When it comes to hiking footwear, you might wonder if your favorite leather boots such as Doc Martens are suitable for hitting the hiking trail.
Doc Martens boots have quite a loyal following but are they the right choice for hiking?
Let’s dive into the details.
If you’re in a hurry, below is a quick answer. However we’ll go into a bit more detail further down so do read on.
Are Doc Martens good for hiking?
While Doc Martens can be suitable for light hiking and short distances, they may not provide the same level of support, traction, and breathability as dedicated hiking boots. For long or challenging hikes, it’s recommended to choose specialized hiking footwear for better comfort and performance.
So what will we cover in this article?
Let’s discuss the pros and cons of using Doc Martens for hiking, compare them to other popular hiking footwear options and provide suggestions for selecting the ideal hiking boots for your needs.
What’s Ahead in This Article
- Pros and Cons of Doc Martens for Hiking
- Comparing Doc Martens to Other Hiking Footwear
- Buying Guide: Choosing the Right Hiking Boots
- Brand and Product Considerations
- Common Questions and Answers
Pros and Cons of Doc Martens for Hiking
- Durability: Doc Martens are known for their durability which is a key factor when considering hiking footwear. Being made from high-quality leather, it means the boots can withstand rough terrain and last for a long time.
- Construction: Whilst it may not directly have an impact on hiking, Dr. Martens have a number of boots that are constructed with Goodyear Welt or Cement Construction which means your boots could last a long time depending on how well you look after them.
- Arch Support: Doc Martens have built-in arch support, which can be helpful for individuals with wide feet or those who need extra support during long hikes.
- Style: For some, the iconic style of Doc Martens may be a selling point. They offer a unique look that sets them apart from traditional hiking boots. You can spot those things a mile away.
- Weight: Doc Martens are heavier than most hiking boots. If you’re hiking long distances, the added weight might be a burden, especially if you’re carrying a heavy backpack.
- Lack of Traction: The soles of Doc Martens don’t offer the same level of grip as dedicated hiking boots. This lack of traction can be problematic on slippery or uneven surfaces, such as muddy trails or snow-covered paths.
- Breathability: Leather boots like Doc Martens may not provide the same level of breathability as other hiking footwear options. This can be uncomfortable during hot weather or when wearing thick socks.
Comparing Doc Martens to Other Hiking Footwear
Next time you need to buy hiking footwear, you should consider a number of factors such as weight, support, traction and breathability of the shoe.
Compared to dedicated hiking boots, Doc Martens may not be the best choice for long hikes, especially on difficult trails.
For light hiking or short distances your Doc Martens can be a stylish and even a comfortable option.
I know, they do look REALLY good. I’ve always liked how they look.
However, for more challenging hikes or long days on the trail, a pair of dedicated hiking boots are a far much better option.
They’ll provide better support, traction and breathability with a less chance of getting injured.
We’ve also written an article on Hiking Boots vs. Work Boots which you may find useful.
Buying Guide: Choosing the Right Hiking Boots
Consider the following features and benefits when selecting your next pair of hiking boots:
|Reduces fatigue during long hikes
|Traction (thick sole)
|Provides grip on slippery or uneven terrain/surfaces
|Keeps feet comfortable and dry, especially when your feet are sweating.
|Protects feet from water, mud, and other wet conditions
|Reduces the risk of ankle injuries such as blisters
The top 3-5 features to consider when selecting a good hiking boot is:
- Ankle Support
- Lightweight design
If you can, try on several different styles and brands to get a feel for them. That way you’ll understand what the “perfect” pair of hiking boots are for your needs.
Thankfully nowadays even buying online is very easy as most reputable brands come with a return period. If they don’t fit then simply return them until you find the right pair, all without leaving your home.
Just make sure to check the return policy.
Remember to wear the same type of socks you plan to wear during your hikes to ensure a proper fit.
It’s also a good idea to walk around the store to gauge the level of comfort and support each boot provides.
Brand and Product Considerations
When searching for the ideal hiking boots, consider the following reputable brands and their top-rated products:
- Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof: A popular choice for hikers due to its comfort, support, and waterproof capabilities.
- Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX: This lightweight boot is known for its excellent traction and support for long hikes.
- Keen Targhee III Mid: A durable and waterproof boot that offers superior ankle support.
If you are thinking about military style footwear then we have an article on whether tactical boots are good for hiking. You might want to have a read of that.
Common Questions and Answers
Q: Can I use Doc Martens for light hiking?
A: Yes, Doc Martens can be suitable for light hiking or short distances. However, they may not provide the same level of support, traction and breathability as dedicated hiking boots.
Q: Are Doc Martens waterproof?
A: While Doc Martens are made from high-quality leather, they are not inherently waterproof. However, you can apply a waterproofing treatment to the boots to improve their water resistance.
There are a number of Winter Boots to select from, however, they only seem to have a waterproof membrane so may not be fully waterproof.
Q: Can I wear thick socks with Doc Martens?
A: Yes, wearing thick socks with Doc Martens can help improve the fit and provide additional cushioning during your hike. Just be sure to try on the boots with the socks you plan to wear during your hikes to ensure a proper fit.
Q: Do Doc Martens offer enough arch support for long hikes?
A: Doc Martens have built-in arch support, but it may not be sufficient for individuals who require additional support during long hikes. In such cases, it’s recommended to look for dedicated hiking boots with more specialized support features.
Q: Can I wear Doc Martens in the Rain?
A: While you can wear Doc Martens in the rain, it’s essential to keep in mind that they are not specifically designed as waterproof footwear.
The leather construction provides some level of water resistance, but prolonged exposure to rain or standing water may eventually lead to dampness inside the boots.
To enhance the water resistance of your Doc Martens, you can apply a waterproof spray or wax, and make sure to treat them regularly.
If you plan to hike in wet conditions regularly, opt for a pair of waterproof hiking boots for optimal protection and comfort.
While Doc Martens have some attractive features such as durability and style, they may not be the best choice for long or challenging hikes where you’re walking through rugged terrain..
For those types of adventures, dedicated hiking boots with better traction, breathability, and support would be more appropriate.
For light hiking and short distances, Doc Martens can be a comfortable and stylish option.
However, it’s essential to consider the type of terrain and conditions you’ll be hiking in and weigh the pros and cons of wearing Doc Martens versus other hiking footwear options.
Hopefully we’ve given you some food for thought and allowed you to make an informed decision and choose the best footwear for your hiking adventures.
All the best and get those steps in.