My first ever pair of Dr. Martens

When I was younger, I always used to wear Caterpillar boots because they were cheaper and easier to find in South Africa than Dr. Martens.

Even after I moved to Sweden and married a man who had worn only Docs and Converse since he was a teenager, I still did not wear them. I did not want to have to break them in, because they are notoriously uncomfortable when new. The company then moved production from UK to Asia, and quality was rumoured to have dropped. So I thought that they were never going to be something for me.

But…there is an old-fashioned shoe shop near us that is closing down after 70 years. They sell really good shoes and everything is deeply discounted. Most things were already sold, but I have smaller feet than the average woman so I could find a few gems. One of which are these boots by Dr. Marten. They are the same style boot I always wear, and they were so comfortable from the first moment. These ones don’t have the yellow stitching but that means they are low-key enough to wear with trousers for work. And they don’t have that seam that digs into you with the tongue-and-laced versions. I have no patience anymore with shoes that need a long breaking in period.

I was absolutely thrilled because I wear this style of boot every day when it is not too cold or hot. I normally buy cheap ones but the ones I like (by Deichmann) have been discontinued. These Dr. Martens are perfect!

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

12 thoughts

  1. I have worn Doc Martens since I was a teenager and I am now in my mid 50s. I agree they are a pain to break in but after a few weeks they feel like sleepers.
    I have never bought MIA Doc Martens as they are very poor quality. I still purchase MIE. They are a bit more expensive but they last much linger.
    I have been a big fan of Solovair which are far superior in terms of quality and equal the DM made in the 80s. They also make them in a wider range of sizes.
    I hope your DM won’t disappoint you and you’ll wear them for many years!

  2. Thank you again for such a wonderful post. I have been a Dr Martens fan from the early 90’s. Because of the price tag, I was never able to afford a pair until I moved to England and used some money from my first pay check to buy a pair. That was in August 2000. And they are still in excellent condition to this day… I bought a new pair about 5 or 6 years ago, but as you mentioned in your post, the seam is killing my feet and I can’t wear them for longer than 30 minutes… After giving birth to my daughter, my feet changed and grew and it’s been a problem to find the right size. My original DMs are a bit too small now and my daughter’s feet are much too long to wear them… But I really love the brand and I think I may just try to find a pair like yours. The fact that you found them comfortable from the get go is very positive!… Again, thank you for this post!

    1. That seam is a feet-killer but the style I have doesn’t have a tongue or that seam so they have been comfortable from day one. I have read loads of tips on fixing that seam pain from the 1460s, but it all seems like really hard work.

  3. I am a big fan of Dr. Martens. Breaking in them was not a problem for me. Would you please tell me the name of the store?

  4. I wore Dr Martens for several years, but they stopped making shoes in my size (4 1/2) so that was that. I’m currently “breaking in” my first pair of Solovair which is a very similar brand and which does do half-sizes. I’ve realised over the years that shoes which are comfortable from the start tend to end up getting too sloppy and the ones which are a bit more trouble to begin with soften to become the most-used items in the long run.

    1. I have always wanted a pair of Solovairs. They are made in the original Dr Marten’s factory, right? I have heard that the leather is much better than the new Dr. Martens produced in Asia. I agree with you about boots – my favourite Frye boots were such a (literal) pain to break in, but now I can walk in them for 5 or more hours!

      1. It is… I just spent the last couple of hours looking at tips on how to stretch them and I just added tons of “wonder balsam” and added a ball in each shoe and I’m going to leave it overnight and we’ll see what happens. This is why your post attracted me so much: the lack of seam and shoelaces… I may also try and keep walking with them until they work. My first pair ripped off the flesh (yes, the flesh!) off the back of my ankles but once this was done, they were as comfortable as slippers!… My last recourse will be to get a pair like yours!…

      2. The history seems to be complicated so it’s probably safest to just say Dr Martens and Solovair have some shared DNA. Solovair are still made entirely in the UK.

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