I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee and my brand new pair of Doc Martens boots—bought just yesterday, during the first snowfall of the season—and older Docs that have seen better days. I’m sure you’ve heard the hype about this brand: its products are durable and make your feet look fantastic (in my humble opinion). But are Dr. Martens comfortable?
In this post, I’m going to share my experiences with my old pair of Dr. Martens, my hopes for the new ones, the materials used to make Docs so comfortable —and how to break in your new DMs.
Doc Martens are designed to be super comfortable and resilient. Breaking them in takes some effort, but afterward, your feet will be happy.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Docs, here’s a quick rundown of their evolution in post-1945 Munich:
Klaus Märtens, a German soldier, drafted into World War II, designed the Doc Martens after injuring his ankle while wearing his army boots. Even after he returned to total health, Märtens found that his traditional-sole boots caused him pain and discomfort when walking. He decided to design a new pair of boots with air-cushioned soles that would offer greater flexibility and comfort for soldiers and civilians. Enter: Doc Martens boots as they’ve evolved and exist today.
The most important thing when buying Doc Martens is to get the right size. Your toes should have room to breathe and wiggle while wearing thick socks but not so much space that they slide around the DMs.
If your Docs aren’t the correct size, you may want to exchange them for an accurately-sized pair before proceeding with this article. For the fortunate in deed who landed the right DMs, this blog was written with you in mind.
What makes Doc Martens Comfortable?
There are many answers to this question, but the first one is: the outcome of breaking them in. Once a pair of Doc Martens have undergone the break-in period, their insoles and leather uppers conform to the shape and size of your feet. At this point, the insoles will feel bouncy and cushiony, and you’re free to wear the Docs on short hikes, walks around the neighborhood, or to work.
Additionally, the anatomy of Doc Martens features excellent arch and heel support, a springy sole, and a wide toe box, making the boots ideal for people with wider feet.
The patented outsole is tough enough to last forever, and the insole is supportive to keep your feet comfortable throughout the day, no matter what you’re doing! It is comfortable, simple, and smart. What more could you ask for?
If you are planning to hike or climb mountains, these boots may not be the most suitable choice. They were engineered first and foremost for the working-class city dwellers and had their roots in the pubs and clubs of England. That said, DMs aren’t as water-resistant and breathable as other boots, but they definitely get the job done—as long as it revolves around their original purpose.
Dr. Martens Style and Comfort
There are many different styles of Doc Martens, each with its unique feel. Let’s check them out:
Vegan 1460 Boots
A true rebel and favorite of punkers and artists, the Vegan 1460 is the prized possession of all lovers of the brand’s classics. Distinguished by its yellow stitching, this boot (check current pricing: Amazon vs. Dr. Martens website) still upholds all the qualities that made it famous: durability, comfort, and soft but tough vegan leather.
From their supple leather uppers to their cushioned footbeds, these Pascal Virginias (check availability: Amazon vs. Dr. Martens website) are crafted from durable material so they can last just as long as the stories you’ll be telling about them.
Doc Martens Sandals
Although Doc Martens sandals (check availability: Amazon vs. Dr. Martens original website) are heavier than most run-of-the-mill sandals, they are super comfy. The vegan versions are even better because of their lighter and softer materials, which make them easier to break into.
Dr. Martens Chelsea Boots
The Dr. Martens Chelsea Boots (check pricing: Amazon vs. Dr. Martens website) feature fashionable elastic sides that allow you to slip them on and off with ease. These gorgeous boots will instantly elevate any outfit, from laid-back to formal.
Dr. Martens Jadon Platforms
Available to the fierce fashionista who is not above a little pain, Dr. Martens Jadon Platforms (compare price: Amazon Vs. Dr. Martens official website) are the leaders of high-fashion footwear. Not only do they make you stand out from the crowd with their unique, eye-catching design, but they also come with double air-cushioned soles for ultimate comfort! Just remember to wear two pairs of thick socks while breaking in the platforms!
The above list isn’t comprehensive, though. Many other models of Doc Martens are thriving among people who want stylish, comfortable, and durable footwear. DMs might seem expensive at first, but they are a pretty good deal when you consider what they offer and how much cheaper they are than other high-end brands.
Feet are the foundation of our bodies, and the right pair of boots can make all the difference. It’s not uncommon to read a few reviews on the Doc Martens website about people complaining that Dr. Martens boots are clunky and hurt their feet.
However, if these reviewers had ordered the right size of boots or had the patience to break them in correctly, they might have felt differently about them.
Dr. Martens Women’s Blaire Fisherman Sandal:
What are Doc Martens made of?
Most Doc Martens boots are made from two primary materials: animal leather and PVC. In the vegan range of DMs, leather is substituted with a synthetic alternative, mainly polyurethane, the same material used for the insoles.
The materials deployed in the construction of DMs boots are slip-resistant, passably breathable, and soft, so they fit like a glove. Now you know why Doc Martens can be worn for hours on end without causing fatigue in the wearer’s feet.
As for leathers, there are several to choose from. The Nappa and Virginia leathers are soft, while the full-grain ones are stronger and harder to break in. The Patent Lamper, Carpathian, Arcadia, Crazy Horse, and Grizzly leathers all have their unique look and feel.
Of course, all vintage and Made in England styles are made of good old Quilon leather. This type of leather is heavy, thick, and supremely durable, but breaking it in is an uphill task.
For those who want the toughness of Doc Martens but prefer something more comfortable and easier to break in, there are vegan versions made from synthetic leather substitutes (luxuriously named “Cambridge Brush” and “Felix Rub Off”).
The Dr. Martens Comfort Insoles—available on Amazon and the Dr. Martens website—are constructed with antimicrobial polyurethane foam, which features millions of tiny air bubbles and prevents bacteria growth.
The Goodyear welted, PVC, and rubber soles of these boots are resistant to oil, fat, acid, petrol, and alkali. These soles are trademarked under the term “AirWair.” This term alludes to the air bubbles trapped in the heels of these boots, which make them extra comfortable and durable.
How to Break In Doc Martens Boots
Breaking in your boots can be difficult and take time, but the benefits of wearing them far outweigh the initial discomfort.
These boots are made to last a lifetime, so it’s only reasonable that they won’t feel broken in right away. After a few weeks of daily wear, though, they’ll mold perfectly to the shape of your feet.
How long will it take to break in your Doc Martens? This depends on the model and your foot, but most people say it takes 2-4 weeks to break in a pair of DMs.
And although some DMs may be a perfect match for your feet from day one, such cases are few and far between. The general convention regarding Docs is to break them in, one step at a time, patiently.
Compare Pricing for Dr. Martens 1490 Boots on…
Please do not go hiking on your first day wearing your new Doc Martens. This is a common mistake. You should walk around your house in them first, for no more than 1 or 2 hours. Only take short walks of no more than 1 or 2 hours during the first few weeks of using Dr. Martens.
Remember to wear thick crew socks. Some reviewers suggest using double socks to speed up the process, as well as to prevent blisters and friction. If your feet get blistered and chafed, wear regular shoes for a few days or put some Band-Aids on the spots where your feet rub against the leather.
If your Doc Martens are the right size but feel a little tighter than expected, try removing their insoles to give your feet more room.
When breaking in fresh Docs, don’t over-tighten their laces or buckles. And give your feet a chance to rest. During the first week or two, wearing them for a few hours at a time should be enough. After that, break them in by alternating one day with the shoes on and one day without.
Generally, boots made of stiff leather take more time to break in than those made of fabric and other vegan-friendly materials. So, the harder the leather of your Doc Martens, the longer it will take you to break them in.
You can also use a purpose-specific wax like Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam to soften the leather of your boots and give them a shiny, lustrous finish.
Some people have tried different methods to break in their DMs, like placing them in a freezer or pounding them with a hammer. We don’t recommend either of these techniques, however, as they could irreparably damage the Docs. Better safe than sorry!
If you have sensitive feet or are just looking to break in your new shoes faster, here are a few no-fail tips:
- To stretch your boots quickly, stuff them with old clothes or newspaper and leave them for a couple of days.
- Use a hairdryer to heat your boots. The warmth will help soften the leather and make them more flexible. But be careful not to hold the dryer too close to the Docs or for too long!
- If you have difficulty breaking in your boots, try the EasyWay Shoe Stretcher. It’s reasonably priced and works!
- Wear two pairs of socks. The first one should be thin and short, the second long and thick.