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Can Hiking Boots Be Resoled? (Beginner’s Guide)

Hiking boots take a while to break in, and once you have comfortable boots, no matter how many miles you hike, you don’t want to give them up. However, the soles of hiking boots take a pounding on trails and will eventually degrade, and this may cause you to wonder if hiking boots can be resoled.

Quality hiking boots can be resoled. Soles that are stitched or glued to the boot upper can be resoled by a cobbler. However, many modern hiking boots are molded, and you may not be able to get these types of boots resoled. Resoling is a cheaper alternative to buying a new pair of hiking boots.

Good quality hiking boots can be expensive, so once the soles start to wear you don’t necessarily want to buy a brand-new pair. The article below will look at the pros and cons of resoling hiking boots, when you should look to have boots resoled, and the price you may expect to pay for resoling.

Can You Resole A Hiking Boot?

Most quality hiking boots can be resoled, which is good news when you have a pair of boots that never give you sore feet or blisters, however many miles you hike. Some modern hiking boots, however, are more difficult to resole, and this comes down to the design of the boots.

When your favorite pair of hiking boots start to show signs of wear and tear on the soles, you know you have a decision to make. Ideally, you don’t want to have to buy new boots that require breaking in if you already have a tried-and-tested pair of comfortable hiking boots. At this point, you may want to consider resoling your hiking boots instead.

Hiking boots that use stitching to attach the soles to the boot upper tend are easier to resole, and this is reflected in the price of the job. Cementing is another common method of attaching the sole to the boot and allows for resoling as well. Like stitching, using glue in the design permits a clean separation of the sole from the boot, enabling simpler resoling.

Boots with molded soles are much tougher to resole, and in some cases you may not be able to get them resoled at all. These boots are constructed by injecting the material around a mold, making the separation of the sole much more difficult. It’s not necessarily impossible, but it can be harder to get this type of resoling done and buying a new pair of boots will likely be the cheaper option.

Look For Wear And Tear Elsewhere

When it comes to resoling hiking boots, the quality of the materials and the sturdiness of the boot matters. The sole is the part of the boot that gets the harshest treatment, constantly impacting against hard and often rocky terrain. You would therefore anticipate this to be the element of the boot to falter first.

However, this is not always the case. Hiking boots made from leather, or at least partially made from leather, are usually the sturdiest and most durable boot. Leather boots will usually see the soles show signs of wear and tear, while the upper remains good to go. In these instances, resoling is a more viable option since the rest of the boot is fine.

For hiking boots made with a more lightweight synthetic fabric, you may find the uppers have started to wear before the soles. In this case, the condition of the uppers may make buying new boots a more sensible option, although you can still go ahead with resoling.

How To Tell If Your Hiking Boots Need Resoled

If you regularly hike it’s inevitable that over time the soles of your hiking boots will begin to show the effects of the pounding they take. Looking after hiking boots properly will help extend the life of the boots, including the soles, but even the finest leather will wear down over time.

The first thing you may notice that indicates the soles are starting to wear away is finding dirt and grit in your hiking boots. Apart from being annoying and uncomfortable, this is an indicator the quality of the soles is beginning to degrade. The boots may also start to take in a little water when its wet underfoot.

When you have worn a pair of hiking boots long enough, you may also start to feel when the soles of the boots are wearing down. You can feel the impact of the ground more in your feet, or the ground feels more uneven. If something doesn’t feel right when you walk, look over your soles to see if they are degrading.

Checking Your Soles

Once the protective nature of the sole diminishes, you are at an increased risk of injury, particularly if the sole has less traction than previously. Uneven soles can also place additional strain on your ankles and calves. Once you have any doubts about the soles of your boots, you can try the following:

  • Look at the base of your boots for signs of wear and tear and whether the treads or lugs have worn down at all.
  • Check there are no holes, dented areas or cracks in the soles.
  • Push your thumb in to the sole of the boot to check if it’s softer or has become spongy to the feel.
  • Look for uneven areas on the soles or around the edges of the boots, which could be caused by pronating your foot and uneven terrain.
  • Check to see if the stitches or glue bonding the sole to the rest of the boot is still in place and that no part is starting to peel away.

If you notice any of these issues, it’s time to consider resoling your hiking boots. You don’t want to wait until the problems get bad before you address them. Hiking boots are designed for comfort and safety, with the soles designed to absorb the worse of the impact from your foot strike with the ground, as well as providing the tread and lugs for grip.

How Much Does It Cost To Resole Hiking Boots?

It will generally cost between $75 to $150 to have your hiking boots resoled. The cost can depend on the design of the boots, the type of sole, whether you need the full sole replaced or just part of it, and the cobbler or boot repair company you use.

When you have a much-loved and trusted pair of hiking boots, a pair you have worn in and that have provided miles and miles of comfortable hiking, it’s understandable that you would rather not have to replace them once the soles begin to wear down. Besides, hiking boots can be pricey.

You should be able to locate an independent cobbler or one that is contracted to repair certain manufacturer’s boots. If you have any doubt, you can contact the boot manufacturers. Some companies will have you return the boots to them for resoling in-house, although this could prove more costly.

Which Soles Are Less Expensive To Replace?

As mentioned, a stitched sole tends to be easier to resole, provided new soles are still available for the boots and don’t need to be custom-made. If the replacement soles are available, resoling the boots should cost around $100, a lot less expensive than buying a new pair of good quality boots.

Replacing soles bonded by glue shouldn’t cost much more either, since they are still designed to detach from the rest of the boot. The problem is with cheaper, molded boots. You may find it difficult to locate a professional to resole molded hiking boots, and even if you do, the cost may be much more expensive, to the point it would make better financial sense to buy a new pair of boots.

The key is to ensure you have the best soles with the best traction on your hiking boots. Resoling extends the life of the boots, but not as much as the soles and uppers on a brand-new pair of boots will last. If the price you are being asked to resole your boots starts edging its way up toward half the price of a new pair of boots, you may start to consider new boots as the better option.

Pros And Cons Of Resoling Hiking Boots

PROS:

  • More eco-friendly since it saves you having to throw away your existing pair of hiking boots for a new pair. In essence there is a little bit of upcycling in having boots resoled.
  • In most instances resoling boots is budget friendly, too, since it can be much less expensive than buying a new pair of good quality boots.
  • The grip and traction on your boots are returned to new, which is good for hiking on rocky and steep terrain, as well as icy and slippery conditions.
  • Resoling hiking boots can restore lost comfort from worn down and uneven soles.
  • You get to keep your trusted boots for longer, which is particularly relevant if you are struggling to source a similar pair as a replacement.

CONS:

  • The boot uppers will be no different, so if they are also showing signs of wear and tear, it might be best to buy brand new hiking boots rather than resoling your current pair.
  • While resoling can restore comfort to the bottom of the foot by replacing the hard outer sole, it doesn’t restore cushioning within the boot if this has become diminished.
  • Many modern hiking boots are either impossible or extremely difficult to resole due to the molded nature of their design.

How To Get Your Hiking Boots Resoled

As soon as you realize your hiking boots need to be resoled, you want to find a suitably qualified cobbler or boot repairer. Having your boots professionally resoled ensures you maintain the integrity of the boot, one where the sole will not let you down when you need it the most.

Search online for cobblers or boot repairers within your area and look at the type of repairs they specialize in. Hiking boots have different construction designs, so don’t be afraid to ask a few questions to make sure they have the tools to do the job, as well as the correct replacement soles available.

You can also approach the hiking boot manufacturers directly for advice on where to get your boots resoled. Some manufacturers will have cobblers contracted to carry out repairs on their branded boots and will refer you to one of these. A few manufacturers will resole and repair hiking boots in-house and will ask you to send the boots to them.

In some areas, the choice of cobblers will be more limited than others. However, if it’s possible, it’s still best to do your research and shop around. While you don’t want to compromise quality for saving money, prices quoted will vary. Ultimately, you are looking for a cobbler you are confident has the tools and expertise to resole your boots, so the quality of the sole is as if they are new.

Boot soles can be made from different materials, but you should look for a like-for-like replacement for the best results. The main things to consider in a sole include:

  • grip and traction
  • underfoot protection
  • impact absorption
  • durability
  • flexibility to allow for natural foot movement

A good cobbler will ensure your replacement soles will be as good as new and is the appropriate sole for the boot. The whole integrity of the boot is diminished if the sole is sub-standard since they are the key to protecting your foot from the terrain and the elements, as well as providing vital traction.

How Often Should You Have Your Hiking Boots Resoled?

How often you should have your hiking boots resoled will depend on how regularly you hike and the demands of the trails you tend to hike. Someone who hikes 10 miles twice a week will need to resole their boots more often than someone who may hike five miles once a month.

A manufacturer of hiking boots might recommend replacing your boots every six months or so if you are a regular hiker. Others may say a good quality pair of hiking boots and soles should last for around 1000 miles. However, provided you maintain the uppers, a pair of hiking boots can last you for years, and therefore you should just need to resole them from time to time.

Over time, you will get a sense of how long the soles last before they start to degrade. However, you should still periodically check your boot soles for any sign of wear and tear such as cracks, small holes, or uneven edges. Someone who hikes predominantly on rocky terrain is more likely to see wear and tear on their soles sooner than someone who hikes mainly on easier underfoot conditions.

If your boot manufacturer advises a specific time period or miles covered for when you should start thinking about replacing the boots or resoling them, don’t wait until that time. Keep an eye on them in advance to ensure there is no early wear and tear that could place you at risk when hiking. The bottom line is: As soon as the soles are displaying signs of wear and tear, you should look to have them resoled.

Final Thoughts

A quality pair of hiking boots can be resoled to prolong the life of your boots and save you money. Resoling is an eco-friendly option since it prevents throwing away otherwise usable boots. Providing the uppers have not deteriorated, then resoling hiking boots can be the sensible choice.