Are Docs Comfortable? 10 Reasons to Wear Dr. Martens Boots
Docs are the comfiest, coolest, snuggest, and best boots in the world. They're designed to cherish your feet, they have cushioned soles that are tough enough to hike to the moon and back, they're virtually immortal and will outlive you, and if you're having a really bad day, nothing will cheer you up faster than a good stomp around the house in a pair of these beauties. In this article, you'll find
- A discussion about the relative comfort of Dr. Martens, when and where you can wear them, and which types are the most comfortable.
- A list of ten excellent reasons to wear Docs.
- Instructions for breaking in a new pair.
- Photo galleries full styling inspiration and what to wear with your Docs.
Are Dr. Martens Comfortable?
After you break them in, your Docs will be the most comfortable boots you'll ever wear. The hard leather will mould perfectly to the shape of your foot and you'll be able to hike for miles and miles on those air-cushioned soles . . . but this breaking-in process can be slow and painful. To avoid bodily harm, follow the instructions at the bottom of this article.
Do Dr. Martens hurt your feet?
Most people endure a few blisters at first . . . but as soon as you've broken them in, you'll forget the pain. The ones made of hard leather tend to hurt more at first (compared to the ones made of fabric or softer materials).
How long before they get comfortable?
It depends on the shoe and your foot. Some people's feet match their Docs perfectly on day one, while others have to work on it for up to a month. Again, the ones made of hard leather usually take a bit longer to break in than ones made of fabric, suede, or other materials.
Are Dr. Martens good for walking?
Docs make great walking shoes, but again, only after they've been thoroughly broken in.
Are Dr. Martens good for hiking?
Many people do wear them hiking. Their springy soles, supportive leather, and sturdy shape make them a great choice.
Are they good for traveling?
Although they take up a lot of room in your bag, if you intend to keep them on your feet most of the time, you probably won't regret packing your Dr. Martens. If they are your favorite shoes, don't hesitate to pack them. The little lost space in your luggage will be worth it!
Do they have good arch support?
Dr. Klaus Märtens designed Docs specifically for those who can't tolerate raised arches, and the springy sole accommodates most arches quite nicely. Those with flat feet or those who want a little arch support might consider wearing an over-the-counter insert. Yours will also work well with custom orthotics.
Are Dr. Martens good for your feet?
Docs were originally designed as therapeutic. Their cushy, springy, comfortable soles (trademarked as "AirWair") have always been a huge draw. I wouldn't go so far as to say that they are "good for" your feet, but they're very supportive.
Which style is the most comfortable?
The most comfortable Docs are any you broke in to fit your feet exactly. If you're talking about which style is the most comfortable, the answer depends on the individual foot. Some people swear the original leather boots are the comfiest, others prefer soft leather brogues. It is recommended that you try several styles and materials and experiment with sizes before you buy.
What to Wear With Dr. MartensClick thumbnail to view full-size
Why Wear Dr. Martens Boots?
1. They're the Most Comfortable Boots You'll Ever Wear
The breaking-in period for Dr. Martens can be a long and painful process, but once you've worn them in, the leather will have moulded to the shape of your feet and you'll be able to walk for miles and miles. In fact you might start walking a lot more just so you have the chance to wear them, and you'll wonder how you ever managed to walk a single step without them. To avoid bodily harm during the breaking-in period, follow the instructions below.
2. They Last Forever
Other boots wear out. It's a fact of life that you know deep down: no matter how much you love those other boots, no matter how sturdy and well-made they are, in two or three years' time, you're going to have to replace them. The leather will split, the sole will crack, and the lining on the inside will seep out through the rotting seams and ruin everything.
Not so Dr. Martens. Your Docs will keep going long after you have shrugged off this mortal coil. These boots are strong. Unless you set them on fire (which some people have done trying to break them in, although most prefer the method outlined below,) you're going to have these boots for the rest of your life, and after you have gone, others will take up the torch . . . some lucky kid will pick them up from a charity shop and thank their lucky stars.
In fact, until recently, Docs could be registered for a lifetime guarantee. That's how confident the company is in their product.
3. You'll Learn to Love Your Feet Again
Unless you're a kid with young and inexperienced feet, chances are your feet have suffered. Calluses, blisters, corns, bunions, ingrown nails, squished toes, pain, discomfort, and general hell-on-earth (this last one is a common complaint that is unfathomably not listed on the chiropodists' association website). Nothing helps and frankly, you're beginning to loathe your feet.
Well, fear not, because your Dr. Martens will (after, and I can't stress this too strongly, the breaking-in period) make your feet beautiful again.
4. Your Feet Will Love You Back
These boots are roomy. Getting a pair of Dr. Martens is like moving into a detached house in the country with a couple of acres of orchards after living in a one-bedroom flat next to the railway tracks.
They aren't called Air Wear for nothing; the new soles will cushion your poor beleaguered heels and snuggle the balls of your feet. Your toes will have space to breathe, but feel safe, secure, and held tight, like a baby in a mother's embrace.
5. They Aren't a Fashion Statement, They're Just a Statement
Dr. Martens are built for work, not to fit in with the latest trend. They don't have goldfish swimming around in their heels and there are no tacky flickering lights or go-faster stripes. They've been co-opted over the years to add a bit of je ne sais quoi to the catwalk, but despite this atrocity, they've come through it all unscathed. Dr. Martens are working boots. They've been paired with dozens of trends and fads over the years, but they've kept their basic, no-nonsense style, a feat unmanaged by no other clothing item ever, except perhaps their own true love, denim jeans.
6. They're Never Fashionable, But Always in Style
Although they don't conform to any trend, they're always in style. They have been the boot of choice for both policemen and punks, working-class and techies, skinheads and socialists, young and old. They don't belong anywhere, and so they belong everywhere. You can wear them with a fancy dress, a suit, shorts, a bathing suit, or anything else.
People who hate Dr. Martens just don't understand them. It's their loss. Forget about the naysayers and enjoy your practical and intensely beautiful boots.
7. They're Some of the Most Well-Made Boots in the World
Klaus Märtens, a young German doctor, created the original design that went into production in 1960. He'd injured his ankle skiing and wanted to create something tough, useful, comfortable, and practical. Their bouncy soles are resistant to oil, fat, acid, petrol, and alkali. They're made of the sturdiest leather around.
They just don't go wrong. I've never had a pair that had a flaw. They are work boots— something to protect your feet and help you get from A to B in comfort—and they are engineered only for this job. They have a thick and comfy sole, a sturdy, roomy leather upper, and some laces to hold them on. That's it. What else would anyone want from footwear?
8. Breaking Them in Is a Rite of Passage
As mentioned previously, Dr. Martens boots don't suffer fools gladly, if at all. Fools have to suffer a little to earn the right to wear them. But don't worry—eventually, you will absorb their toughness by a process of osmosis (after, of course, the tortuous breaking-in period) and then, every time you look down at your boots, you'll be rewarded with the reminder of your persistence. You will grow as a person, and by eschewing inferior footwear, you will attain a peace of enjoyed only by Dr. Marten aficionados and Buddhist monks.
9. Fun Options for Laces
You can transform a basic black bog-standard pair into something befitting a Clockwork Orange costume party by getting black-and-white ribbon laces, or travel back in time to a Jesus and Mary Chain gig in Glasgow 1983 with the addition of tartan laces. Or you can go laceless and busk some Beatles songs on a battered old guitar in the city centre for the money to buy a pair.
10. Pure Love
The very best people in this fast-and-furious world love and understand Doc Martens with a quiet passion.
Which Dr. Martens Should I Get?Click thumbnail to view full-size
How to Make Your Docs More Comfortable
The unvarnished truth about these boots is that you will need to spend a little money and a lot of time breaking them in. You will not be able to just put them on and walk all day if they're straight out of the box. The reason they are so sturdy, and the reason they last forever, is that they are made of extremely tough and ungiving leather which, with time and patience, will mould to fit your foot perfectly. But until then, your feet will hurt. I think every new pair of Dr. Martens should come with bandages, very thick socks, and a bottle of baby oil.
Some people set their boots on fire to break them in. This is not the best way since so much can go wrong and these should be boots to live for, not die for. Others wrap them up in an old sheet and take a rubber mallet to them, but again, this can be foolhardy and damage them beyond all hope.
How to Break In Your Pair
- Determine where the boots are most likely to rub by wearing them to walk to the kitchen and back. They will likely hurt the top of your foot and cause blisters on your toes, heels, the sides of your foot, and even your soles.
- Get two or three packs of large blister bandages and cover those parts of your feet with these bandages.
- Put on a soft, thin pair of socks, and put on another, very thick pair of socks.
- Then take a cloth and use it to work lots of baby oil or Vaseline (petroleum jelly) into the outside of the leather. Apply it all over to soften the whole of the upper so that the creases and edges don't dig into your feet. You can also rub a little into the inside of the upper at the ankles and around the heel and Achilles tendon area, where the leather tends to rub and crease and cause blisters and pressure.
- Apply baby oil to your boots morning and night, every day, and wear the boots around the house and for short walks to the shops and back, taking them off whenever the pain gets too much . . . which will be often.
- Within a few days, it will start to get easier, but it will take several weeks of daily wear and applying baby oil to fully break them in.
Be aware that although rubbing oils (or even specialist balm) into the leather will help it to soften a little bit, it will only help so far. The only thing that really breaks in a pair of Docs is wearing them. Read How to Break In a Pair of Doc Martens Shoes for more guidance.
I use baby oil and petroleum jelly, but some people advise that these can damage the leather or the finish (especially if it's patent leather). I've never had any problems, but if you're scared, Dr. Martens has developed a special wax to help soften the leather and protect it, and it's probably much more dependable than my homemade solution.
Should I Use Dr. Martens' Leather Softener and Protector?
If you're a bit wary of using baby oil on your new leather boots, use the official Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam instead. It comes highly recommended and may well work better and faster than my own way of doing things.
How to Style Dr. MartensClick thumbnail to view full-size
(Note: some of the benefits mentioned above may have been wildly exaggerated. For example, probably no one can walk to the moon, even in a pair of Docs. But you knew that.)