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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
While Dr. Martens pride itself on its working boots with good traction, when used for hiking, these boots aren't really resistant to slippage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.