Have a pair of beloved hiking shoes that are starting to look a little worse for wear? You’re not alone. Keen hikers tend to go through boots and shoes at a rapid clip, which can cost a lot of money in the long term.
If you’re not interested in buying a new pair of boots, you might be wondering:
Can hiking shoes be repaired?
The short answer:
In most cases, hiking shoes can be repaired. First determine what kind of shoes you have (if they are “double-stitched” or “cemented”) and what the issue is. If you simply have a pair of boots with worn-out soles, you might be able to take them to a cobbler or send them back to the manufacturer to get them fixed up. Most skilled cobblers and manufacturers can also re-stitch hiking shoe uppers and fix other minor problems.
If your boots are completely falling apart, they may not be repairable and you’ll have to look into any type of warranty/replacement options that the manufacturer may have.
Unless you’re a particularly resourceful person who likes a good challenge, chances are pretty high that you’ll need to take your boots to a cobbler or send them back to the manufacturer to get them repaired properly. However, not all problems can be fixed, so it’s important to contact your boot manufacturer or take your boots to a repair shop as soon as you suspect an issue with your footwear.
In this article, we’re going to give you a quick overview of the wide world of hiking boot repair. We’ll talk about what kinds of issues hiking boots tend to have, whether or not they might be fixable, and where you can go to get your beloved shoes ready for another day out on the trail.
Types of Hiking Shoes that can be Repaired
Can Hiking Shoes Be Repaired? Like many things in life, the answer to this question is “it depends.”
There are some common hiking boot issues that can normally be fixed either at home, by a cobbler, or by sending your shoes back to the manufacturer.
For example, a simple case of outsole delamination or a missing eyelet is normally repairable on hiking boots (so long as everything else is intact). But if your dog decided to use your boots as a chew toy, there’s a chance that they’re beyond saving.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that the repairability of a pair of hiking shoes will depend heavily on what kind of boots you had in the first place. Traditional leather boots are often easier for cobblers to work with than boots with synthetic materials and a lot of mesh, but this isn’t the case across the board.
Ultimately, if you’re not sure whether your hiking boots can be saved, it’s best to contact your shoe manufacturer directly or to talk to your local cobbler. Just keep in mind that sending your boots to a cobbler might void their warranty (if there is one), so you may want to contact the manufacturer first to get their advice before you look for third-party repair services.
Can a Cobbler Repair Hiking Boots?
Cobblers can sometimes repair hiking boots. But this will depend on:
- What kind of hiking boots you have
- The issue that needs repairing
- If your local cobbler is experienced in hiking boot repair
The majority of cobblers these days spend most of their time working with dress shoes and fancy boots—not hiking boots, trail runners, and other sorts of athletic footwear.
This is partly because there’s a bigger market for dress shoe repair than there is for hiking boot or sneaker repair. But it’s also because fixing hiking boots and other kinds of athletic shoes requires having access to special kinds of rubber, materials, and techniques that most cobblers simply don’t have a need for in their daily work.
However, there are definitely cobblers out there, like Dave Page, that can repair hiking boots—it’s just about finding one near you. Some cobblers in mountain towns or in areas with large climbing communities are very skilled at repairing hiking boots. In many cases, climbing shoe resoling shops can also help with basic boot repair.
But, you may need to send your boots by mail to one of these cobblers if there isn’t one in your area. Just be sure to discuss your boot repair needs with the cobbler before you send your shoes in the mail. That way, you can figure out whether they’ll actually be able to help before you spend money on postage.
We should also reiterate the fact that your boot manufacturer should be your first point of contact if you’re looking to get your shoes repaired. Manufacturers know their boots better than anyone and they’ll be best suited to know if your shoes are repairable. Many manufacturers also offer in-house repair or they have a list of authorized repair agents that can help you get your boots back in working order.
Remember that sending your boots to an unauthorized cobbler may void their warranty, so if you choose to go that route, you do so at your own risk.
How Long a Pair of Hiking Shoes Last
The lifespan of a pair of hiking boots will vary greatly from person to person depending on many factors, like what kind of shoes you have, how often you use them, and the kind of terrain that you normally hike in.
Heavy-duty full-leather hiking boots have been known to last for decades with proper care and maintenance. But most of the boots that are on the market today are made of lightweight synthetic fabrics that are more prone to rips and tears. As a result, many keen hikers find that they need to replace their boots after a couple of years of regular use.
This is especially true if you’re using ultralight boots or trail running shoes as the upper fabrics on these boots tend to wear out quickly. The midsole cushioning in many ultralight shoes also tends to compress beyond the point of usability after about 6 to 12 months.
Does this mean that you’ll need to replace your slick lightweight boots every year? Maybe, maybe not. It all depends on how often you use your boots and what model you have. But if you’ve noticed that your boots seem a bit worse for wear or that they’re not providing you with the traction or ankle support that you need, it may be time to replace them.
Is It Possible to Repair Old Hiking Boots?
It is sometimes possible to repair old hiking boots, but not all hiking boots are repairable. If you’re concerned about your hiking boots and think that you might need a repair, contact your boot manufacturer directly for more advice.
A boot manufacturer will be able to tell you if your shoes are fixable, and if they are, where you can send them to get a repair. Some manufacturers offer their own in-house repair services and others will be able to direct you to an authorized service center with qualified cobblers. That way, you can get back out on the trail as soon as possible.
Up Next In Hiking:
David is an accomplished mountain endurance athlete who has completed over 25 ultra marathon races (follow on Strava). He is most proud of his finish at The Drift 100 – a high elevation, 100 mile winter foot race that zigzags along the Continental Divide in Wyoming. In the future he hopes to compete in the ITI 350 and ultimately the full 1,000 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational that follows the same path as the historic dog sled race.