Whether you’re waiting tables, repairing cars in a garage, or working in a field that requires you to be on your feet, you’re going to want to invest in some comfortable non-slip shoes. Dr. Martens—more commonly known as Doc Martens or Docs—are known for being a work boot that is equal parts functional and stylish.
But are doc martens non-slip?
The short answer is: yes. The long answer? That’s why we’ve built this guide.
The Science of Slipping
In the same way that nothing is truly “bulletproof,” there’s no real case where a shoe is slip-proof. Certain factors can always contribute to a slip or fall, especially in a workplace where people are moving quickly.
Still, it helps to wear a non-slip shoe designed to keep you from losing your footing. But what characteristics define superior traction? They include but are not limited to:
Outsole material – The outsole refers to the bottom of the shoe, or the area that comes in contact with the ground. The best non-slip outsoles are soft, rubbery compounds hard enough to offer arch support but soft enough to provide resistance.
Tread – You know how race car tires are often wide and don’t have a lot of tread? That’s because more surface area creates more traction. The same principle applies to shoes. However, there are a couple of things to note when considering a shoe’s tread:
Shoes with a smaller and narrower tread pattern are usually designed to move fluids away from the shoe as you drive your force into the ground. Thus, these are better for indoor work on slippery surfaces.
Shoes with wider and deeper tread are better suited for outdoor work executed over rocks or gravel, which can pierce smaller tread and reduce traction.
Durability and Cost – While the other parts of the work shoe don’t necessarily impact slip resistance, if the shoe isn’t crafted from a durable material, it will degrade over time. A durable shoe will end up being more expensive, but high-quality shoes are an investment in your professional performance.
When rating a shoe’s slip resistance and safety characteristics, most brands will refer to tests conducted by the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM tests).
The ASTM has various different studies regarding different materials, shoe categories, and their resistance to slipping. A reference to one of these tests is typically followed by a few numbers (like ASTM F2892). For instance, this particular test refers to shoes that are protective but don’t have a steel toe, which means Dr. Martens Amwell Boot would pass.
But what about Doc Martens makes them so slip-resistant?
What’s Up (With) Docs?
Most (if not all) styles of Doc Martens are slip-resistant—including the Doc Marten classic 1460 style boot—but here at Boot World, we offer several styles of non-slip Docs with extra slip protection built-in. This technology is known as GRIP-TRAX and it works by creating channels to disperse fluids away from the outsole while keeping the center in contact with the ground.
Additionally, all Docs are made with materials that contribute to their durability and flexibility. For instance, they’re crafted with PVC welting (often referred to as a Goodyear welt), which is the strip that goes around the outside of the shoe and connects the outsole with the rest of the structure. PVC welting is a sturdy material that doesn’t budge under pressure.
Also, certain styles will have rubber inserts on the soles for extra traction and protection against wear and tear, which exceeds most ASTM standards and make these great women’s and men’s restaurant shoes.
Finding Your Style
Because Doc Martens has been around for decades, their style has evolved with different eras. If you’re looking for the slip prot