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How Long Do Hiking Boots Last?

Hiking boots are the foundation of any successful hike. Without good hiking footwear, you will not cover any considerable distance before getting blisters and regretting your choice to go out. This reason is why hiking boots are extremely important.

Solid hiking boots allow you to complete a hike with less discomfort than you would have felt with a normal shoe. However, there comes a time when even the best hiking boots get to diminish in quality, wear off, and eventually get destroyed. When this happens, you become exposed to high injury risk and may suffer different injuries.

How Long Will My Hiking Boot Last?

There are different types of hiking boots with differing qualities, so their durability timelines are often different. Based on expert analysis, standard to high-quality hiking boots are believed to last 700 miles to over 2000 miles, respectively.

The above range for hiking boots’ durability is the standard measurement based on analyses from different hikers globally. However, as more specific metrics are considered, the mileage and duration of hiking boots become more subjective.

For example, an average hiker who plies smooth terrain with a good boot will enjoy up to 1000 miles of usage before degradation in quality. On the other hand, using the same boot on steep and rough tracks will affect how long it lasts, limiting its life span to 700 miles or less. So different factors matter when it comes to how long you expect your hiking boot to last.

Hiking boots on rocky terrain

Major Factors that Get to Affect How Long a Hiking Boot Lasts

Terrain

The choice of terrain you typically hike on is very important to determine how long your boots hike. Rough trails with sharp rocks, roots, and other obstacles will degrade your boots faster. Clear terrains like grassy fields or light gravel paths are great for hiking boots because they provide more cushioning for the feet and reduce the amount of wear on the material.

On muddy or wet surfaces, waterproof materials are essential to keep your feet dry and comfortable while trekking through the wilderness. Proper care is also necessary in order to extend the life of your hiking boots – cleaning them after hikes can help prevent dirt buildup that may cause deterioration over time.

So your terrain choice plays a huge role in determining whether your boot will last or not. Hikers that walk on steep and bushy trails typically enjoy 600 miles (for average-quality boots) to a little over 1500 miles (for high-quality boots). On the other hand, smooth terrain hikers could even have their high-quality boots last over 2000 miles.

The Intensity of Hiking Activity

A common problem among hikers is that their boots need to be replaced more often due to going on frequent long-distance hikes. While most hiking boots are supposedly built for long-term durability and performance, the intensity of your hiking activities can play a major role in how quickly they wear out.

Long-distance coverage and extended use require increased boot protection. If you usually hike in extreme weather or carry heavy loads over tough terrain, then your boot is likely to degrade much more quickly, even if it is highly reinforced.

Hiking long distances can take a toll on the life of your hiking boots. Constant wear and tear over extended periods of time can cause the material to degrade, leading to holes in the fabric or soles becoming loose.

Boot Construction

The type of materials used to make your boots also affects their durability when exposed to intense hiking activities. Leather is generally considered one of the most durable materials for boots and will last longer than synthetic leather or fabric uppers. Some types of leather are treated with protective coatings that help to guard against water and dirt. The sole of the boot should also be constructed with a material that is designed to resist abrasions, such as rubber or synthetic soles.

Grey hiking boots

The overall construction of your hiking boots can make a big difference in their durability. Choose boots with reinforced eyelets, heel counters and shanks for extra rigidity. These components provide additional support and protection and help to prevent wear-and-tear on the upper materials during intense hikes. In addition, look for boots that are waterproofed and feature breathable linings to keep you comfortable while trekking through wet conditions.

By taking into account the intensity of your hiking activity, you can make sure that your boots are up to the challenge.

Poor Sizing

As far as hiking boots are concerned, getting the wrong size is a recipe for disaster. While it is important for your feet to break into your new boot, buying a shoe that barely fits well will damage it over the long run and leave you with blisters. You cannot manage an inaccurate size of hiking footwear and expect it to take you all the way. The shoe will start to fall apart much quicker than it is expected to last. Also, you will end up with small injuries.

Astonishingly, quite a significant number of hikers get their shoe sizes wrong and instead of asking for a more perfect package, they usually settle it and end up causing forceful expansion. As expected, these footwear never last. So don’t make that mistake with your shoe if you want it to take you through thousands of miles in great shape.

Expert Tip

The best way for hikers to ensure their boot’s longevity is to make sure they are properly maintained following each outing. Cleaning them off with a mild detergent and brush, as well as applying waterproof sealant, can help keep your boots from wearing out too quickly.

Additionally, rotating between two pairs of boots gives them an opportunity to air out and dry after each hike which will help prolong their life. Hiking boots that are used frequently over long distances can get worn out quickly, but with proper maintenance and care, they will last much longer. 

Also, ensure you maintain all other safe practices for the optimal experience with your hiking shoe. Good luck!

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