When To Replace Your Walking Boots: An Expert Guide

walking boots
Pair of hikers boots walking on path

Walking boots are perhaps the single most essential item for hikers or any sort of walking enthusiasts. However once you’ve found the perfect pair it can be hard to accept when it’s time to say goodbye to them!  

How long do walking boots last?

Although proper care and protection can extend the longevity of your walking boots, they can’t last forever. After walking a certain distance and lasting a certain length of time, there will come a time when your beloved hiking boots will need to be replaced. The types of trails you go on can also impact the lifespan of your boots. If you tend to walk on soft but firm trails your boots will typically last longer than someone who regularly hikes over rocky and marshy terrain.

However it can be hard to identify when it’s time to replace your walking or hiking boots, that’s why we’ve pulled together a guide to help you determine when your boots are beyond repair.

8 signs you need to replace your walking boots

There are a number of signs that can indicate it’s time to buy a new pair of walking boots, we’ve pulled together just a few:

Worn Down Soles

After many miles of hiking it’s inevitable that the tread will be worn down. When the soles of your walking or hiking boots become overly worn down they will no longer be able to grip to surfaces properly. This lack of grip increases the likelihood of slipping and hurting yourself, so it’s important to replace them before they become too worn down. As soon as you start feeling small stones and other debris whilst out walking, it’s time to buy a new bit of walking boots!


If the laces have become frayed, but the rest of the boot is in good condition, you can just replace the laces. However this can be an indication that the walking boots are becoming worn down. 


When your pair of hiking boots start to lose shape they will no longer give the support they were designed to provide. If you begin to notice that the cushion supports you can try to use inserts, but it might be time to replace them.


When cracks occur in the midsole it’s a sign that it’s too thin, and this can affect the support provided by your walking boot.

Eyelets and lace hoops

If the eyelets or lace hoops of your walking or hiking boots become broken it can stop you from being able to tie them tightly enough which can cause your feet to suffer from painful cuts and blisters.

Condition of the Fabric or Leather

When the fabric or leather of your walking boots becomes worn or damaged runs the risk of the material leaking. Once they get to this point no amount of water proofing will work, meaning it’s definitely time to get a new pair. 

Do they leak?

There’s not much worse than having cold and soggy feet whilst out walking. Most walking or hiking boots come with a level of waterproofing, but you can help to improve this by using some kind of water repellent. However once they get to a certain point of wear, they will start to leak. If you’re noticing that your pair of walking or hiking boots are leaking, it’s likely that your boots are at the end of their life and it is time for a new hiking boots. 

Can you feel strokes underfoot more than usual?

If your soles have become overly worn down you’ll start to feel all the lumps and bumps. Once your boots have been worn down to this point it’s time to get a new pair.

Wear and tear

It will come to a point when there’s no major damage in your old hiking boots but just a general wear and tear. Simple issues  such as frayed laces can be fixed easily by replacing them, while some might need more investigation such as cracked midsoles or broken eyelets.

5 Tips to extend the life of your walking boots

Are you doing everything you can do in order to make them last for longer? We have some hints and tips for you in order to allow you to keep walking in your beloved walking or hiking boots.

Keep them clean

Make sure you clean your walking and hiking boots properly; this is essential for them lasting as long as possible. It is essential to clean your boots after every walk, otherwise the dirt will result in cracked and rotten walking boots, meaning you will have to replace them sooner rather than later. 

Dry carefully

Drying your walking boots properly is essential in order to prolong the boots lifespan and prevent the fabric from cracking! You can dry your walking boots gently with a towel to remove any excess moisture, but leaving them to dry naturally is the best option. 

You should never leave your boots to dry next to a direct source of heat, such as a radiator as this can cause the material to crack or split.

TOP TIP – If the insides of your boots are very wet and you’re concerned that they won’t dry properly, stuff them with newspaper, as this will help to draw out the excess moisture! 

Replace your soles

If you have had your boots for a while, and they still feel brand new apart from the sole. It may be worth you getting a new sole put on them. This will help to make the boots continue to feel brand new, and keep them lasting a lot longer.

Treat with proofer

Regularly treating your boots will help keep your feet dry against the elements. By applying waterproof cream or wax to your pair of boots, you’ll be able to extend their lifespan. 

Save them for walks

Walking on concrete can wear the soles of your walking boots down much faster than walking on hills. So make sure to save your walking and hiking shoes for hikes and long walks and not wear them for trips to the pub!

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