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Can You Hike in Doc Martens? (5 Ways To Judge A Good Boot)

Can You Hike in Doc Martens? (5 Ways To Judge A Good Boot)

The right pair of hiking boots is essential for anyone planning a hiking trip. Hiking normally requires footwear that is strong enough for the rough terrain, yet comfortable enough for the long hours of wear. You might wonder if your Doc Marten boots are suitable for hiking if you own a pair.

Do Doc Martens shoes work for hiking? Although you can hike in Doc Martens, they are not designed as hiking boots, and they are not recommended for hiking. When hiking long distances or on rugged terrain, you should wear hiking shoes or boots.

Read on to learn more about these shoes to decide whether or not you will take them on your next hiking adventure.

Can You Hike in Doc Martens?

When you’re first assessing whether or not you can hike in Doc Martens, it’s important to understand what these shoes are meant for.

Doc Martens are a type of work boot that is designed for general use. The soles are made from hard rubber and provide good traction, which makes them ideal for working on wet or slippery surfaces. They also have excellent shock absorption, which is beneficial for people who are on their feet all day.

However, while these shoes make wonderful work boots, there are some drawbacks that make them less ideal for hiking:

Less Durable With a Change in Manufacturing

Durability has always been a hallmark of Doc Martens. In 2003, Doc Martins moved its operations to China to avoid bankruptcy. Doc Martens have been deemed less durable since then by many. It is still possible to purchase Doc Martens made in the United Kingdom, but they are more expensive.

Less Waterproof Than Hiking Boots

Classic Doc Martens are not waterproof. If you’re hiking in wet conditions for more than 15 to 20 minutes, your feet will get wet. While this might not be a big deal for some people, it’s definitely something to consider if you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking in the rain or snow.

You can waterproof your Doc Martens by using a waterproofing spray, but it’s important to note that this will wear off over time, depending on the frequency of use.

One model of Doc Marten Shoes, the 1460 Men’s Waterproof Lace-Up Boots, are a good choice for hiking if you’re going to be in wet conditions.

Lack of Ankle Support

The ankle support on Doc Martens is not as good as that found on most hiking boots. If you’re doing a lot of hiking or if you have weak ankles, this could be a problem. Tightening the laces as much as possible can add stability to the shoe overall, as long as it feels comfortable enough to walk in.

Docs Are Hard To Break In

It can be difficult to break in Doc Martens, as they are stiff when you first start wearing them. If you’re doing a lot of hiking, you don’t want to be dealing with sore feet on the trail. If you choose to use these shoes for hiking, make sure that you have already spent plenty of time breaking them in before your trip. If you don’t you may end up with painful blisters on your heels and toes.

In short, Doc Martens are not designed as hiking boots and should not be used for this purpose. They offer some benefits, such as good traction and shock absorption, but they also have a number of drawbacks, including lesser durability and waterproofing.

What Are Doc Martens Used For?

Designed and manufactured for workers across different industries, Doc Martens are traditionally work boots. The result is that they are designed to withstand challenging work environments. Since this type of boot has been in use for decades, its biggest selling point has always been how comfortable it is for workers.

Doc Martens offer a variety of exciting features that make these shoes ideal for demanding work environments. Some of these features include slip- and puncture-resistant soles, breathable leather surfaces, air-cushioned soles, and welted construction. Models with steel toes, a tough metatarsal guard, and shock-absorbing soles are also available from this brand for enhanced protection.

It’s easy to assume that a solid work boot will make a good substitute for a hiking boot. However, it lacks certain features needed for a hike, such as durability and waterproofing. If you are looking for a hiking boot, Doc Martens should not be your first choice.

What Makes a Good Hiking Boot?

It’s important to know what makes a good hiking boot in order to make the best choice for your needs. When looking for a hiking boot, you should consider the following factors:


The ability to keep your feet dry is an essential feature of any good hiking boot. Look for boots that are made with waterproof materials and have a waterproof membrane to ensure your feet stay dry even when it’s raining or snowing. Good boots will also have a gusseted tongue, which helps keep water and debris from entering the boot.


Hiking can be a strenuous activity, so you need a hiking boot that can withstand wear and tear. Look for boots made with tough materials like leather or suede and with reinforced stitching. The soles should also be durable and slip-resistant.

Ankle Support

Hiking can involve a lot of walking on uneven terrain, so it’s important to have boots that provide good ankle support. Look for boots with a firm heel cup and a robust midsole to keep your ankles stable.

Shock Absorption

When hiking, you will walk on rough surfaces, which can cause a lot of shock to your feet and ankles. Good hiking boots should have soles that are designed to absorb shock, helping to prevent injuries.


Hiking can be a sweaty activity, so you need boots that are breathable. Look for boots with mesh panels or ventilation holes to allow your feet to breathe. This can help to prevent odours, blisters, and general discomfort during your hikes.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a good hiking boot, Doc Martens should not be your first choice. There are many other brands on the market that offer better features like waterproofing, durability, and ankle support.

However, if you’re looking for a comfortable work boot that can also be used for light hiking, Doc Martens may be a good option for you.

If you do choose to use them, start small. Take short hikes on paved or easy trails and gradually increase the difficulty of your hikes as your Doc Martens break in.