Overall Rating: Not Good Enough
Dr. Martens has received a rating of Not Good Enough overall, based on information from our own research. While the brand is making a start in animal welfare, its got a lot of work to do to improve its impact, especially when it comes to labour and the environment. Note that Good On You ratings consider 100s of issues and it is not possible to list every relevant issue in a summary of the brands performance. For more information see our How We Rate page and our FAQs.
Luckily, many amazing sustainable and ethical alternatives to Dr. Martens are popping up every day! Have a look at a few of our favourites below.
How Long Do Dr Martens Last
Dr Martens boots are famous for their durability and many of its wearers attest to their boots lasting for up to 20 years and even longer. When properly cared for, Dr Martens boots can last a lifetime as theyre made from the highest quality leather or vegan equivalent, rigorously tested to ensure their strength. This is the reason why you hear stories of people still stomping around in Docs passed down from their parents, and why investing in a pair is always a good choice.
Dr Martens Fit & Sizing
- Sole is crazy soft
- Doesnt fit the foot that well
For men, the sizes run from 6 to 14. Theres just one width available and no half sizes. To find your fit, they recommend sizing down one half to one full size Im an 11.5 and the size 11 fit me fine. But with no half sizes and no other widths, theyre making the shoe somewhat inaccessible to, what, half the population?
As for walking around and breaking them in, there are a few things worth pointing out.
Number 1: the sole is crazy soft, which made for a pretty nice experience.
Number 2: the lack of a shank was clear. A lot of people feel like a shank is the most important part of a shoe and purists will be disappointed by this.
Number 3: in general, it just doesnt fit the foot very well. I often have ankle slippage and I find it simply didnt contour to the foot very well. To be fair, Im coming off of a pair of Whites Service Boots which fit better than almost any other shoe Ive tried. But my Docs give me quite a bit of slippage and more importantly, I just didnt find it contoured the foot as ergonomically as it should have. This is a brand that began as a means for helping people recover from foot injuries, so I was expecting something more ergonomic but alas, its just a pretty blobby, generic fit.
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Are Dr Martens Unisex
Yes! Big believers in expression beyond gender, Dr Martens are for everyone, will all styles being unisex. Their philosophy if you like them, wear them as all of their most iconic styles are unisex. And even if there isnt a unisex style, most of the Dr Marten range has mens and womens versions of the design, only slightly altered. However, be sure to take a look at the sizing as the marked female styles can fit slightly narrower, so you might need to alter your size to suit the style youre going for.
Rue21 Wide Width Chunky Faux Leather Combat Boots $2399
Having wide feet shouldnt stand in the way of your ability to wear cute combat boots like Docs.
This pair from rue21 is perfect for those with wide feet, and even come in both black and white so you can stock up on both styles. They range in size from a six to a 10 while supplies last, as they are currently on sale for 40% off.
One of Dr. Martens other bestsellers is the Chelsea boot.
Instead of paying their price of $150, this pair is only $70 and comes from Walmart, meaning you can order it online and get free shipping. They are on sale now, down from the original $119, and come in select sizes as they are super popular
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Repair My Dr Martens Boots
NuShoe specializes in rebuilding Dr Martens boots by hand using factory quality materials. You can place your order online for all types of shoes, boots, sandals and high heels. Our turn around time is 3-4 weeks which includes the round trip shipping time. We offer the highest quality workmanship by our expert shoe craftsman, plus world class customer service. Call toll-free 877-687-4631 with any questions.
NuShoe recommends the following resoling options for your Dr Martens boots:
Do Dr Martens Fit True To Size
I’ve found that Docs fit true to size, but some believe the 1460s to run a bit large. I fit into a whole size, so I just buy the size I normally wear. Docs don’t come in half sizes, but several members of the Insider Reviews team who wear normally wear half-sizes have chosen to size down in Dr. Martens. Keep in mind, though, that this may affect how you break your boots in.
While the leather will stretch some as you wear it in, tight boots will simply take longer to fully break in. Dr. Martens does sell insoles, so if you choose to size up instead, you can add them in to fill any extra wiggle room.
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Doc Martens 1460 Leather
- A little plasticky
- Available in many colors/patterns
When I spoke with their helpline they told me that this leather comes from either South America or Asia which is a pretty broad net to cast but thats the only information they gave me.
Now, the company describes this as full grain leather even though its very, very smooth and doesnt have a trace of grain on the skin. This is corrected leather its been smoothed out, thats corrected but since its made from the top layer of the animals hide, its often referred to as corrected full grain leather, and thats how Dr. Martens representative described it to me. If youre a leather purist theres a chance you object to the idea of corrected full grain leather as a contradiction in terms. Id remind you that Horween considers their famous full grain leather Chromexcel to be corrected as well, as they said in my interview with them. But Im going to just say this is corrected grain to be safe.
This leather is so smooth that in my opinion it looks quite plasticky. Theres no real surprise there, everyone knows what Doc Martens look like before they buy them and this is an aesthetic that speaks to a lot of people but in my opinion, this leather looks as cheap as it is.
Their packaging describes this as
Durable and famously stiff to start with, it moulds to your feet and gets more comfortable with wear. smooth leather can be polished to a dapper shine or artfully scuffed up, depending on your preference.
How Do I Clean My Dr Martens
This would depend on the material that your footwear is made from.
Generally, for leather Dr Martens products we would recommend a fully clean, conditioning and polish every 3-4 months. Please see above for detailed instructions on this process.
How should I polish my Dr Martens?
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Boot Worlds Dr Martens Shoes
Dr. Martens shoes combine high-performance durability with iconic, eclectic style. Dr. Klaus Maertens invented the famous bouncing sole in 1945 Munich after suffering a broken foot and needing extra assistance. Unlike traditional leather soles, these air-cushioned soles provide enhanced support and comfort. His partnership with the English Griggs company resulted in the first yellow-seamed Dr. Martens boots.
Over the course of the next 80 years, Dr. Martens went from a popular work boot to a central part of the punk rock aesthetic to the beloved brand it is today. While Dr. Martens still stocks a number of its original designs, the brand has evolved with the times to maintain its reputation for design at the cutting edge of culture. Today, men and women can find sandals and platforms alongside boots and oxfords.
With metallics, vegan leather, studs, and designer collaborations, Dr. Martens designs shoes for every aesthetic. But as their stock of designs changes and grows, the same comfort and durability remain.
Dr Martens Leather Care
- Doc Martens suggests their Wonder Balsam
- Made of lanolin, beeswax, coconut oil
- Use once a month
- Dubbin Polish will add a thicker wax layer
The company is known for their Wonder Balsam product that they recommend for their leather, which is made from lanolin, beeswax, and coconut oil. Its meant to soften and polish the leather but remember not to use it any more than once a month.
You can probably use similar off-brand products if you like and I know a lot of folks just use coconut oil, but if youre really interested in water resistance that beeswax is pretty important.
Then again, if youre really interested in making the leather as durable as possible, Doc Martens also sells a natural wax formula called Dubbin Polish that adds a bit of a thicker layer of wax to the shoe.
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How Can I Prolong The Life Of My Doc Martens
To prolong the life of your Doc Martens boots, the company offers proprietary shoe care spray that you can use on leather, suede, canvas, and nylon.
To start, wash off all of the dirt on your boots with a warm, damp washcloth.
After the boots dry, spray them with your shoe care spray to provide your boots with an extra layer of protection against damage.
If possible, you should also avoid keeping the boots in the sunlight when not necessary as the sun can fade the leather.
Womens Unr8ed Combat Boots $4998
If youre looking for an all-black look, check out these combat boots that mimic Dr. Martens with some slight adjustments.
These shoes are sold at Shoe Carnival and are currently on sale. They are now just $34.98, down from $59.99. The boots also come in white, so grab them both for two iconic looks for less than the price of one pair of Docs.
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How Much Are These Worth
Looks like they might be collaboration boots. But I can’t really see the insole very well. Looks like a skull? Not familiar with the insignia.
I would say if they are in decent condition and not collaboration probably $60 to $100. Maybe more if the shoes are a collaboration and a limited run.
So NaNa shoes was the chief US distributor in the 80s and 90s, making these shoes pre 2000. Some people place a lot of value in genuine vintage, MIE Dr Martens and these are in great condition so you could hopefully sell them for at least the price of a new made in Asia pair. Heres an Etsy listing for a pair in a different style but with the same insole markings.
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Whats up Doc?
Dr. Martens boots have become a fashion essential, popping up on streets and runways alike. Its no wonder since theyre ideal for any season to pair with jeans for a casual look or a skirt to add some punk rock vibes.
Plus, with fall upon us, its imperative to have boots lined up in your wardrobe for jumping in leave piles and strolls through the apple orchard, right?
The classic Docs are the ankle-length lace-up black boots, complete with their iconic yellow stitching in the sole and the little flap on the back, a helpful addition when pulling the boots on over socks or pants.
The only thing that isnt so cute about the brand is the price tag, which, to be fair, is great for real and premium vegan leather made to last. Still, for those who cant shell out over $100 for a pair, there are dupes that look and feel like the real deal.
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How Can I Waterproof My Dr Martens
Although Dr. Martens shoes and boots are not completely waterproof, they are designed to withstand the elements with their durable build and tough sole.
To enhance water-resistance for your Dr Martens, apply a protective shoe oil such as Dr Martens own Wonder Balsam. The Balsam is created from a unique blend of coconut oil, lanolin and beeswax which works to protect the leather against water, liquid and salt marks. The Wonder Balsam will also moisturise the leather and helps prevent cracking. Also, make sure to give your Dr Martens a once over with a waterproofing spray before you first wear them, and make sure to dry them off if they get wet as lengthy exposure to water isnt good for leather.
Are Dr Martens Suitable In A Kitchen Environment
Dr. Martens footwear, with its PVC air-cushioned soles, is known for both its comfort and durability. It is, however, wear-tested in a street environment, not in a kitchen environment.
Fats such as cooking oils and greases used in kitchens are very aggressive on all types of footwear, including Dr Martens. If shoes are intended for this environment, we suggest special care. Washing the soles off daily with warm water and a grease-cutting soap and ensuring that the uppers are cleaned and protected may help footwear last longer in the kitchen environment.
Dr Martens soles are oil, fat, acid, petrol, alkali RESISTANT, but not PROOF.
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A New Pair Of The 1460 Pascal Boots Vs A Two
1460: Dr. Martens has been making work boots since 1901, but it wasn’t until 1960 that it developed its signature 1460 boot. The 1460 and most other Dr. Martens boots consists of Dr. Martens’ signature air-cushioned rubber sole, a smooth and stiff leather upper, and instantly recognizable yellow stitching in most of its pairs. Its most defining characteristic is its eight-eye design, making the boot tall enough to hit low on the calf. It’s Dr. Martens’ signature boot and the baseline from which all other Docs vary.
Variations in the 1460 mostly center around the leather upper. The standard features slightly shiny, smooth leather that’s very stiff and almost plasticky. The 1460 Pascal replaces that stiff leather with a more textured, thinner, and softer leather. It makes for a slightly sleeker design, a dressier boot, and one that’s much easier to break in thanks to its flexibility.
101: In the same way the 1490 is the tall version of the 1460, the 101 is the short version. It’s a six-eye boot that hits about an inch above the ankle bone. All the other features remain the same. My first pair of Docs, as well as the ones I’m currently wearing, were the since discontinued 101 Brandos.
An Ode To Dr Martens The Combat Boots That Stole My Heart At 13
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My first pair of Doc Martens was not Doc Martens at all. They were low-top faux Dr. Martens from Fayva with a pleathery finish and sole stitching a twinge too orange to be authentic. Real Docs were too expensive, around $100 even then, which was more than my parents wanted to invest in my still-growing feet. Still, circa fifth grade in the mid-90s, the knockoffs enabled my best friend, Chrissy, and I to copy her older sister, Heather, a sophisticated ninth-grader who wore her Doc oxfords with faded jeans and flannels unbuttoned to reveal a bodysuit underneath. Our not-Docs sent a signal-flare to society: babyish Keds and dainty ballet flats were dead to us. We were angsty tweens now and had the lug sole footwear to prove it.
Awash in nostalgia and the general revival of 90s fashion, I felt a familiar urge to plod around in Dr. Martens. I didnt have to ask anyone else to buy them for me and instead of Journeys, I scoured Poshmark for the specific pair I wanted: all-black combat boots, no yellow stitching or tag. I got them for $100, around what my parents paid 30 years ago.
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