Are Vegan Doc Martens Waterproof Or Water Resistant? There is a Difference!

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

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Wondering if those vegan Doc Martens will actually keep your feet dry in rain or snow? It’s a valid question. Lots of people want to know how waterproof vegan Doc Martens are, and whether they’re really worth the money. In this article, we’ll explore the construction of vegan Doc Marten boots and what materials they’re made from. We’ll also look at how well they stand up to wet weather and compare water-resistant vs waterproof fabrics. Let’s get started!

Are Vegan Docs Waterproof?

The answer is NO, Vegan Docs are not waterproof but they are highly water resistant. While vegan Doc Martens use PU and PVC which can resist water and light rain showers for short periods of time, they do not contain a waterproof membrane and are not entirely waterproof.

In addition, Dr. Martens themselves advise that vegan docs should not be left wet for any length of time because they will eventually soak up the water. (1)

Water Resistant vs Waterproof

Before we explore what vegan Doc Martens are made of, it’s important to understand the difference between water-resistant and waterproof materials.

Water resistance means that a material can resist water but could become saturated over a period of time. On the other hand, waterproof materials have a waterproof membrane that prevents any water from getting through. (2)

In the case of vegan Doc Martens, they have a water-resistant outer material, making them highly water-resistant but not waterproof.

What Are Vegan Doc Martens Made Of?

The materials used to construct Doc Martens play an important role in determining whether they are waterproof or not. The most common materials used for vegan Doc Martens include PU, PVC and microfiber. However, they do not contain a waterproof membrane

For the upper parts of their boots, Dr. Martens uses a variety of terms to describe the texture and finishes of their vegan materials including Kemble PU, Oxford Rub Off and Cambridge Brush Off. All of these materials contain a polyurethane coating rendering them at the very least water resistant but not completely waterproof.

Similarly, the outsoles of Doc Martens are made from an alloy of PVC, and can resist water, oil and fat.

Although vegan Doc Martens are made of materials that resist rain and snow well, they don’t have a waterproof membrane to provide complete protection.

However, the materials used to make vegan Docs are only part of the story – how the shoes are made is also key to understanding how they might cope with rain and snow.

Construction of Vegan Doc Marten Shoes

As well as the materials used, the water resistance of a Doc Marten boot or vegan shoe is also dependent on its construction. In particular, how well the upper part of the shoe is attached to the sole. If the boot is not well constructed, water can easily seep in through the stitching and gaps.

High-quality vegan shoes made by brands such as Nae and Dr. Martens use the Goodyear Welted shoe construction method, which is widely considered to be one of the best construction methods for high-quality shoes.  (4)

For Dr. Martens, the sole is first attached to the upper of the boot with a PVC welt. The welt and sole are then welded together using a hot blade and pressurized rollers. Once cooled, the two components form one piece of PVC and the sole is attached without using glue. This method is known as the Goodyear Welted Method.(5)

Although the Goodyear welted method is a superior construction method,(6) as explained earlier, the materials used in vegan Doc Martens cannot provide full waterproofing. As Dr. Martens have stated on their website, they cannot guarantee the same level of protection from rain or snow as boots made with a waterproof membrane.

If you want to be sure that your vegan Doc Martens will stay dry, even in extremely wet weather conditions, then you will need to look for other options.

For a fascinating insight into how a vegan Doc Marten is constructed – watch this You Tube video from Rose Anvil as he cuts a vegan doc in half and compares the materials and construction to a leather one. To my surprise, he demonstrates how the vegan Doc Marten one is better constructed than the leather doc!

Alternatives to Vegan Doc Martens

If you are set on vegan boots that offer an even higher level of water resistance than Doc Martens, there are alternatives available. The best way to find them is by seeking out brands and shoe styles specifically designed for outdoor use such as hiking or walking boots.  Brands such as Veggievagabonds, Better World Apparel, and Eco Vegan Shoes offer a range of waterproof vegan shoes with styles suitable for outdoor use.

While currently there might be fewer choices in terms of style, as the demand for high-quality and durable vegan footwear grows, so too will the range of waterproof options available. In the meantime, investing in a waterproof spray or treating your vegan Docs with natural waxes or oils will improve their water resistance.

Overall, vegan Doc Martens provide excellent protection from the elements for short periods of time but should not be relied on in wet weather for long periods of time. In the end, it’s up to you to decide what factors are most important in your boot purchasing decisions – whether that be waterproofing, durability, ethics, or style. Regardless of what you choose, there is a growing range of high-quality and stylish vegan footwear options to meet your needs.

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