If you are planning a hiking excursion, then you know how important it is to find the right pair of hiking boots. The demanding nature of hikes typically calls for footwear that is strong enough for the rough terrains but comfortable for the long hours of wear. Not many boots fit this category, and if you own a pair of Doc Martens you could be wondering are they a great pair for hiking.
Well, to answer that question, several factors must be first taken into account. This is because it takes much more than a random pick to find the best hiking boots for all your needs.
What are the defining features of Doc Martens?
Doc Martens are primarily work boots that have been designed and built for use by workers in different industries. They are, therefore, created to be tough and ideal for demanding work environments. The biggest selling point for these boots over the decades has been how much they provide workers with outstanding levels of comfort.
Since demanding work environments require an enhanced level of protection, Doc Martens have lots of exciting features. The most notable ones are that the boots have a slip and puncture-resistant sole, breathable leather surface, air-cushioned sole and welted construction. For enhanced protection, the brand also has models that have a steel toe, extra-tough metatarsal guard, and shock-absorbing soles.
Since the 1960s when these boots were introduced to the market, their construction has always been focused on the work environment. It is for this reason why Doc Martens are ranked highly as one of the well-made boots in the world. But, is this enough to make them great for hiking?
What makes good hiking boots and do Doc Martens have these qualities?
When looking for hiking footwear, you need to focus on the following:
- Finding a perfect fit
It does not take rocket science to realize that before you begin that hike, you need a pair of shoes that fits perfectly. These are not the moments when you want to compromise on the shape and dimensions of your hiking shoes as they need to be perfect. As a rule, you need boots that fit snugly around the ankle and heel while providing sufficient room to wiggle your toes.
For Doc Martens, you need to realize that finding the right size is not going to be a problem, but you first have to break them in. The toughness of these shoes dictates that you can never use them until you spend weeks slowly softening and getting used to them. This is a crucial stage that you must never skip, and it involves wearing them every day for short periods until they can no longer hurt your foot.
It is essential to wear thick woolen socks during the period when you are breaking in your boots. You also need to use the leather softener and protector provided by the company to soften the leather. Never be in a rush to use these boots for long periods until you have gone through this rite of passage or you will end up with severe blisters.
Traction refers to the resistance to slippage that shoes have. This is an important factor when you are going hiking as you don’t want to be in a pair of slippery shoes. Instead, you need a pair that has tough and treaded outsole design that will not slip regardless of the conditions.
This is an area where Doc Martens gains a competitive edge as these boots have been created to be slip-resistant. The rubber soles add to the practicality of using these boots in different kinds of environments without worrying about your safety.
- Breathability and comfort
Hiking is a demanding activity, and to successfully face that terrain, you need to be in shoes that allow your feet to breathe. This is because, as you hike, your comfort is crucial as this determines how much fun you will have. Doc Martens are popular for being comfortable tough, and after you have broken them in, you will love walking in these shoes.
- Support and stability
Most hikes involve covering several miles on rough terrains, calling for the need to have a pair of shoes that provide the best support and stability. Once again, Doc Martens gain a crucial point thanks to the construction of these boots that makes them sturdy. The air-cushioned sole of the shoes come as an extra plus as they make it easier to walk in these shoes.
A great pair of hiking shoes need to protect your feet from harsh conditions on the trail. Doc Martens have always made it a priority to give workers boots that will protect them. The tough leather surface and included steel toe in some models offer the much-needed protection. Unfortunately, the heavy-duty models by the brand fail in providing the flexibility required for demanding hikes.
The weight of your hiking shoes is a feature you can never overlook as it determines your performance. To have a good experience, you need to wear lightweight shoes that will not drag you back regardless of the distance covered. This is an area that Doc Martens don’t score highly in as compared to specially designed hiking boots they are a little heavy.
It is possible to use Doc Martens as hiking shoes as they have lots of great qualities that will make you love them. However, one cannot overlook the fact that most of the brand’s boots will be great for light hiking. This is because they have not actually been designed to be hiking boots though they can serve the purpose if the hike is not going to be too demanding.
On the bright side, Doc Martens has expanded its product line to include hiking boots. As such, if you want all the best qualities associated with the brand plus extra attention to hiking requirements, these are the go-for boots. The Doc Martens hiking boots are lighter, provide better support, and have a soft leather surface to make it easier to traverse those terrains.