How Long Do Hiking Boots Last? (All-in-one Guide + Tips) 

I know that a fine pair of hiking boots can be an investment, so when buying new hiking boots, most of us want to make sure that we choose a quality pair with the proper support that will stay in good shape for a long time.  

If you’re wondering how long do hiking boots last, you’ve come to the right place. Our team of experts has compiled our expertise to tell you everything you need to know about the expected longevity of hiking boots and how you can help extend the life of your next pair. 

Remember, though, that no matter the quality of the boots you purchase, if you’re using them for trail hikes, you cannot expect to buy hiking boots that last forever. 

Quick Summary

  • Hiking boots normally must be changed every two years or 500-1000 miles of use. Lighter pairs or trail shoes will generally need replacing every year or 400-500 miles. 
  • A good pair of footwear will cost more than a cheaper pair but will provide you with more comfort and durability and save you money in the long run. 
  • You can extend the life of your hiking boots by repairing them when needed and ensuring you keep them clean and stored correctly. 

How Many Years Can Hiking Boots Last? 

If you hike 10 miles a week, you would have about two years of use for standard hiking boots. Most lightweight trail running shoes will likely need replacement at least once per year, making them not as long-lasting as typical hiking boots. 

Many factors will determine if you are on the lower or higher end of the mileage range, such as the terrain you hike, the quality of the hiking boot, and how often you use them.

Materials and construction also significantly affect when to replace your hiking boots. High-mileage hikers can expect to change their pair of hiking boots more often than occasional hikers. 

How Many Miles Do Hiking Boots Last? 

You can generally expect a nice pair of hiking boots to last between 500-1,000 miles. The best trail running shoes or more lightweight hiking shoes, will last about 400-500 miles of use out on the trails before they need replacing. 

If you’re wearing shoes with the ultimate highest build quality, such as full grain leather boots with waterproofing and a thick tread, you will likely be on the higher end of the longevity range and could potentially get more than 1,000 miles out of the boots.

Keep in mind that these boots will often be quite expensive. 

What Factors Determine The Lifespan Of Your Hiking Boot?

The main factors determining the lifespan of hiking shoes include the quality of the boots, the terrain you use them on, how often you hike, the material of the boots, and the construction of the boot. 

Quality Of The Boots 

colombia used pair of hiking boots

It goes without saying that if you purchase and are wearing a high-caliber pair of boots, you will get more life out of them in the long run.

Although these boots will cost you more money upfront, the initial investment will save you from having to get a new pair after minimal usage. 

Additionally, higher-quality boots are less likely to cause your feet discomfort and provide better overall ankle support, protection, and grip than cheaper boots that are not built to the same standard. 

It may seem like a good deal to pay less upfront for your hiking footwear, but it will only lead to them falling apart sooner, and you may have to buy new ones after only several months of regular use. 

Terrain You Hike 

rocky wet terrain

If you typically go backpacking or for longer and more technical hikes on rocky mountain trails or areas with thick wet mud, your boots or hiking shoes will wear out more quickly than if you walk on flat dirt trails or the pavement.

Consider the types of adventures you typically complete when buying new hiking footwear.  

How Often Do You Hike 

The more often you hike, the quicker your boots start to show wear and tear. If you’re hiking 10 miles or more a week, you can anticipate that you’ll need new boots much sooner than if you only complete one 10-mile hike per month.

A very casual hiker may have the same pair of boots for a number of years. 

Material Of The Boots 

my used leather hiking boots

Leather boots are the utmost standard of quality when it comes to hiking footwear, especially if you have boots with full-grain leather uppers.

This material takes a much longer time to show wear than other materials.  

Boots made with fabric will typically have a shorter lifespan.

However, many brands are developing synthetic materials such as polyurethane that hold up just as well as leather. 

Construction Of The Boots

Good hiking footwear will have excellent craftsmanship. One of the most common reasons shoes break down faster is that they are not made well.

For example, footwear that utilizes TPU welding will tend to last longer because they hold its shape better.

You can also look for ones that have a shank in the midsole, as that makes it stronger and helps provide better support and protection for the foot. Both the durability of the midsole and the uppers should be taken into consideration. 

Additionally, hiking footwear that has strong outsoles and protective rand around the toe cap and heel will protect these high-impact areas better and keep them from cracking or splitting.  

It is worth looking for a boot manufacturer that has a good reputation for high standards, and you’ll likely find a boot with a longer lifespan.  

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How To Increase The Life of Your Hiking Boot?

You can improve the chance that your footwear will last longer if you repair them when needed and take proper care of them. 

If you’ve found a hiking shoe that you love, you want to make sure that you maximize its life and enjoy it for many adventures to come.

Repair Your Boots When Needed 

broken hiking boots

Before you throw out that pair of old boots, consider whether you can fix them first. Many non-major issues can be repaired by a professional or at home.

These issues include loose eyelets, frayed laces, and cracked midsoles. A quality repair to a minor issue can keep your boots safely working for a bit longer before they need to be substituted with a new pair.

Checking the surfaces of your boots regularly, in most cases, will alert you to something that will affect their lifespan. Then you can simply fix the issue before it gets worse. 

Storage And Care Of The Boots

You can also take steps to increase the lifespan of your hiking boots and trail shoes by maintaining them properly between use.

Good boot maintenance includes cleaning your boots after every hike (using warm water and a brush), making sure you treat them with a protectant and keeping the leather moisturized. 

Boots with a lot of dirt on them will dry out the material and make the shoe wear out more quickly, which is why keeping them clean is important. 

As for proper storage, make sure that you keep your boots in a dry space without a lot of humidity. Also, keep them out of sunlight to prevent drying out. 

Related Article: How to Recycle Used Hiking Boots

What Are the Signs of Wear and Tear?

From our long experience while hiking, we can tell that signs of wear and tear in hiking boots can manifest in several ways. One key indicator is sole degradation, where the treads become worn down or the rubber starts to separate.

Upper wear, such as cracks, tears, or excessive scuffing, can also signal the need for replacement.

Structural damage, like a compromised shank or weakened toe cap, is another concerning sign. Additionally, if the ankle support has significantly worn down or if the boots have become noticeably heavier, it may be time to replace hiking boots.

Regular inspections are crucial, and investing in new hiking shoes or lightweight hiking boots can provide improved performance and durability.

Choose Hiking Boots That Last Longer

If you’re serious about hiking and want a good pair of shoes, you will want to avoid buying a cheap pair, which will likely not last.

By spending a bit more than average for a pair with robust construction, you can hike comfortably in many conditions, and your feet will thank you. 

If you’re looking for the best hiking boots of all time, consider the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX or Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP that comes in both men’s and women’s options. 

Another good but more budget-conscious option is the Nortiv 8 Ankle High Boot.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Should Keen Hiking Boots Last?

Keen hiking boots should last about 800 miles on average before needing replacement. For regular use, this equates to about two years. Light Keen boots will tend to break down more quickly and may need to be changed with a new pair every year.  

How Long Do Leather Boots Last?

Leather boots last longer than fabric boots because the leather will not rip or tear as quickly. Sturdy footwear made out of leather will last two years or longer when given proper care.

Jennifer Strom

Jennifer Strom

Jennifer Strom has been a writer for over 20 years and an outdoor and hiking enthusiast for most of her life. After spending much of her career in the corporate world, she decided to freelance to spend more time with her family and explore new places. You will find her always looking forward to her next weekend adventure and writing guides that help others make the most of their own hikes and time outdoors.

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