Earlier this year, I began facing some problems due to my serving job. My knee caps began shifting, my feet had corns, and hip muscles hurt often. I was wearing Merrell’s on a daily basis, which I thought were a pretty good shoe at the time for my high arches. I was combing the internet for a comfort shoe with good arch support when I remembered a pair of sturdy shoes I had owned years ago but never wore more than once: Dr. Martens.
Notoriously hard to break-in, I remembered that I hadn’t even worn my pair a second time because they were so stiff and I was afraid of blisters…and lamely, they were only the canvas type.
I did remember why I had bought them in the first place- they seemed much more well-constructed than most shoes I had come across. I have tried most comfort shoe brands in my life: Alegria, Dansko. Merrell, Keen, Earth Origins, Brooks. None ever helped my arch pain or leg pain for long, and usually wore out within a year.
Upon remembering this, I decided to order of pair of Dr. Martens in the mary jane style and black patent leather. I would give them another try, because I doubted a weaker shoe could minimize my leg pain.
I was pretty nervous about breaking them in, so I scoured the internet far and wide for a sure-fire way to do it quickly – by which I mean that I read all the way to the third page of Google’s search results. I found some pretty drastic suggestions on how to break them in and then realized that being hasty would probably hurt them more than it would help me. I decided to break them in the old-fashioned way, and I successfully did so with no blisters.
And so, I’ve compiled a short and simple list of what to know when breaking-in your first pair of brand new Dr. Martens 🙂
- Don’t do anything that might damage them. When I googled ” how to break in Dr. Martens” , I came across Youtubers and bloggers suggesting some drastic methods to loosen the leather- such as pounding the shoes with a hammer or soaking them in hot water. I think a lot of this is born from a lack of patience, and a few generations that are used to cheap mall shoes that are made of fabric instead of patent leather. At any rate, not only will pounding the shoes obviously create scruffs and creases in the leather, the method is completely unnecessary. I trust that I don’t need to explain why soaking leather shoes in hot water would be a bad idea.
- Don’t be afraid of how stiff they are at first, and don’t be afraid to wear them often in the beginning. Yes, they might give you blisters, but well-made shoes will always require breaking in. In fact, if they take weeks to break-in, that bodes very well for the life of the shoe. I recently bought another pair of Dr. Martens at a garage sale that had been worn for 12 years and were still in good enough condition for me to begin wearing them. They just needed a little polishing.
- Do wear socks when wearing them for the first few weeks…or don’t. One of the recommendations I have read online is to wear 2 pairs of socks with the shoes for the first month or 2 to prevent blisters. It’s not a bad idea, except I wasn’t keen to possibly loose circulation in my feet from lack of space. I opted for 1 pair of socks half the time and no socks at all for the other half. I wasn’t very concerned about acquiring blisters given that I was anxious to find out if wearing these shoes was going to help my knees feel better when walking.
- Do wear them to work, if you feel like it. Many people will say that this is a bad idea. I personally was eager to break them in so I wore them to work a 6 hour shift the first day I had them…and I’m sure glad that I did because it helped improve the pain in my knees.
- Do wear them with pride. They’re Dr. Martens, for heaven’s sake! They are a shoe made for comfort and self-expression at the same time. They are informal, and yet, they can enhance any outfit. They are worth your money, worth a few weeks (or months) of breaking-in, and, perhaps most importantly to me, they are a slap in the face of traditional American consumerism that tells us to buy new shoes every 6 months in the name of fast-fashion.
I personally found that my hip pain practically disappears when wearing either of my pairs, and my knees don’t hurt even if I walk a few miles in them! I’m very happy that I jumped in and purchased them, and I hope you will too if you haven’t already.
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