Over the years, I’ve had many pairs of Dr. Martens. Sandals, loafers, oxfords, hell, even fur-lined snow boots. They were all semi-easy to break in; I never ran into any issues or experienced extreme foot-pain. That is, until I got my first pair of platform boots. Until I got my platforms, I thought the Dr. Martens-cause-pain-club was a myth. That, or I was just an exception at having to break in uncomfortable shoes.
With time, tribulation, trial, and error, I prevailed and got to the other side. I’ll throw on my boots without a second thought, remembering the time when I could barely walk three blocks outside my building without cursing myself for not opting for a more comfortable shoe. With that being said, I’ve rounded up all my best tips on breaking in your Dr. Martens —we’ve all gotta start somewhere, right?
Wear them as much as you can
I know, this one seems like a given, but seriously: just wear them. You’ll never break them in if you don’t reach for them, and if you never break them in, you’ll evidently never wear them because they’re not comfortable enough. Dr. Martens typically go for a pretty penny too, so you’ll definitely want to make your cost-per-wears worth it. Running quick errands, going for a quick walk, or heading to work are all easy chances to break them in without committing to an entire day in them. Keep in mind, going on vacation or walking around your city all day is not a good idea when you’re still freshly breaking them in.
Make them easier to wear
If you read that last paragraph and thought to yourself, “But I don’t want to wear them because they hurt my feet,” we’re already one step ahead of you. During the breaking-in process, wear them with items that provide more comfort than pain. Wear your thickest pair of socks, and double up if you have to. One game-changer for me was purchasing these silicone heel protectors. I wore them under my thick socks for the first few months of breaking my boots in. After a few months of wearing them this way, I finally had realized I no longer needed them, and my boots were as comfortable as ever.
Focus on the problem
Does your heel rub up against the back of the shoe? Is there not enough space for your toes? Does the top of your foot rub up against the top of the shoe? These are all common problems we face when breaking in any new pair of shoes for the first time, but with the hard leather of Dr. Martens, it can seem more difficult to ever get them to a comfortable stage. Once you focus on the problem area your shoes are giving you, you can take further steps to hone in on breaking them in, whether that’s purchasing shoe-trees or silicone covers.
Don’t give up
My Dr. Martens loafers were by far the hardest shoe I ever had to break in. I went long periods without wearing them, only to dive back in randomly one day without much preparation. I made the mistake of wearing socks that were too thick, when I should’ve been wearing a thin, nylon-type sock to give the narrow shoe a chance to mold to the shape of my feet. Eventually, they did, allowing me to finally be able to wear them with normal socks (as they should be worn). This showed me that you really have to pay attention to the types of shoe you’re breaking in, and that not all can be broken in the same way.