Last Updated on September 10, 2023 by Martina McKeough
If you are thinking about buying a pair of Dr Martens boots then you need to think about when you are going to wear them and in what weather. Are Dr Martens good for winter for example and can they cope with rain, snow, and ice?
Having owned many pairs of this brand’s boots and shoes over the years I have a good idea of how they hold up in bad weather. So hopefully, my guide can help you make a decision about whether they make good winter boots that can cope with cold, wet, and snowy weather.
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What Style of Boots Am I Referring To?
Before I begin however I thought it was important to discuss exactly what Doc Martens I am talking about. Why? Well, the brand doesn’t just make one type of boot or shoe style but has a whole range of footwear available on its website including sandals (which most definitely are n0t suitable for cold wet weather).
Typically when people think about Doc Martens leather boots they are talking about the original style footwear with air-cushioned soles and no insulation.
These Doc Martens have oil, fat, and abrasion resistance and also have some reasonable traction to help stop you from slipping.
Doc Martens do however do a whole range of winter boots which are more able to cope with harsher winter weather depending on your needs. So during my guide, I’ll talk about how the originals cope with cold weather conditions and also refer to some of their boots which might be more suitable if you need something better designed for particular freezing conditions.
What Weather Do You Wear Doc Martens?
Are Dr Martens Good for Cold Weather? Well, the first thing you need to this about is how cold is cold?
I live in the United Kingdom and generally, our winters here are relatively mild in comparison to places in the United States, Canada, and Europe. If you live in Australia like some of my extended family their winters are even milder and they never have snow unless you are in the mountains.
So are Dr Martens good for winter? Well, it depends on your winter season, temperatures, and snowfall.
In the United Kingdom, the original Doc Martens are more than able to cope with our rainfall and the few days we get some light snow. As our temperatures barely drop below freezing thick wool socks are probably all you need inside your Dr Martens to keep warm.
However, this is a totally different story if you put me in very icy or snowy conditions with low temperatures in the United States or Canada. Now the original style boots are going to struggle and you are going to get wet and cold feet and probably ruin your boots in the snow.
In Australia where I visit regularly my Dr Martens will be able to cope with their winter easily as there might be some rain but the temperatures are mild.
Generally, the original style Doc Martens are great for spring, summer, and autumn weather but when it comes to winter wear they are not able to cope with extremely cold temperatures, snow, and very icy conditions.
Are Dr Martens Good For Rain?
If you want a pair of winter boots the first thing they will have to contend with is rain.
Rainy wet weather is a given in most locations during winter so the question is can you wear Doc Martens in this type of weather or are you going to have a problem.
Well, I can certainly say that in the rainy UK, the original doc boots have no problem coping with the wet weather as they have water-resistant leather that stops the rain from penetrating the boots.
This means that you can walk in them during a downpour or step into a puddle and you shouldn’t have any problems with them at all.
Are Dr Martens Waterproof?
Things change slightly if you want to know if they are waterproof boots. The fact is that the original Doc Martens are not completely waterproof.
That means if you want to use your boots to wade through the water near a river or wear them in extremely wet conditions you are probably going to get wet feet.
It also means you can’t wear them in snow for long periods of time especially if that snow is slushy or very wet.
For proper waterproof boots, you would need to wear brands like Muck Boots which can be worn in the snow and are 100% waterproof.
In order to increase the water resistance of your Dr Martens it makes sense to use their Ultra Protector spray to keep your Doc Martens looking good in winter anyway. This spray can help to stop water marks and increase their water resistance in bad weather.
Are Doc Martens Warm?
Another crucial requirement for winter boots is that they should keep your feet warm when it is cold outside. The extent to which you need to do this will obviously vary depending on the temperatures where you live.
In the UK I know that wearing a pair of thick woolen socks is usually enough to keep my feet warm even if there is a little snow on the ground. Thick wool socks protect my feet from the cold and are usually good at temperatures just below freezing.
In fact, Dr Martens make their own brand of socks to use with their boots which are useful when the temperatures are colder.
It is a whole other story when temperatures dip further. Then thick socks or wool socks won’t be enough to keep your feet warm unless the boots have additional insulation.
The original Doc Martens have no insulation in them at all which means that extremely cold winter weather is going to freeze your feet inside these boots.
Doc Martens boots do however come in a range of styles and they do have a number of pairs with faux fur lining. Fur lined Dr Marten boots will go some way to protecting your feet in colder temperatures provided that you wear wool socks as well.
The reality is however that Dr Martens are fashion boots rather than boots specifically made from being outside in very very cold temperatures. This means that even with faux fur lining or fleece lining these boots will not be able to cope with cold harsh winter weather for prolonged periods of time. So you could probably wear them going from your house to your car but you wouldn’t want to be walking outside for any length of time in them otherwise your feet would be at risk of frostbite.
For really cold temperatures you need to think about wearing snow boots that have specialized insulation to cope with very low temperatures.
Are They Slippery on Ice?
Are Dr Martens good for winter and are they slippery on ice?
I know I mentioned earlier that they have good traction because of their rubber outsole which has been designed by the company to be slip resistant.
However, being slip resistant is not the same as being able to cope well with very icy surfaces. The fact is that the original Doc Martens’s sole traction is not enough to cope with icy conditions and you are at risk of falling over if you wear them.
In fact, most winter boots find icy surfaces a problem which means that if you want excellent traction when outside you need to buy a pair of boots with Vibram soles or use ice cleats to help stay upright.
Muck Boots Arctic Ice Supreme boots are a great example of winter boots that are slip resistant and are designed for harsh winter conditions including snow and ice.
Dr Martens also sell boots with a winter grip sole that has superior traction to their original boots. Whilst this may give you better traction on snow I still believe that in really icy conditions this will still not be enough. They will probably be ok in urban snow and ice but not be able to cope well on rough terrain away from sidewalks.
Icy conditions need specialist boots and equipment because it is so hard to get traction on ice. Therefore if your winter weather is more extreme think about buying specialist boots.
Are Dr Martens Good for Snow?
Whilst the UK only gets a few days of snow a year unless you are in Scotland or the hills the United States and Canada get a huge amount in certain areas. In fact as I write this they have had even more extreme snow than usual because of adverse weather.
So will Doc Martens get ruined in the snow if you wear them or are you ok to wear them as snow boots?
Well, the original regular Doc Martens are not going to help I’m afraid if you were hoping to wear them for any prolonged period in snowy conditions.
Whilst I might get away with short walks in urban snow in the UK there is no way they are going to be able to cope with the deeper snow you might get in the US and Canada for a number of different reasons.
Firstly the thin leather of the original Doc Martens isn’t able to keep your feet warm when you are outside in freezing conditions. The leather is also liable to get damaged and dry out as it gets wet from the snow.
As the boots have no insulation your feet will feel icy cold and the traction from the grooved cleats isn’t sufficient. In deep snow, the boots can also allow snow to fall into the top of your boots (no matter how tightly you have laced them) meaning you are going to get cold wet feet.
As they are not waterproof it also means that after some time outside the boots will start to let in water in vulnerable spots giving you soggy freezing feet.
Dr Martens’s snow boots don’t really exist although they do have warmer boots for winter with better traction. In reality if you want snow boots you should buy a pair of Sorel Caribou Boots.
Winterized Dr Martens
Whilst the original Dr Martens Boots are not ideal winter boots unless you live in a mild climate there are things that you can do to help them withstand the weather a little better.
Sheepskin insoles for example or boot liners and insulated socks can help add that extra layer of warmth that you need when the temperatures dip below freezing. When you wear and place these in your boots it can make a big difference to the cold that you will be able to tolerate when you are outside.
Using Dubbin or waterproofing spray can help to increase your Doc Martens water resistance. Whilst they will never be fully waterproof in deep water or snow it can help to protect the boots in less extreme wet conditions.
Ice grips as I discussed earlier can also be handy if you want to make sure you don’t slip in your boots whilst you are on icy surfaces.
Don’t forget that when you come in after wearing them on a winter’s day make sure you clean and dry them thoroughly before using them again. Boot Dryers can be excellent at getting them ready to wear outside the next day if they have got wet. This Everlasting Comfort Boot Dryer can get them dry in 80 minutes if you need them faster.
More Information on Boots and Snow
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