Whether you’re a chunky, combat boots type of person or you just finished rewatching the Vogue World Runway, you might be considering biting the bullet and spending the big bucks on a pair of Doc Martens. Whatever the case might be, “How long do Doc Martens last?” seems to be one of those questions everyone asks sooner or later.
Of course, when you’re planning on spending that much money on footwear, you’re guaranteed to spend hours on end researching step-by-step shopping guides, customer reviews, and Reddit threads.
Doc Martens do promise longevity, durability, and comfort, but how can we trust the company that offered a lifetime guarantee for quite some time only to mysteriously retrieve the offer a couple of years ago?
On the other hand, you can’t help but desire Dr. Martens 1460 Pascal max platform combat boots or Dr. Martens Jadon max chain platform boots after witnessing a myriad of supermodels strutting them on the runway.
Worry not, we’re bringing you everything you need to know about the longevity of everyone’s favorite fashion statement – Doc Martens.
How long do Doc Martens last?
Before we can answer the “how long do Doc Martens last” question, we need to brush over the history of the Doc Martens brand.
Though that might sound strange, the history of the brand can shed light on the problems that appeared over the years when we’re talking about the longevity of Doc Martens footwear.
First off, Doc Martens appeared on the market around the 1960s promising to redefine what constitutes a high-quality, durable, and comfortable work boot. (As well as shake up the footwear industry in the process.)
So, Doc Martens came out with innovative designs such as air-cushioned soles and a unique construction that gave them a competitive edge.
Sooner than they expected, factory workers and government workers started purchasing them left and right (understandably so, considering these Docs didn’t cost more than $3).
To make things even better, Doc Martens were more durable than anything these workers had seen before, and they became better with wear. At first, they even offered a lifetime guarantee on the durability of Doc Martens.
However, over time, the production became more and more expensive, threatening to bankrupt the company. Around the 2000s, the Doc Martens company started switching things up to ensure they don’t close down.
After a while, some of the die-hard fans noticed they were no longer offering the lifetime warranty and started questioning how long Doc Martens actually last.
Here’s the tea – even though the company has shifted some of the policies, moved the production to Asia, and scraped off the lifetime guarantee, they kept the original production methods.
Sure, your Doc Martens might not last forever, but they’re guaranteed to last a long time as long as you take good care of them. How do you do that, though?
How to make your Doc Martens last longer?
Now that we know that Doc Martens shoes have durability written all over them, we can proceed to learn what we (as consumers) can do to ensure we’re not the ones to blame when we break the soles or tear the laces.
Needless to say, Doc Martens can serve whatever purpose we need them to serve when we take good care of them. Truth be told, there are too many factors that can affect the longevity of Doc Martens’ life.
Doc Martens are made with leather and rubber, and they can get damaged when they’re exposed to different elements. Placing them under direct sunlight, for example, can cause creases and cracks.
Exposing them to excessive moisture, water, or snow can cause them to break apart, get moldy, or even start smelling super, super funky. What does that mean?!
When you take proper care of your Doc Martens, you’re guaranteed to have them for years to come because there’s no reason for them to break apart.
Actually, the company offers a one-year guarantee against manufacturing defects (which doesn’t sound that long). And, they’re rumored to last up to twenty years when taken care of. Here’s how you can do the same thing.
1. Get the right ones for you
Though you might not have thought about that before, different styles of Doc Martens behave differently. Nowadays, the brand offers a myriad of styles to choose from – boots, Oxfords, loafers, Mary Janes, platform shoes, sandals, slides, and slingbacks.
But, you should also understand that the more you wear your shoes, the more you’re bound to wear them out. You might even wear them out on the off chance that you don’t get the right size or the right fit.
When you’re wearing shoes that are a little small, for example, you risk having them break apart around the stitches. When you’re wearing shoes that are too big, on the other hand, you risk having them crease or crack around the areas that are too loose.
Therefore, make sure you get the right style and the right size for you.
2. Break them in without damaging them
Granted that you’ve owned Doc Martens before, you know the blood, sweat, and tears needed to break them in without breaking them apart.
Surprisingly, that’s one of the biggest steps you need to take to ensure the longevity of your Doc Martens. How do you do that, then?
Firstly, nothing’s stopping you from shopping for pre-worn and pre-loved Doc Martens. Or, you can take the other route and get creative. Layer up on socks and wear your Doc Martens around the apartment to make them wider.
Wear them out occasionally to give your feet enough time to get better, but don’t wear them without heaps of bandages on your feet. Use your hairdryer to warm them up before you stretch them out manually.
And, apply plenty of leather conditioner (or even oils) to soften them up. Other than that, you need to remain calm, collected, and patient. Once you get them going, they’re bound to become your favorite shoes ever.
3. Clean them
That’s right, cleaning your Doc Martens regularly is a must! Whether you’re not a fan of wearing dirty Docs or you’re scared of getting them damaged, you’re probably better off cleaning them each time you wear them.
We would suggest you always keep a damp cloth or a paper cloth on hand to wipe them down the moment you notice they’re getting dirty.
Other than that, you should clean them thoroughly every couple of months to ensure they aren’t collecting dust particles, moisture, or even mold. Remove the laces and wash them with soap and warm water.
Wipe the shoes down with a damp cloth, and then go over them with a leather cleaner to ensure you cleaned them properly. And voilà, you’re done!
4. Condition them
Considering we’re trying to answer the “How long do Doc Martens last?” question, we’re excused to go a little overboard. While conditioning and polishing might sound like a little much, these two steps are guaranteed to make your Docs survive and thrive for years and years to come.
Docs are made from leather, and leather generally needs to be taken care of, conditioned, and polished to last longer. Hence, get your hands on leather conditioner and slather a liberal amount on your Docs. And, make sure you massage the conditioner for a better effect.
When you do that, leave your shoes to dry for twenty minutes or so. Once they’re dry, buff them with a cloth or a brush to remove the excess conditioner. Repeat the process whenever you notice they’re getting creases and cracks.
5. Polish them
On one hand, conditioner brings life back to your Docs. On the other, polish protects them from outside factors, helps cover up scuffs and marks, and adds back some of that shine and beauty they’re known for.
And, Dr. Martens offers shoe polish that’s designed to work with Docs.
Always polish your shoes after you’re done cleaning them (and conditioning them). Scoop some polish with a dry cloth, apply a layer across the shoe, and pay extra attention to scuffs and marks.
When you’re done spreading the polish, wipe the excess off with another cloth. And, when you’re done doing that, buff them with a brush for added shine. As a matter of fact, you can always head over to the official Dr. Martens website and check the products and shoe care sets they offer.
6. Waterproof them
Docs aren’t actually waterproof, and they never marketed any of the shoe styles they offer as waterproof. Most Dr. Martens shoes have a high degree of water resistance, but they would have to have a breathable, water-wicking membrane within the fabric to be considered waterproof.
Walking through puddles shouldn’t make your feet wet, but anything more than that might damage the leather. Waterproofing your Docs shouldn’t be a problem, though. Spray them with a waterproofing spray, focus on the seams, and allow them to dry.
Other than that, apply a layer of wax for added protection and you’re good to go. Dr. Martens offers both of these products, but you can get them from other shoe stores, too.
7. Store them the right way
Docs are made from leather which means you need to store them the right way to ensure they don’t break apart or get damaged while you’re not wearing them.
Leather creases easily. And, it also gets moldy when stored somewhere where there’s water, as well as damaged when exposed to too much heat or light.
How do you make your Docs last longer, then? Make sure you store them somewhere dark, dry, and safe. When you’re storing them somewhere you don’t go that often, don’t forget to wrap them or pack them before you put them away.
When you’re displaying them on a shelf, make sure that they’re not exposed to direct sunlight. Other than that, they shouldn’t be damaged once you want to wear them again.
8. Replace the soles when necessary
Here’s the thing, no matter how hard you try to keep them as good as new, there’s going to come a time when your Docs need to get a makeover.
Whether you’re wondering how you can re-sole them yourself or how you can get the company to re-sole them for you, treating your Docs to new soles can be a great way to restore the beauty they once had.
First off, Docs are pretty hard to re-sole because they have a soft, cushioned sole, unlike other chunky, combat boots which typically have hard, leather soles. Other than that, these soles are fused with adhesives which makes sole replacement challenging, to say the least.
But, the soles are replaceable. And, you should replace them when they get damaged to prolong your Docs’ life. Do that by going to an experienced cobbler or contacting Dr. Martens’s customer service.
9. Replace the laces when necessary
“How long do Doc Martens last?”, you ask. When you re-sole them, you can expect them to last longer because you changed (or better yet, improved) one of the key features they have. When you replace the laces, you can expect them to look newer and better.
But, you can also expect to wear them longer than you would because you wouldn’t necessarily wear them without the laces (right?).
What are we trying to say? Whether you’re planning on replacing your shoelaces because they’re damaged, ripped, or dirty or you’re going for a different look, new shoelaces can change the way you see your old Docs. Sure, shoelaces won’t make them more durable.
However, they’re guaranteed to make them more wearable. And, that’s always a plus.
10. Get another pair of Docs
We’re ending the “How long do Doc Martens last?” research with quite an odd take. We’ve already talked your ears off about different factors that can affect the answer to your question. We even talked about different things you can do to ensure your Docs live a long life.
But, when your Docs are the only shoes you wear every day wherever you go, they’re bound to break down sooner. Hence, one of the best ways to preserve them seems to be pretty straightforward – alternate between two (or even three) pairs of Docs and you won’t wear them out as quickly.
Doc Martens can last a long time, but they, unfortunately, can’t last forever.