Are Doc Martens Good for Snow? A Complete Guide to Doc Martens in Winter

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 
Are Doc Martens Good for Snow Doc Martens Surrounded by Snowflakes

There’s nothing like busting out your favorite boots for winter. 

But if you’re thinking about getting a pair of Doc Martens 1460 to fight off the cold, you may want to think again.

In this guide, I’m going to break down whether or not Doc Martens are good for snow, if they’re waterproof, and also show you how to waterproof your Doc Martens if you decide to wear them out in the cold anyway. 

Do Doc Martens Keep Your Feet Warm in Snow?

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Doc Martens are one of the world’s most popular boots, but there are a few issues that keep it from being an exceptional cold-weather boot. 

When most people talk about Doc Martens, they’re referring to the classic 1460 (read our review).

Dr. Martens 1460

The Dr. Martens 1460 is consistently popular and instantly recognizable. Though it’s a combat-style boot, it lacks a lot of practical and rugged qualities including strong leather, quality stitching, and a steel shank. Nonetheless, its shiny upper, yellow sole stitching, and transparent outsole have made it an iconic fashion staple.

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While it has a unique style, it’s not a great snow boot for a few reasons:

The leather is quite thin, which presents a few problems. Thin leather doesn’t insulate as well as thicker leather, but the real problem is in how quickly the leather is saturated with water. 

If you’re standing in the snow for any length of time over 30 minutes, there’s a good chance the snow melt will log the leather and seep into your socks. And if you’ve ever spent a snow day with cold, wet socks, you know that’s no fun. 

Waterlogging can cause the leather to crack later, too, so even when the weather warms up, you may not have the same stylish boots you loved the season prior. 

If you’re specifically looking for a winter boot and you absolutely love the look of Doc Martens, check out their 1460 Waterproof boot. The leather has a waterproof protector already added and it’s lightly insulated so you can wear it in colder weather.

If you already own a pair of classic Doc Martens and you’re determined to wear them in the snow, at least wear a pair of thick wool socks like the Darn Tough T4033 Heavyweight Tactical Sock.

Darn Tough T4033 Heavyweight Tactical Sock
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Wool socks will give your feet much needed insulation and a decent buffer of time before they soak completely through and cause your feet to get cold. 

How is the Doc Martens Sole Traction in Snow?

Dr Martens 1460 soles

The Doc Martens AirWair sole offers decent traction in the snow, but it doesn’t do very well on ice. I don’t recommend the 1460 if you need a winter boot specifically for the snow, but if you find yourself occasionally wearing them out in inclement weather, they’ll do fine on traction.

The AirWair material is quite soft, which is a bonus on wet concrete. Because it’s not super rigid, the weight of your foot will fall on a “grippier” part of the cement. 

The lugs of the sole aren’t very pronounced though, so if you’re in deep snow and your weight doesn’t make contact with dirt or concrete, you may slip. The AirWair sole also doesn’t help at all with icy conditions. 

You’ll get the best grip with heavy rubber lug soles like the Thursday Boots Captain StormKing or any boot with a Vibram Arctic Grip sole like the Kodiak Rover II Chelsea

Are Doc Martens Waterproof?

Doc Martens aren’t waterproof, but because of their heat bonded Goodyear welt, they’re quite water resistant against rain and puddles. 

Dr Martens 1460 model on steps 4

They have more trouble in the snow, as I mentioned earlier, because the leather is relatively thin and can get waterlogged easily. If your socks are getting wet, it’s most likely because the leather is waterlogged, and not because water is seeping in through the sole and welt. 

That said, you can add a layer of waterproofing to your Docs to make them more suitable for winter weather.

How to Waterproof Doc Martens

Dr Martens 1460 model on steps 8

The sole on the standard Doc Martens 1460 is quite weather resistant, so the best option for increasing your Doc Martens waterproofing is to focus on the leather. 

There are two main ways you can waterproof your Doc Martens:

1.) Use a waterproofing spray

2.) Use a conditioner like mink oil

Sof Sole Mink Oil for Conditioning and Waterproofing Leather
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I’m not a huge fan of waterproofing sprays because they clog the pores of your leather and make it impossible to condition. That means that if the leather starts to show signs of aging and is on the verge of cracking, there isn’t much you can do. 

That said, a waterproofing spray will completely keep moisture out of your boot leather. 

You can also try something like mink oil. While mink oil doesn’t completely waterproof your leather, it saturates the pores with oils and waxes and will boost the water resistance of your Doc Martens considerably. 

Between the two options, I’d use mink oil as it nourishes and conditions the leather at the same time and leaves me the option to continue conditioning my boots into the warmer months. 

Step 1: Clean your Doc Martens

Take out the laces and brush off all stray dirt and dust, especially along the welt. 

Step 2: Apply Mink Oil

Rub a quarter-sized dollop of mink oil on each boot with your hands, ensuring you cover the tongue, along the welt, and near the eyelets. Do your best to evenly coat the entire boot. 

Step 3: Buff the Mink Oil

Wait five minutes for the oil to penetrate the leather. Use a microfiber towel to remove the excess oil. You can either leave the boot as is now, or use a horsehair brush and buff your boots by brushing back and forth across the entire upper. 

If it helps to see this process in action, check out our video below:

Ready for Winter?

While Doc Martens aren’t the best boots for snow, there are a few tricks you can use to make them more suitable for cold weather. 

I don’t recommend Doc Martens for snow because the leather is too thin and the sole isn’t great for icy traction. I recommend something like the Thursday Captain StormKing (thicker leather) or Kodiak Rover II (best icy grip sole).

But if you’re determined to wear your Docs in the snow, then pick up a pair of thick wool socks (my favorite are these Darn Tough socks). Also, try treating your boots with mink oil before the weather gets wet so you can boost their weather resistance. 

FAQs

Can you wear Doc Martens in the snow?

Yes, you can wear Doc Martens in the snow. The traction on the sole isn’t great on ice and the leather is quite thin and prone to waterlogging, so it helps to treat your boots with a waterproofing agent like mink oil and to wear a thick pair of wool socks.

Will my Doc Martens get ruined in the snow?

Because Doc Martens leather is thin, there’s a chance you can waterlog the leather. While that’s not a death sentence for a pair of boots, it can tighten the leather and cause it to crack. I recommend treating your boots with a leather waterproofing spray or mink oil before wearing them in the snow.

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