Summer is wonderful for footwear fans; you open your closet, pick a pair of shoes, slip them on, and you are good to go! Winter, on the other hand, presents a footwear challenge all of its own. How do you clad your feet, keep them dry, and stomp around in the snow without slipping and sliding? Doc Martens come to mind as a shoe that could live up to the challenge, but are they good for snow?
Doc Martens are not good for snow. Docs weren’t designed for snow but for street and work wear. The Winter Wear range offers great insulation with rugged soles for extra grip. There are a few waterproof, water-resistant, or slip-resistant boots, but the options are limited.
If you’re set on wearing Docs in the snow take a look at the current price of their winter range here.
For the most part, in my experience Docs work for a quick walk through the snow, but no more than that. I’ve been wearing Doc Martens for over 15 years, and have tried several styles. Some work much better than others, for example my classic 1460s are way better at tackling snowy conditions than my Mary Janes.
Here’s a photo of me wearing my 1460s in the snow:
My 1460s cover my ankles, keeping the snow out, whereas my Mary Janes are cut super low, allowing for snow to get inside my shoes and soak my socks.
Both the 1460s and Mary Janes have great grip however, thanks to their GripTrax soles. I have more info on their slip resistant abilities in my guide here: Are Doc Martens Non Slip? A Personal Review + Tips.
I’ve worn my oldest pair of 1460s in all kinds of conditions, including snow. I would wear them all the time to walk long distances to and from college in heavy snow when I was younger, sometimes wrapping plastic bags around my feet to help keep them dry.
I must admit my feet would get pretty wet from the snow build up, as it melted and came in through the stitched seams, which is why I’d advise against it. Plus my Docs aren’t lined, so my poor feet were freezing. I persevered with them for the style, despite the setbacks – I’m much older and wiser now!
Docs in general are made from leather, which is porous and not waterproof. They are okay for a quick walk in the snow if you are running to your car or taking the dog out, but if you have to tackle a snowy trek to work for example then I’d avoid them.
Here’s a video of me wearing my Docs in the snow and discussing how they hold up, so you can see for yourself:
Let’s look at that the range of DMs to find out whether there are Docs that are better for snow than others, so you can make the most informed choice possible if you’re set on getting some for snow-wear.
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Doc Martens Aren’t Specifically Designed For Snow
1460 is the original Dr. Martens boot, and 1460 represents the date the boots were first released; 01/04/1960. Since their release the 1460s have been coveted purchases for over 70 years, earning the brand millions of fans.
Doc Martens were designed as a functional workwear and streetwear footwear choice. The brand has yet to stray from their iconic rugged, leather look. They weren’t, however, made for snowy weather.
There is a considerable difference between shoes being water resistant and shoes being waterproof. Some Doc styles are water resistant. However, that doesn’t mean they are waterproof. For shoes and boots to work in the snow, they must be completely waterproof.
You may also like: Are Doc Martens Comfortable? A Review With Photos
The outer leather upper on most Docs isn’t thick, which adds to the problem of Doc Martens becoming water-logged and not holding warmth. Water resistance keeps water off the shoes, but after a while, water will seep through the leather into the shoes and wet your feet. Waterproofing, on the other hand, keeps water out and keeps your feet warm and dry.
The soles on Docs are hardier than the shoes themselves. Most of the soles have a deep tread and good traction. Doc Martens use various materials for their soles, but the slip-resistant range is best for wet conditions.
For Shoes To Work In Snow, They Must Meet Four Criteria
Shoes and boots that live up to the description of good for snow have four things in common that work together to keep feet dry, warm, and stable on a wet surface. If you need shoes to walk in the snow, make sure they are:
- Waterproof to keep your feet dry. Waterproof shoes have a waterproof membrane between the shoe and your foot to protect your foot and keep it dry.
- Insulated to ward off the winter chill.
- Non-slip to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Rubber soles work best.
- Salt and grit-resistant to prevent slips and wear and tear to the waterproof surface.
Waterproof shoes have an extra lining to prevent water from seeping through the shoe. Soles that work best in snow and wet conditions must be predominantly constructed from rubber or other non-slip material.
The question is whether any Doc Martens meet these criteria? Are Docs good for snow, or will they only hold up for a quick walk through powdery snow?
The Doc Martens Limited Waterproof Slip-Resistant Range
Fortunately, Doc Martens has designed two waterproof options. The Doc Marten Waterproof range checks all the boxes for warmth and waterproofing and is snow and ice friendly. A third shoe benefits from Snowplow technology, giving them a heads-up for a walk-a-bout in snow.
1460 Trinity Slip Resistant Boots
From the iconic 1460 range, The Trinity Slip Resistant Boot is completely waterproof and perfect for a day out in the snow. So, what makes these boots so special?
Doc Martens describes them as ‘the ultimate winter boot’ that can handle any way the weather turns. They are made from Kaya Nubuk leather. The leather is stretched over a DryWear waterproof membrane making the boot completely waterproof.
1460 Trinity boots are ideal for trudging around in the snow and benefit from an insulated fleece lining. The soles are slip-resistant and have good traction on ice. The under part of the boot is made from Goodyear welted lines and is heat-sealed at 700C to ensure that it is firmly attached.
Trinity Slip Resistant boots are an excellent choice for wet, snowy conditions. According to Doc Martens, they are a revolution against Winter’s oppression.
Iowa Poly Casual Boots
Another star in the Doc waterproof category is the Iowa Waterproof Poly Casual Boots. The Dr. Martens’ website describes them as ‘ready for anything,’ and judging by the specifications of this boot, the description is spot on.
The boots are made from tough Black Republican WP leather and reinforced with super strong nylon. They are built for wet weather and slippery surfaces, so they will work well in snow.
Iowa’s have extra tread on their soles. The soles are reinforced by Docs’ GripWair and are less likely to lose traction on wet surfaces.
An added feature is DryWair, an exclusive Dr. Marten’s waterproof membrane that protects the boot, keeps it breathable, and keeps water out.
1460 Wintergrip Lace Up and Ankle Boots
Winter grip boots are unique in that they are made from Snowplow, a grit-resistant, salt-resistant, and water-resistant leather. The sole is winterized too; made from a PVC/Rubber/Hybrid and extra tough with stabilizing Goodyear welt. 1460 Wintergrips also score high when keeping your feet warm; the boots are fleece lined.
Although they are not entirely waterproof, Docs describe them as ‘high-performance protection against cold weather’ and rank them right up there with boots that can comfortably withstand icy and snowy weather.
Are Doc Martens Good For Winter?
The answer is yes, although some may need an extra layer of socks to protect against winter chills. Most Docs offer good protection for your feet. Because they are rugged in design, Docs cover the entire foot, and the boots lace up above the ankles. The soles are sturdy, too, so you won’t feel the chill from the ground.
A new range of winter styles presents boots ideal for winter weather. The range brings fur lining and Winter Grip soles. The Winter Grip soles are manufactured from PVC and rubber and feature GripWair technology. Added to this are grooved cleats to improve stability.
Included in the Winter range are water-resistant, slip-resistant, and salt-resistant boots, making DM’s worthy winter wear.
Chelsea Leather Boots
Chelsea boots are constructed from Blizzard Leather and have an elasticated gusset that keeps them snug on your foot. They are warm boots, and the boot inners feature Doc Marten’s proprietary WarmAir and Snowtex fleece lining. The soles are designed for wet and slippery weather and are made from GripWear technology with a 75% PVC and 25% Rubber base.
Wintergrip Blizzard Boots
WP Leather Ankle Boots have an outer covering of Blizzard leather fabricated from 60% leather and 40% textile. The textile strengthens the leather and increases water resistance. The soles are constructed with GripWear technology and made from 100% PVC. This makes them ultra-slip-resistant. Black Fleece keeps your feet warm.
Leonore Abruzzo Boots
Made from water-resistant leather and fur-lined, they meet a basic winter boot standard. The Commando BEN sole gives them the edge in wet slippery conditions.
Serena Faux Fur Lined Ankle Boots
1460 Serena Faux Fur Lined Ankle Boots work well in Winter, and a walk through light snow won’t leave you with wet, cold feet. They have Commando BEN soles which prevent nasty slips in wet weather.
2976 Warmwair Valor Leather Chelsea Boots
The outers of the Valor Boots feature Valor WP Heavy Weight Leather, an effective water-resistant surface. The soles are crafted from 100% PVC. They keep the winter chill out with soft fleece lining and an extra fleece sock.
Pascal Warmwair Valor Ankle Boots
These classic Docs have all the trimming that matches Doc Marten’s heritage, but they have been re-invented to take on winter weather. They are made from Valor WP leather, are water-resistant, and feature WarmWair insulation. The soles are made from 100% PVC with excellent grip. Pascal’s beat the cold and will handle a small layer of snow but won’t work in sludgy conditions.
DM’s Wintergrip Leather Chelsea Boots
The 2976 Wintergrip Chelsea Boot is another Doc style that has been upgraded to water-resistant, salt-resistant status. The soles are solid and hardwearing and feature DM’s exclusive GripWair technology. An elasticized gusset gives them extra insulation, and WarmWair Snowtex lining provides excellent protection from the cold. ‘Get winter fearless’ is how Dr. Martens describes them.
How To Waterproof Your Boots For Wet, Snowy Days
Docs are the kind of shoes that you want on your feet all day, especially during Winter. It is safe to say that Doc lovers couldn’t agree more. Customer comments on the Dr. Martens website often mention that Docs are the best shoe purchase they’ve made, and you can never go wrong with Docs. Slip-resistant soles are also a big hit with customers.
You can waterproof your DMs and do this effectively; however, you will need to repeat the process every now and then to keep your feet dry. I have a full guide on waterproofing Docs here: Are Doc Martens Waterproof? – A Review With Photos, but here’s a quick run down.
Most importantly, before you start, clean your shoes thoroughly and make sure they are grit free. Waterproofing will lock it in if any grit is stuck to your shoe, damaging the surface.
- The first option is to use a waterproof spray. Manufactured specifically to keep water out, this is a great waterproofing option.
- A tried and tested method is to coat your shoes with mink oil. Mink oil provides a protective coat on your shoes. Oil repels water, so your shoes shouldn’t soak through, but you must treat your shoes every now and then.
- Wax works well as a waterproofing solution. However, you will need to test the wax on an inconspicuous section before waxing the whole shoe. Smooth the wax all over your shoe and heat it with a hairdryer on the hottest setting to allow the wax to penetrate the leather. Keep up the heat until the wax is no longer visible.
Although it is possible to give your shoes a DIY waterproof treatment, you must ensure the soles aren’t slippery to make them good for snow. An unconventional way of doing this is to spray extra-strength, extra-hold hairspray on your soles. This makes them stickier and less likely to lose grip. Nicking your soles with a small knife also helps to add more grip.
Is It Safe To Wear Doc Martens In The Snow?
You can walk a small distance in light snow if you tread carefully. However, the safest option is to wear waterproof or water-resistant boots with slip-resistant tread.
Are All Doc Marten Soles Slip-Resistant?
No, they aren’t. Many urban shoes have less tread and are not ideal for wearing in snow or wet weather.
How Do I Know Which Docs Are Suitable For Wet Weather?
The Doc Martens website provides specific details for every shoe and boot. Use this as a reference before buying a pair.
How Do I Know If Doc Martens Live Up To Expectations?
All shoes and boots on the website have a place for customer reviews. Best-selling items are highlighted on the website, and it is safe to say they are true to the description. Reading these will give you a good idea of whether the footwear lives up to expectations.
In general, Docs are not good for snow; only two boots from their range are completely waterproof and suitable for snow. There is a third boot designed specifically for snow and several boots that are water resistant but won’t keep water from seeping through into the shoe.
Most DM soles are good for snow and ice because they are rugged, but this only prevents slips and does not provide insulation and water protection.
For more Doc Martens content, check out:
Do Doc Martens Run Big? – A Sizing Review With Photos
How to Break in Doc Martens Fast – ULTIMATE Guide
21 Best Doc Martens Alternatives (Affordable Picks)
Are Doc Martens Unisex? Design Guide (PHOTOS)
How Much Height Do Doc Martens Add? (PHOTOS & Height Chart)
How To Get Creases Out Of Doc Martens (EASY WAYS)
Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).