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How to Break in a Pair of Doc Martens Shoes

When I got my first pair of Docs, I wanted to wrap my ankles in duct tape to ward off the blisters. Since then, I've learned many tricks.

I've had these since '96. After your Doc Martens are broken in, they will be your best friends for a long, long time.

I've had these since '96. After your Doc Martens are broken in, they will be your best friends for a long, long time.

Breaking In Doc Martens

Hooray! You’ve bought a pair of Docs! Take a moment to admire their never-worn beauty because by the time you're done with them, they are going to look somewhat less pristine (but even cooler!).

Anyone who's ever bought a brand-new pair knows that it takes some work to get your new Doc Martens to fit just right. Why is there a breaking-in period? Well, consider the type of leather they're made of. Big, black, standard DMs are made from rigid, hard leather that requires care and time to soften and render the perfect fit.

Breaking in your new Docs will take time and patience, but everyone goes through it. Read on to discover the ways to make this rite of passage go smoothly.

In this article, I'll cover the following topics:

  • How to break in your DMs
  • How to break them in more quickly
  • How to protect your boots from the elements
  • If you can avoid the break-in process
  • How to take care of your feet during this process
  • How often you should wear your DMs
  • If you should wear socks
  • How to remove the insoles
  • FAQs

How to Break In Your Doc Martens

  1. The first step is to pull on a pair of socks to protect your skin. Thick ones work best. If you go out, pack an extra pair of socks in case of an emergency.
  2. Wear them around your home for one to two hours at a time. Just sitting isn't going to do it: to get the leather to stretch, you'll have to move. I'm not going to pull punches here… this is going to hurt, especially your heels and the backs of your ankles, but hang in there! It will be worth it in the long run.
  3. You can also remove the inner soles of the boots to give yourself a little extra room while you're breaking them in.
  4. Personally, I like to wiggle my foot as far forward inside the boot as it will go to stre-e-e-etch that leather just a little further.
  5. Don't expect to wear them too long at first. Start by wearing them for a couple of hours, then progressively work up to more. Alternate one day on, one day off, until they're broken in.

How Can I Do It Quicker?

  • Use your hands. To help break up the extremely stiff back of the boot, fold the spine back at several levels each time before you wear them. Also, bend them back and forth a bunch of times at the instep. This will assist in making them more pliable. Some people go to town with a hammer and end up with some very broken-in boots. I prefer a gentle massage.
  • Use a boot stretcher to stretch the toe box over the course of several nights. You can also stuff them tightly with newspaper when you're not wearing them.
  • Lace them differently during the breaking-in process: Lacing over the eyelet everywhere except at the base of your ankle will assist the boot in bending.
  • Use a softening agent to soften them more quickly and protect the leather from cracking. I recommend Wonder Balsam (see instructions below), or you may choose to let them age naturally and tell their own story. Either way, remember you spent a pretty penny on these iconic shoes, so give them the care they deserve!
Doc Martens will rub against the backs of your feet or ankles as you break them in.

Doc Martens will rub against the backs of your feet or ankles as you break them in.

Additional Tips

Softening your Docs (or any hard, smooth leather boots) is easy when you do it right.

  • You really must get the right size. If they're too small or too large they’ll always hurt your feet, no matter how hard you try to break them in.
  • The last time I was in a DM store, the salesgirl informed me that some styles are cut more narrowly than others. For example, 1460s are cut significantly more narrow than 1461s and some other newer styles.
  • If your Docs feel too narrow, consider using moleskin or a bunion pad on those spots to protect your tootsies. It may not be glamorous, but your feet will thank you!
  • You could wear them continuously for days (even while sleeping), but that will mainly just toughen your feet instead of softening the boots.
  • Wear them outside as soon as possible.

Although you may hear some bad rumors going around, I don't suggest soaking your boots in water, lighting them on fire, or rubbing olive oil or Vaseline into them. These techniques may make your boots more pliable, but only because you will have ruined their structural integrity. Also:

  • Too much water will make the stitching disintegrate over time
  • Too much fire will turn them into charcoal
  • Olive oil or Vaseline will just make them greasy.

Doc Martens' Wonder Balsam, which contains coconut oil, lanolin, and beeswax, was created for just this purpose, and guess what? It’s comparable in price to Vaseline!

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Read More From Bellatory

How to Soften and Protect Doc Martens From the Elements

Although the least-hassling way to break in a pair of Doc Martens is to wear them outside, once blustery winter weather rolls around, take care to protect them! Water and salt will leave mottled marks on your shoes, and that's never attractive. So consider one of these treatments:

  • Wonder Balsam is Dr. Martens' unique blend of coconut oil, lanolin, and beeswax that protects against water, liquid, and salt marks while keeping the leather nice and supple without polishing.
  • Dubbin Polish is their natural wax formula for greasy, oily, and waxy leathers. It provides a water-resistant coating to leather and is great for breathing new life back into old, dirty shoes that have been exposed to the elements.
  • If you didn’t use Wonder Balsam or another type of protectant and ended up with salt marks, Dr. Martens brand black polish (or any good-quality black polish, for that matter) will restore color to your treasured black boots… use cherry polish for cherry-reds!

Wonder Balsam Vs. Dubbin Polish

If you bought the Dr. Martens shoe care kit, you'll notice that it comes with two different products: the balsam and the polish. Usually, the container of balsam is much larger than the polish, and here's why...

The Wonder Balsam is like a moisturizer. It's mostly for keeping the leather soft and new and to help prevent rips, holes, scuffing, and surface damage. You'll want to use this stuff sporadically throughout the year.

The Dubbin Polish is a waxy layer of protection against the elements. It's something you'll want to apply before and during the wet and winter months.

How to Use Wonder Balsam to Soften Your Docs

  1. Make sure your boots are dry and dust-free. Use a brush to clean them, if necessary.
  2. Using the sponge the balsam came with, apply a small amount to the boot, rubbing in circles.
  3. Work the balsam into the leather all the way up to and over the seams (it won't hurt those stitches!). Don't forget the tongue.
  4. Allow the leather to dry and absorb the stuff for about five minutes.
  5. You can apply the Dubbins Polish afterward, but only if it's wet or snowy outside.

Is There Any Way to Avoid the Long Process?

  • If you can't tolerate pain, even temporarily, maybe the original style or leather is not for you. Some of the new fabrics are softer, or you can opt for the vegan or soft leather type instead of the hard, smooth leather type, although they're not as shiny.
  • If you have tender ankles, you might prefer the Mary Jane or brogue styles over the classic lace-up boots.
  • If your foot is between sizes, opt for the larger size. By the way, I recommend that you get properly fitted so you know exactly what size you need.
  • Consider having them professionally stretched. There are some old-school shoe shops that have machines that can help soften the leather.
  • Buy them used. I suppose you could pay someone to break them in for you, too!

Taking Care of Your Feet as You Break In Your DMs

At first, after wearing your Docs all day, several things may happen:

  • Your socks will have left serious impressions and/or patterns on the top of your feet, especially if the socks are ribbed. Your feet will feel itchy in those spots. But take care! If you must scratch, do so gently; vigorous scratching of irritated skin will cause it to scrape and bleed.
  • Try soaking your feet in a foot bath or basin filled with Johnson's foot soap or Epsom salts. Towel them dry and massage gently if they are still feeling pinched.
  • If you have tied your laces tightly or have a fleshy calf, the boots themselves may have also left impressions on your calves. These impressions will go away over a period of several hours. Seeing an indentation on your calf can be distressing! Try not to tie your boots quite so tightly next time.
  • If you develop any blisters, give your feet time to recover before wearing your boots again. Consider using moleskin or a bunion pad on those spots.
The tongues of these DMs have been worn to a soft, flexible comfort.

The tongues of these DMs have been worn to a soft, flexible comfort.

How Often Should I Wear My Docs?

I have found that alternating days wearing your new DMs with other shoes will help keep your feet happy and give them time to renew themselves. You may want to break your DMs in as soon as possible, but is it worth hurting your feet? I don't think so.

But above all, do wear them, wear them, and wear them! Because after you’ve broken those babies in properly, you’ll have them forever and you can enjoy figuring out ways to wear them.

Socks With Docs?

Invest in several pairs of thick, soft, or squishy socks (i.e. wool for winter). They will protect your feet and ankles while stretching the leather where you need it to be stretched.

By all means, avoid wearing thin cotton socks with your DMs until you have broken them in somewhat!

Removing the Inner Sole

Doc Martens are equipped with an extra inner liner. Did you know you can remove it to customize the fit of your shoes? If you want a little extra room in there immediately, wiggle it out.

Personally, I've never bothered doing this— it's so much more comfortable to leave them in! But if you need more room in your boot, give it a try.

A happily broken-in pair of smooth black Doc Martens. At the time of this picture, these boots had been in service for 16 years!

A happily broken-in pair of smooth black Doc Martens. At the time of this picture, these boots had been in service for 16 years!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Dr. Martens Comfortable?

My Docs are the most comfortable shoes I own, but it took about a month to break them in. The first month is hell, but their hard-won comfort will last a lifetime.

How Long Does It Take to Break Them In?

Of course, it depends on the shoe and your feet. Some styles and materials take longer to break in than others, and if you're thin-skinned, it will take longer. To be safe, count on the breaking-in process to take about a month.

Can I Hike in Doc Martens?

Absolutely. Just don't try this until after you have completely broken them in, or you'll be sorry.

How Often Should I Wear My Docs?

I have found that alternating days wearing your new DMs with other shoes will help keep your feet happy and give them time to renew themselves. You may want to break your DMs in as soon as possible, but is it worth hurting your feet? I don't think so. But above all, do wear them, wear them, and wear them! Because after you’ve broken those babies in properly, you’ll have them forever and you can enjoy figuring out ways to wear them.

Do Doc Martens Run Large?

Yes, their sizes tend to run on the larger side. Plus, they only make whole sizes (no half sizes). Check the Dr. Marten's size guide to see how they stack up for men, women, US, EUR, and JP sizing.

Looks like I've worn away several layers of rubber over 16 years of walking. These shoes have served me well!

Looks like I've worn away several layers of rubber over 16 years of walking. These shoes have served me well!

Questions & Answers

Question: The Nappa leather on my 1460 is squeaky. How can I fix it?

Answer: There are many leather conditioners on the market that you can use to lessen the squeak. I would caution against tumbling the boots in the dryer, though. Although the heat will soften the leather after you rub them down with conditioners, the stitching and soles are liable to take more than their share of wear and tear.

Question: I have an allergy to lanolin. Is there something else I can use to soften leather?

Answer: Unfortunately, I don't know of anything that will soften leather in the same way, but I would definitely not continue to use anything that you react poorly to.


Hol on May 04, 2020:

Just got my second pair of Dr Martens, the Pascal Virginia 1460s. I got the same size as my other ones, a size four, but they seem to be quite tight across the top of my foot (if that makes sense). Will they give? or will I need to buy the next size up? it is a lot money to get something wrong :(

Heidi on April 28, 2020:

I just got a pair of oxfords. They are so tight that I can barely walk. Will they stretch or should I return them? The length seems fine. It’s the top of my foot (width) that is killing me.

Julia on April 14, 2020:

For everyone feeling like the boot digs down the top of your feet! This is normal and unfortunately takes some time to go away!

Tamara on February 22, 2020:

I've been trying to wear them in for six months and I'm loosing my mind. I really just want to wear them without having tablespoon size blisters on my heels. Why is this happening to me and what do I do to fix it?

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on February 05, 2020:

Sounds like you may be lacing them too tightly. Try loosening them up, or remove the insoles to give yourself some more wiggle room.

Rose on February 04, 2020:

I just got some 1460s, and they aren't uncomfortable in the ankles or heels, but they do dig into the top of my foot really hard, leaving an impression whenever I wear them. Is this normal?

Jeremy on January 04, 2020:

Just bought some Solovairs. Disappointed with modern DM quality, sadly. Thanks for the tips. These boots are TOUGH. The first pair of Docs I owned were the best shoes I ever bought. The most recent pair...fell apart within a year.

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on December 26, 2019:

Dragonite333, I am sorry for the delay in responding, but yes I have found that over time they will stretch; however, consider a shoe tree and stretch that foot thusly.

Dragonite333 on November 13, 2019:

Hey! Thanks for the article...

I have just bought my 1st ever pair (MIE 1460 vintage circa 90s)

Theyre worn in slightly... Anyway they fit me snug I have a little bit spare in length, all fits fine except my little toe, it doesn't hurt but it just feels like it's being pushed so like my toes are touching (boot is narrower than my foot)

I'm your experience in this something that will 'break in' the more I wear them?

Kind regards

Emily on November 10, 2019:

I have a curved indent on my right foot from some stitching in my pascal boots. How can I prevent this?

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on September 20, 2019:

Solidarity... we can do it! ;)

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on September 20, 2019:

You toughed it out! :) Way to go. But yeah, those foot baths though...

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on September 20, 2019:

Well, this seems to be the perfect solution! You are clearly the ideal wearer. :)

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on September 20, 2019:

So sorry for not getting to this! :(

I would not suggest running them over with a car... poor shoes would not be wearable anymore! Try wrapping your feet with athletic tape, a couple pairs of socks, and removing the insole. I hope this helps!

Chris on September 13, 2019:

. Treated myself to new Dms after about twenty years. I forgot about the PAAIINNN!

Elijah Heaps on September 12, 2019:

Bought my latest pair of Doc's before heading out on a 3 week music tour. Wore them every day, all day, for 3 weeks straight. Came home with swollen feet and a beautifully broken in pair of boots. ;)

won't ever forget that. Lots of foot baths and massages. lol.

Nelsy on September 04, 2019:

I have a weird experience with mine, people are saying that you need to wait because they’re gonna hurt but I wore them for like three hours the same day I got them, I also wore them all day in school today. I have no blisters and no pain, is there something wrong with the boots or is it my feet?

shantia on August 28, 2019:

so I got new docs the shiny, reflecting ones and the pain to break them, I have 2 cuts and 2 massive blisters, I don't wear them everyday I try to wear them when the blisters die down, but I look drunk waling in them with the pain, I need advice on how to break them properly, someone said run them over with a car but I'm not to sure about that , does anyone have any tips? I'm desperate.

Nicole on August 07, 2019:

Thank you for the tips!! And how/when to use Wonder Balsam vs Dubbin

WGY on March 26, 2019:

I remember wen I had some 1970's version of the US Army Vietnam jungle boots I wore that had such a HORRIBLE heel issue that 1) could not abate the blisters and 2) had to cut the heel back just to get the heels to keep from rubbing a literal hole in my heels. These new DMs are such a reminder of that experience..... WOW. Brings back such memories....

Disney Privacy Center Home - The Walt Disney Privacy Center on February 13, 2019:

Zendesk - YouTube

angela on November 04, 2018:

years ago i had a lovely black pair of dm’s and wore them in the 80’ and 90’s as a nurse - they were lovely but sadly the sole split so i had to throw them away. i just have been bought a new flowery pair and they were so painful i cried and my back, toe nail beds hurt for days. it maybe that i am getting older and may ask for my money back as i cannot ever seeing me wearing them again.

any other suggestions. i also have a lovely black pair of dm sandals that i cannot wear for the same reason.

Noemi on October 20, 2018:

First time with docs, go out for a hardcore show and my boyfriend decide to by me a pair, so i end up wearing them for 14h strait. In the pit like a warrior with brand new docs wasnt my best idea but... Worth the pain they are almost broke just right :)

Recherche : on September 23, 2018:

Sign in to your Microsoft account

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on September 18, 2018:

Oh, it can be baaaad. :( But it's worth it!

Oztinato on September 11, 2018:

My doc martens were always comfortable but they started to FALL APART after less than 12 months!!

The "leather" looked like cheap vinyl and the soles were worn easily.

I had to force doc martens to re pay

Imbadjuju on September 07, 2018:

I forgot about the pain with those!

Anna Kate on August 09, 2018:

I had a pair for about four years and then my puppy chewed them and I just bought a new pair and the leather feels so stiff!!! Any recommendations on how to wear the leather a little faster?

John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona USA on July 16, 2018:

I love to watch Doc on PBS. But I never thought about buying shoes like his. After reading your practical article, I think I will try a pair. They do look comfy just because of the sturdiness and lack of lines on the body. They just look like they would last a long time and have plenty of "unpinched" room.

Thanks for writing this; it was great!

Eric on July 10, 2018:

Great post. I have an eight year old pair of black 1461”Made in England” shoes and they’re still going strong now. I used mink oil to break them in, dont want them to get shiny so rarely use wax based products. Mink oil and oil based shoe products in general get a bad rep, but personally never had issues, only used mink oil on old leather hiking boots and they are still usuable now after 10 years, likewise with the docs after 8 years. Had to use moleskins for about a year till they were fully broken in though, my biggest issue were the heels. But now they are comfortable as trainers and still using them every other day, again I just apply mink oil about once year to keep them conditioned and water-resistant. The Made in Englands are definitely made with much harder leather, takes a lot longer to break in than the Asian made docs but from my experience and from what Ive read they last a lot longer. The latter have particular issues with soles splitting after only a year or two, but never had that issue with English made shoes. Just bought a new pair of dark tan oiled leather 1461s, can’t wait to wear them, despite having to break them in :)

techsdotcom on June 18, 2018:


nice post

thank you

Bev G from Wales, UK on April 30, 2018:

This is great. Thanks. I just got my new pair of DMs today and they are as hard as rocks. You've given me hope that they will bend to my will.

Mine are floral :D

Dani Mars on February 15, 2018:

For those of you feeling pins and needles in your toes, congrats, you bought the right size. The 2 most common complaints are a too-tight arch bridge and a stiff upper heel (followed by a too narrow toe box). If you have walked around in them for a few hours or so and are still having pins and needles, it may be time to visit a larger size. If the feeling goes away after the first hour, then the fit will be right and shape to your foot like a glove. Bear in mind that the feeling may come back the first few times you wear them until the proper stretch is achieved.

Matilda on January 23, 2018:

No one answers the questions here - I have new DM's and have the same problem as Derazah and Kayla - how did you guys get on? I loosened the laces and that helped pins and needles but the top of my right foot is pained...I need to persevere.

Kayla on December 27, 2017:

Are pins and needles a common feeling when first wearing them? After only five minutes I feel pins and needles in my feet and it doesn’t go away until I take them off. Should I get a size bigger, or is this a common feeling when breaking them in?

trillyumyum on November 10, 2017:

Im so happy to find help and ideas! I picked up an unworn pair of blue docs at a thrift store several years ago (with purple laces! so cool!) . I haven't worn them much because after a while the back rubs my ankles raw. But I want to wear them--the rest of the shoe fits perfectly and is super comfy.

Derazeh on October 30, 2017:

I've just bought a pair of DM Lenore boots and they are tight across the top of my foot. Do you think this will give or are they just not for me and my high arches?

BB on October 19, 2017:

I’ve had mine for over 20 Years and they are still stiff as ever and kill my ankles and feet.

Jake s on October 04, 2017:

Had a pair of docs since 2000 and I they have minimal wear today after 17 years of me wearing then 3-4 days a week.

Rhi on August 27, 2017:

I just bought a pair of like-new preloved docs. They're the most beautiful thing and I wore them all day yesterday, and came away with blusters and what feels like a bruise on the top of my right foot. Blisters are a given, and god damnit I'll just wear plasters- I'm thinking pulling the insole out of the right shoe may be the best course of action for a better fit...

J on August 10, 2017:

Vegan Docs are the way to go. I put their premium insoles in and have been wearing them everywhere from the day I took them out of the box.

Shari on August 04, 2017:

I just got a a pair of doc martins. I'm wearing them around the house and I must admit they are a bit tight. So after reading your article, I stood on them, bent them, crunched them and now, half hour later they are feeling awesome! Didn't hurt the look or the shine!

Margus Meigo Waffa from Estonia on March 07, 2017:

Unfortuantelly already after 10 years the metal part of inside my martins come open, so... so yeah, can not wear them as it is rubbing my foot.

Paoloadventurer on January 28, 2017:

This post is spot on, I have just put on my black 1914's for the first time and can't wait to to get them feeling like a slipper, I agree it worth the pain. P.

Amber Hunter on January 27, 2017:

The same happened to me! The first two times I wore them I had no problem but now , suddenly, even if I wear them for 5 minutes, they hit me in the back... Too bad because they look amazing and I love them.. Not sure if 'breaking' them will help in my case; I worry that the problem might be something else: that my feet that are too small for the boots and they get rubbed on the back of my feet. I got the boots size 39 EU (one size bigger that the one I wear) but normally I had no problem with bigger sized shoes before. However, I see that lots of people here have the same problem with blisters in the back of their feet, so I guess maybe trying to soften them up could help.

Josep from Kenya on January 06, 2017:

Buying already broken work boots might be ideal for those who are required to wear them to work at short notice. The boots may, however, lack the excitement that comes with wearing near boots for the first time.

Amber Hunter on January 03, 2017:

My Docs were fine for over a week and now they have decided to only start causin me blisters on the back of my feet. All I can say is Ouch !

Skiddlywudz on December 29, 2016:

Damn 16 years? Thats what mine looked like after two months. Granted theyve been across the country and back twice from portland to ga to portland back to ga. Two and a half years later, they are antiquated to say the least. Just got me a new pair today and holy shot i forgot how shitty the break in period is. But to be fair i literally wear my docs all day every day, work, or otherwise, rain, snow, sun, sleet, fuckin hiking, shooting, driving, and yes, even skate boarding (yeah take that enties)

Aveitos on December 07, 2016:

This post is worth everyone’s attention. Good work.

Ann on December 03, 2016:

I have been trying to break in my "dream" boots for awhile. Now that I know I can remove the liners, the task seems easier. Now I just need bandaids on the heels but the toebox and instep fits perfectly :-) Many Thanks for the tip.

Mboo on November 26, 2016:

I own 5 beautiful pairs. All funky too. Some r worn in better than others because of time.

Will on November 11, 2016:

Hey clevercat,

So i've bought my Martens and i've also got insoles which make them more comfy, and to break them in i've put bags inside them with water in them and put them in the freezer. will this do the trick?

hotinthephils on April 16, 2016:

thank for the info all the info....

Just bought mine about 2 months ago.......first time I've worn mine it felt like my soles are on fire....

Sally on December 27, 2014:

I just got a pair but hearing your video makes me wonder why I want them now!! Just put some coconut cream on them.

HayleyWilliamz on August 14, 2014:

My docs ain't very comfy

Sarah on May 03, 2014:


Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on April 18, 2014:

Hey, Sarah and also apologies to you for the delay in responding.

Personally, I would suggest a new pair of 1490s as at least then they will break in to your foot, not someone else's. That said, my boots have lasted a very looooong time.

However, one never knows what has happened to someone else's shoes... so I really can't say how long this particular pair that you are interested in will last. :( I mean, what if they were submerged in water for a week? Dragged through the mud and left without being cleaned?

I guess it really depends on the condition of the boots... but without knowing the provenance of the pair, I might be wary of buying a stranger's shoes, especially if I am looking for a long life for them. As they say... let the buyer beware!

Best of luck!!! Let me know what happens. :)

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on April 18, 2014:

Lumi! Hi! :)

So sorry for the delay, but things have been a bit hectic this last week. Whatever you do, DO NOT use leather cleaner on patents, ok? They will get smeary and lose their luster. I would suggest nail polish remover (acetone) with a q-tip. Dab it over the scuff and it will remove the scuff, but work fast because it will dry fast. And don't put too much! (It will remove the dye.) Then buff with a soft cloth, and good as new!

Hope this helps! :)

Sarah on April 14, 2014:

Should I get oxblood vintage 1490 made in England docs cos I really need some boots that will last for ages ? How long should they last as they are made in England (how many years!?!?!?) 'Cos I wear through shoes pretty quickly thank you! Are they comfy and good quality... Sorry! I've never had them before!!!!!! Thank you!!

Sarah on April 14, 2014:

How longWill mid oxblood 1490 docs last ? Thanx great post!

Lumi on April 10, 2014:

Hello, how do I clean my Lamper Doc's? Help!

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on February 22, 2014:

Hi Brandon! :)

Well, how wrinkly is wrinkly? Also, where are the wrinkles exactly? Wrinkly where your feet bend or wrinkly around your ankles? You are sure you got the right size, yes? Because if you got them too big you will likely have to tie them tighter than they were meant to be tied to fit your foot more closely and will cause some of that wrinkling. And these are the smooth ones, not more distressed leather, yes?

I've only had wrinkly ones once, and they came that way -- my sister outgrew a cherry pair and they were so wrinkled at the ball of the foot that they had actually cracked before I got them, boo hoo! So let's avoid that for you. I would suggest Dubbin polish to keep them smooth and lovely. Also, make sure you don't have too much room in the shoe as I mentioned. Ironing? Not so much. I'm really not a fan of introducing hot things to my shoes!

Let me know how it works out! And congrats on the shoes!!! :)

Brandon on February 22, 2014:

I bought my docs and had them for a week, (I had no trouble with blisters or having to break them in or any of that jazz Hallelujah!) but they are wrinkly and everyone says so many things like the iron method and polish and I don't want to ruin them or anything, but is there anyway I can remove the wrinkles or prevent them when I buy another pair?

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on November 27, 2013:

Elizabeth, if the soft tongue is slipping around and bothering you, you could punch an eyelet or two in the tongue and lace through that. Good luck!

Elizabeth Furney on November 24, 2013:

I have a use pair of docs I just got from a second hand store but the toung on the left one is stretched badly and very soft and worn. Is there a way to fix that?

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on November 05, 2013:

Hi, Grypo! I'm so glad you came across something that tip!

Actually, patents and fabrics do seem a little tighter than other materials, in my experience as well, but that's wonderful that you will be able to enjoy them with a lot less discomfort. Too bad for your daughter, indeed! ;)

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on November 05, 2013:

Hey, DocwithDocs! I loved your story, and your line, "let the sweet pain begin again." Such sweet, sweet pain. ;) Congrats on finding your perfect pair (again!)

Grypo on November 05, 2013:

I didn't know they had a liner that could be removed. I've had a pair of patent Dr Martens for a couple of months now and I couldn't stand wearing them because they were so tight (I tried a size up and they were too long for my feet), but now that I've removed the liner they are pretty bearable.

Without your tip I would have had to leave these in the closet for 8-10 years waiting and hoping that my daughter would one day be able to wear them - too bad for her :P

DocwithDocs on September 25, 2013:

About 15 years ago, starting up my own company in Germany, had to buy some reasonably respectable looking shoes and amazingly found that Docs also produce a brown brogue (3989). Not the typical iconic look, but hey, same quality in what you might consider a "stealth Doc". Fell in love with them right away and I actually don't recall that much pain and anguish during the breaking-in period, but may just be blocking it out... The soul-crushing anguish did come a few years later: while rushing to leave a hotel to catch a low-fare, middle-of-the-night flight back out of Mallorca, I accidentally left one of my Docs under the bed, and no amount of begging over the phone go it back for me afterwards. Ugh.. At the time, I couldn't find this model easily again where I was, so I bought something else and settled... Fast forward a decade, now living in the US, and I've recently found the same model again on the Doc USA website, ordered and excitedly unpacked from the box today: let the sweet pain begin again...

Hezekiah from Japan on June 11, 2013:

Never heard of this expression for boots but interesting. Must look and feel much better after breaking them in.

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on June 09, 2013:

Thanks so much, sparkleyfinger! You're so right -- thick socks look super cool with unlaced high Docs. Plus, I bet it keeps the back looking nice and pristine for much longer.

p.s. Great profile name!

Lynsey Hart from Lanarkshire on June 09, 2013:

Voted up, useful and, ironically, beautiful!! Aside from New Rocks, Docs are the sorest shoes ever to break in, but i agree that it is totally worth it!!! I don't actually lace mine up, but instead wear thick socks so i can leave the laces undone.. This probably isn't good for the support of the ankle, but meh, it looks awesome! :) Keep up the good work!

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on April 10, 2013:

Spallbags, ouch! :-( But that beeswax will do the trick... I bet it works like a dream on people, too. ;-)

Spallbags on April 10, 2013:

I love my DM boots. So painful to break in, I made the mistake of wearing them to a festival before they were broken in and came home with bleeding feet! I use a hemp oil and beeswax cream intended for extra dry skin on mine now and that seems to have done the trick!

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on March 08, 2013:

Hi allydarcy! They are regular black smooth 1460s. (I've just had them a reeeeeally long time.) :^)

allydarcy on March 08, 2013:

what kind of docs are those?

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on January 07, 2013:

Cool, rumintasari! Thanks for commenting. :)

Ruminta Sari from Sleman on January 07, 2013:

remind me to a friend who loves this shoes a lot :) Never had it myself though.

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on November 15, 2012:

Teaches 12345, I agree completely -- it's a great shoe and will certainly last. Thanks so much for visiting, and as always, it's great to see you!

Dianna Mendez on November 15, 2012:

I have never owned a pair of these shoes, but I know people who love them and pay a pretty penny for them because of the quality. Looks like a nice shoe to have. Thanks for the advice, I'm sure many will appreciate your help.

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on November 11, 2012:

I remember that!!! :^) You are tall, so you could take 10 holes nicely, too. Not this chick... they would be halfway up my calf. Ha!

Brainy Bunny from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on November 11, 2012:

They were black 10-eye smooth leather boots. So beautiful! The laces kept breaking, so eventually I made my own out of braided embroidery thread. That was fun. And colorful!

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on November 11, 2012:

What color were they, Brainy Bunny? I wanted to wrap my ankles in duct tape to ward off the scrapes when I did my first! Lol. But I'm glad we sucked it up and dealt. :^)

Brainy Bunny from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on November 11, 2012:

Oh, I remember my ankles bleeding for days with my first pair of DM boots! But it was so worth it. They were my constant companions for nearly ten years, until I wore right through the sole!

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on November 11, 2012:

Hey, flashmakeit! Great to see ya! I hope it comes in handy. :^)

flashmakeit from usa on November 11, 2012:

That information for my friends red wing boot. Thank you!

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