If you already have a pair of Docs, you may be wondering if you can use them for hiking and spare yourself the cost of buying new hiking boots. Dr. Martens offers some of the sturdiest boots today, so people often assume that they are great for climbing high terrains, too. But can Docs really replace hiking boots?
While technically, you can use Dr. Martens boots for hiking, they are not that recommended because they can cause blisters. The standard Dr. Martens boots use stiff leather, so it is really uncomfortable to hike with one. Dr. Martens also doesn’t offer great stability and traction, unlike actual hiking boots.
Nevertheless, you can still make it work if you don’t really have any options. If you are interested to learn more, check out the rest of this article!
Can I use Doc Martens for hiking?
You can hike in Dr. Martens if the trail is flat, or you’re only going for short treks. But if you plan to hike a tall mountain, opt for actual hiking boots since Dr. Martens is very stiff and won’t provide you with great ankle support.
Here are some of the most common complaints of people who have used Dr. Martens as hiking boots:
Dr. Martens are heavy and bulky
If you are using your Docs for casual walks, chances are you do not notice that it is pretty heavy. But if you go on a hike, the weight and bulkiness of Dr. Martens boots can really stress you out. To illustrate, a standard size 9 DMs already weigh 3.2 pounds. That’s super heavy compared to hiking boots that are only 2 pounds and other trail running shoes.
Docs can be very uncomfortable to wear
Many people argue that Dr. Martens can serve as hiking boots because they sport air-cushioned soles. They assume that this type of sole translates to comfort. But in reality, it is not the soles that make hiking with Dr. Martens uncomfortable — it’s the hardwearing leather used which is very stiff even after breaking in. If you use Docs for hiking, expect some blisters after.
Dr. Martens aren’t breathable
Hiking boots should be breathable since they are used for long periods of time. Unfortunately, since the classic Docs use smooth, stiff leather, they are not breathable. Your feet will surely stink and sweat if you use this.
Docs aren’t waterproof
The majority of Doc Martens are not waterproof, although they are a bit water-resistant. This means that if you are going on hikes, especially if you will pass damp areas, water can seep in through your boots. Sure, you can put some leather waterproofing products in your DM, but this is nothing compared to hiking boots with a waterproof liner.
Docs don’t have enough traction
While Dr. Martens pride itself on its working boots with good traction, when used for hiking, these boots aren’t really resistant to slippage.
Dr. Martens ankles are restricted
Since the boots of Dr. Martens have very high tops, it is a bit restrictive around the ankles. This, combined with the tough leather, can really cause blisters.
Again, only use Dr. Martens for hiking if the trail is flat. Your feet won’t hurt much if this is the case since it’s just like walking in the streets. On the same note, Docs can be used for super short trails through the woods or off-road paths.
If you are already old, don’t risk your safety by using Dr. Martens to hike. Younger people who are still lightweight can make Docs work, but for oldies, a sturdy hiking boot is really suggested.
Tips for hiking in Dr. Martens
What if hiking in Dr. Martens is your only choice? What should you do then? To help you out, I have listed some tips to help you be more comfortable wearing your Docs as hiking boots. These tips won’t make your hike 100% smooth, but these will improve your comfort compared to not preparing at all.
- Limit the length of your hike. If you know you’ll be wearing Dr. Martens, tell your companions ahead of time that you will only be able to hike on a short trail. Don’t use your Docs for overnight treks on rugged terrains.
- Wear double long socks. Wearing socks is really suggested for any pair of Dr. Martens because of the stiff leather used. But if you are going on a hike, opt for super long socks, preferably those that extend above your Docs so you can protect your ankles. Double it as well for better protection against blisters.
- Wear your most worn Dr. Martens. Brandnew Docs are your worst option when it comes to hiking since they are not flexible. Choose your DMs that are already several years old since the leather has already shifted to the shape of your feet, and they are already comfortable for walking.
- Waterproof your Docs. Although waterproofing can only get you so far, it is still better than doing nothing at all. Buy some leather waterproofing oil and use it in your Docs before your hike. This way, when you suddenly step on puddles during your hike, you won’t completely ruin your Docs.
Are Dr. Martens good for walking all day?
Yes. Dr. Martens boots are good for walking all day in the city if they are thoroughly broken in. However, they are not ideal for walking on trails all day because of the tough leather used.
Moreover, Dr. Martens aren’t that breathable, they are heavy and bulky, and they don’t offer enough traction on uneven ground. All these features are okay when walking on streets, but they prove uncomfortable for hiking.
Are Doc Martens good for hiking in the snow?
Classic Dr. Martens are not good for hiking in the snow because they are not waterproof. The snow would seep into the leather and ruin your boots. Nevertheless, Dr. Martens has a winter boot collection that you can probably use in snow. However, if you are going on a hike, they are still not suggested.
Hiking in Dr. Martnes, The Final Verdict…
If you have other options, do not use Dr. Martens as hiking boots. There are a lot of reasons why so let’s do a recap:
- They’re heavy and bulky.
- They’re really uncomfortable to wear.
- They aren’t breathable.
- They aren’t waterproof.
- Not enough traction.
- The ankles are restricted.
Opt for hiking boots that use ultra-lightweight material because you don’t need additional weight when hiking. Although the heaviness of Docs translates to high-quality leather, it will just bring you pain if you hike with them.