10 Signs That You Need to Change Your Hiking Boots

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10 Signs That You Need to Change Your Hiking Boots

Hiking can be a rewarding and exciting activity whether you're a novice or a seasoned pro. But it's important to start every journey with the right equipment. 

Hiking shoes provide extra support for long journeys and are durable enough to protect your feet from the elements and the different types of terrain. 

Even the best boots need to be replaced when the time is up. In fact, many hiking injuries can be attributed to shoes that are past their prime, so it's important to know when to replace your old hiking boots.  For this reason, we've put together below 10 signs that you need a new pair of hiking shoes.



Worn out shoelaces are a common occurrence for any shoe used on a regular basis. Even though shoelaces can easily be replaced, damaged laces may be an early indication that your boot is starting to age.


2.Leather, Fabric or Synthetic Upper and Stitching

Check the exterior leather, fabric or synthetic upper for any cracks, rips or tears. These defects can impact the structural stability of the hiking boot and cause additional problems down the road. The same can be said for the shoe's stitching. 


3.Eyelets or Lacing Loops

Inspect the eyelets -- a.k.a. the holes where the laces go through the shoe -- and the lacing loops at the upper part of the shoe.  If any of them are broken, missing or starting to pull away from the leather, fabric or synthetic upper, it will be really difficult to tighten your shoes properly, which can lead to injury. 



If you examine your hiking boots closely, you should be able to tell if the shape has changed. Once your hiking shoe starts looking deformed, flatter or wider than it used to be, it can increase your risk for injury and falls.


5.Ankle Collar

Take some time to examine the ankle collar. It is the upper part of the boot that wraps around your ankle to provide support. Are there noticeable signs of wear or has it lost its shape and cushioning?


The synthetic material that covers the inside of your boot may even start to rub away or separate, revealing the material underneath. 



Insoles, which are usually constructed of EVA foam, are the heart and soul of any quality shoe because they provide needed support and cushioning. Worn-out insoles will make hiking incredibly uncomfortable. 

You should be concerned if you start seeing little hairline cracks in the insole, the arch support looks worn or misshapen or the heel pad is worn away.  Closely monitoring the condition of the insole is usually a good way to prevent blisters, since worn-out insoles tend to cause increased friction or rubbing.



Treadwear is an important consideration for hiking boots. Poor traction can be a major safety issue and increase your risk for falls and slips. A majority of hiking boots have a moderate to deep tread pattern to provide the best grip and traction for all trail and weather conditions.

Wear patterns are definitely something to keep in mind when inspecting the tread on your hiking shoes. Take the time to inspect the entire bottom of the shoe closely, just like you would do to the tire of your car. If the tread on the bottom of your shoe is smooth or isn't as defined as it used to be, it's time to buy a new pair of hiking shoes.



If your hiking boots are in good condition, you should be able to complete your journey without issue. However, if they don't feel as comfortable as they used to be,  it may be time to get a new pair. Some common discomfort as indicators are 

  • Unexpected aches and pains in your ankles, back, feet, hips, knees or legs
  • Blistering or skin chaffing that occurs in unexpected locations

If the sole is worn out, you may experience some increased discomfort when walking over certain types of terrain that were never an issue before.


9.Mileage Considerations

Some shoe manufacturers recommend consumers replace their hiking boots every three to six months or every 600 to 800 km depending on usage. This milestone may be accurate, depending on the type of hiking a person enjoys and the conditions in which the boots were used. 


10.Comparison Testing

One of the best ways to determine if you need new hiking shoes is to try on a new pair. Comparing your old hiking boots to a new pair in the same style or even trying on a different brand is a great way to evaluate overall look, comfort and support. 


Final thoughts

Comfortable hiking boots are an essential component to any hiker. It's important to recognize the right time to upgrade your old hiking boots. Knowing when to replace your old boots can save you a lot of unnecessary pain in the future. As we all know, nothing lasts forever, so it's inevitable that you're going to have to part with your old pair of hiking boots sometime.