How To Tell If You Need New Hiking Boots
There’s nothing like a beloved pair of boots. They’re that faithful companion you’ve been on many an adventure with, but they don’t last forever! If you want to keep your feet happy, healthy, and blister-free on the trail, make sure your footwear is in good condition. Here’s how to tell if your trusty boots have a few more miles left in them or are ready for retirement.
- Check the tread
This is perhaps the simplest (and most obvious) way to tell if your boots are worn out. Like the tread on your tires, you want to make sure there is still plenty of depth to the grooves. If it’s been worn thin, then your boots won’t have a good grip on slick or steep surfaces. It’s also a good sign that other parts of the boot are worn out as well.
- Check the mid-sole
The mid-sole is the “unseen” component of the boot, found between the sole and the upper. It’s what provides the boot’s stiffness, support, and cushion. When this wears out, you’ll likely find your boot isn’t as comfortable or supportive. An easy way to tell if it’s worn out is to do the “press test.” Simply press the bottom of the boot into the upper. If there are very few, faint lines on the side of the boot, they're fine. However, if there are big heavy lines visible, it's a sign you've lost the cushion and support of the midsole.
- Are they still waterproof?
Do your boots still leak even after you’ve applied Nikwax or other waterproofing products? Boots do have a limited lifespan, and if they’re no longer holding waterproofing agents, it’s time to invest in a new pair!
- Do your feet hurt?
Another obvious sign, but one so often overlooked! Were your boots once the most comfortable pair of footwear you owned but have suddenly begun to hurt? If your feet and joints have begun to hurt after a hike when they didn’t used to, your footwear may need to be replaced.