Signs That it's Time to Buy New Boots
Getting rid of an old, comfortable pair of hiking boots is often a difficult decision to make, and many people wait too long to make the switch. While the emotional attachment to a comfortable pair of boots, along with all of the memories and miles that accompany them may be hard to let go of, there comes a time when it's necessary. Let's take a look at some tell-tale signs that it's time to think about buying and breaking in a new pair.
Worn Cushioning and Supports
There comes a time when the padding on boots becomes compressed to the point where it is not effective anymore. The fraying of lining around the padding or the formation of holes in the material may also be a sign that it's time to make a switch. Padding and supports play an important role with creating a secure fit that reduces strain as well as the possibility for injury. Once they start to wear, your feet, ankles and lower legs may start to feel achy while walking, and you may be more prone to developing blisters. Replacing the boots at this stage will maximize comfort in addition to reducing the risk of losing footing while walking, even if a new pair needs to be broken in before you feel the benefits.
Soles often crack near the heel or under the middle of the foot, but the seals that connect them to the boot may also start to wear down as well. While there are adhesives that you can use to repair seals and minor cracks, there is little that can be done to fix major tears. Tears in the soles can cause moisture to enter the boot, reduce stability as you walk and sometimes rip off the boot entirely. It's better to replace the boot as soon as you notice cracks so that you don't run the risk of having it fail while you're out on a hike.
Just like tires, the treads on boots wear over time. Good tread contributes to better traction and stability while walking, and they play a major role with preventing slippage as well. A good rule of thumb to follow is to replace boots once the treads lose about a third of their depth. You also want to be on the look out for spots where wear may be more pronounced when compared to the rest of the boot.
Take a look at your boots as you pull on the laces and see if there are any tears or holes near the eyelets. While this may not seem like a big problem, particularly if the rest of the boot is in good shape, these defects can influence how well the boot is tightened around your foot. You want a snug fit, and there comes a time when the boot will feel loose because of these tears no matter how hard you tug on the laces. Countless sprained ankles, as well as blisters, can be attributed to wear and tear around the eyelets.
While only you can decide when it's time to change to a new pair, putting it off will only open the door to all kinds of problems as you continue to hike. Follow these tips, and use some common sense in order to determine whether or not the time has come to retire your old pair of boots. You and your feet will be glad that you did.