Are Doc Martens Good For Hiking?

Last Updated on 16/10/2021

Are Doc Martens Good For Hiking

Are Doc Martens Good For Hiking?

Doc Martens hiking boots don’t technically exist but you can go hiking in Doc Martens boots. To find out if Doc Martens are actually any good to hike in we asked a bunch of people at our hiking group, are Doc Martens good for hiking?

What we found is that people who wore Doc Martens on a day-to-day basis said they would happily wear their Doc Martens to hike in, (although none of them were wearing them to hike in). We believe this is because people who wear Doc Martens every day have gotten past the breaking-in period and find them incredibly comfortable for long periods on their feet.

Like any leather hiking boots, Doc Martens get comfier the more they are worn and eventually mold to the shape of your feet. This makes them incredibly comfortable to wear for long periods of time and will rarely give you blisters on short hikes. If you own a pair of old boots that you have worn for years then you know what we mean.

That being said, most Doc Martens boots are not suitable for serious hikers due to lack of support, protection, padding, and grip. Lightweight walking boots will feel far comfier in the long run and are much more suited to hiking than a pair of Doc Martens.

4 Tips for Hiking in Doc Martens

How to make Doc Martens feel like hiking boots? Before you try hiking wearing Doc Martens you should at the very least break them in but what else can be done to have a better experience?

Breaking in Doc Martens Hiking Boots

This should go without saying but breaking in your Doc Marten boots for hiking is the most important thing to do before lacing up and heading into the mountains. As with any brand new pair of boots, you can start by wearing them around the house for a few weeks and down to the shops for a few hours until the leather starts to stretch and become more supple.

Wearing thick socks with Doc Martens

Wearing a thick pair of wool-rich socks will provide the cushion and protection your feet need on a demanding hike. The wool helps to control moisture-wicking and provides abrasion resistance to prevent blisters from forming. You can even wear two pairs of socks so that friction from movement doesn’t affect your feet.

Tie the laces properly

To make sure there is as little movement inside your doc martens when hiking your laces should be secure and especially close around the ankle. This will pull the boot onto your heel so that it doesn’t slip when you take a step. Be careful not to tie your doc marten laces so tight that it feels uncomfortable to hike in and find a happy balance.

Applying waterproof treatment to Doc Martens

If you have owned your Doc Martens boots for a long time then there is a chance they have lost some of their waterproofing characteristics. You can add some extra waterproofing to your Doc Martens by using a standard boot wax or spray like the one from Meindl. This might not stop water from getting in where the leather meets the soles but it will mean water will bead off instead of soak in.

Doc Marten hiking Boots

Doc Martens Hiking Boots

What are the best Doc Martens for hiking? They used to make a model called the Dr. Martens Santo Boots which unfortunately they no longer make. What made the Santos boots special was the hiking boot sole and grip formation which was way more suited to rough terrain.

Do Doc Martens make a hiking boot? Well, not exactly but they do have a boot that has the grip to hike in. The Dr Martens Combs Casual boots have both a rugged Tract outsole and chunkier hiking boot laces to really pull them in tight around your ankles.

Hiking Boots That Look Like Doc Martens

If you are fond of the way Doc Martens look and feel, it is only natural to look for something similar in a hiking boot. There are a few boots that follow a similar style and have a more classic style of the sole that is the same depth all the way around. The closest match in terms of style, quality, and heritage are Danner boots and especially the Danner Men’s Mountain Light II Boot.

Another hiking boot that looks like Doc Martens are the Timberland Men’s Earthkeepers 6″ Boot which have the same high top and lacing system as well as detailed stitching and high-quality leather. We also like the Eddie Bauer Men’s K-6 Boot for a more low cut hiking boot similar to Doc Martens.

Hiking in Doc Martins

Hiking Trails Suited to Doc Martens Boots

Because Doc Martens are not specially designed for hiking trails you should be cautious of pushing them too far. We wouldn’t wear them for a thru-hike even if on a budget because you would eventually suffer the consequences.

Hiking trails in Doc Martens is ok for short to medium distances (5-15km) without a heavy pack but as soon as you push it any further or go off-trail then you realize they aren’t made for mud and steep slopes. Stick to the trail if hiking in Doc Martens.

Doc Martens History

Dr. Martens Boots have been around since 1945 when a 25-year-old soldier named Dr. Klaus Maertens created the first prototype with an air cushion sole. This revolutionary design went into production in 1947 was a huge disruptor for the less comfortable hard leather sole industry and older men were quick to become fans.

The next big leap came when ska and punk music fans adopted Doc Martens as the brand that represented their culture. Soon enough Doc Martens became the fashionable status symbol that they are today and the rest is history.


Are Doc Martens Good For Hiking? They aren’t the best but they aren’t the worst if properly broken in. The soles on the classic Dr. Martens boots are not designed for rough terrain and don’t offer much grip after a year or more of use. If you insist on going hiking in Doc Martens Boots then get the Dr Martens Combs Casual boots which have a deeper tread and more suitable grip formation for hiking trails.


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This article has been written and/or edited by Andrew N. 20+ years of hiking, mountaineering, and camping experience, with access to all the latest outdoor gear.

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