Dr. Martens (better known simply as “Doc Martens”) are an iconic style of footwear. They look equally as great when worn with casual attire, such as jeans, leggings, shorts, or a flowy, flowerchild-inspired skirt or sundress, or even a miniskirt and fishnets, as they do with more formal fashion or work wear, such as a suit or a pair of trousers. They’re rugged construction makes them suitable for wearing in intense climates, such as a mosh pit at a concert or even in a construction zone when you’re working with heavy duty equipment.
Doc Martens took the fashion world by storm as soon as they came onto the scene and due to their exceptional craftsmanship and versatility, they continue to be one of the most beloved footwear brands on the market; there’s no denying that. However, while there’s no questioning their popularity, there is one question that has puzzled Doc Martens ever since they were released: Are they waterproof?
Whether you’ve recently purchased the classic 8-hole boots or the 3-hole kicks, there’s no doubt that you want to ensure that they stay in great shape for as long as possible, and with proper care, they can. But does that proper care mean that you have to take special precautions when it comes to moisture, or can you wear them without worry when it’s raining or snowing, or trudge them through a puddle? Keep on reading to find out whether or not your beloved Doc Martens can protect your feet from and will be able to withstand moisture.
So, Are Doc Martens Waterproof?
After conducting extensive research, we can say with absolute certainty that boots and shoes made by Doc Martens are 100%, kind-of, sort-of waterproof.
We know, we know; that was totally vague and definitely didn’t answer your question, but if you’re looking for a quick answer, that’s it: they’re kind of waterproof. What does that mean? Well, it means that they may be waterproof. To further explain, it’s important to understand what the term “waterproof” means, because once you know what it means, then you can determine whether or not your favorite pair of Docs are safe to wear in the rain or if you need to panic if a beer spills on them at the bar or if you have a run-in with a puddle at the construction site or in a mosh pit.
Waterproof vs. Water Resistant vs Water Repellent
If you’ve ever been shopping for footwear or other garments that can withstand moisture, you’ve probably noticed three different terms printed on the tags: waterproof, water resistant, and water repellent. While yes, each term does imply that the garment can stand up to moisture, it’s important to note that it also means that they can withstand different levels of moisture exposure. Here’s a quick breakdown of each of these terms and the level of protection they provide:
When a pair of shoes, a coat, a jacket, or any other article of clothing is waterproof, no moisture should penetrate the material. If the item is completely submerged or doused with water or anything liquid, a drip or a drop may get through here or there; however, if your boots are waterproof, your toes (and your entire foot) should remain relatively dry. Most waterproof shoes are constructed with a breathable membrane that is built into the design, and this membrane stops water from hitting your feet, even if the exterior of the shoe is completely soaked through.
When a pair of shoes or an article of clothing is water-repellent, it means that it has been treated with a special coating, called “hydrophobic”, and that coating can repel moisture intrusion. In other words, if you’re wearing a water-repellent garment in light rain or snow, you will remain pretty dry; however, if it starts to downpour, you’ll end up getting wet. Water-repellent materials cannot withstand being completely soaked with water.
While water-resistant materials can resist some degree of water intrusion, it can’t be guaranteed. If it starts drizzling out or you’re hit with a splash from a puddle, you probably won’t get soaked; however, if they’re exposed to a lot of moisture in either a short or prolonged period of time, you should expect to get wet. In other words, in light moisture conditions, you should be fine in water-resistant shoes or clothes, but in conditions where moisture exposure is serious, you can pretty much bet that you’re going to get wet.
So… Are Doc Martens Waterproof?
We know, we know; we haven’t answered the question that this entire post is about, but in order to answer that question, it really is important to understand the difference between the water-protection metrics that were outlined above. Now that we have done that and now that you have a basic understanding of the different measures that shoe and clothing makers use to safeguard their comments against moisture.
To make a short story long, Doc Martens aren’t waterproof, but they are water-resistant; in fact, the degree of water-resistance they offer is pretty high. What does that mean if your feet are exposed to moisture while you’re wearing your favorite pair of Docs boots or shoes? It means that if you get caught in a light rain or even a drizzle, if you have to walk through a shallow puddle, or if a beer spills on your shoes or boots while you’re at a concert or a bar, your feet should stay pretty dry.
If, however, you’re hiking and you approach a stream, you shouldn’t wade through it, if you come across a big puddle while you’re walking on the sidewalk, you should try to find an alternate path or leap over it, or if it’s snowing out, you shouldn’t wear your Docs to shovel. Why? Because Doc Martens are water-resistant, but not waterproof, and therefore, they can’t withstand heavy amounts of moisture; not only will your feet get wet when your boots or shoes are exposed to a lot of liquid, but the leather that your Docs are made of is going to be damaged.