Breaking In Doc Martens: A Step-by-Step Guide to Comfortable Wear

Doc Martens are known for their iconic style and robust durability. Yet, their high-quality leather often requires a Doc Martens break-in period, which, while necessary, can be a bit uncomfortable. This guide provides effective steps to help you ease into your Doc Martens for a lifetime of comfortable wear.

Step 1: Get the Right Size

The first step towards a successful break-in is to ensure that your Doc Martens are the right size. When trying on the boots, they should feel snug but not overly tight. Wear thick socks during fitting, simulating the conditions during the break-in process. A correct fit is crucial as, while the leather will soften, the overall size won’t significantly change.

Step 2: Gradual Introduction

Resist the urge to wear your new Doc Martens for a full day right away. Start by wearing them around your house for just an hour or two each day. This gradual introduction allows your boots to start molding to your feet while minimizing discomfort.

Step 3: Benefit from Thick Socks

Thick socks can provide a substantial benefit during the Dr. Martens break-in process. They serve as a protective layer between your feet and the boots, minimizing friction and the chance of blisters. In addition, thick socks can help stretch the leather, aiding the break-in process. Woolen or thermal socks are typically a good choice.

Step 4: Use Leather Conditioning Products

Leather conditioners can significantly help in softening the stiff leather of your Doc Martens. They moisturize the leather, making it more supple and comfortable. Apply the conditioner using a soft cloth, paying particular attention to areas of tension like the heel and toe box.

Step 5: Utilize Shoe Stretchers and Spoons

If your Doc Martens are particularly tight, shoe stretchers can be a handy tool. They can help stretch both the width and length of the boot, easing any overly tight spots. If a shoe stretcher isn’t available, a simple kitchen spoon can also do the trick. Use the back of the spoon to gently stretch the leather from the inside, focusing on any areas that feel too tight.

Step 6: Do a Home Run Before Going Out

Before venturing outdoors in your new Doc Martens, take the time to do a few test runs at home. This home trial will allow you to spot any areas of persistent discomfort, making adjustments before going outside for a full day in your new boots.

Step 7: The Importance of Patience

Breaking in Doc Martens requires patience. The process can take several weeks, but remember that the discomfort is temporary, while the comfort and style that well-broken-in Doc Martens offer are worth the initial effort. So, allow your boots to gradually mold to your feet and become your most comfortable pair of footwear.


Breaking in a new pair of Doc Martens can seem daunting, but with a patient and strategic approach, the task becomes manageable and less uncomfortable. Follow the steps outlined in this guide to make the process smoother and get to enjoy the style and comfort of your Doc Martens sooner.

Remember, everyone’s experience is different, and if you experience consistent and significant pain, it could be a sign that the boots are not the right fit. In such cases, don’t hesitate to consult a footwear specialist or podiatrist.

Breaking in your Doc Martens is a short-term task that results in a long-term benefit. Once your boots have perfectly molded to your feet, you can enjoy the unique combination of comfort, style, and durability that only a pair of Doc Martens can offer. Enjoy the journey as your boots transform from a stiff new pair into a comfortable, personalized accessory.