So you’ve bought yourself a new pair of Doc Martens? Congratulations, you now own a pair of the most stylish, iconic, sturdy and comfortable boots imaginable.
But there’s a catch – before you can get to the COMFORTABLE part, first you must break them in. Something so notorious & legendary with this brand that there are approx 10million pages and forums online telling you how this should be done, and all kinds of hacks are thrown around.
Here’s a summary how the internet says you should break in your brand new pair of Docs:
1. Sleep in them
2. Soak / Wear/ Sleep in them in a bathtub of water
3. Soak / Wear/ Sleep in them in a bathtub of vegetable oil
4. Soak / Wear/ Sleep in them in a bathtub of motor oil
5. Soak / Wear/ Sleep in them in a bathtub of petrol
6. Grate them on a cheese grater then set fire to them
7. Dance in them under a full moon, in the rain, for three consecutive months
8. Bake them in the oven at 180 degrees for 45 minutes
9. Put them in a pen full of Labrador puppies who will lick the leather into softness
10. Put them in a basin with those dead-skin eating fish
11. Play the Beatles Revolver Backwards, six times, on the fifth day of the month whilst wearing them
12. Stuff them with lavender and sage and then leave them under an ancient oak tree for two weeks
13. Perform a tarot reading around them to foresee how long until you can wear them
14. Play them some Ed Sheeran and Adele – sure to soften even the toughest of leathers
15. Give them to your cat to wear for a week
16. Run over them with a car/ bus/ steamroller/ combine harvester
Please. Please. Please. Don’t do any of these.
Instead, here is how you should actually break in a new pair of Docs:
1. Put on your new Docs with a very thick pair of socks/ 2 pairs of normal socks
2. Wear them only around the house, for 1-2 hours each night for a week or two
3. When you have done this, wear them out of the house for very short bursts only, and never if you have to walk further then 100m
4. Gradually build up to longer stints of wearing them out
5. Eventually you will be able to wear them all day. But this will probably take at least a month
6. Always carry heavy duty band-aids with you throughout this entire process
Which is exactly the process that I am going through right now with my new Cherry red 1460’s. I’m so excited to have these back in my wardrobe after my original ones wore out a year ago.
It’s hard breaking in such heavy shoes in the height of a scorching hot summer, but I figure that by Autumn, which is about 6 weeks away, we should be set to go in all of our stomping glory. And that’s my top tip here – plan in advance. Want a pair to wear on an overseas adventure, or a specific date in mind? Plan backwards, understand that you won’t be wearing them as soon as they arrive, and you’ll be sweet.
I learnt my lesson hard with my first pair of Docs, which i innocently thought I could break in, straight from the box, with a gentle 30 minute dog walk around the block. They shredded my feet up so bad, after 10 minutes, that I couldn’t put them back on for two weeks.
So trust me. Take your time. It’s not difficult, but just requires patience. And definitely, whatever you do, do not soak them in water, set fire to them, or douse them in oil, like the internet says you should. They are far too expensive and precious to potentially wreck in the name of a quick-fix. So take your time, because when you have worn them in, they will be your best friends for many years!
I’ve purchased all of my Docs from shoes.com (formerly Shoebuy) – this is my third pair, and I only ever buy a new ones once I have truly worn out my previous pair from daily wear. I really want to support local NZ retailers, but a pair of 1460’s come in at around $300 in NZ. My latest pair from shoes.com were $180 including shipping. That is far too big of a saving to not get them online.
shoes.com also have the best range of styles and sizes, and usually have some good sales running. So find what you’re after then keep an eye out for their sales and discount codes. I bought mine just after Xmas after a couple of months of watching them, and eventually snagged them with 20% discount, then a further 25% discount code. So it was worth the wait. They take about 2-3 weeks to arrive.
In terms of a size guide, I have large, wide, feet so these run true to size for me. They stretch out with wear, but if you’re going for the classic boot you can get away with them being a bit too big as they offer enough to support in the ankle for this to not really matter.
It feels so great to have a pair Cherries back in my wardrobe, like I’m complete again. They’re my ideal aesthetic and I love combining them with my Ultra-feminine dresses and petticoats for a big style contrast. Plus Docs really are the most practical shoe for Christchurch’s uneven, damaged, footpaths and masses of shingle car parks that we have to navigate every day.
Just remember. Be patient! True love takes time!
HAT: Vintage, upcycled by me
TSHIRT: AS Colour
SKIRT: Lindy Bop
BOOTS: Doc Martens 1460’s in Cherry Red
NECKLACE: Tatty Devine
LIPSTICK: Coloupop Arriba