Are Doc Martens Waterproof?

Doc Martens released its classic 1460 boot on the first day of April in 1960. They’ve never gone out of style, but are Doc Martens waterproof? After sixty years, Doc Martens has finally introduced a few waterproof styles, with both waterproof stitching and waterproof leather.

We’ll explore how waterproof the average Doc Martens are, how to tell which Doc Martens are waterproof, and how to make your Docs more waterproof or keep them waterproof.

are doc martens waterproof

Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant Shoes

Waterproof and water-resistant shoes are not the same, so it’s necessary to understand the terminology to understand what type of expectations to have for your shoes.

What are Waterproof Shoes?

Waterproof shoes offer the highest level of protection from water. You can fully submerge them in water and expect your feet to remain dry and the shoe to not suffer ill effects. They contain a coating that should repel any water, as well as waterproof seams.

Waterproof shoes will give you the maximum amount of protection in a rainstorm, walking through snow, walking through streams, or in other situations where your feet might get wet.

Of course, waterproofing isn’t perfect. If you’re in a wet environment, water can always enter your shoes through the top opening between your shoe and your leg. Even if your pants are over the top of your shoes, water from wet pants can eventually wick into the shoe.

There are also degrees of waterproofing to consider with waterproof shoes. Some waterproofed products come with an IPX (international protection) rating to show if they’re only waterproof from certain angles, for a certain amount of time, or at certain depths (not really applicable to shoes):


  • IPX-0: Not waterproof
  • IPX-1: Protected from condensation or vertically-falling water
  • IPX-2: Protected from spraying water up to 15° vertical
  • IPX-3: Protected from spraying water up to 60° vertical
  • IPX-4 Protected from water splashing from any angle
  • IPX-5: Protected from low-pressure water from any angle
  • IPX-6: Protected from high-pressure water from any angle
  • IPX-7: Protected from water immersion for up to 30 minutes at up to three feet (one meter) deep
  • IPX-8: Protected against continual water submersion at any depth


Waterproof boots with high IPX ratings usually use rubber, vinyl, neoprene, polyurethane, or nylon as the main ingredients.

However, leather boots like Doc Martens will never have an IPX of seven or eight (maybe not even six) regardless of the waterproofing products you use on them.

You also have to work to keep a pair of leather shoes waterproof. The waterproof coating on the outside of a leather shoe will eventually degrade from dirt, wear, and abrasion. Thus, it’s necessary to add waterproofing products to your shoes over your shoe’s lifetime.

Read Also: Do Doc Martens Run Big or Small?

What are Water-Resistant Shoes?

Water-resistant shoes merely resist water from intruding into the shoe. However, at a certain saturation level, your feet may become wet. Water-resistant shoes included a coating that repels some but not all water.

Water-resistant shoes will shed water and dry quickly, but you shouldn’t depend on them to keep your feet dry indefinitely. Your feet may stay dry while walking in the rain, but you shouldn’t start jumping in puddles on purpose because the stitches are probably not waterproof.

Wearing wool socks can help wick water keep water away from your feet if you plan to wear water-resistant shoes in a wet environment for a long period of time.

Are Doc Martens Waterproof?

Most Doc Martens are not waterproof. However, Doc Martens has several types of waterproof boots and water-resistant boots to protect you from rain, snow, or other wet situations.

Unfortunately, waterproof Doc Martens do not come with an IPX rating, so it’s difficult to know exactly how waterproof they are.

Doc Martens boots that do not contain waterproof or water-resistant leather are not waterproof unless you waterproof them yourself.

Can Doc Martens Get Wet?

If your Doc Martens are not waterproof or water-resistant, they can only withstand being in rain about five minutes before your feet will start to get wet and soggy. You can also expect wet feet if you submerge non-waterproof boots in puddles or cross creeks with them on a hike.

Fortunately, Doc Martens will still look good for years even if you do have to walk in them through some short rainstorms. Your feet may ultimately get wet if you don’t have a waterproof Doc Martens style. However, 15-20 minutes in the rain or snow won’t ruin your shoes.

To help your non-waterproof Doc Martens endure longer and keep your feet dryer through trudges through the rain and snow, it’s a good idea to apply a waterproofing agent.

How Can You Tell if Your Doc Martens are Waterproof?

The type of leather in Doc Martens’ boots depends on the style, so it’s important to check the leather type to determine whether they’re waterproof, water-resistant, or have no protection from water. These leathers have waterproof properties that keep them from absorbing water:


  • Republic WP leather: An oily, waterproof version of Doc Martens’ Crazy Horse leather
  • Streeter leather: A robust, oil-treated waterproof leather
  • Snowplow leather: A waterproof version of Doc Martens’ Crazy Horse leather that also resists salt and grit


In addition to specialty-treated leathers, Doc Martens’ waterproof boots have a revolutionary welt with 1292°F (700°C) heat-treated stitching. So, water won’t get through the leather or stitches easily.

Which Doc Martens are Waterproof?

When you look for a waterproof Doc Martens shoe, it’s necessary to look at the type of leather and the shoe’s description. Some styles come in both waterproof as well as non-waterproof versions.

Waterproof 1460s

Sixty years after Doc Marten made its first 1460 boot, they finally introduced a waterproof version of their classic boot in men’s, women’s, and junior sizes.

The waterproof edition of their classic boot has several features that keep it watertight:


  • Republic WP leather: Doc Martens encases their waterproof 1460 boots in oil-finished, waterproof Republic WP leather. Republic WP is a waterproof version of their Crazy Horse Leather.
  • DryWair membrane: It includes a bootie inside with a proprietary DryWair membrane. DryWair locks out moisture but keeps the shoe breathable.
  • Waterproof welt: The boot’s Goodyear-welted lines include heat-sealed stitching that goes through the boot’s leather and into high-density foam. They also include Doc Martens’ signature golden welt stitch to reinforce the boot.

Wintergrip Boots

Doc Martens has several styles of waterproof Wintergrip boots for wearing in the snow:


  • 1460 Wintergrip Leather Lace-Up Boots
  • 1460 Wintergrip Faux-Fur-Lined Lace-Up Boots
  • 2976 Wintergrip Chelsea Boots


Doc Martens uses Snowplow leather for many of their Wintergrip snow boots. They make their Snowplow leather by adding an oil finish to their Crazy Horse leather to make it salt-resistant and grit-resistant as well as waterproof.

Additionally, the fur lining will help keep your feet warm, and the sole has better traction for slippery surfaces.

Read Also: Best Doc Martens Dupes

Which Doc Martens are Water-Resistant?

Some Doc Martens boots have an oily finish that makes them somewhat water-resistant. However, they do have a few water-resistant leather styles.

Doc Martens with Blizzard WP Leather

Instead of Snowplow leather, some Wintergrip snowboots use a water-resistant type of leather called Blizzard WP instead. Blizzard WP repels water but isn’t completely waterproof. So, it’s important to check the type of leather your Wintergrip boots have before assuming that they’re waterproof.

Some Doc Martens that are water-resistant rather than waterproof include:


  • 1460 Wintergrip Leather Lace-Up Boots
  • 1460 Wintergrip Blizzard WP Leather Ankle Boots


Vegan Doc Martens

Are Vegan Doc Martens Waterproof? You will find several articles out there claiming that vegan Doc Martens are waterproof. However, they are not. Vegan Doc Martens are water-resistant at best.

While they might keep your feet dry in the snow or rain, vegan Doc Martens won’t stay dry indefinitely, especially if you’re walking through puddles.

How to Care for Waterproof Doc Martens

Leather cleaners can damage your boots’ finish, so it’s important to care for your waterproof Doc Martens in a way that won’t remove its waterproofing qualities:


  1. Wipe away any dirt with a damp cloth.
  2. Use Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam, wax, or dubbin, to keep the leather strong, supple, and smooth.
  3. Buff to the desired level of shine with a shoe brush.


What Should I Do for Wet Doc Martens?

If you get your Doc Martens wet or your waterproofing has started to fail, here are the steps you should follow to keep wet shoes in good shape:


  1. Towel dry to remove any excess moisture.
  2. Remove the laces.
  3. Remove the insoles.
  4. Stuff with dry newspaper to absorb moisture and draw it out of the leather.
  5. Let the shoes dry completely. Placing them at a 30° angle from the floor can help.
  6. Use a leather waterproofing product on your shoe to help keep it dry in the future.


If your shoes have a bad smell after getting wet, you can use an odor-fighting spray to help eliminate the bacteria that cause shoe odor.

Read Also: Do Doc Martens Stretch

How Often Should I Waterproof My Doc Martens?

Different waterproofing products last different amounts of time. Even if you purchase a waterproof version of Doc Martens, the waterproofing will not last forever without a little maintenance on your part.

It’s always a good idea to reapply your waterproofing product each season, after any heavy usage, or if you see or experience evidence of water leaking into your boot.

You can expect waterproofing treatments to vary in how long they last:


  • Wonder balsam: From one to three months (apply at the beginning of each new season)
  • Wax treatments: Up to three months (apply at the beginning of each new season)
  • Waterproofing sprays: A few days to a couple of weeks


How Can I Waterproof My Doc Martens?

If you don’t have a waterproof version of Doc Martens, that doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to always have wet feet if you walk through a rainstorm. There are a variety of products that you can use to waterproof your Doc Martens.

How to Waterproof Your Doc Martens with Wonder Balsam

Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam is a specially-formulated product that contains natural and synthetic waxes for Doc Martens shoes. It provides an extra layer of protection against water and dirt.


  1. Wipe away any dirt with a damp cloth.
  2. Allow your shoes to fully dry.
  3. Use a sponge to apply a thin layer of Wonder Balsam on the leather, seams, and stitches.
  4. Wait five minutes for the Wonder Balsam to absorb.
  5. Wipe away any excess Wonder Balsam.


Read Also: What Socks to Wear with Doc Martens

How to Waterproof Your Doc Martens with Wax/Dubbin

Since medieval times, people have been using dubbin (a mixture of beeswax, oil, and tallow) to waterproof boots. You can even find recipes for waterproof shoe wax in historical sources.

However, there are plenty of pre-made, tried and true natural leather wax and boot wax products you can find that will seal moisture into your leather and keep water out.

To waterproof your Doc Martens with shoe wax or dubbin, follow these steps:


  1. Wipe away any dirt with a damp cloth.
  2. Allow your shoes to fully dry.
  3. Apply a light layer of wax to your leather, seams, and stitches with a soft cloth.
  4. Allow them to dry for ten minutes.
  5. Repeat to add other thin coats if desired.


How to Waterproof Your Doc Martens with Waterproofing Spray

You can use also use a silicone waterproofing spray like KIWI Boot Waterproofer to waterproof your Doc Martens. However, keep in mind that silicone sprays are not good for suede shoes.

Steps for using a waterproofing spray on your Doc Martens include:


  1. Wipe away any dirt with a damp cloth.
  2. Allow your shoes to fully dry.
  3. Spray your leather, seams, and stitches liberally.
  4. Wait for your spray to dry before use.


Final Thoughts on Waterproof Doc Martens

While Doc Martens has a few boots that undergo an extra process for waterproofing, they won’t remain waterproofed forever. Thus, it’s important to re-apply waterproofing products each season or after heavy water usage.

You can also waterproof any pair of Doc Martens with Wonder Balsam, wax, dubbin, or waterproofing spray. Just be sure to pay special attention to the seams and stitches along with the leather.