes, and the care and maintenance you put in place will determine how long your boots last.

Generally, heavier hikers will notice that their boots will wear and tear quickly. The same applies to high mileage hikers.

Additionally, if you never clean your hiking boots after use, expect them to wear away quickly. The kind of hiking boot and the brand also make a significant difference.

Lightweight boots will generally have a shorter life span than their heavier counterparts. Before you commit to a purchase, do your research and go through past reviews to determine the most durable choice.

When it comes to purchasing hiking boots, please keep in mind that a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean that you are getting a more durable pair.

How to Maximize the Shelf Life of Your Hiking Boots

You’ve just bought an expensive pair of hiking boots and can’t wait to try them on your next hiking trip. Even if hiking boots are made to last, hiking trails can be unforgiving and you must be wondering how you can make yours last longer.

It goes without saying that the better you care for your boots; the more mileage they will accord you. Here a few tips that you can adopt to make your boots last longer:

  • Always clean your boots after a hike.
  • Store your hiking boots in a cool and dry place inside the house.
  • If your boots get wet, dry them by removing the insoles and stuffing the insides with newspapers to absorb the moisture.
  • Always enhance the waterproofing feature of your boots by applying waterproofing treatments every few months.
  • Avoid walking on pavements in your hiking boots as this wears down the soles quicker.
  • Fix small tears when they occur like using a little bit of shoe glue on small problem areas.


For any outdoor enthusiast, a comfortable hiking boot is the best part of the entire experience. Whether you are an avid hiker or an amateur seeking an unforgettable experience, one thing you need to know is when your hiking boots need replacing. This will save you a lot of anguish, frustrations, and pain. Even if hiking boots are hardy, nothing lasts forever and even the highest-quality pair will need replacement at some point. Luckily, there are so many quality hiking boots that you can choose from when that time comes.