I've been a re-rider for a little over a year now (working on jumping). I've been riding in inexpensive starter gear, including Ariat All Around Chap III leather/suede half chaps. Yesterday, I noticed that the inside suede patches are starting to become worn smooth and shiny. As a teen rider, I always wore tall boots, so I'm not sure what counts as normal wear and tear on half chaps. What things indicate that they're getting worn out and need to be replaced?
When one of them actually disintegrates off of your leg mid-ride. My Tredsteps currently sport major holes, busted seams, binding on the left one that is separated and creeps up over my knee, broken elastic on both bottoms, and broken snaps. Eventually, the lack of elastic will cause them to twist enough that I will retire them. I do have their replacement waiting at my house, as it really is any day down that one of them may suffer a catastrophic breakdown.
For me, it is when they stretch out so much that they twist. Or the zipper breaks and they are so raggedy, it doesn't seem worth fixing. I haven't worn holes through any of mine before one or both of those other scenarios happened.