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Avoiding Hiking Shoe Seam Failure

Post by Will Rietveld, Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador

The biggest wear problem I have with hiking shoes and boots is seam failure.

I like to bushwhack and explore, and things like sliderock are hard on boots, especially any exposed seams in the lateral (outside) metatarsal head region. That region is subjected to heavy abrasion, which wears through the stitching, causing the seam to open. The first photo shows what I mean.

Unfortunately, shoes and boots with seams in that region are fairly common. My first piece of advice is to avoid purchasing footwear that has exposed seams on the sides of the shoe or boot. An example is shown in the next photo.

However, we purchase footwear based on fit, support, and traction (mainly fit), so it’s not always possible to find the ideal shoe or boot without exposed outside seams. In that case you can greatly extend the life of hiking footwear by coating the stitching in the exposed area with McNett SeamGrip or FreeSole, which is available in most outdoor stores.

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