Doc martens have been an icon in the fashion industry for decades, I am guessing you own a pair and you are wondering if you can wear them on the trail.
so, can you hike in Doc Martens? Although there are far superior hiking footwear on the market, you can certainly hike in doc martens. Often doc martens make the most durable boots that last for years– however, you shouldn’t expect the comfort, traction, and stability you would get from a true hiking boot.
If you already own a doc martens or if you want to know which model of doc martens is better to hike with keep reading
Hiking With Doc Martens– The Cons
Different people have had different opinions about whether or not you can safely hike in a pair of Doc Martens. Many people have reportedly worn Doc Martens for years and said to have both good and bad experiences, although thousands of people can vouch for their outstanding duablity, durability alone can’t make or break hiking footwear
It is hard to find perfect fit– Doc martens don’t have half sizes which makes it hard to find a perfect fit. For instance, if you are 8.5 US. you have to pick either 8 or 9 which is pretty bad considering the fact the hiking footwear has to be spot on when it comes to size.
Shank– A shank is basically a supportive structure that is usually metal, hard leather, or plastic and is inserted between the insole and outsole of a boot, its purpose is to support your weight and alleviate certain pressure points. The reason I bring this up is most doc martens don’t have a shank in them and that is not the way to go.
Lack of traction– Doc martens have very low traction on wet rocks and slippery surfaces which can make them dangerous on slippery surfaces.
No width choice– You have no width choice when buying doc martens, the women’s have a narrower build, and the men’s versions have a wider build besides that the width is the same throughout a specific model.
Outdated materials– Latest hiking boots now use superior materials like GORE-TEX and Vibram, which improve the entire feel of the boots, however, doc martens have been basically the same for decades.
Weight– Doc martens are heavier than your average hiking boots which can drag you down when hiking.
When are Doc Martens ok to hike with?
- Day hikes: If you are planning a hiking trip where you know the trail is going to be as flat as a pancake and if it is a day hike you can definitely do it with a pair of doc martens unless of course, you aren’t carrying a heavy backpack. doc martens can work for something less than 3 miles
- For shorter walks or treks through the woods: Although Doc Marten boots aren’t good for prolonged hikes, they’re fine for shorter walks on off-road paths and hikes through the woods.
- For younger people: The more you weigh the more mindful you should be about your footwear because your whole body rests on your feet obviously, so for younger people who are lightweight they can pull it off with a pair or doc martens. However, for us older folks I think we should get something more advanced:-)
The Different doc marten Boot Models
The average price of doc martens is about $140 and can go up to $260, which is pretty expensive for a pair of simple leather boots, it can be worth paying $260 for the history the name doc marten carries that is up to you,– however, if you want the best out of your footwear buying doc martens is not a clever choice; you can get a high end hiking boots, or trail running shoes for the same price or less.
But if you are really looking forward to buying doc martens choosing the right one is important because there are models of Doc Martens that are better than others when it comes to comfort and agility
- The 1460 Doc martens- 1460s are the iconic Dr. Martens that you see most people wearing, and they are by far the most flexible and the most comfortable for hiking trips.
- JADON Doc martens- Jadon are another iconic boots by doc martens, they look like the classic 1460s but they have a platform. when it comes to agility and comfort they don’t perform well because of the big outsole and the stiffness of the shoe.
- 1461- The 1461 are yet another iconic pair from doc martens, they are low cut shoes that in my opinion look good with a lot of outfits however they are probably the least comfortable ones from this lineup and you might end up with a lot of discomfort and bruises if you were to go hiking with them.
- doc martens chelsea boots- Depending on the size of the platform the doc marten chelsea boots can be pretty comfortable as well.
Docs are usually unisex but they also have women’s shoes which are more or less the same eas the other docs
When you are about to buy your doc martens you often get two choices: vegan leather and real leather
- The vegan leather doc martens tend to be softer and more comfortable, and you will have easier time breaking in which makes them preferable for hiking trips however unlike the real leather they are not breathable which is not a very good thing when you are putting those miles in and your feet get sweaty.
- On the other side the real leather docs are somewhat breathable and look better in my opinion not to forget they age well– however, they can be very stiff.
How Can You Make Doc Martens Hikable
If you really have to wear Doc Martens for a long hiking trip, there are a few things you can do to make them as comfortable as possible. These tips won’t magically turn these shoes into perfect hiking boots, but they’ll help ease the discomfort you might encounter while wearing them for prolonged periods of time over difficult terrain.
Waterproof Your Doc Martens
Water-resistance is very essential on hiking footwear and most doc martens are not water-resistant, so you might end up with a soggy and wet, however you can waterproof your doc martens.
The video above shows you how you can waterproof your doc martens, to summarize the video what he basically does is he applies a waterproof coating called Nikwax waterproofing spray, it is from amazon and it pretty much does the job.
Break them in before your trip:
Breaking in the shoes just means wearing them for long enough for the leather to adjust to the size and shape of your foot.
Everyone who has owned a pair of Doc Martens knows that the first few wears can be painful. Almost everyone ends up with blisters and bloody heels after just a few hours of wearing their new pair of doc martens. But as soon as they are broken in they eventually become comfortable, So you definitely don’t want to wear a brand new pair of Doc’s on a hiking trip, you’ll begin to regret it very soon.
You can break your doc martens by wearing super thick socks to prevent excessive rubbing and wearing them often when going for short walks or just regularly inside the house. Take them off and give your feet a break whenever you start to feel pain.
Choose Your Socks Wisely:
The socks that you wear can be the difference between unbearable pain and mild aches so getting the most comfortable socks will be a huge benefit when hiking in Doc Martens. You want to get socks that are thick and wooly, they will provide some extra padding in the spots you need it most. It’ll also help to wear more than one pair of socks; some people wear up to three!
You Can Get A Neoprene Socks:
Neoprene is the material used to make wetsuits for people who are going to submerge themselves in cold water. This material has lots of benefits and uses which is why people decided to make socks out of it.
These socks keep your feet warm and insulated should you step into a puddle or have to cross a stream. When your feet get wet they tend to create more friction inside the shoe which leads to sores and blisters, neoprene socks are slippery and will form a barrier between your foot and the shoe, making a big difference.
You can wear the neoprene sock over your regular socks and they’ll definitely up your comfort level, however they can get pretty hot and sweaty because they are not breathable.
Be Aware of The Weather Conditions:
Doc Martens are made of leather which is generally not a very breathable material. If there is not enough ventilation your feet will get sweaty and sweaty feet are more likely to get sore and develop blisters. They’ll also probably smell pretty bad at the end of the day, so I really wouldn’t recommend you wear these in the warmer seasons.
Opt for Switching the Insoles:
If you have been using your doc martens for some time, or even if they are new, changing the insole with a cushiony one can definitely increase the overall comfort.
The History of Doc martens Boots
Doc martens have been around since World War II, when they were first invented by Klaus Märtens. He made the first pair because the standard army boots he owned were too uncomfortable for his recently injured foot. To solve his own problem, he designed and made a pair of boots using soft leather and air-padded soles made out of tires.
The original shoes were significantly more comfortable than anything being sold at the time and the patent rights were eventually purchased by the British shoe manufacturer R. Griggs Group Ltd. Doc Martens have been in business for almost 75 years. It takes something special for a shoe brand to endure and thrive despite the ups and downs of the rapidly changing world of fashion for so long, yet doc martens have been able to do just that. The company has lasted decades without having to compromise its signature style.
These shoes have been worn by an immense variety of people over the years, from skinheads to policemen to punks and factory workers. They are considered by many to be fashion icon and serve as a staple in many people’s wardrobes. They are also well known for their comfort and durability,