By Jayden Mark
Doc Marten shoes mean different things to different people. With an extensive range of men’s, women’s, and kids boots for just about any occasion, they are certainly very popular. Because the brand is just as popular for casual and office wear, as they are for heavy-duty work, one question is asked more frequently than with most other types of footwear…
Having done a lot of research into the matter and having owned a pair for decades, I can say (without hesitation) that Doc Martens are definitely good work boots. What makes them most appealing, is that they are not only very suitable for a jobsite, they are also boots that you can wear anytime, anywhere.
Doc Martens - Work Boots or Just a Fashion Statement?
I’ll be delving into the facts about the brand, its products, and the company as a whole. If you want to get the full Doc Marten story, keep reading. All the facts you’ll ever need about this iconic brand will be revealed.
Although Doc Martens have gained a very fashionable reputation, they were originally designed as safety boots for work. This legacy has remained true, even as many new trendy styles have hit the market over the years.
When buying any pair of boots, comfort is an important consideration. If you spend all day standing and walking, this aspect becomes all the more relevant. If you’re going to be paying top dollar for high-end work boots, you certainly want them to be comfortable to wear. Especially when you consider that work boots are often more practical than comfortable.
The name Doc Martens is no coincidence, the first Docs were designed over 70-years ago by Dr Klaus Märtens. His primary objective was to make tough general purpose boots that are good for your your feet. People who spend most of the day on their feet, can easily experience issues with raised arches. For this reason, Doc Martens are designed to accommodate raised arches.
Another reason why Docs are considered amongst the most comfortable work boots, are the soft sole with extra spring. The Doc Marten AirWair trademark has become synonymous with therapeutic, ultimately comfortable footwear. This eliminates a lot of the fatigue and orthopedic complications that can result from walking continuously every day.
Looking at the finer details, Docs offer a lot of support to critical areas of your feet. In addition to this, the design and use of high-grade leather have been intended to mold to your feet, making for an extremely comfortable fit. Though, it usually takes a little time before the boots adapt to the unique shape of your feet.
Are Doc Martens Waterproof?
Because most Doc Martens are made from natural leather, which is a porous material, they are not all completely waterproof. While the leather has been treated to provide a fair amount of water resilience, moisture will still enter through the seams.
Classic Docs offer a reasonable amount of comfort in light rain and snow but don’t expect them to keep your feet completely dry in extremely wet conditions. You can always use wax or a waterproof spray to improve water resistance if you want to endure wetter conditions.
If you want fully waterproof Doc Martens, you should consider the Rush model. These are not only 100% waterproof but are also safe for electricians (electrical hazard boots).
Are Doc Martens Non-Slip?
The classic Doc Marten (1460) boots were redesigned in 2001 to include non-slip soles. This added another level of safety when walking on slippery surfaces.
Doc Jadons were designed with GripTrax non-slip soles for ultimate slip-resistant traction. These work boots are also fat and oil resistant. There is a slight drawback to Jadons however, as they are heavier than the classic boots.
Are Doc Martens Durable?
Given the above average price tag of Doc Marten boots, it’s quite understandable that you will want them to last. Before you spend your hard-earned cash on these work boots, you probably want to know how long do Doc Martens last?
A big part of the Doc Marten reputation relies on their near indestructibility. Their legacy is founded in ultimate durability. Most people who own a pair of Docs will tell you that they expect them to last a lifetime. Even in the most rigorous working environments, the work boots tend to last in excess of 20 years.
Are Doc Martens Genuine Safety Boots?
Doc Marten has an extensive range of safety boots meeting all ASTM standards. Styles differ, as do specific safety requirements. Amongst the many options, you can expect any of the following criteria for approved safety work boots:
How Long Does it Take to Break in Doc Martens?
Because of the super-tough thick leather, traditional Doc Martens take about 3 to 6 weeks to break in. Vegan (non-leather) Docs don’t need to be broken in, they are soft and comfortable from day one.
There are a few tried and tested tips for breaking in your Doc Martens:
Can Doc Martens Be Resoled?
Generally, people expect Doc Marten soles to last a lifetime. Though this might not always be the case. Unexpected damage or uneven wearing of the soles might require resoling.
The good news is that Doc Marten soles can be replaced. The bad news is that it is not as easy as with most other boots. Because of the unique AirWair design, Doc soles are fused with adhesion. This means that you will need find a cobbler who specializes in Doc Marten soles for a reliable repair.
Are Doc Martens True to Size?
Finding the correct size Docs can be tricky for some models. Firstly, Doc Martens don’t come in half sizes. If you wear a half-size shoe, you’ll have to size up or down. They are also unisex size. Actually, this means men’s sizes only (D width) which are a little wider than female sizes. Though some models are better suited for ladies’ feet.
Because the designs differ between the many Doc Marten variants, you will need to choose the size according to the design. Here is a basic guide to choosing the best Doc Marten size:
Are Doc Martens Lightweight?
Looking at the chunky rugged design, one would expect Doc Marten boots to be exceptionally heavy. We also expect safety work boots to be on the heavy side. With this in mind, Doc Martens are reasonably lightweight. Men’s size 11 classic Docs weigh 9.6 OZ.
Doc marten also have a range of lightweight boots, shoes, and sandals, which are much lighter than the traditional designs.
Are Doc Martens Expensive?
Compared to most boots, Doc Martens are expensive. Some can cost north of $200, though not all of the models are this expensive.
Because Doc Marten is a premium brand, it will cost more. They also have a loyal following of many years, and these devoted Doc fans will always be prepared to pay extra, simply because of brand loyalty. Obviously, the reputation for quality and durability is the primary reason for Doc Marten prices.
Other factors that influence the price of different Doc Marten styles would be the materials used and country of origin.
Where Can You Buy Doc Martens
Doc Martens is a fairly exclusive brand, so you won’t be able to buy them at any regular department store or shoe retailer. There are Doc Marten stores in many of the larger US cities and most European countries. Though you may not always be able to find a Doc Marten store close to you.
The Doc Marten website is an obvious place to look for their products. There are also several popular e-stores where you can buy Doc Martens, like Amazon and E-Bay.
Where are Doc Martens Made?
The popular notion is that Doc Martens are made in England. It’s true that the Doc Marten design studio is in Camden Town, London, UK, but only a select few styles are actually made in the United Kingdom, and these tend to be more expensive than those made in Asia. Most Dock Martens are made in China or Thailand.
The association with Britain also has a lot to do with the punk movement which started in London during the late 1960s, becoming more popular through 1970s and then spreading to the US. Doc Martens have been a punk fashion statement for many years. As a result, the brand is still seen as ultimately British.
About the Doc Marten Company
While Doc Marten is now a FTSE 250 company, listed on the London stock exchange, its origins are much more humble. It wasn’t even a British company to begin with.
The Doc Marten story begins with Klaus Märtens, a doctor in the German army during World War II. By an ironic twist of fate, an ankle injury inspired Märtens to improvise some improvements to his military boots.
By using soft leather and padded soles (made from tires), he found that it was much easier to walk in the boots that he had redesigned. After the war, many impoverished Germans recovered what they could from abandoned stores and factories. To start manufacturing his new range of boots with cushioned soles, Märtens took leather from a cobbler’s shop.
It took a few years before Märtens formed a partnership with Hebert Funk, establishing a business in Seeshaupt, Germany, to manufacture and sell the new boots. Initially, Doc Marten boots were favored by housewives, seeking comfortable boots to work in. In 1952, they opened a factory in Munich to cope with increasing demand.
To expand the business internationally, R. Griggs Group (a British shoe manufacturer) bought the patent to manufacture the boots in the United Kingdom. To appeal to an English market, the name was changed to Doc Martens and the classic Doc Marten 1460 went into production at their factory in Wollaston, Northamptonshire.
Doc Martens soon became the boot of choice for factory workers, police officers, and postmen. In the 1960s, Docs started to gain some fashionable recognition amongst punks. This was revived by the Grunge fashion of the 1990s.
Despite massive international growth, the Dr Martens company was almost bankrupt in 2000. This led to corporate restructuring. Five UK factories closed and most of the manufacturing was moved to Thailand and China.
Since then, Doc Martens have introduced new designs to appeal to a younger market and has achieved great success. In 2018, the company manufactured 10 million pairs of boots. In 2021, the Dr. Martens Company was valued at 3.7 billion pounds ($4.23 billion).