Breaking in Dr. Martens
How to Break in Your Doc Martens
From factory and harbor workers to punks and goth rockers, Doc Martens are the boots of choice. Comfortable, sturdy, and oh-so-cool, they last forever and can be buffed to a mirror shine even after several years of wear. The only problem is that they can be cast-iron to break in, resulting in blisters, bruises, and lots of pain.
Understand that a brand-new pair out of the box is going to hurt your feet like crazy.This means that you should avoid wearing them for a long period of time for the first several wears. That means no walks or dances when they're fresh out of the box!
Buy the right fit.This part can't be changed, so make sure that the retailer helps you to make the correct choice.
Take out the laces and rub Dr.Marten's Wonder Balsam with the included sponge all over the outside of the boot. This will hydrate the leather safely so that it will soften appropriately. Never use thinner oils as they can destroy the leather's finish and won't act as a protectant against the elements. This is an essential product if you want to break in your boots safely and protect your investment for years to come, and its only a tub.
Put on a thin pair of socks, then a thicker woolen one above it, then put on the shoes, causing them to widen up a bit.Plus, the socks will help you avoid painful blisters.
Walk around for one to two hours during your daily routine on soft indoor surfaces.It's probably best to do this at home so that you can stop at any time and take the shoes off to relax. Cleaning your house in the boots is a great way to break then in, because you move in ways that you wouldn't when walking around normally, and break in the spots which often get missed. If you feel any spots that rub a lot, and you can tell you might get a blister there, put a big bandaid on to help prevent them!
Remove the Doc Martens.After one to two hours, it's time for a break.
Repeat the breaking in steps.Gradually increase the length of time that you wear the shoes.
Start going outside in them.Do short walks, like to the local shops or park.
If you're going for a longer walk, take another pair of shoes for when your feet have had enough.
Continue to repeat steps until the shoes feel comfortable for all day wear.Continue to apply Wonder Balsam anywhere from once a week to once a month to keep the leather hydrated and extend the longevity of your boot. This will also protect your boots from the elements. Once they're broken in, they'll feel fantastic for the rest of their life.
QuestionHow do I avoid rips in my tights while wear Doc Martens?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWear thick socks on top of your tights and tuck them into the boots so they don't show.Thanks!
QuestionCan I still use the balsam if my boots don't have a shiny finish?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, as long as it is not suede.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I break in the vegan boots?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe vegan boots are far more comfortable at first than the leather ones. If they need breaking in just follow steps 4-10 as described.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do if the stitching at the end of the tongue is the only tight part?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou might have a wrong size. If not, you should do the "cleaning the house" method to make sure you break it in as much as possible.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I stop my Doc Martins from rubbing my ankles even though they are already broken in?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou might have bought the wrong size, or you might have not broken them in enough. You might also be wearing the wrong type of sock. Try wearing something that goes over your ankle. If you are wearing below-the-ankle socks, the boots might be causing friction in that area.Thanks!
QuestionWill I still be able to get a good shine after using the Wonder balsam?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, the Wonder balsam contains beeswax, which can be buffed to a shine with a brush.Thanks!
QuestionIs there a way to remove the wedge inside the boot?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou could take your boots to a cobbler. I don't recommend trying to do it yourself.Thanks!
QuestionHow big is the heel on the shoes?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDepends on the type you buy, but commonly around 3/4 inch from the treads on the bottom to the leather around your foot.Thanks!
QuestionIs there a cheaper substitute to make my own leather conditioner?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, you can't really make something better than what is out there. To be cheaper, most Wal-Marts carry Kiwi brand saddle soap and lotion, which works very well.Thanks!
QuestionWill dubbin work as a substitute for wonder balsam?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNot exactly. The leather won’t absorb the dubbin since it’s considered a top coat and cannot keep the leather hydrated. You need to apply the wonder balsam, let the leather absorb it, and then apply the dubbin.Thanks!
Can I use Saphir Pommadier Cream for dr martens?
I bought size 38 even tho it kinda looks 40 it hurts my left foot. When I tried size 39 it was way bigger then my foot. So then this means I bought the right pair? But when I tuck in it feels small.
How do I break in my Doc Martens without putting balsam on them?
Is there a way to soften the part of the shoe where the tips of my toes are?
Will Doc Martens stretch out with time?
- Wear thick wool socks and put them on and tie them tighter than you would normally. Do a couple of laps around your house. Make sure you rest.
- Walk around, stand on your toes and bend down a lot to help develop the creases in the shoes that are signs that they are softening. Working at a computer, as part of your normal daily routine, may not be enough activity to break in your shoes.
- Old army trick, and you don't know what blisters are until you've been in the army, cut the feet off a pair of panty hose and wear them under your socks, some people do this with the old high cut rugby boots too.
- Try running around the house with them on and do calf raises, rolling all the way back to your heel after each time you go on your toes. It softens them in no time!.
- If the shoes feel immediately painful just beneath the toe cap or tongue, check to see if your socks are bunched or if the tongue is twisted. The tongue and/or flap of leather at the toe cap seam may need to be reseated to lie more flat or your socks need to be pulled on tighter.
- You can also try wearing heavy socks with an additional pair of Lycra hiking socks on top. These will serve to wick off moisture, which contributes to blistering.
- When you first get your Docs, put a layer of Wonder Balsam over the entirety of the boot or shoe to hydrate the boot in a uniform manner. Thinner oils will not bond with the finish of the leather in the same way that Wonder Balsam does, and will not protect the leather from the elements.
- Be patient. Most shoes need a week or two to break in before you may wear them all day with little discomfort. They should be fully broken in within a month.
- An alternative to thick socks is to use fabric plasters. When wearing the shoes for the first time, try to notice which parts of your feet get red - before blisters appear - and cover these with plasters. Change the latter twice a day until the shoes break in properly.
- While the only way to do this properly is with time, there are a number of ways you can attempt to speed the process up. Be warned that you run the risk of ruining your Docs, and unless you got 'em used, it will have been a waste of a considerable amount of money.
- You can smack the heel-piece of your Docs with a hammer a few times to soften the leather. Be very careful.
- Never ever use water to break in your docs, as it will dry the leather out beyond repair, put extra strain on the finish, as well as warp the inner leather last, which puts your sole at high risk of cracking or separating. In essence, you shorten the lifespan of your boots by several years.
- Apply a thin to moderate coat of Wonder Balsam on the outside of the boot, lace the boot tightly onto your foot, then heat the boot with the low setting on a hair dryer for 5-10 minutes to melt down the oils and help them absorb into the leather quickly. Wear until cool. DO NOT USE the high heat setting, as you can scald your leather and promote cracking and splitting.
- Call any Dr Martens Retail location, or stop into your nearest store for tips and tricks.
- DO NOT put your boots in the freezer, with or without bags of water in them.
- If you develop foot blisters, it is best to wait until they have healed before resuming the process of breaking in your shoes.
- DO NOT put your boots in the oven.
- Any of the three above will ruin the sole, the last (between the footbed and the sole) , and the leather of your expensive boots.
- DO NOT use water to break in the boots. At all. Ever.
- Any shoe polish should be wax or oil based and serves no functional purpose, only aesthetic. It does not protect or soften your leather, only add color or shine.
- DO NOT wear two pairs of socks at once whilst wearing any pair of shoes, this can actually increase the chance of blistering due to the layers creating friction
Things You'll Need
Dr Martens Wonder Balsam ()
Thick socks or several socks
A hairdryer with a low/medium setting (optional)
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Video: How to Break in Dr Martens (and style them)
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