While Timberland is based in the United States and Dr. martens are manufactured in the UK, both brands are successful and well-respected worldwide. Although the success of both companies originally stems from work boots for men, they have both profitably branched out into a wide range of other styles, including those for women and children.
Online opinions about product quality seem to be about equal, and both companies have a comfort process built into their manufacturing. Some buyers swear by one or the other, while others wear both. So which one is actually better?
When it comes to choosing a specific model, everything comes down to personal preferences. However, there are definitely some general comparisons that can be made between the two brands on price, selection, and style. In our opinion, Dr. Marten wins in all three categories…but not by much.
Here are some examples, so you can judge for yourself.
Price – Men’s Docs Lower, Timberland Women/Kids
This is probably the most objective category and the one where Dr. Marten beats Timberland by the greatest margin in men’s shoes. There are certainly similar products from both brands which are comparably priced. On the whole, however, you have a much greater chance of finding men’s Doc Martens at a significantly lower price than Timberland.
There is no question that iconic Timberland 6 inch boot with padded collar is a great look. Plus, it’s lined and waterproof, with an anti-fatigue footbed. Since it’s not exorbitantly priced, it’s actually an excellent value.
However, the average price an equally classic Doc Martens with the trademark yellow stitching, air-cushioned sole and Goodyear welt is usually much less. They are also insulated and waterproof. Additionally, these are available in 9 colors, while the Timberland is only offered in 4 colors.
It must be noted, though, that this disparity is not the same in women’s styles. The Timberland women’s version is not only comparably priced to the women’s version of that particular Doc Martens model, it may actually sometimes be lower. Even more amazing, it is available in 11 colors – including florals, while the female Docs only have 6 colors.
The same holds true for kids’ styles. It may be possible to find a classic looking Doc Marten Kids boot at a very low price in some color/size combinations, but most are at least close to the Timberland Kids boot in price, if not more.
But the real reason Timberland wins big here is that, while there are more than a dozen colors of the Doc Martens, the Timberland kids are just like the adults, while the Doc Marten kids are kind of fake – they have a zipper on the inside.
Style and Selection – Doc Marten Wins Men and Women, Timberland Wins Kids
There is just no question Doc Martens have an amazing selection of designs and an equally amazing choice of colors. Particularly if you are looking for something on the wild side, you are far more likely to find something you like from Dr. Marten.
Which is not to say that Timberland doesn’t have anything worth looking at. In fact, Timberland actually seems to have more models from which to choose. However, there doesn’t seem to be the variety in style and colors – particularly patterns – in the Timberland lineup that Doc Marten has in spades.
In addition to the original yellow work boot for men, Timberland has expanded into a variety of other styles for men, women, and children. Here are just a few examples of crowd favorites.
From sneakers to sandals, and pretty much everything in between, Timberland does seem to offer at least one shoe design for your consideration.
- Hiking Boots – Timberland has some very nice hiking boots. The Euro Hiker is a particular favorite.
- Sneakers – There are a lot of nice sneaker models. One has a bit of a Converse look, while others are quite high-fashion, such as this Bardstown Plain Toe Chukka.
- Dress shoe – Another one of the chukka styles is a great dressy option, and it’s available in 8 colors. But the Oxfords are nice, too, including this Wing-tip Brogue.
- Casual shoes – Timberland has a very decent selection of non-boot casual shoes, including a loaferand even boat shoes. The sandalsare not that great, but the flip-flops aren’t too bad.
Timberland offers some really nice looking high-quality boots and shoes for women, including:
- Hiking Boots
- High-heeled Boots
- Peep-toe Boots
- Cute Clogs
- Pink and Purple Options
- Decent Sandals
Timberland definitely has some very stunning styles for women, there just isn’t the variety that Dr. Marten offers in women’s shoes. Not only does Doc Marten have more styles, but each one has a much wider variety of options in colors or patterns. More importantly, if your taste runs at all to a wilder fashion in footwear, then Timberland will never come close to providing the options you will find in Doc Martens.
Here is where Timberland really shines. In addition to the classic wheat-colored boot, Timberland has some really nice offerings for toddlers, little kids, and big kids. The best thing is that they are real boots, with laces or Velcro closing, whereas Dr. Marten kids’ boots have the laces, but they really zip up the sides.
There is a beautiful Navy monochrome short boot that is perfect for all the kids running around in jeans, and a purple one for kids who want a bigger splash of color. There’s a colorful tall boot, as well, plus a fabulous little lace-up boot especially for toddlers.
While there may not be quite as many different models of Doc Martens, the variety of colors and patterns available more than makeup for it. Plus, the models that are available include far more high-fashion options for both men and women.
A perfect example of the wide variety of style options offered by Dr. Marten is the Men’s Pascal 8 Eye Boot. While the classic Doc Marten boot is available in many different colors, this one has over 25 colors and patterns, including Beavis and Butthead. And, there are plenty more extremely attractive styles of boots and shoes for men, such as:
- Dress Boots
- Awesome Hiking Boots
- Stylish Chukkas
- Wingtip Brogue
- Stylish Slip Ons – including both tassled and non-tassled loafers, plus more casualmodels.
- Sneakers – including classy looking high-tops and a low-rise version somewhat reminiscent of Converse.
- Sandals – a truly excellent selection of sandals, even dress sandals in more styles than one.
Doc Marten has more styles available for both men and women than Timberland does. Of particular note are the boots which are offered in more than a dozen colors or prints, and the Oxfords, which have over 15 color and pattern options – including a really striking splatter print.
There are many more different types of boots and shoes offered for women by Dr. Marten than by Timberland. And while there are at least as many basic chic styles, there are even more outlandishly wonderful models.
- Classic Doc Marten with High Heel – this is a huge favorite, and with good reason. It combines all of the iconic Doc Marten DNA with a chunky high heel.
- Sleek Fur-Lined Ankle Boot – classy, sleek and chic.
- Victorian Lace-Up Boot with two different floral options
- Purple Wedge – classic shoe in a bright, fun color
- Studded Stiletto – nothing at Timberland remotely resembles this style.
- Leopard Print Diva Heel – that pretty much says it all.
It is a major disappointment to find that there aren’t many junior versions of Doc Marten with authentic lace-up closures. Almost all of them have zippers inside. So Timberland definitely wins the big kid category. However, there are a few adorable choices for toddlers and infants that can compete with Timberland.
Timberland does offer cute crib booties, but Dr. Martin has glorious ones. Another option are the rugged and classic style Timberland Leather and Fabric Field Boot, but personally I love the Doc Marten version instead. Doc Marten version.
Quality, comfort, and reputation are just about equal between the Timberland and Dr. Marten brands, so none of those factors need to be necessarily considered when choosing between them. That leaves price, selection, and style.
However, neither one of the companies makes a clean sweep through those factors for men, women, and children. That means choosing the brand that’s right for you depends not only on which of those factors is most important to you, but also which of the categories you fall into.
So here is how it all shakes out.
If price is the absolute top priority, then men should check out Dr. Marten first, while women and children may fare better at Timberland – although it will be close.
For the biggest selection of fashionable choices, particularly for those who like their footwear to be at least a little on the wild side, everyone should head over to Dr. Martens first, except big kids – who should probably just stick with Timberland.
In any case, between the two, you should have no problem finding a style that suits you perfectly.