Doc Martens are some of the most fantastic boots you can buy on the market. They have been popular for decades now and you can wear them with almost any outfit, whether they be jeans, trousers or slacks.
However, one thing that might be nagging you is: can you wear your Doc Martens in the rain? That’s because all Doc Martens are not just about fashion. You’ll need to be sure that they have practical application.
So how can you tell if your Doc Martens are indeed waterproof? Well, we’ve conducted a few tests on a pair of these sturdy boots to determine whether these shoes will not let any water into your feet.
What Are Doc Martens Made From?
Doc Martens are traditionally made from leather, although you can get some that are made from a Vegan-friendly material.
This means that they can resist water, although leather will perish from excessive exposure to weather over time.
You can wax your Doc Martens to make them more waterproof, but this does not guarantee that they will be completely waterproof.
However, even if they are not waterproof, you’ll want to know to what extent you can douse them with water.
Will they be okay against a light drizzle? Can you submerge them up to the ankle? Can you splash around in puddles with them on?
Don’t worry, we’ve subjected them to the most stringent water tests, the results of which we’ll make clear to you later.
Are Doc Martens Waterproof?
In short, the answer is no, but it will depend on how much you wear them and how much you expose them to the rain.
If you are going to be tramping in the wet and the mud with your Docs on a regular basis, then you can expect for them to wear out and start to perish in around 6 months.
Your feet will certainly be protected from the cold weather with these shoes, as they are very thick in their making.
You also have a decent heel on them that will be able to negotiate gravel, tarmac and other slippery terrains.
However, these are not really designed to be worn in the thick mud. If you expose your Doc Martens to excessive moisture, then you’ll notice that they are coming apart at the seams.
There are plenty of people who wear their Doc Martens for getting through the snow. This is because the moisture in the snow will not be enough to really start to wear down your shoes.
How Long Should You Wear Your Doc Martens In The Rain?
If you are going out for an hour or so in the heavy rain, then we would suggest that you leave your Doc Martens at home.
This is not because your Doc Martens will perish after only an hour. It is the accumulative effect of doing this that will wear your Doc Martens down quicker.
If you are going to be wearing your Doc Martens, we would recommend that you only have them on for around 15-20 minutes. This will reduce the amount of wear that the water will have on them.
If you are going to be wearing these boots in stormy weather, then you can guarantee that the water will soon cause them to fray at the edges.
We would also suggest that you steer clear of wearing Doc Martens if you are going to be tramping through a lot of puddles.
These can be deep and submerging your boots in a puddle is not good for the integrity of your shoes.
How Can You Improve The Waterproofing On Your Doc Martens?
You can apply wax to the outside of your boots, which will stop water from getting into them so easily. This wax will certainly improve the lifespan of your boots and allow you a longer time to wear them in the rain.
However, if you are going to be putting wax on these boots, we would still recommend that you don’t submerge them completely in water.
If the rain is heavy, it will also wear through your wax a lot quicker. Even though wax is generally quite hardy stuff, it will not be impervious to water.
You could also try wrapping your Doc Martens in plastic bags if you suspect that you will be taking them out on long and muddy treks.
This might take away from taking them out on the town, but if you are wearing them for gardening or manual work, then this will be a good protection method.
Doc Martens – The Waterproof Test
Now that we’ve had a little gander at some of the properties of the Doc Marten, we’ll be testing exactly how well they stand up to a light to aggressive soaking.
1. Applying A Light Drizzle
First, we took a showerhead and applied it quite liberally all over the Doc Martens. We didn’t place it on full blast, to begin with, more mimicking a light shower that you might find when you are outside.
This was designed to replicate the effects of light rain on your shoes. We did this for around 5 minutes.
Once this was done, we really noticed zero difference in the integrity of the Doc Marten.
After we had waited for a further 3 minutes, we applied a kitchen towel to the surface of the boots as well as the inside. When we lifted the paper it came back completely dry.
This meant that the water had seeped completely into the leather of the boot itself.
Now, this might seem like a good thing for your feet, but it is not good for the leather. Over time, the absorption of this leather will compromise the shoe.
However, you will be able to wear your boots in the rain for around 5 minutes without them becoming waterlogged or letting in too much water.
In the short term, these boots really stand up to the battering of the rain.
2. Heavy Shower
Now we really wanted to test the integrity of our Doc Martens, so we went for a longer soak on a heavier setting. We turned this right up and wet our Doc Martens for over 20 minutes.
This time the results were markedly different. There was pooling on the inside of the shoe, although the outer leather has still managed to absorb a vast majority of the water inside.
Once we had left these shoes for 3 minutes, we again applied the kitchen roll. This time the paper came up very wet, showing that there wasn’t as much resistance to a heavy shower of rain over a longer period of time.
This is why we would recommend that you do not wear your Doc Martens any longer than this period of time.
You can expect to halve the lifespan of your Doc Martens if you are subjecting it to this volume of water on a regular basis.
3. Hour-Long Shower
Now that we really decided to turn the pressure up and subject this shoe to as much water as we possibly could in a longer space of time.
For 60 minutes we ran the maximum shower setting over this Doc Marten.
After turning off the shower, we waited for 3 minutes and then applied the thick kitchen towel. Needless to say that most of the water had seeped into the shoe and it has become waterlogged.
What you cannot account for in this shoe is the fact that when it is worn the ankle pit will be largely blocked, meaning that not as much water will get into the boot itself.
The outside of the shoe was also wet and there were plenty of drops that clung to the side of this boot.
However, we did notice there was some wrinkling in the leather which, if left unattended for a long time, could develop into serious flaking.
4. Water With Wax
Next, we applied some wax to the outside of the Doc Marten to see how that would affect the amount of water that was let into the shoe.
About an inch or so of wax was applied to the surface of this shoe before we applied to shower on each of the different settings that we mentioned above. We hose the shoe for around 20 minutes overall.
The wax only made a slight amount of difference to how much water your boot took on.
After a few minutes, the water would quickly run off the surface of the shoe. The constitution of the shoe was much more intact than when it was without the wax.
After a few more minutes, there was still some waterlogging that took place on the inside of the shoe.
However, the process of the water seeping into the leather was altogether drastically slowed down by the presence of wax.
If you are going to be using your Doc Martens in a much more waterlogged environment, then we would suggest that you apply some wax before you go out.
Wax is the perfect protector for anyone going from A to B in the rain for anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes. You should only apply this wax to the outside surface of your shoe.
5. Plastic Bag Wrapping
Next up, we tried the ultimate form of protection for our Doc Marten: plastic wrapping. We took thick plastic wrapping and covered the entire shoe up to the ankle, where we secured it with scotch tape.
This was by far the best method of resistance against the showerhead. However, it was more the plastic bag rather than the shoe itself doing most of the work.
The shower was placed on all the different levels of shower power and soaked for upwards of an hour. When removed from the bag, the shoe was still more or less still dry apart from some dampness on the sole.
The inside of the shoe was also relatively free of moisture and did not suffer from any waterlogging or other issues.
However, this method of Doc Marten waterproofing is not the most practical. It will all depend on the environment that you’ll be using your Doc Marten in.
If you are taking this shoe, one that you might normally use for walking or going out, to a muddier area where you can expect a lot of wetness, then we would recommend that you wrap it in plastic as a one-off to protect the leather.
Plastic sheets might not be great for your fashion credibility though. You would not want to be seen on the dancefloor with your feet wrapped in plastic!
Buyer’s Guide To Doc Martens
So what features do Doc Martens have that make them superior to other boots? Here are a few of the other things that you might find on your Doc Martens that you should knwo about before buying a pair.
They Are Durable
Waterproofing aside, these are still some of the most durable boots that you can get on the market. They come with a thick sole and a very chunky hide.
This is perfect if you are looking for something that can withstand the repeated impact of a foot on hard floor.
A lot of people like to wear these when they are going to construction work.
Not as thick as some of the hobnail boots that you might find, these shoes still have a durable sole that will protect your shoes from piercings or sharp objects such as broken glass.
They Are Well-Made
With that distinctive yellow stitching, you can be sure that these shoes are one of the smartest and most well-made shoes that you can find on the market. This comes with a molded one-piece design that will not split apart.
The sole is also made from thick molded PVC that will be able to withstand repeated scuffing and dragging. You won’t see much wear and tear on your Doc Martens, even after a few months.
These shoelaces of this Doc Marten are also very resilient. This means that you can tug and tie them on as quickly as you like. You can even try cutting these shoelaces and you would have a hard time.
They Are Comfortable
Despite how heavy and cumbersome these shoes can feel like on the outside, you can be sure that they will keep your foot comfortable.
Once you have worn them for a few days, they will feel as comfortable as any other type of boot.
This comes with a rim that will soften over time and will not dig into the flesh around your ankle.
It also won’t worry or irritate the heel or the ball of your foot. You could walk for a hundred miles in these shoes and still not experience any rubbing or soreness in any part of your foot.
They Are Fashionable
Over the last decade or so, these shoes have climbed their way up the top list of some of the trendiest shoes that you can find.
They can complement a range of materials and styles, whether it is formal, rocker or casual wear.
You can also get these boots in a wide range of colors and cuts. They have some shiny models that you can wear when you are hitting the dancefloor.
These versions are not as cumbersome and will not impede your feet on a night out.
You can also get high-ankle Doc Martens that will give you a lot more coverage and protection over the bottom of your foot.
This is great if you like to walk across distances that include grass, tarmac and gravel paths.
Some Drawbacks Of Doc Martens
However, there are a few reasons why you might not want to purchase nay Doc Martens. Here are just a few of the flaws that we found with them:
They Are Not Waterproof
As we have explained more in-depth above, these boots do tend to absorb a lot of water, which will cause them to perish over time.
This is because leather is very porous and will start to degrade under intense water conditions.
You should not wear your Doc Martens in the rain for longer than an hour at most. If you keep doing this, then you can experience quicker wear and tear in your shoes, which will overall reduce the quality of your shoes.
They Can Be Heavy
There have been many wearers of Doc Martens who claim that these shoes are very clunky when you are wearing them in a social setting.
They are not the lightest shoes, so you might find they give you leg fatigue after a certain length of time.
This might also affect the way that you walk.
If you have any preexisting conditions, then we would recommend that you invest in a pair of lifts or corrective palettes for your feet before wearing these Doc Martens.
They Can Be Uncomfortable
This will only really apply if you have never worn boots like this before. This is because it might take your feet slightly longer to adapt to the shape of this boot.
You might experience soreness, blisters and general aching in your foot if you suddenly go on long walks immediately after purchasing these shoes and wearing them for the first time.
We would recommend wearing them around the house for a few days so that you can break them in gently. This will be very important for reducing any pain, which might actually impede the way that you walk.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Doc Martens?
This shoe was first manufactured in Northhampshire in England. It has expanded into a large brand in the UK and is commonly associated with hipster, rocker and mod fashion styles. They are also known as DMs
How much are Doc Martens?
This will all depend on what type of Doc Marten boots you buy.
You can get laceless versions, laced-up versions, ankle-length and high ankle-length boots. You can also get Dioc Marten sandals, which you can take to the beach with you.
The average pair of Doc Martens retails for over $100. This is because they are a reputable brand and the quality of the shoes really is outstanding.
Can you wear Doc Martens in the snow?
If you are going to be walking through light snow, then Doc Martens are a great shoe to have.
They will be able to withstand light moisture and will not succumb to general wear and tear until after a few months of continual use.
However, if you are going to be walking through deep snow that will entirely cover up your boots, then this will pose more of an issue.
You can expect the excess moisture will soon start to wear away your boots much quicker and shorten their lifespan by over half.
How can I waterproof my Doc Martens?
You can buy some Doc Marten official wonder balsam, which will help to coat your boots and help to protect them from the rain and the dirt.
To apply this properly, you’ll have to clean all the existing rainwater and dirt from your shoes before putting on the wonder balsam. You won’t need to apply too much of this liquid.
You’ll have to apply a very thin layer over the top with a sponge.