10 Good Reasons for Women to Wear Doctor Martens Boots
Why Wear Dr. Martens Boots?
DMs 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.
(Editors Note: some of the benefits mentioned above may have been wildly exaggerated. Probably no one can walk to the moon, even in a pair of DMs.)
Photo is of my Dr Martens 50th Anniversary Edition with black and white polkadot ribbon laces. Photo Â© Redberry Sky 2013
1. 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 new 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 Doc Martens. Your Doc Martens will still keep going long after you have shrugged off this mortal coil. These boots are strong. Short of setting them on fire (which some people have been known to do to try to break them in, although most prefer the method outlined below), or giving them away, you're going to have these boots for the rest of your life, and after you have gone, others will take up the torch and some fifteen year old kid will pick them up from a charity shop and he or she will also fail to wear them out. And when that kid has grown up, had a family, grown old and also gone to that great shoe shop in the sky, the next generation will inherit the boots, and the cycle will go on.
2. They're the Most Comfortable Boots You'll Ever Wear
The breaking-in period for Doc Martens can be a long and painful process (so to avoid bodily harm, follow the instructions below), 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 marvel at how you ever managed to walk a single step without them.
3. You'll Learn to Love Your Feet Again
Unless you're twelve years old or younger, and therefore have (relatively speaking) brand-new feet, the chances are good that you've suffered with your feet like no one else has ever suffered before. Calluses, blisters, corns, ingrowing 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 Doc 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 Doc Martens is like moving into a detached house in the country with a couple of acres of orchard, after living in a one-bedroom flat next to the railway tracks.
They aren't called Air Wear for nothing; the 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 mother hugging her new baby.
You may also begin to appreciate a much wider variety of music, from jazz to punk to reggae to classical and all the genres in between.
5. They Aren't a Fashion Statement, They're Just a Statement
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. Doc Martens are working boots. They've been faithfully married to dozens of trends and fads over the years, but they've kept their options open, a feat unmanaged by no other clothing item ever, except perhaps their own true love, denim jeans.
6. They're Tough, Simple, and Probably the Most Well-Made Boots in the World
They just don't go wrong. I've never had a pair that had a flaw (except, of course the appallingly arduous breaking-in period). They don't have goldfish swimming around in their heel, and there are no tacky flickering lights or go-faster stripes. They are boots – something to 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?
7. Never in Style, Always in Style: Stand Out From the Crowd for the Right Reasons
They don't belong anywhere, and so they belong everywhere. People who hate Doc Martens just don't understand them. It's their loss. Forget about the naysayers and enjoy your practical and intensely beautiful boots.
8. Confidence and Individuality
As mentioned previously, Doc Martens boots don't suffer fools gladly, if at all, and you will absorb this liberating attitude from them by a process of osmosis (after, of course, the tortuous breaking-in period). You will grow as a person, and by eschewing inferior footwear you will attain a peace of mind unknown by any outside Doc Marten aficionados and Buddhist monks.
No other boot wears its laces with quite the same style and Ã©lan as these boots. Indeed 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 by 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.
Below, I tell you how I break in a new pair of DMs. 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 some specialist wax to help soften the leather and protect it, and it's probably much more recommended than my home-made kind of remedy.
How to Break-In a Pair of Dr. Martens Boots
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 put them on and walk around in them 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, ungiving leather. Given time and patience, they will mould themselves to your foot shape.
In my opinion, every new pair of Doc Martens should come with a couple of packs of large blister plasters, some very thick socks, and a bottle of baby oil. But until the manufacturers realise this, hundreds of Doc-newbies will every year throw away their new boots before they understand how to get through those painful early days.
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.
When new, they will hurt the top of your foot, and cause blisters on your toes, heels, the sides of your foot, and even your soles. So get two or three packs of large blister plasters, and determine where the boots are most likely to rub by wearing them to walk to the kitchen and back. Then cover your feet with these plasters, 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 in to 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 them 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 DMs is wearing them.
Dr. Martens' Leather Softener and Protector
If you're a bit wary of using baby oil on your new 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.
Love 'Em or Loathe 'Em?
What do you think? Do you love those funky, stomping all-pupose boots, or does the thought of that foot-mashing break-in period bring tears to your eyes? The best things since sliced bread or footwear for the Dark Side?