Can You Comfortably Hike in Doc Martens?

Want to bring your super stylish Doc Martens with you on a hiking trip? Then there are a few things you need to consider before you're going!

When it comes to iconic, stylish, and legendary footwear brands, Doc Martens is honestly up there with the rest of them. Many of the top fashion icons in the world can be seen sporting a pair of Doc Martens, and those who buy them oftentimes fall in love with them.

Yet, all that being said, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to make for a good and comfortable pair of hiking boots, does it? Nope, whether or not hiking in Doc Martens is a good or bad idea is going to come down to many factors. The factors, for the record, are going to be the same regardless of the footwear brand in question.

After all, the best hiking boots will share similar qualities such as comfort, durability, breathability, ankle support, and so on and so forth. What we want to do is break down these categories individually to see if hiking in Doc Martens will end up being what you should do.

The good

We might as well start with the good news first, right? When it comes to hiking in a pair of Doc Martens, there are actually many features that can positively come into play.

The midsole: One of the features that make this brand of footwear so famous and popular is the air-cushioned soles. Underneath your feet, this creates a comfortable, springy type feeling. Overall, while you could find hiking boots that offer more midsole support, Doc Martens are pretty solid in this area.

Traction: The last thing you want is a pair of hiking boots or shoes that have little to no traction on slick and muddy surfaces. The terrain is always going to be a factor while hiking, and you may have to deal with rain, snow, ice, mud, you name it. Plus, paths can be rocky, uneven, and just plain awkward at times to hike on. Thanks to the puncture-resistant design of the rubber soles (and the fact that they typically have a decent amount of tread), they won’t fair too bad in the traction field.

Breathability: Will hiking in Doc Martens be a breathable experience? Due to the fact that they’re made out of leather, they will be rather breathable if you do take them out on your hikes. Leather is a naturally breathable fabric, and it’s one of the many reasons why it’s so popular in footwear.

Durability: Few will deny how well-built Doc Martens are and when you buy a pair of them, you know it’ll be money well spent at least when it comes to the quality (at the very least). They are designed to last and seeing how hiking can place a lot of stress on them, their durability can only be seen as a great thing.

The neutral

Alright, so this next section is going to detail features of the Doc Martens that don’t make them necessarily awful for hiking, but that don’t make them great for it, either.

Ankle support: For starters, you could argue that hiking boots don’t need amazing ankle support to be ideal for hiking. As for the ankle support of Doc Martens, it’s not too shabby. They do come up quite high, but the leather uppers aren’t quite sturdy enough to provide amazing support.

Water resistance: If you do some research, you’ll find that most Doc Martens aren’t 100 percent waterproof. That said, most of them you buy will have a decent amount of water resistance. Quite honestly, depending on where you hike and the conditions of when you hike, waterproof boots may not be mandatory for you. When hiking in Doc Martens, though, try to avoid stepping in large puddles where the boots would be completely immersed in water.

Flexibility: Overall, this footwear brand offers a good amount of flex thanks to the pliable leather. Yet, we placed this feature in the “neutral” section due to the fact that some of the tougher Doc Martens won’t offer ideal flexibility for hiking.

The bad

There are actually only a couple of features that you really need to be wary of when hiking in your Doc Martens.

Comfort: Yes, Doc Martens are comfortable. However, understand that this is analyzing comfort in a different way. When hiking, you may find your Doc Martens aren’t very comfortable. One of the reasons is because they can rub if you aren’t careful. Thick hiking socks can alleviate this issue, though. The other reason is the break-in period that the boots need. Notorious for their lack of comfort right off of the gate, Doc Martens will pretty much always require a decent amount of breaking in.

Weight: Every ounce matters when you’re hiking, right? Well, this is another issue with Doc Martens as they’re not exactly a light boot. Per boot, you’ll be looking at 25 to 30 ounces for a classic pair of Doc Martens. The weight will vary based on the specific ones you go with but expect this brand of boot to be a little too heavy for hiking.

The verdict

Is hiking in Doc Martens a good idea and will it make for a comfortable experience? Truthfully, that’s a tough two-part question to answer. After breaking it down, we’d say choosing a pair of Doc Martens is far from the worst footwear that you could be wearing while hiking.

As a matter of fact, thanks to their breathability, durability, and traction, they can actually make for a pretty solid hiking boot. However, the fact that they’re pretty darn heavy and take forever to break in can be problematic. Hey, one thing’s for sure, if you do choose to hike in them, you’ll probably be the most stylish out of your group.

Speaking of popular footwear brands that get associated with hiking, what about Blundstones? If you’ve ever wondered if that brand of boot would be ideal to hike in, we advise you to check this out! Have a great day, everyone!

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Tyler Jones

Tyler is much like a swiss knife. Even though he has a degree in Computer Science, he knows almost everything there is to know about camping. He has been writing for HeadlessNomad since 2021 and has contributed with over 100 articles. If you have an outdoor-related question, then Tyler much likely knows the answer.