A Girls Guide To Owning Dr. Martens

Why do you need Dr. Martens?

Dr. Martens should be a staple in everyone’s wardrobe. They’re extremely versatile. They’ll look good whether you’re wearing shorts, a dress, jeans, etc! They last forever once you get through the breaking in process and they’re comfortable as well. With their “bouncing soles,” these shoes feel like they walk with you. They’re also just pretty bad a$$.

Where to Buy: Outlet Site, Mall, Used or the Dr. Martens Site

Dr. Martens has two websites – the outlet one and the main one. The only difference between the two is that the outlet has limited edition docs that are low on stock and out of season or docs that have been updated but the old ones still need to be sold.

Outlet Site: On the outlet site shoes are often 60% off which is a great deal considering you could get a $150 shoe for about $60.

Mall: Buying Dr. Martens from official retailers at the mall such as Journey’s is another great option but you will rarely find a sale there so be prepared to pay full price. However, it’s a great idea to try on a couple of different sizes at the mall before you order online. Docs are very structured so getting the correct fit is important and since they are an English shoe they were originally English sizes so converting to US sizes can be a bit tricky. Docs are also a pretty unisex shoe so if you want a pair that only comes in men’s sizes trying a pair on for size is essential.

Site: Dr. Martens own site is your best bet if you want the most current styles or want to make sure you get one of their limited edition designs. Sales are rare on Dr. Martens site, though.

Used: There are many pairs in thrift or consignment shops that aren’t even fully broken in. Many find the process painful and eventually give up. I’ve been able to get very lightly used Dr. Martens for $40. Usually, I’m wary about buying used shoes but it’s all about the condition of the shoe. You can also buy them pre-broken in so that you don’t have to do it yourself. Docs are so durable that even if they’re broken in they’ll still last much longer. Usually, the only items that need to be replaced are laces or insoles.

Made in England Vs. “The Original”

The “Made in England” Dr. Martens are still made in the original factory and the only factory still in England. At one point all Dr. Martens were made in England but from 2003 on most are made in Thailand. The England factory uses different leathers and processes. It’s been said that they are better materials and last longer although Dr. Martens has never confirmed this. The 50 workers at this factory make 100,000 pairs of shoe each year and put their heart and soul into them. These are more handmade than “the original” Dr. Martens and the workers are paid more than in Thailand. With this, however, comes a price. Rather than $80-$150 that the originals typically go for these shoes are in the $200 range. Both shoes are durable and last a long time but if you are willing to pay the price the made in England boots are higher quality, more ethically sourced, and come with a story. To learn more about the made in England production process watch this: https://youtu.be/rO1YAx4QW1I

Caring for and Breaking in Your Dr. Martens  

The first day you wear your Dr. Martens you’ll definitely notice some blisters as well as how hard the footbed is. Many Dr. Martens shoes come with plastic insoles. Wood is below those insoles making the footbed very hard. I suggest buying gel insoles to soften them up a bit. As for the blisters, they’re inevitable but you can aid them with moles skin.

To get them to break in faster and eventually be more comfortable there are a couple of things you can do. Wearing very thick socks helps the leather to stretch and bend more than if you were wearing thin socks. Many say you should wear them for 7 days straight but this can actually prematurely age the leather, dry it out, and cause cracks. You actually should leave a day in between wearing your Dr. Martens if you want their leather to age well. This is less crucial after they’ve been broken in but getting two pairs and alternating them will definitely make them look good longer. Between wears its not a bad idea to wipe them down with a soft, damp cloth. You can also use the Dr. Martens care kit to help your leather soften.

Care Kit: The Dr. Martens care kit will both help in the breaking in process and help keep your leather looking good. While this isn’t essential to the breaking in process, it certainly helps. The kit is about $20 and comes with two pairs of laces, wonder balsam, dubbin, and a cloth and sponge for application. applying a generous amount of dubbin right away will help you to break in your new shoes, keeping them soft and supple.

Weatherproofing: Whether you use this kit or another one it is essential that you weatherproof your boots before winter comes around. As salt, ice, and dirt all mix together they can be pretty rough on your leather, especially if you have the soft leather boots. Salt can be very erosive and leave permanent marks on your boots if you’re not careful. The wonder balsam in this kit will prevent water and salt marks. It’s even more important in the winter to wipe your docs off with a damp cloth every once in a while.

Leather Type: The softer the leather the easier your boots will be to break in. The quickest ones to break in for me were these ones. The only caution with getting soft leather is they are much more susceptible to knicks, scratches, and need to be conditioned more often. This leather can dry out easier causing cracks and in the winter salt can erode them more. The hard leathers are much more durable but also stiffer. They take much longer to break in and are more painful. To break these in, it may be necessary to stuff them with newspaper when you’re not wearing them. You probably won’t be able to wear them for a full day at first so wear them for short walks or walk around in them for 10 minutes three times a day. You can also put bags of water in the boot and freeze it overnight to stretch the leather if you still aren’t making much progress.