Some hiking boots can be resoled, but the vast majority of modern backpacking and hiking boots, hiking mids, trail shoes, and trail runners have to be thrown out when you wear out the soles because they can’t be replaced. With all the focus on sustainability these days, it’s a wonder that this waste doesn’t receive more attention from manufacturers and consumers.
If you want to buck the trend and buy hiking boots that can be resoled or you just like owning gear that can be used for a long time with proper upkeep, you have to buy a boot that’s been designed to be resoled when it’s manufactured. This means buying boots that have an upper half that is durable enough to last through one or more sole replacements. One of the chief reasons that light hiking boots, mid hiking boots, trail shoes, and trail runners can’t be resoled is that their uppers fall apart as quickly as their soles.
This means buying leather, suede, or synthetic hiking boots from companies like Asolo, Danner, Hanwag, Lowa, Meindl, Scarpa, or Zamberlan that make hiking boots that are designed to be resoled from the get-go. You still have to care for them properly, which we describe below. Here is a list of their most popular resoleable boots, many of which are available in men’s and women’s models.
Hiking Boot Care
When purchasing a boot that’s designed to be resolved, you have to take care to maintain it so that it can be resoled when the time comes. The #1 thing to avoid is waterproofing your boots with products that contain mineral or animal oils, including animal grease or beeswax that contain them in their ingredient list. These can make the boot too soft to sew or too slippery to effectively bond to a new sole. Water-based waterproofing spray or gel is fine. Nikwax is a good source of these and one that I use on my own boots.
Most of the hiking boot manufacturers listed above have contracted with a cobbler to do their repairs or will refer you to one. Some, like Danner and Hanwag, do most of this work in-house. The pricing varies depending on the amount of custom work required, but $100 for a simple resole is what you can generally expect. That will save you a little money, but mainly it will help you avoid the process of breaking in new footwear since the uppers will already be broken in.
If you have a good of boots, their uppers can last decades, through multiple resolings. There’s something to be said for wearing the same pair of hiking boots for years. I cut my teeth on leather hiking boots from Raichle, Vasque, and Asolo and I can understand why people would want to wear any of the hiking boots listed above. They’re all really high quality and hiking in a boot like this might really change your hiking footwear preferences.
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