Are Doc Martens Good For Hiking? Pros, Cons, and Tips

Doc Martens is a brand that has been around for decades. They first became popular in the UK as a shoe designed specifically for policemen, postal workers and factory workers who needed practical foot gear to withstand long work hours. In more recent years they’ve grown in popularity and are now often worn by urban city dwellers as casual shoes that add style to any outfit.

As hiking continues growing in popularity, adventurers have turned to Doc Martens as an option for footwear when hitting the trails. While these shoes may be marketed as being comfortable and durable, how well do they truly perform on hikes? This article will explore the pros and cons of using Doc Martens while out on outdoor adventures. Additionally, we’ll cover alternative options available on the market if these iconic boots don’t meet your needs.

What Are Doc Martens and What Do They Offer?

Doc Martens, also known as Dr. Martens or simply Docs, are a brand of footwear that originated in the UK and gained immense popularity among the youth around the world. These shoes are widely recognized for their sturdy construction and unique design elements such as yellow stitching on smooth leather uppers and signature air-cushioned soles.

Initially designed as work boots for postmen and factory workers, Doc Martens quickly became a fashion statement since their introduction in 1960. Over time, they evolved into more stylish variations with different colors and patterns while retaining their robustness.

While Doc Martens were not initially intended for hiking, they offer some advantages over traditional hiking footwear given their durability and stability. They come in multiple materials such as leather, suede, or synthetic fabrics suitable for diverse terrains, weather conditions, and outdoor activities.

In this article about whether Doc Martens are good for hiking or not – we will explore what it is that makes them special footwear option along with some of the pros and cons associated with them when it comes to hiking specifically.

Advantages of Wearing Doc Martens for Hiking

Doc Martens are a popular choice among hikers due to some of their unique advantages. Among these advantages, the stability and durability of Doc Martens stand out.

One of the primary reasons hikers choose to wear Doc Martens is because they offer excellent stability. The thick rubber sole provides a solid foundation, while the ankle-high shaft ensures that your ankle remains stable. Moreover, with hiking boot features such as sturdy lacing systems and dedicated ankle support, these boots provide comfort and reassurance on long hikes or uneven terrains.


Another feature that sets Doc Martens apart from other hiking footwear is their durability. These boots are designed using high-quality materials such as leather or synthetic fabric for better resistance against punctures from rocks or thorny bushes on your trail. Though it takes some time to break in the boots, once they do, they can last for years when maintained properly – making them an economical choice compared to shoes which can only survive one adventurous trip.

Investing in quality equipment is crucial whenever you plan an outdoor activity like hiking or camping; thus choosing versatile gear suitable for various terrains creates no regret moments. With its robust build quality bolstered by a unique combination of sturdiness and flexibility alongside its split-resistant technology capacity, it’s no wonder why Doc Martins have garnered a loyal following among hikers who prioritize dependability over fashion-trending fads.


I can’t stress enough how Doc Martens are ideal for hiking on challenging and uneven terrains. The first thing that comes to mind is their unwavering stability, thanks to the sturdy build of these bad boys.

What sets Doc Martens apart from other hiking boots is not only their stylish design, but also the use of high quality materials that ensure maximum durability and wear resistance. The thick rubber soles do an amazing job absorbing shocks as you take each step and provide excellent traction on rugged surfaces.

Stability is an essential factor you shouldn’t overlook in your search for the perfect pair of hiking shoes, and Doc Martens sure don’t disappoint when it comes to this feature. As a backpacker who loves hitting trails, I know firsthand how comfort and stability could make or break my outdoor experience.

Of course, with great stability comes some work during the break-in period to get them adjusted perfectly on your feet – especially since they’re slightly heavier compared to other options out there. However, trust me when I say that once broken in properly, they offer lasting comfort even on long hikes.

In summary, if you’re looking for stable footwear for your next hike or outdoor adventure – look no further than these high-quality Doc Marten boots! They could very well prove lifesaving whilst traversing rocky terrain or steep ridge lines.


When hitting the trails, having tough hiking footwear is crucial. As a hiker, you want your boots to endure long miles before requiring costly repairs or replacements.

For durability, Doc Martens reigns supreme. These boots are crafted from high-quality materials like leather, PVC and polyurethane soles that are resistant to elements leading to wear and tear. The manufacturing process of these shoes is more robust than fashion or casual footwear.

However, depending on your hiking discipline, Doc Martens may face some durability challenges; the material can crack or flake after prolonged trekking on rugged terrain. To make the most of these boots’ longevity and value for money when hiking, proper care and maintenance must be taken – refraining from repeated exposure in harsh environments can go a long way.

I found this doc martens shoe guide really helpful for future reference on taking good care of my Doc Marten boots!

Disadvantages of Wearing Doc Martens for Hiking

While Doc Martens are great shoes, they may not be the best choice for hiking. Here are some disadvantages of wearing Doc Martens when you hit the trails.

  • Discomfort: Because they were designed as a work boot, Doc Martens can feel stiff and bulky on long hikes.
  • Lack of Breathability: The material used in making Doc Martens doesn’t breathe well, leading to sweaty feet on hot summer days.
  • Lack of Flexibility: Unlike most hiking boots that allow your foot to move naturally, Doc Martens have no flex in their sole which can make it difficult to move around the trail’s rough terrain.
  • Waterproofing: While many pairs of DMs claim to be waterproof, older models may leak water during rainfall or crossings. This can be especially problematic if you’re hiking through streams and creeks frequently.
  • Weight & Bulk: Depending on what model you choose from DM’s collection of outdoor footwear, you might end up with a bulky shoe that weighs twice as much as other hiking boots made for the same purpose – thus making it harder and more tiresome for you while walking.
  • Traction: The soles on Docs aren’t very deep which could seriously compromise your footing which is critical when navigating uncertain terrain.

Keep these disadvantages in mind while deciding whether or not to wear them on your next big hike.


When I consider hiking footwear, comfort is what comes to mind first. Doc Martens, while super sturdy and stable (as mentioned before), may not be the best choice for a hike where maximum comfort is required.

Firstly, these boots don’t let your feet breathe freely which means they can end up wet with sweat after long hikes, leading to painful blisters and discomfort. As well as that, they also lack flexibility making foot movements feel restricted during more demanding treks.

Another way Doc Martens fall short in the comfort department is their weight and chunkiness. These boots are known for being quite heavy compared to other hiking boot alternatives on the market today. That added weight could potentially tire you out when you have longer distances or steep terrain ahead of you.

All in all, although some people love to use Doc Martens as a rugged option for hiking boots and there are many advantages such as durability and stability – but if it’s comfort you’re looking for then maybe look elsewhere. There are so many comfortable hiking boots available that offer great cushioning and support without sacrificing durability or stability – enabling you fully enjoy the beauty of nature without having to worry about sore feet!

Lack of Breathability

One of the primary concerns when considering hiking footwear is breathability, and Doc Martens may not be an ideal option for those who prioritize this feature. The lack of breathability in Doc Martens can lead to sweaty feet, which can make hiking uncomfortable and even potentially cause blisters or other foot problems.

Breathable materials like mesh or Gore-Tex are popular among hikers because they allow air to circulate around the foot, reducing moisture buildup and regulating temperature. While traditional Doc Martens boots are made from leather, which is not a breathable material, some newer models may include some perforations that help with ventilation but may still not provide enough airflow for some hikers.

It’s essential to consider hiking conditions and personal preferences when deciding on footwear. For example, if you’re planning a hike in a hot and humid environment or tend to have sweaty feet overall, it might be worth trying out more breathable options before settling on Doc Martens. However, if you prefer the style and fit of Doc Martens for hiking or plan to hike in cooler weather conditions where breathability is less critical, then they could still be a viable choice for your needs.

Lack of Flexibility

Doc Martens, known for their sturdy and durable design, are excellent shoes for various activities such as walking around the city and light hiking. However, one disadvantage of wearing Doc Martens for hiking is their lack of flexibility. Unlike other hiking footwear with softer soles or midsoles designed to flex with your foot’s natural movement, Doc Martens have stiff soles that limit the freedom of motion in your feet. This can lead to discomfort and strain on your feet during extended hikes.

When looking for hiking boots or shoes, it’s essential to prioritize proper fit and comfortability over fashion points alone. Consider options from high-quality hiking boot brands that offer more versatility in terms of flexibility without losing out on durability or safety features like ankle support and traction grip.

Finally, it’s worth investing some time into hiking boot maintenance regardless of what brand/style you choose. Proper care includes regular cleaning to preserve waterproofing effects (waterproof hiking boots ultimate guide) where necessary as well as appropriate conditioning treatments depending on the materials used in construction (leather vs suede vs mesh fabrics).


When it comes to hiking, having waterproof footwear is crucial if you want to ensure your feet stay dry and comfortable throughout your journey. When considering using Doc Martens for hiking, one key factor to assess is their waterproofing capabilities.

While Doc Martens are known for being made with high-quality leather materials that look great and last long, they’re not necessarily the best option for wet conditions. They do offer some degree of water resistance thanks to the leather finish and use of sealants in some models but don’t expect them to keep your feet fully dry in heavy rain or extended periods in water.

If you plan on hiking through streams or other bodies of water, or if you’ll be dealing with rainy weather during your hikes, it’s better to choose boots designed specifically for these conditions. You can find excellent alternatives among brands that offer hiking-specific features like Gore-Tex layers.

That being said, if you still decide to wear Doc Martens on a hike where there’s a possibility of facing rain or stream crossings, try treating them with suitable waterproofing sprays before setting off as this will improve their ability to resist moisture. Ultimately though when choosing between fashion statement or practicality which would be best suited for outdoor activity?

Weight & Bulk

From my personal experience, I’ve found that wearing Doc Martens for hiking can be quite an arduous task due to their weight and bulk. Unfortunately when compared to other hiking shoes, they tend to weigh you down and quickly tire out your feet during long walks or hikes. It’s essential to consider the weight of hiking boots as it can significantly affect your stamina, balance, agility, and comfort level.

Depending on which model you opt for, some Doc Martens may tip the scale at a heavy two pounds per boot – in some cases three pounds! This added weight can make multi-day backpacking trips with lots of gear on your back or steep ascents difficult and challenging.

Another disadvantage is their bulky design which restricts your foot movement compared to lighter shoes. This clunkiness takes away from flexibility that natural foot movement provides which often leads to blisters, hot spots, sprains or strains – particularly if you have weak ankles or any existing foot conditions.

If lightness and mobility are primary concerns while getting optimal support and protection for your feet during hikes is important then I suggest exploring other brands out there that specialize in hiking footwear such as Salomon, La Sportiva, Merrell, Vasque, Lowa* among many others who use top-of-the-line material technology movement enhancing overall user satisfaction.

N. B: The brand names cited here are purely for illustrative purposes only.


When it comes to hiking, having proper traction is essential to prevent slipping and injuries. Unfortunately, Doc Martens may not offer the best traction for hikers. While they are known for their sturdy soles, their grip on slippery surfaces can be lacking.

Hiking boot treads are designed to provide maximum contact with the terrain, giving you stability and control on any surface. Unlike most hiking boots that come with specialized treads that are meant for certain terrains, Doc Martens have a signature sole pattern consisting of small dots or circles that offer minimal traction.

However, if you still prefer wearing Doc Martens for your hikes despite the lack of optimized tread patterns, adding after-market insoles might help improve the grip.

Ultimately though, when it comes down to choosing the right footwear for hiking trails or off-trail terrains – prioritize function over fashion!

Alternative to Doc Martens for Hiking

If you’re on the hunt for hiking boots that don’t bear the iconic Doc Martens seal, you’re in luck! There’s a whole world of options out there with various technologies and trends to suit your needs. Here are some of my personal favorite hiking boots:

  • First up is the Merrell Moab 2, great for both backpacking and day hikes with exceptional traction and durability.
  • Then there’s the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX which features a lightweight design, sturdy ankle support, and suitability for long hikes.
  • If stability is your game, then look no further than the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid crafted from high-quality materials.
  • And last but certainly not least, we have the Keen Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot which boasts a breathable membrane to keep feet dry even when trudging through wet trails.

But before you hit checkout on any pair of these excellent alternatives, it’s essential to consider critical factors like sole grip/traction and weight distribution along with material quality. It should be noted that lightweight shoes generally offer less ankle protection overall, making them perfect only for leisure nature walks or shorter hikes.

When it comes down to selecting any particular kind of hiking gear; determined consideration about trip length and trail complexity are crucial. Therefore, as listed above, I can attest these recommendations will provide both ruggedness and comfort throughout your wilderness exploration journey.

Tips for Hiking in Doc Martens

First and foremost, it’s essential to break them in before embarking on a long hike. Wearing them around the house or on shorter walks will help form them to your feet and make them more comfortable.

While Doc Martens do offer excellent ankle support, adding extra arch support or cushioning can be helpful if you plan on hiking for an extended period. Don’t forget to pay attention to sizing – proper fit is crucial for avoiding discomfort and blisters.

Proper lacing is also key when it comes to comfort during a hike. Research different techniques online and find one that feels best for you.

It’s important to choose your terrain wisely when wearing Doc Martens – tricky footing isn’t their forte. Stick with relatively flat trails without mud or water crossings.

Bringing along an extra pair of socks may come in handy, as rubbing and blistering can still occur even with well-sized boots during long hikes.

Overall, it’s possible to safely enjoy hiking in Doc Martens if you take the proper precautions ahead of time. However, wearing these shoes on steep or rocky terrains frequently without prior experience fully breaking them in could lead to injuries due to less flexibility caused by its tough materials, which require months of breaking-in from everyday activities.

Are Doc Martens Ruined by Rain?

I love my Doc Martens for their rock-solid toughness that makes them a go-to choice for my hiking trips. As I gear up for a fresh adventure, I wonder if these boots live up to their fame in wet conditions and – dare I say – heavy rain.

Well, here’s the deal: default Doc Martens are not waterproof. Many of the classic styles feature leather exteriors and PVC soles that offer only some water resistance. So if you’re heading out into an area with lots of humidity or rainfall, it’s vital to get boots with adequate protection against moisture.

But don’t fret! There are ways to give your Docs better defense against water damage. Applying a waterproofing spray or wax can go a long way in shielding the leather and elongating your boots’ life span. Also, ensure you always clean off every trace of dirt or mud after each hike, then let them air-dry thoroughly before storing.

Nevertheless, suppose you plan on regular hiking expeditions involving unpredictable weather conditions with rain or snowfall as frequent visitors. In that case, you might want to consider investing in specialist Gore-Tex Hiking Boots designed solely for such purposes and even mountaineering too! They possess superior weatherproof technology compared to Docs and guaranteed comfortability alongside durability—worth thinking about!

Are Doc Martens Suitable for Walking All Day?

Picking the perfect shoes for hiking or any outdoor activity is essential. It’s vital to know whether footwear can withstand an extended period of wear and tear to make your experience enjoyable. The question that arises frequently is whether Doc Martens will be comfortable enough to walk all day.

Initially crafted as work boots, Doc Martens has become a favorite fashion statement with a passionate following. These sturdy leather boots come with their fair share of pros and cons when it comes to prolonged walking expeditions.

Doc Martens soles lack proper cushioning, which means you may start experiencing pain in your feet and lower back after some time on pavements. Additionally, they are relatively weighty compared to traditional hiking boots that can lead to fatigue and foot pain after just a few hours of walking.

Also, Doc Martens thick sole restricts flexibility levels causing them not recommended for long walks over five miles? It’s because they lack breathability as well – you may sweat excessively, leading to hot spots and blisters resulting from prolonged use.

In conclusion, while Doc Marten’s market reputation indicates stability for short hikes on rugged terrains, one may opt-out of extended walks exceeding 5 miles if not fitted correctly with orthotics or inserts – invest instead in high-quality hiking footwear supportive towards longer walks!


In conclusion, Doc Martens can be used for hiking, but they might not be the ideal choice for everyone. It’s important to consider the pros and cons before embarking on a hike in your Docs. They offer excellent stability and durability, which are crucial elements for hiking footwear. However, their lack of breathability and flexibility may cause discomfort during long hikes or hot weather conditions. Additionally, their weight and bulkiness can also affect comfort levels as well as traction on wet surfaces.

In the end, while Docs might work for shorter hikes or enthusiasts who prefer stylish yet sturdy boots over traditional hiking ones; it’s always best to choose high-quality hiking boots tailored specifically for your needs when going on longer trips or tougher terrains – ensuring both comfort and safety during nature exploration adventures is key!

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