Can You Hike in Doc Martens?

There are a few shoes that have been truly iconic in history. Doc Martens have been one of those shoes that have been around since 1947 and were designed specifically for comfort. Once popular among police officers and factory workers, they are now a fashion icon. But lots of people want to know, are Doc Martens good for hiking?

Can You Hike in Doc Martens? While you can technically hike in Doc Markets, Doc Martens are not designed as a hiking boot and are not suggested to hike in. For long or technical hikes, hiking shoes or boots are recommended.

Hiking in Doc Martens

Doc Martens have been known in the past for their durability. Some claim that Doc Martins can last 20 years or longer… but that was up until 2003 when the company moved their operations to China to avoid bankruptcy. And since then, a lot of people now claim that Doc Martens just aren’t as durable anymore. You can still purchase Doc Martens made in the United Kingdom, but at a premium price.

But what about hiking? Simply put, Doc Martens just arent’ designed to be a hiking boot. They can take a long time to break-in, and those who have hiked in Docs have had a poor time.

I’ve scoured the web looking for people’s experiences hiking in these boots and whether or not it’s a good idea…

Most people said it wasn’t:

  • I made that mistake last summer, and will never do it again.
  • I would never buy a pair of docs and try to hike in them.
  • Buy hiking boots, please learn from my mistakes
  • I wear boots about 90% of the time and can attest that Docs are not hiking boots but they are very comfortable once broken in.
  • I love Docs but they are not for hiking
  • Hiking in Doc Martens are not the best idea
  • I saw that poor guy in serious pain that night at the hostel. He had awful blisters on his pale white feet because he was hiking in Doc Martens.
  • Literally should not be hiking in these
  • I have never heard of people serious about hiking buying Docs to hike in.
  • I wouldn’t recommend hiking in docs
  • The Doc Martins will fall apart taking the beating the trails will give them. Leave those for walking around downtown, etc.
  • Hiking in Doc Martens, although fashionable, are not reasonable or suggested.

And some who tried hiking in Docs had poor experiences:

  • After hiking for two days in them my foot was bleeding. I had 3 blisters and a numb big toe. It turns out I have nerve damage and had to wear tennis shoes for three weeks.

Here’s one review from their website:

But depending on the type of hike, they might be okay:

  • Doc Martens are not specifically designed for trekking but if it is simple terrain and they fit well they should be ok.

Some people had positive experiences:

  • Almost zero break-in needed. They felt good to hike in right out of the box.
  • I was able to wear them all day every day for 2 weeks straight, and even used them for hiking. They felt super comfortable.
  • Hiking, everyday hunting, and fishing. There are not many places I haven’t worn my Docs.
  • I wore them for the first time on a 5 mile hike along the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland and was worried they’d be killing me, but they felt wonderful.

When Might Hiking in Doc Martens Be Okay?

While most people think it’s usually a bad idea to hike in Docs (and I will agree), it might not always be the worst idea. If your Docs are already broken in and you’re going for a walk through the woods, then it’s probably fine. If you’re doing any overnight hiking, backpacking, long or difficult hikes, then I would reconsider wearing Docs.

But that’s not to say that you can’t go hiking if you don’t have actual hiking boots. Lots of people hiking in running shoes and I think they would be much better than Docs.

Tips for Hiking in Doc Martens

If you do go hiking in Docs, here are some tips:

  • Make sure your boots are broken in and fit your feet.
  • Wear socks that go above the boot to prevent rubbing. You might even want to consider wearing 2 pairs of socks to prevent blisters.
  • Protect and waterproof them using Dubbin beeswax (see price at Amazon)

Conclusion

Most people don’t have good experiences hiking in Doc Martens. After all, they aren’t designed as a hiking boot and are considered more a fashion icon. They might be fine for nature walks and light hiking, but nothing beyond that.

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