Dr. Martens vs Timberland: Battle of Iconic Boot Brands

Written By Sunny

When looking for a new boot, Dr. Martens or Timberland comes first. They are two top brands and well-known companies for their sturdy and high-quality boots.

Doc Martens and Timberland are head-to-head rivals in the footwear industry, especially in the boot category, like the giant football clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona.

So, picking the perfect one depends on which one ticks all the boxes.dr-martens-vs-timberland

As a boot expert, I will outline the ultimate boot showdown between the heritage brands Timberland vs Dr Martens.

Let’s lace up and find your perfect match!

Overview of Timberland and Doc Martens Brands

Timberland and Doc Martens conquered the global shoe game with their boots. While the former is based in the USA, the latter marched out of the UK.

They have evolved into a diverse shoe branch, serving men, women, children, and those wanting to improve their style.


The origin of Timberland LLC, also casually known as Timbs, started with the hand of Nathan Swartz, who began his shoe-making career in 1918. Later, he bought 50% of Abington Shoe Company in 1952.

The first Timberland boot (released in 1973) hyped the crowd craze.

And it prompted the Swartz family to shift their focus toward expanding their self-brand.timberland-boots-style

As a result, the Abington Company was renamed to The Timberland Company in 1978.

The company marked a turning point in the brand’s history in 2011 and signed a definitive takeover agreement with VF Corporation for a cool $2 billion.

Though the root started with boots, you can find several types of footwear like boat shoes, sandals & slides, waterproof footwear, and chukkas from this American manufacturer.

Doc Martens

The origin of the British footwear company Doc Martens is also intriguing.

The journey of the Dr. Martens/ Docs/ DM started from necessity.

The German doctor Klaus Martens injured his ankle in 1945 and was uncomfortable with his standard-issue army boots. For his own sake, he designed a boot with air-cushioned soles.dr-martens-boots-style

Martens was not fortunate initially, as the opening sales were slow.

He partnered with his friend Herbert Funck to speed up the work in 1947 and launched their business.

The comfort of the design, especially favored by older women, led to rapid growth and the establishment of a factory in Munich by 1952.

Later, in 1959, they licensed the design to UK manufacturer R. Griggs Group to expand the footwear market internationally.

Griggs rebranded as Dr Martens and made minor design changes for a better fit.

They also added the iconic yellow stitching and AirWair trademark.

At present, Dr. Martens has expanded the business and offers shoe care products, clothing, bags, and other accessories.

Feature Comparison of Timberland and Dr Martens

Both brands are iconic in the footwear industry. But they serve slightly different functionalities and aesthetics. A comparison table highlighting the attributes and specialties of Timberland and Doc Martens will help you make the best purchase decision.

Below is the feature comparison table between Timberland vs Doc Martens:

FeatureTimberlandDr Martens
Origin and Founding YearUnited States, 1952United Kingdom, 1947
First Boot Launch19731960
MaterialLeather, suede, nubuckLeather, canvas, synthetic
Key featuresWaterproofing, insulation, lug soles, padded collarsYellow stitching, air-cushioned soles, chunky silhouette, durable leather
Intended StyleCasual, outdoors, and hikingHip-hop, rock, fashion, casual
ComfortUsually comfortable, excellent arch supportComfortable air-cushioned soles, not great arch support
VarietyOffers a wide range of styles, including hiking boots, chukkas, and sneakersProvides a broad range, including boots, shoes, sandals, and limited editions
DurabilityBuilt to last and ready for tough outdoor environmentsExceptional longevity when maintained correctly
GripGreat to tackle rougher terrains, loose dirt, or gravelGood grip on a slippery and low-friction surface
Break-in periodRequired and known for comfort after break-inRequired and known for comfort after break-in
Eco-FriendlinessIntegration of recycled materials in both products and packagingOffers vegan options and sustainable manufacturing practices
Water ProtectionOffer waterproof or water-resistant shoesSome models are treated as water resistant, but no waterproof shoes
Boot Pricing Range~$85 - $295~$100 - $320

Let’s dive into the detailed clash to know them better.

Primary Differences between Dr Martens and Timberland Boots

The qualities, features, and specialties make brands unique from others. When you look at the Dr Martens and Timberland, they are top-notch brands.

But you should check through some dissimilarities like sole, leather, sizing, etc, to pick the perfect boots for yourself.

Here are the in-depth differences analysis of Dr Martens and Timberland Boots:

1. Features and Product Category

Dr. Martens and Timberland offer diverse shoe categories.

Doc Martens has several boots based on silhouette. Besides, they offer different shoe widths and materials like vegan Doc Martens and regular.

Below is a quick list of available boot options categorized by silhouette, material, and width:

SilhouetteMaterialShoe width
1460 BootsLeatherStandard - Rounded Toe Shape
2976 BootsSuedeHeritage - Tapered Toe Shape
Jadon BootsFabric
Sinclair BootsVegan
101 BootsNubuck
1490 BootsPatent

Depending on the style, Docs also categorizes their boots into Chelsea and Lace-up boots.

On the other hand, Timberland categorizes their boots based on their work purpose and product style to target their customer.

Take a quick overview of the boots offering based on different criteria from Timberland:

Product StyleFeaturesShoe Width
6 Inch BootsWaterproofMedium
WinterRecycle ContentWide
ChukkaAnti-Fatigue Technology
8 Inch Work Boots And LoggersInsulated
Sneakers & Sneaker BootsElectrical Hazard Protection
Work HikersSafety Toe
6 Inch Work Boots30-Day Comfort Guarantee
Hiking BootsBreathable
Ortholite Insoles
Puncture Resistant

2. Overall Design and Outlook

To get a deep insight comparison, let’s pick the iconic and Asian-manufactured one of the best Doc Martens boots, Doc Martens 1460, and compare it with the Timberland wheat nubuck 6-inch waterproof boot, their best-known boot.

Doc Martens

Aesthetically if you glance at the Doc Martens and Solovair boots, they look almost similar, except the Doc’s iconic yellow stitching.

The simple silhouettes of Dr. Martens allow users to express individual fashion choices.

While starting as modest work boots, even used for gardening, the brand oversteps to appeal to a diverse audience. Their renowned durability and comfort make them ideal companions for concert halls or city streets.

Back to the DM 1460, which has a smooth, plasticky, and thin upper even though Doc Martens labels it as “full grain” leather.design-and-outlook-of-dr-martens-1460

Docs went single stitch construction unlike Timberland’s stitched fortress.

It makes the boots stylish, sure, but don’t expect high-toughness. At the same time, the boots aren’t insulated.

As a result, to take a tour in winter with these, you must wear some long, warm socks.

The toe box isn’t exactly sleek, and the overall silhouette doesn’t sculpt your feet very well.

However, they pair well with skinny jeans and slim pants. Besides, the sole is soft, inorganic rubber and boasts an iconic yellow stitch. doc-martens-yellow-stitching

Besides the black color, DM also offers various colors to express diverse styles.

Take a look at the boot color offering table of Doc Martens:

Doc Martens Color Choices for Boots


Construction workers use the Timberland boots more often. But it’s not stuck in the dusty construction sites and stomped their way to fashion runways and streets.

The durability and style make the 6-inch and above boots appealing to folks.

Whether hardworking workers who need heavy-duty work boots or fashion-conscious men seeking protection and timeless appeal, Timbs boots have become an essential item in wardrobes.

The brand now offers a diverse palette of colors beyond the classic yellow boot and styles for different tastes and occasions.

Below is a color offering table of Timberland boots:

Timberland Color Choices for Boots

Now, let’s briefly talk about the Timberland wheat nubuck, to be more specific.timberland-wheat-nubuck-6-inch-waterproof-boot

The nubuck is the most common and comes in various colors. The upper leather is treated as waterproof and has a slightly fuzzy texture.

Due to their bulky outlook, they don’t suit slim jeans or pants well.

However, you can still use them in various styles for their versatility. Thanks to the leather collar, grippy lugs in the outsole, and iconic Taslan nylon laces.bulky-outlook-of-timberland

3. Leather Material and Durability

Dr. Martens

Generally, Dr. Martens doesn’t use exotic animal skin, fur, or angora.

Instead, they use wool and non-mulesed sheep’s leather. This brings a question, are Doc Martens real leather?

Yes, the Docs boot has and uses genuine leather.

Though DM didn’t disclose the exact origin location of the DM 1460 boot’s leather, it apparently comes from South America or Asia.

The smooth, grain-free, semi-bright leather is easy to clean with occasional polish.

However, you must give extra effort and use beeswax-based products like Doc Martens’ Wonder Balsam to treat it as water resistant.applying-wonder-balsam

The aesthetics are undeniably popular.

But compared to Timbs, the leather feels cheap and doesn’t offer the most durability. This doesn’t mean the Timberlands has superior lasting quality, but DM 1460 is not ready for rugged use.


Timbs upper has several variations. From durable leather to stylish suede, including the well-known nubuck (top-grain leather).

While nubuck is made from the top layer of the animal’s hide, suede is from the inside.

Many users mistakenly think the Timbs wheat nubuck boot has a suede upper due to the raised texture.

However, it has stronger and more durable nubuck leather, which is also treated as waterproof.

But the downside?

You will have to spend more time with the cleaning process. This nubuck is like a stain magnet.stained-timberland-nubuck-boots

So always keep some cleaning stuff on standby to make it your daily companion. You can also clean Timberland boots with household items.

As a side note, Swartz shifted from the hand-stitching solution to the injection molding that chemically bound the soles to the uppers for faster production and a more affordable solution.

All this without sacrificing quality.

4. All About Soles

Doc Martens

Stepping into these Docs 1460, you will first notice the plush, shock-absorbing sole. Back in the day, it was used by people with foot pain.

So, the boots still carry on the comforts.

A rubber outsole, supportive cork layer, and soft urethane insole combination work behind this comfort.dr-martens-outsole-1460-model

However, it has some stability issues for lacking a shank, which you can find in the Timberland boots.

Then again, the yellow stitching can give you some trouble in the long run for its heat-sewn construction.

But are Doc Martens slip-resistant?

Regarding grip, the DM boots perform great on slippery areas with their outsole. The soles are super effective on smooth, slippery, and low-friction surfaces.

The oil-resistant soft rubber soles offer better durability than other types.

The lugs are small compared to the Timbs. Doc’s shallow tread lacks the grip needed for tackling steep slopes but shines on flatter surfaces.


Timberland boots embrace sustainability with a 10% recycled rubber Gripstick lug outsole, tackling harsh weather with solid traction.timberland-outsole

The rubber midsole and urethane insole provide comfort and shock absorption. The removable foam insert enhances the personalized fit.

However, unlike leather or cork soles, these won’t mold to your foot over time.

But the added shank offers solid arch support, making them comfy right out of the box.

As a side note, the sole is bonwelted, making reattaching the sole difficult if it wears out.

The bright side is the tough rubber soles with big lugs, which are amazing for rougher terrains. So, walking over loose gravel or dirt is much easier with the Timberlands.

But are Timberlands good work boots?

Yes. Timbs boots are also ideal work boots due to their resistance to oil and chemicals, anti-slip rubber sole, electrical insulation, and water-tight seals. But breathability is a concern for summer days and long working hours.

5. Waterproof Features

Dr Martens

To define whether Dr. Martens is waterproof or not, you must know about the details of waterproofness.

Water repellent provides the lowest level of protection from water, and waterproof means it’s fully protected from water.

Water-resistant sits between these two.

As mentioned, DMs use 8 different types of leather, so the water protection levels vary depending on the leather.

So which Docs boots are protected from water?

Below is a table providing different water protection levels of Doc Martens boots:

Doc Martens ModelsWater Protection
Vegan Doc MartensWaterproof
Dr Marten 1460Not fully waterproof, has little water-repelling property
Dr Marten 1460 WaterproofWaterproof
JadonNot waterproof. Applying wax can increase water resistance
Canvas Doc MartensNot waterproof or water-resistant

Besides these, there are other leathers Docs uses, which perform differently in wet conditions.

Leather MaterialWater Protection
Tumbled leatherWaterproof
Oiled leatherNot waterproof, slightly water resistant
SuedeNot fully waterproof
NubuckNot 100% waterproof, wax spray can increase water resistance
Crazy horse leatherFinely weather resistant

This brings the question, are Timberland boots waterproof? Let’s find out.


Most Boots from Timberland are waterproof.

The company uses Gore-Tex or TimberDry™ membranes to protect its boots from water damage.timberland-are-waterproof

The high-quality waterproof leather and sealed construction ensure the boots are not damaged in extreme rain or wet conditions.

To ensure that, they do waterproofing tests on multiple stages.

6. Fit and Comfort

Doc Martens

When you consider a boot, size matters for comfort.

So, do Doc Martens run big or small? Or are they a true fit?

Doc Martens usually fits the actual size. However, models like Jadon, 1460, Chelsea, etc, tend to run half-size big. But more than 66% of users find DM boots true to size.

The most annoying thing is that Doc Martens doesn’t offer half sizes.

DM offers 5-12 sizes for women and 6-16 for men. No in-between sizes. The arch support is not notable, and the fit is pretty generic.


Classic Timbs boots have some sizing issues. I ordered my regular size for the Timberland wheat nubuck, but I ended up with a half-size down.

So, you can ask, do Timberland boots run big?

Yes. Most classic Timbs boots run big. The newly launched models usually don’t have the sizing issues, though. If you use socks, then it can be overlooked. Otherwise, I recommend buying a half-size small for the classic ones.fit-and-comfort-of-timberland

Talking about half sizes, this is a significant advantage over Doc Martens.

Besides, Timberland’s wide and medium size offerings ensure a snug fit and prevent pastula, blisters, rash, etc.

7. Price Points and Value

Both Doc Martens and Timberlands are popular and widely available. Besides, you can find them easily on eBay or Amazon. So the prices vary.

Generally, you can grab Doc Martens boots from $100 to $320. But you can find them way cheaper when they are on sale.

So, are Docs Martens worth the money?

I say they are worth every dollar. Doc Martens is your best bet if you are looking for timeless style and rugged durability. However, they can feel as stiff as a new pair initially, but after breaking in, they’ll become your comfiest fashion companion.

On the other hand, Timbs can be found from ~$85 – $295.

But what makes Timberland boots worth the money?

I can say several factors that make the Timberland boots worth the price. The durability, anti-fatigue technology, and highly waterproof offerings make Timbs worthwhile.

Pros & Cons of Doc Martens and Timberland Boots

While Timberland boots have a slight edge over Dr. Martens, some drawbacks can fail to favor you. So, learning the strengths and potential downsides will let you know which brand is better between Dr. Martens and Timberland, to suit your boot preference.

Following are the advantages and disadvantages of Dr Martens and Timberland Boots:

Dr Martens Boots

  • »Leather is resistant to staining and easy to clean.
  • »Softer sole.
  • »Better shock absorption.
  • »Durable and long-lasting.
  • »Variety of customization options.
  • »Suitable for those who have foot problems.
  • »Doesn’t offer half sizes.
  • »Lacks a shank, unsatisfactory arch support.
  • »Slightly less comfortable than Timberland.
  • »The leather is thin and not of superior quality.
  • »Single stitching.

Timberland Boots

  • »Waterproof and insulated that suits various weather.
  • »Improved support for the arch.
  • »Better traction.
  • »Tougher and masculine boots.
  • »Comfortable and well-fitting.
  • »A diverse range of styles and colors to choose from.
  • »High-quality construction and premium materials.
  • »The appearance is more like working boots.
  • »Keeping the leather clean requires regular maintenance.
  • »Looks chunky when paired with slim-up fitted pants.
  • »The lining’s long-lasting is not satisfactory.

Dr Martens vs Timberland: Which One Should You Choose?

The DM boots are a popular choice for fashion-forward individuals.

Doc Martens boots are your perfect pick if you prioritize sleek, eye-catching styles that last a long time.

Though it takes some time to break in, it offers a more comfortable riding experience after breaking in.

Meanwhile, Timberland is your best bet if you are looking for stability, protection, good grip, and ready to tackle wet conditions.

The high-quality material ensures you can take the footgear on the job site, hiking, or city streets.

Though the boots take frequent maintenance attention, they are my favorite over the Martens.


How to style Doc Martens?

To follow the trend, you can suit yourself with Doc Martens differently. Trendy outfits can make you look more appealing. You can use the DM boots with leggings, a short skirt, a utilitarian skirt, or ripped jeans. The Docs also go well with fancy gowns, leather jackets, or full black outfits.

How to stop Dr. Martens from squeaking?

To prevent squeaking, you can apply baby powder under the insole or petroleum jelly on the outsole. Using sandpaper to soften the insoles or put your shoe into the dryer also does the job. Besides, if the heels become loose, fix it with some glue or adhesive.

Can you wear Timberland boots in the summer?

Timberland boots are weatherproof, and you can wear them in summer as well as winter. You should take care of the sensitive upper from the scorching heat, though. So clean and take care of them after wearing them to sustain the boots longer.

How do you remove stains from Timberland Boots?

You can use a brush, eraser, and white vinegar to remove stains from the Timbs. Besides, you can use lemon or baking soda to remove the stains. Alternatively, use talcum powder and a paper towel to draw out unwanted stains.

About The Author
Sunny is all about action and activities. He finds it difficult to contain himself. Be it motorcycling, playing football, or exploring the great outdoors, he loves to keep his legs busy.Sunny quickly realized the importance of footwear to keep himself going healthily. This was when he decided to share all his knowledge and expertise regarding different footwear and their significance.Now, he’s on a mission with this humble platform by his side. With time he plans on doing bigger and better things.Apart from his writing and other hobbies, he loves spending time with his cat Sophie. He loves to cook for his friends and family too.

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