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Are Doc Martens good for hiking?

Doc Martens are a very well-known shoe brand with a classic and timeless shape, style and design. Although they come in many different styles the classic Doc Marten shoe is a chunky black boot with tabs and a sturdy tread. They are made from leather and coated in a wax-like substance for leather protection.

Although a classic black boot they are easily recognisable and have a few unique style elements that separate them from any other black boot. Their contrast stitching is perhaps the most obvious.

Although subtle, it gives the shoes a touch of something extra and lightly adds to the visual appeal of the boots. They are a good-looking pair of shoes but let’s examine if they are also a stylish choice for hiking…

Are Doc Martens Good for Hiking?

Doc Martens Boot

The history and the design idea behind Doc Martens mean that they were designed to be a very comfortable shoe that was able to be worn all day. They were designed for lasting comfort and so they are a great option compared to many other shoes on offer.

You wouldn’t want to go hiking in high heels for example. However, they were designed to be workman’s boots and not hiking boots.


So, although they are comfortable for standing around all day or for short walks around the town they are not going to be the best option for hiking. The first problem is the versions with gum rubber soles. This is because this type of sole offers bad traction and so will not allow your feet to get a good grasp of the ground beneath you.

Not only will this make your hike significantly less comfortable but it can also possibly be dangerous if you are hiking over stones or uphill. To avoid slips and possibly dangerous falls it would be better to invest in a pair of boots designed especially for hiking. 


Another issue that they are not particularly breathable or insulated. They are leather boots designed to protect your feet in a factory, not to allow your feet to breathe or to keep them warm. The leather is a great choice of material for an everyday boot, but not for a hiking shoe.

Again, if this is something that you want to keep in mind then you will benefit from buying a proper hiking shoe.


The last main problem of using Doc Martens as hiking boots is that they are heavy. Although not the heaviest of boots, think steel-capped work boots, they are not the lightest. A good-quality hiking shoe is ideally light in weight to allow for maximum comfort and also not to put excess strain on your ankles.

Although you may be fine with the weight of the boots at the beginning of your hike, you may find that it becomes a problem further into your journey when it is too late to change them.

Despite what we have detailed above, at the end of the day, you can hike in Doc Martens. If you are only going for a short or easy hike, so closer to a walk than a hike, then you may find Doc Martens a very comfortable shoe to wear.

Additionally, if you go on an impromptu hike and you are wearing Doc Martens then they are not the worst option. In fact, many online enthusiasts have attested that they found them more than comfortable for hiking.

However, they are not the best option for an advanced or particularly demanding hike. The problems we have mentioned (traction, weight, and insulation) will eventually show themselves, at which point you may wonder why you didn’t just choose to wear a pair of hiking boots!

Why are Doc Martens so Popular?

wearing doc martens

Since their conception in 1947, Doc Martens have remained at the forefront of fashion and have solidified their place as a fashion staple in many people’s wardrobes. The original idea behind Doc Martens is that they should be a comfortable, long-lasting and supportive boot that allows a person to remain on their feet all day, as well as offering the person’s feet protection. 

As a result, they became very popular with factory workers and police offers. Their high-quality materials meant that once you invested in a pair of the shoes then you would be able to wear them for many years to come, with some people even claiming to have used the same pair for twenty years! 

Unfortunately, although they remain a fashion icon in the footwear department their quality has worsened. This is because they moved production to China in recent years in a bid to avoid administration and bankruptcy.

So, you can still buy Doc Martens, but they are not the same as they used to be. This reflects the idea that they are now seen as more of a fashion shoe than a workman’s boot.

Caring for Doc Martens

Since Doc Martens are a leather boot it is important to use a protectant on the leather to make sure that they last as long as they can. You can opt for leather sprays or polishes, but the most recommended product to use with Doc Martens is beeswax.

This makes your boots waterproof as well as protecting the leather. This means that you will not get any dark or stained spots on the leather if you wear them in the rain – a handy tip if you do decide to use them for hiking!

Are Doc Martens Good Travel Shoes?

The comfort of Doc Martens means that although they do not make the best hiking shoe, they are ideal as travel shoes. They offer a decent amount of support and comfort for travelling. If you are going on a particularly long journey then these are a great choice as they were designed to be worn for long periods of time.

However, Doc Martens do not offer half sizes. They are quite roomy so if you are between sizes then it is normally recommended that you size down.

To learn more about our recommendations for travel shoes, read our article on the 10 best travel shoes for men here: travelgeardiscounts.com/best-travel-shoes-for-men/#more-7657

Tips for hiking in Doc Martens

As with most shoes, Doc Martens are not at their ideal comfort level when you first get them out of the box. If you are going to use your Doc Martens as hiking boots then we recommend the following:

  • Make sure that you have broken the boots in
  • Try them out to ensure you can stand wearing them for a long period of time
  • Buy the right size
  • Wear thick and high hiking socks (this will stop any rubbing)
  • Only use them for short or easy hikes

Overall, Doc Martens are a great pair of boots, for both style and comfort! Their classic design means that you can pair them with almost any outfit and also wear them as travel shoes. However, as we have said they are not the most ideal shoes for hiking.

Any shoe that was specifically designed and manufactured as a hiking shoe will always be preferable. We do not want you experiencing any discomfort at the price of fashion. So, if you fancy a short last-minute hike then your Doc Martens are an ok choice, but not the best. 

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Hayden Wall

Hayden is the founder of Travel Gear Discounts and tries to vacation as much as possible. He loves finding the latest travel accessories that will make getting out easier and planning the perfect weekend getaway.