This article describes die wear and failure mechanisms, including thermal fatigue, abrasive wear, and plastic deformation. It summarizes the important attributes required for dies and the properties of the various die materials that make them suitable for particular applications. Recommendations on the selection of the materials for hot forging, hot extrusion, cold heading, and cold extrusion are presented. The article discusses the methods of characterizing abrasive wear and factors affecting abrasive wear. It discusses various die coatings and surface treatments used to extend the lives of dies: alloying surface treatments, micropeening, and electroplating.