Best Vegan Dr. Martens in 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

vegan dr. Martens

Dr. Martens have been around since 1940, growing more and more relevant each day. They’re the perfect marriage between fashion and functionality with a little bit of rebellion. The fact that they can last for more than a decade makes everyone want to invest in a pair.

Well, not everyone. Vegans have always loved the Docs but hated their genuine leather. So, Dr. Martens introduced an impressive vegan range to give another subculture what they want.

If you’re overwhelmed with the choices, we’ve reviewed some of the best vegan Dr. Martens for men and women on the market.


Options for Men and Women at a Glance

  1. Dr. Martens Vegan Jadon II – Best Platform Boots
  2. Dr. Martens Vegan 2976 – Best Chelsea Boots
  3. Dr. Martens Vegan 101 – Best Low-ankle Boots
  4. Dr. Martens Vegan 1460– Classic Choice
  5. Dr. Martens Vegan 1461 – Best Oxford Shoes
  6. Dr. Martens Vegan 3989 – Vintage Look

The 3 Best Vegan Dr. Martens for Men in 2021

Here are the best cruelty-free options for vegan men, what make them stand out, and their pros and cons.

1. Dr. Martens Vegan Jadon II – Best Platform Boots

Dr. Martens, Vegan Jadon II 8-Eye Synthetic Platform Boot for Men and Women, Black, 5 US Women/4 US Men

Do you fantasize about making an entrance every time you walk into a room? Do you want to look badass while wearing clothes to reflect your beliefs? The Dr. Martens Vegan Jadon II boots are the cool vegan companion you deserve.

Think of any band or artist that you think is a badass, and now remember what footwear they had. Let us guess: platform boots? Their popularity stems from making everyone wearing them look like they could lead a rock band or revolution.

Dr. Martens thought of taking their classic 1460 lace-up boots and reintroducing them with a twist: the 1.5″ towering platform soles.

As a vegan pair, their uppers either come in high-shine Oxford Rub Off or shine-free Felix Rub Off. Regardless of what you pick, you’ll get a worthy alternative of Dr. Martens’ smooth and supple leather with a leather-like two-tone color.

Plus, these Docs pride themselves on their heat-sealed Goodyear welt, which ensures that everything stays intact for years to come.

In addition, the chunky platform soles aren’t just for looks. They have rugged treads and grooved edges that help you walk confidently, especially when they’re slip, abrasion, oil, and fat- resistant. So, when you wear them and feel untouchable, you’re actually correct.

While we couldn’t love the boots more, it’s worth saying that they’re pretty expensive. However, while they’re not easy on your wallet, you’ll get your money’s worth with them.

Pros

Badass-looking
A twist on a classic
Two-tone synthetic leather
Excellent tread
Slip and abrasion-resistant AirWair soles
Goodyear welt is heat-sealed for durability
Fast breaking-in

Cons

Expensive

Final Verdict

Fans of empowering platform boots and haters of cruel leather will adore the Dr. Martens Vegan Jadon II boots.

2. Dr. Martens Vegan 2976 – Best Chelsea Boots

Dr. Martens Men's 2976 Felix Rub Off Chelsea Boot, black, 4 Men/5 Women US

While lace-up boots are great, many men find them to be too much work, especially if they lead a busy life. So, a no-lace design would definitely do the trick, and that’s where the Dr. Martens Vegan 2976 Chelsea boots come in.

These Chelsea boots are popular because of their versatility. Their slip-on design, which the heel loop aids, makes them easy to put on or take off. Also, the rounded toes give your toes more room to breathe. Thanks to their elasticated sides, your feet can move comfortably, unlike many other boot styles.

Plus, you can wear these ankle-high boots in any setting. They’re also androgynous, so you can easily share them with any partner or friend, regardless of their gender.

But what are these Docs made of? These reasonably-priced shoes have leather-like synthetic uppers that you can easily mistake for animal leather. They come in glossy cherry red two-tone Oxford Rub Off and matte black Felix Rub Off. The best quality in these synthetic uppers, besides their cruelty-free origin, is that they’re not tough to break in.

Plus, they employ the classic air-cushioned soles that are so comfortable and flexible that they’ll make you feel like you’re walking on clouds. The functionality of the Docs shows in their abrasion and slip resistance.

However, you have to note that their sizes run small, so pick a size larger for a more comfortable fit.

Pros

Slip-on Chelsea boot design
Two-tone synthetic leather
Reasonably priced
Slip and abrasion-resistant
Air-cushioned soles
Fast breaking-in

Cons

Size runs small

Final Verdict

The Dr. Martens Vegan 2976 Chelsea boots are the most hassle-free slip-on boots that you’ll come to know.

3. Dr. Martens Vegan 101 – Best Low-ankle Boots

Dr. Martens Men's Vegan 101 Classic Boots, Cherry Red Oxford Rub Off, 11.5

Ankle boots are the most popular type, but some men find covering their ankles redistricting in feel and movement. So, if you’re looking for a vegan option that looks universal but frees the ankles, there’s nothing better than the Dr. Martens Vegan 101 boots.

At first glance, these boots look identical to the classic 1940s, with the scripted heel-loop, multiple eyes, and grooved edges. However, these ones are vegan and sport six eyes because they sit lower on the ankles, thus, providing more freedom to your feet.

The reasonably-priced pair comes in universal vegan color options like glossy cherry red and matte black. Either way, they’re two-tone man-made leathers that replace every aspect of the high-quality genuine leathers we know the Docs for.

Also, you know that a pair of boots will last when they’re Goodyear welted. The soles won’t separate, and you can always resole the boots to give them a fresh new start.

In addition, we love how comfortable the AirWair soles are. They remind us of what makes the Docs stand out across different eras, classes, professions, and cultures.

While we loved the boots, we noticed that they run large. So, order one size smaller pair to experience the goodness we just described.

Pros

Reasonably priced
A twist on a classic
Goodyear welt
AirWair soles
Two-tone synthetic leather

Cons

Size runs large

Final Verdict

The Dr. Martens Vegan 101 boots are freeing, comfortable, durable, reasonably priced, and vegan. What else is there to look for?


The 3 Best Vegan Dr. Martens for Women in 2021

Vegan women who want to rock some Dr. Martens guilt-free will enjoy these animal-friendly choices. They’re amazing, and here’s why.

1. Dr. Martens Vegan 1460 – Classic Choice

Dr. Martens Women's Vegan 1460 Combat Boot, Black Felix Rub Off, 5

If you have friends that wear the iconic 1460 leather boots, you’ve probably felt a little bit jealous because they look nice and last longer but have animal leather. Well, you don’t have to feel left out anymore because we have the Dr. Martens Vegan 1460 boots now.

Dr. Martens 1460 boots are a must-have in every closet. You’ve seen them on political figures, rockstars, supermodels, influencers, gardeners, and your rich friends. Their eight-eye lace-up design is recognizable, and Dr. Martens realized that even vegan women want a piece of that. Thanks to their universal, androgynous design, you can share these boots with virtually anyone.

These boots come in a cherry red shiny two-tone Oxford Rub Off leather or a matte black Felix Rub Off one. They’re synthetic leathers that don’t need crazy maintenance or a lengthy breaking-in period.

Do you see that yellow stitching? It’s not just an aesthetic choice, although it looks pretty. It’s the Goodyear welt that ties the uppers with the soles and could make these boots outlast you.

Women who have worn a variety of boots in their lives know that many boots look pretty but feel incredibly uncomfortable and cause serious harm in the long run. 

Thanks to the comfortable AirWair soles, you’ll never feel that again. These soles are also resistant to slipping, abrasion, oil, and fat. So, they’re pretty durable.

All that said, one downside to these boots is how much they cost. If you can get past that, enjoy!

Pros

A vegan version of a classic
Slip and abrasion-resistant AirWair soles
Goodyear welt
Two-tone synthetic leather
Fast breaking-in
Durable
Excellent tread

Cons

Expensive

Final Verdict

The Dr. Martens Vegan 1460 boots are the brand’s most iconic choice without the guilt.

2. Dr. Martens Vegan 1461 – Best Oxford Shoes

Dr. Martens unisex adult Low-top oxfords shoes, Black Felix Rub Off, 8.5 Women 7.5 Men US

Do knee-high and ankle-high boots feel excessive for your formal needs? Do you want vegan shoes that you can pair up with a dress or wear to the office? Then, what you’re looking for are the Dr. Martens Vegan 1461 Oxford shoes.

Oxfords are more popular as elegant dress shoes. They can empower you in your job interview or help you stand out at a cocktail party. Unlike most dress shoes for women, these ones are actually practical and comfortable, which means that they’re also versatile enough to be worn anywhere.

These reasonably priced boots come in black Felix Rub Off for an intimidating first impression and cherry red Oxford Rub Off for a more laid back one. These materials are two-tone synthetic leathers that don’t need much breaking-in and will help you forgo anything animal-based.

In addition, the yellow welt stitching, which beautifully contrasts with the darker uppers, firmly binds the uppers with the soles so that you don’t have to experience sole separating ever again. Also, welt stitching enables you to resole the shoes when needed, making them last longer.

These boots still impress us with their AirWair soles that add to their functionality, thanks to resisting abrasion, slipping, fat, and oil. So, they’re a pretty good choice as work shoes in a tough environment, as well.

However, these shoes tend to run small, which means that you need a size larger to feel the comfort that they’re going for.

Pros

Reasonably priced
Dress Shoes
Two-tone synthetic leather
Slip and abrasion-resistant AirWair soles
Fast breaking-in

Cons

Size runs small

Final Verdict

The Dr. Martens Vegan 1461 Oxford shoes are a woman’s best companion for work, dress occasions, and daily life.

3. Dr. Martens Vegan 3989 – Vintage Look

Dr. Martens Women's Vegan 3989, Black Felix Rub Off, 5

If you find that most modern boots look similar, maybe even too similar, you’re not alone. The nostalgia for things that look unique and old is real, especially in our times. So, embrace your vintage vibes with the Dr. Martens Vegan 3989 brogue shoes.

You can immediately tell that these shoes are unique, thanks to the breath-taking brogue detailing on the uppers. Wearing these versatile shoes anywhere you want will get you compliments, that’s for sure.

Like all vegan Docs, they come in red cherry or black. Whether you pick the glossy or matte finish, you’re winning a two-tone synthetic material that looks no different from the real thing.

In addition, the AirWair soles provide all the cushioning you need and protection against slipping, abrasion, fat, and oil. So, these shoes aren’t just fashionable; they’re too functional to be true.

That being said, these vintage-looking gems will cost you more than you anticipate, but it’ll be worth it once you put them on.

Pros

Beautiful broguing
Two-tone synthetic leather
Slip and abrasion-resistant AirWair soles

Cons

Expensive

Final Verdict

The Dr. Martens Vegan 3989 brogue shoes are the vintage-looking Docs that stand out among their modern counterparts.


How to Pick Vegan Dr. Martens

You may be buying your first pair of Docs or your first vegan ones. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to know what makes choosing the next pair easier.

Materials

What’s a vegan pair of boots if it’s not free of animal-based materials? Dr. Martens typically prides itself on its different kinds of leather and suede, mainly bovine leather, but that won’t work well with its vegan customers. 

So, they’ve introduced a vegan range to cater to another subculture that found its home in the no-nonsense style of the Docs, which has been a success. Here are the alternatives that the brand uses.

Cambridge Brush

Nobody can make an alternative to Dr. Martens’ leather better than Dr. Martens itself. It’s a high-shine synthetic material that the brand created to imitate the look and feel of its genuine counterpart.

Like the real thing, it has a realistic two-tone color, besides the glossy finish, and feels soft and supple.

Felix Rub Off

Since not everyone is all about the shine, Dr. Martens introduced a matte, leather-like synthetic material called Felix Rub Off; it’s meant to replace their original smooth leather.

This black synthetic material will definitely fool all of your Docs-loving friends into thinking that you’re wearing leather boots.

Goodyear Welt

The Goodyear welt is one of the biggest causes of the brand’s popularity. These boots started as work boots for the British working-class because Dr. Klaus Maertens broke his foot skiing and sought higher quality boots that would be sturdy, supportive, and comfortable.

One way he achieved such goals was by using the Goodyear welt that tightly stitches the boots together, which you can see in the yellow stitch on the outside of the boots. It doesn’t just make the boots look expensive; it makes them worth every penny because they last longer than their competitors that fall apart within months.

AirWair

As the name suggests, there’s air involved in the manufacturing of the boots, particularly the soles. They are air-cushioned, which makes them provide unmatchable comfort and take so much stress off the feet.

The AirWair heel loop is a guarantee that your feet will be in great comfort, and you can see the confidence that they bring in the rockstars that pranced around hundreds of stages wearing them.

Size and Fit

It’s a no-brainer that you should check the size chart of your future boots to make sure that they’re right for you. However, it’s even more important for Docs, which are known for their infamous breaking-in period.

Before you check any size charts, measure your feet’s length, width, and arch, even if you think you know your measurements. If it’s been a while since you’ve measured your feet, things may have changed, and you don’t want to realize that after you’ve already bought expensive boots.

In addition, you need to pay extra attention to what’s true to size or what runs small or large so that you don’t miss out on the Docs’ comfort, and the breaking-in period can be less painful.

Style

Despite the fact that the Docs are more about function than fashion, they’re incredibly fashionable.

Dr. Martens has been around since the 1460s, and that’s a good place to start in terms of style. The 1460 eight-eye, lace-up boots are iconic and timeless, and they’re what you’d wear if you wanted to scream to the world that you’re wearing Docs.

Dr. Martens’ platform boots are the best way to show the world your alternative soul, while their working boots are your tough companion in the harshest environment or a way to welcome a utilitarian aesthetic into your closet.

Also, one of the reasons why the Docs rock and always resonate with youth subcultures is how gender-neutral they are in terms of style. While the sizing of women’s boots may prevent some men from wearing them, the Docs are overall genderless. So, pick any pair that caters to you and your closet.


FAQs

Are Vegan Dr. Martens Good Quality?

Definitely, vegan Docs always impress with how leather-like they look and feel, which they achieve with supple, two-tone vegan leather. The best thing about the cruelty-free range is that it’s much easier to break in or maintain. So, you’ll get everything you love about the Docs minus the fuss.

Are Vegan Dr. Martens Ethical?

Yes. Vegan Dr. Martens are 100% free of animal products. In addition, the brand uses 100% post-consumer packaging and actively works to minimize its environmental footprint. 

Plus, the brand has a code of conduct that ensures the safety and well-being of their workers and sets strict expectations for their suppliers.

How Long Do Doc Martens Last?

When taken care of, Doc Martens can last for over a decade. Because of their special craftsmanship, the Docs have a reputation of being so durable that they’re passed down from one generation to another. While they may be costly, they’re definitely a worthy investment that pays for itself in time.


Final Thoughts

We hope that our list of the best vegan Dr. Martens has been helpful in your quest for high-quality vegan footwear. Here is a recap of the highlights on our list.

The best option for men would be the Dr. Martens Vegan Jadon II boots because they’re empowering, intimidating, rugged, and durable, yet vegan.

Our favorite pick for women would be the Dr. Martens Vegan 1460 boots because they let vegan women enjoy the most iconic Doc without the guilt that may come with the original. They’re also durable and well-made.

Thomas
Thomas has been vegan for over 5 years and has decided to move to Costa Rica with his family to be closer to nature and live a more minimalistic life. He loves yummy vegan food and sustainable products.