They’re the original utility shoe. A style icon for the feet that goes back decades and they’re as popular today as they ever were. But while they may have been designed for work and fashion, were the creators of Dr Martens thinking about battling the elements? Did they consider the fact that their wearers wouldn’t want wet feet? Are Doc Martens waterproof?
Doc Martens were designed as a work boot and so, for the most part, they aren’t waterproof although some may be slightly water resistant. However, the brand has released a handful of specifically designed shoes that will repel water which are ideal for outdoor pursuits like hiking.
It’s essential to understand that there’s a difference between waterproof and water resistant so don’t get too complacent thinking your existing DMs will stand up to the elements. In this short guide, we’ll be looking at what to expect from your Doc Martens in terms of water resistance as well as how you might improve how well they perform.
Will My Doc Martens Keep My Feet Dry?
Before we get into the nitty gritty of whether a pair of Doc Martens will keep those tootsies warm and dry, it’s really important that we get to grips with the different terms used for waterproof products. This will help you choose something that will protect your feet in the way you would like.
The terms waterproof, water resistant and water repellent are often used interchangeably but they do refer to different levels of protection. Let’s take a look at what they all mean.
Waterproof means that no moisture or water will be able to penetrate the material; in this case a boot. When you are wearing a waterproof boot, your feet should stay almost entirely dry. In very extreme conditions, you may find that a drop or two seeps through but for the most part, you’ll get ultimate protection. The great thing about modern waterproof products is that they’ll usually have a breathable membrane so your feet don’t get sweaty and this also acts as another barrier against moisture.
Water repellent boots are able to withstand a good amount of moisture but they’re not a patch on anything waterproof. They’re ideal for staying dry in moderate conditions such as rainfall or walking through snow but won’t hold up if they’re submerged for a long time.
Water resistant boots are the least protective of all. They’re not designed for exposure to seriously wet conditions but will keep water out when you’re walking through a rain shower or are splashed by a passing car, for example.
Now that we understand the difference between these levels of water protection, we can think about what our Doc Martens offer. While these shoes, for the most part, are not designed to be waterproof, most do have a good level of water resistance. If you’re out and about in the rain, there’s a low chance of coming home with soggy feet.
That said, if you’re choosing a pair of shoes to go hiking or wading through deep puddles, streams and other small bodies of water then Doc Martens won’t give you the protection you’re looking for. What’s more, you’ll likely end up damaging the leather so you’ll not only have wet feet but a pair of rather expensive shoes that are ruined.
Which Doc Martens Are Waterproof?
Earlier, we mentioned that Doc Martens now come in waterproof designs but it’s important to keep in mind that this is not across the board. There are only a few styles of shoe that have now been manufactured in a waterproof version so it’s very important that you check this before you part with your money.
Whether or not the shoes are waterproof depends largely on the material and how they are made. One of the most popular boots in the Doc Marten range is the 1460 and these are now available as a waterproof boot. This is thanks to the DryWair technology used in manufacturing which makes the shoes not only waterproof but super breathable. If you’re heading out in wet conditions, these are a great choice.
Can I Make My Doc Martens Waterproof?
If you’ve already got a pair of Doc Martens that you were hoping would be waterproof, there’s no reason to lose hope just yet. The good news is that there are ways you can up the level of protection and all it takes is the application of some simple products. What’s more, you’ve got choices!
Wonder Balsam is a product made by Doc Martens for use on Doc Martens so you can feel very confident in its effectiveness. It is a blend of both synthetic and natural waxes that will not only nourish and protect the leather but will also create a waterproof barrier.
If you prefer, there is also a Wonder Balsam spray which will give your boots a protective waterproof layer as well as keeping out dirt. You can buy the products as a kit or separately.
If you want to go down the most traditional route then using boot wax is a good choice. This is a great way to make your boots waterproof and it offers some of the most heavy duty protection. People have relied on this method for hundreds of years so there has got to be something in it, right?
While there are different types of boot wax, many would agree that beeswax is the most effective. Not only this but being a natural product, it doesn’t contain any dyes that might stain your boots and helps to lock moisture into the leather, leaving it in beautiful condition.
Waterproof sprays aren’t always 100% effective so it’s worth researching products to find one that’ll work well. But the major advantage of these sprays is how easy they are to use. If you’re looking for a quick fix then this might be the way to go. Even better, this is the most affordable option so is perfect if you’re on a tight budget.
Doc Martens are a hugely popular boot but one of the biggest problems is that many of them are not waterproof. However, that doesn’t need to be a problem as there are products you can use to boost the water resistance of your boots making them ideal to wear on your next wild adventure!