Can You Hike in Doc Martens?

Most people only hike occasionally, which means that they do not have dedicated hiking boots. In fact, beginner hikers are likely to try out their everyday boots for hiking when starting. 

Boots come in many shapes and designs. For instance, Dr. Martens is one of the most popular fashion boots in the United States and Europe. The boots are made of durable material and have a durable sole. 

Read more: Are Classic Timberlands Good for Hiking?

Urban youth like the Doc Martens for their ease of matching any outfit. If you own a pair of Doc Martens and are invited out for an impromptu hike, you will most probably reach out for the boots. Which brings up the question, can you hike in Doc Martens?

Here’s what I discovered through research:

Yes, you can wear your pair of Doc Martens boots for a hike. Note, however, that since the boots are not made for hiking, they might start feeling uncomfortable after some time. If you have already broken in the pair of boots, then you can wear them for a short walk in the woods where you don’t have to deal with uneven terrain and steep slopes.

These boots are not breathable, meaning that they are not ideal for all-day hikes or overnight camping trips. For long and demanding expeditions, therefore, consider wearing a pair optimized for hiking.

History of Dr. Martens

The History of Doc Martens and how they became so popular is an interesting one. Originally, boots were widely used by workers because of their sturdiness and ability to withstand harsh conditions. In 1945, a soldier who had hurt his leg in battle needed a specially designed boot to help him maneuver comfortably. 

He built himself a comfortable shoe that featured an air-cushioned sole different from the leather sole used on shoes at that time. After realizing that the shoe could also help other soldiers who suffered foot injuries just as he had, he presented the boot’s prototype to his friend, an engineer. 

The soldier’s name was Dr. Klaus Maertens, and this innovation saw the birth of the first Doc Marten boot. Mass production of the boots began in 1947, and by 1959, the founders had started marketing the shoes overseas.

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Throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, the Doc Martens enjoyed massive reception in areas around Europe and beyond. Factory workers and mail carriers wore the initial Doc Martens boots before corporate workers picked them up. 

By the late 90s, the boots had found their way into pop culture. This grew the Doc Marten brand massively, with the youth yearning to own a pair of Doc Martens.

FounderKlaus Märtens
HeadquartersUnited Kingdom

Coming into the new millennium, however, sales of the boots started declining. This made manufacturers who had now set up shops worldwide to go back to the drawing board and revolutionize the boot. The first few years saw many innovations and customizations of the boot, with the companies now making more than just boots under the name Doc Martens. As a result, the brand now has women’s boots and children’s shoes in addition to men’s boots.

The shoes are still popular among young adults because they offer great customization possibilities to match any style and personality. Today, you will find Doc Martens to wear to a formal event, concert, or even for a casual walk around town.

What are better alternatives to Dr.Martens for hiking? 

Today, you will find many dedicated hiking boots that you can wear whenever you want to step out for a hike. Different hikers favor different features, but some elements cut across the board of what makes a right hiking boot.

The first consideration is weight. The shoe should be light enough for you to walk in for the entire day without getting tired. Coming second is foot coverage, which should be over the entire foot. This works to prevent your foot from being scuffed by vegetation, stones, and debris.

Another feature you should always look for in a hiking boot is ankle support. This optimizes weight distribution when your foot touches the ground, allowing you to walk while carrying a heavy load on your back for a long time.

Dedicated hiking boots should also be waterproof and breathable to keep your feet dry and minimize the chances of blisters forming on the feet.

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The sole on a dedicated hiking boot should be hard enough to allow you to traverse different terrains and unpredictable road surfaces. The soles should also be flexible enough to allow you to walk when wearing the shoes for a long time. Furthermore, the bottom of the sole should have deep lugs to increase traction and prevent your feet from slipping when walking on slippery roads.

Are Doc Martens good for standing all day?

According to Best Walking Feet, Doc Martens have a durable air-filled sole that makes them suitable for standing even for a long time. The interior also features ample cushioning to enhance comfort, while the sole height is ideal for the standing posture.

Doc Martens are good working boots because they protect the feet from damage in different environments. The leather material on the boots prevents water from getting inside while the comfy interior works to keep their feet warm even when walking in snow during the winter.

Doc Martens also provides excellent arch support for the wearer, allowing them to stand or walk in the shoes for a long time. The interior of a Doc Martens boot is also roomy, and since it is made of easy flexing leather, the boot has a short break-in time.

Should you order a size down in Doc Martens?

According to the sizing chart on Doc Martens’ website, the shoes do not come in half sizes. As such, the manufacturer recommends buying the nearest size that fits them. However, the boots’ roomy interior, which leaves more space for the toes, is likely to make the Doc Martens shoes feel a size bigger for many users. 

Read more: How To Wear Shoes with Blisters

Some users attribute this discrepancy to the sizing used long ago because it was different from the sizing used today on shoes from other brands.

When buying Doc Martens, Fashion advisers at the Insider recommend going with the nearest lower size if you cannot find your correct size. This is because the leather material will stretch with time to fit your feet perfectly. 

However, you should expect some discomfort during the first few days before the shoes are fully broken in. Users can also choose to go with the nearest higher size if the smaller size feels too uncomfortable. In such a case, wearing the shoes with insoles works to fill up the remaining space in the interior and makes the shoes fit snug.

Are they good for camping?

Dr. Martens are nice shoes to wear for all-day walking around town or to work if your job has you on your feet for hours. However, they are not very good for the outdoors. This does not mean that you cannot use them for camping. They make a nice pair of boots to wear for camping when you do not have any other alternative.

However, if you want to enjoy camping with a pair of Doc Martens, ensure you pack another pair of lighter shoes or sandals to switch to when you get to your camping destination. 

The boots are not breathable, which means that they will leave your feet sweaty when you walk in them for long. Therefore, if you want to go camping with the boots, ensure you pair them up with breathable socks.

When you feel uncomfortable, take a rest and remove the boots to prevent your feet from blistering. Note, however, that you will need to take more breaks when you bring Doc Martens out for a camping trip than you would if you choose to camp with a dedicated pair of hiking or camping boots.