When Should I Replace My Walking Shoes? Signs to Look For

William Adams
 min read

When should I replace my walking shoes? It can be difficult to give up your old walking buddies, but your health comes first, and there are some signs which can creep up on you slowly, but are definitely telling you to change your footwear.

When should I replace my walking shoes? Signs to look forAs a regular hiker, there’s no escaping the moment when your old, trusty hiking boots are worn out and in need of replacement.

They took you along the most beautiful paths and roads and were your companions on many a trek. But how do you know for sure that your shoes are worn out and that there is nothing to do but buy a new pair?

As a whole, if you’re getting new pains in your legs, or feeling the stones through the soles, get your shoes checked out. You may also find that the shoe has visible signs of wear and tear that will affect you on your hikes, such as cracks and uneven wear on the sole.

Not all scuff marks are the same, and sometimes it’s just that feeling that your shoes don’t offer you the same protection anymore.

While it’s not always clear cut, you can read on for some clear indications to help you decide.

When should I replace my walking shoes? When is it time to say goodbye?

Hiking boots are to a hiker what wheels are to a car.

Just as you need to change the tires on your car or bike, you also need to replace your shoes over time.

Hiking boots give your feet support while hiking and cushion the shocks that happen when your feet land on the ground.

Over time, especially if you hike a lot, the shoes become less sturdy, and the soles slowly lose their cushioning.

As a result, you may develop find issues with your feet, ankles or knees. So replacing your hiking boots on time can reduce the risk of injury.

How long do hiking boots last?

How quickly your shoes wear and how long your shoes last depends on the following factors:

The number of miles you walk with the shoes: the more you walk, the sooner you will need a new pair of shoes. It is sometimes said that hiking boots last an average of 950 miles, but this also depends on the following.

  • The surface you walk on: asphalt or paths with lots of rocks and stones wear out shoes faster than on soft forest and sandy paths.
  • Your weight: if you are a bit heavier or hiking with heavy packs, your shoes will wear out faster.
  • The conditions in which you hike: rain and mud shorten the life of shoes, as well as repeated cycles of wet and dry because of walking in the snow, for example. ❄
  • The walking technique, i.e. the way you put your feet down, roll your foot, and take off again: incorrect technique can cause the soles to wear down at an angle. As a result, they need to be replaced more quickly.
  • The degree of maintenance of your shoes: the better you maintain your shoes, the longer they will last.
  • The quality of the shoes: it goes without saying that better quality shoes will last longer than lower quality shoes.

When should I replace my walking shoes? What to look out for

Regularly inspect your shoes for wear and tear and, when walking, check to see if your shoes are still comfortable.

In doing so, pay attention to the following components:

  • the outsoles
  • the exterior work such as the stitching
  • the bumpers
  • the interior and insoles

Check the outsoles for wear

Pay attention to the profile of your outsoles. If the tread has become shallower or pieces are loosening, then the soles need to be replaced.

Also check to see if the soles are worn straight or at an angle. If the sole is more worn on one side of the shoe than the other, then you are probably not putting your feet down properly.

If so, visit a podiatrist to ultimately prevent foot or knee problems.

Is the rest of the hiking boot still in good shape and you don’t want to part with your fine footwear just yet? Have the sole replaced if necessary.

Do this only if all other parts can still last a while. Otherwise, this is a waste of investment and you would be better off buying new shoes.

Wear and tear on the outsoles is not always visible. Sometimes while walking you may realize that the shoes no longer provide much support.

In extreme cases, you can feel hard stones on the ground through the sole. It goes without saying that your soles will then need replacing.

Inspect the exterior for cracks

Hiking boots can be made of leather or plastic.

Leather, provided you maintain it properly, has a long life. Plastic is also generally strong and long-lasting.

If cracks appear in the leather or plastic, your shoes will no longer be waterproof. Worn-out uppers can also cause your hiking boots to no longer fit securely around your feet.

Make sure the toe caps are in good order

Do you see cracks in the bumpers or are they even starting to come loose?

This is another sign that your hiking boots have had their best days.

Feel the interior and insole thickness

Feel inside your shoes occasionally for bumps and scuffs. A shoemaker can still repair wear and tear but this only makes sense if the rest of the shoe is still fine.

Remove the insole from the shoe and check if it is still sufficiently thick.

Especially under the ball of your foot, the sole may have become thinner. As a result, your feet have less cushioning. In this case, replace the insoles.

What are the right hiking boots if you need to buy new ones?

Good walking shoes are very important. With the right shoes, you can prevent both injuries and blisters.

What are good hiking boots and how do you buy the right ones? Here are some helpful buying tips.

What are good hiking boots?

Unfortunately, this question is not very easy to answer.

Choosing the right shoes is a personal matter, as factors such as foot shape, gait, body weight, and gender play significant roles in determining the perfect fit.

Tip for our female audience: Discover various top-rated walking shoes specifically designed for plus-size women in order to enhance comfort, support, and stability during your exciting walks and outdoor adventures!!

What is important is that your shoes at least provide adequate support for your feet.

They should not pinch but also not be too loose. Slack walking shoes are not recommended, especially for longer distances.

To be sure that shoes fit your feet, it is wise to go to a specialized store. Here you can feel how the hiking boots fit and moreover you can get advice.

Often outdoor and sports specialty stores can measure your feet to determine which shoes will fit you.

Buying hiking boots over the Internet, especially if it is your first pair of hiking boots, is not recommended (unless you can enjoy a not-satisfied money-back guarantee and favorable return conditions).

Buying tips for the best walking shoes 🥾

When trying on and buying hiking boots, consider the following:

  • Go try on/buy hiking boots during the day. Your feet swell slightly during the day. Even then, your shoes should still feel and fit comfortably.
  • Don’t be swayed by the look of the shoe. Of course, you want to walk in nice shoes, but the shoe’s fit is the most important thing.
  • Always try the shoes on with your hiking socks. 🧦
  • Make sure that inside the shoe you can still move your toes. If this is not possible, then the shoes are too small and you need a size up.
  • Walk with each pair of walking shoes you try on and check that your feet don’t slide around in the shoes. 🚶
  • The shoe should fit snugly on the instep of your foot. If your feet start to slide in the shoes, you’ll get blisters. Also, you should not feel any annoying pressure points.
  • Always try on multiple brands and sizes. That way you can properly compare which shoe fits best.

Breaking in hiking boots and its importance

Once you have found the right hiking boots, it is important to walk them in properly before taking them on a long hike.

Test out your new shoes thoroughly during your first hiking cardio workout. This way you can be sure that they are comfortable and you will not have any unpleasant surprises (blisters and other complaints) during a trip.

Have a look at our other article for a deeper dive on how to break in walking shoes.

When should I replace my walking shoes? Conclusion

If your trusty hiking boots are no longer trustworthy, you’ll realize because they won’t be as comfortable as they used to be and your feet will feel less protected.

You may also start to encounter unusual pains in your legs.

If that’s the case, then it’s time to go shopping to ensure you can continue going on walks and enjoying the many mental health benefits of walking outside.

About William Adams

I’m an engineer and a happy plus-size individual myself. I love to blog online if I can have a positive impact on the lives of others. I help other plus-size people with in-depth product guides to make shopping for products and services less stressful in their busy lives. Read More