How to Break In Your Doc Martens

Hayley Williams of Paramore wears her Docs to a concert in New York City.
... Jason Kempin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

You've scooped up the perfect pair of Doc Martens, picked out an outfit to match, and you can't wait to take your brand-new kicks out for a spin. But after wearing your new Docs for just a short while, the stiff material begins to run your feet through the wringer, giving you pain or blistering. Avoid this shoe bummer and make comfort your top priority by doing a test run to find out exactly where the shoes or boots need to be broken in. Your feet will surely thank you.

Wear a pair of thick, damp, wool socks with your new Dr. Martens. The moisture combined with the heavy material of the socks will stretch the shoes' leather, making it less stiff.

Insert a water-filled zip-top bag inside each shoe or boot and leave them to sit in the freezer overnight. The water will freeze, causing the bag to expand and stretch out the shoes' leather.

Purchase moleskin padding from a drugstore or shoe repair shop. Place the moleskin on the parts of your feet that are being rubbed by the shoes, then soak your feet and the moleskin together in water. The moleskin will expand to create a thicker barrier between your feet and the most uncomfortable parts of your Dr. Martens. Put the shoes on, and wear them around so that the expanded moleskin can gradually stretch out the areas of the shoes that are too tight.

Rub medium to course sandpaper briskly over the soles of your Dr. Martens until the soles are thoroughly scuffed. This will stop you from sliding on slippery surfaces when you first wear the shoes.

  • Wearing shoes before they have been broken in can cause painful blisters. Take care to treat blisters properly to ensure a speedy healing process. Protect the blisters with an adhesive bandage to prevent shoe friction that could cause them to break or worsen. If the blisters do break, disinfect them before covering them with a fresh adhesive bandage.
  • Always test your new Dr. Martens by wearing them at home before wearing them out. This will give you a good indication of any adjustments that need to be made to make them more comfortable.

Leigh Shan has been writing about beauty, health, fitness, home and small businesses since 2007. Her work has been published in "The Queens Courier," "Queens Business Today" and "The Real Deal" newspapers, as well as "The World Scholar" magazine. Shan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Fordham University in New York City.