A Buyer’s Guide to Dr. Martens

Today recognised as one of the United Kingdom’s most iconic footwear brands, Dr. Martens established its reputation creating robust, practical boots with comfort and durability in mind. Embraced by the working classes upon their UK release in 1960, Dr. Martens were later picked up by punks rebelling against consumerist culture in the late ’60s and ’70s. Ever since Dr. Martens has become synonymous with rebellion, counterculture and the British working classes.

Here, AllSole offers a comprehensive guide to one of Britain’s best-loved shoemakers and answers your question about the brand and its shoes.

How do I break in Dr. Martens?

  • First of all you need to ease yourself in – start by walking around on soft indoor surfaces and getting used to feel. Do this every other day for best results.
  • Soften the boots with the Dr Martens’ Wonder Balsam. The blend of cocounut oil, lanolin and beeswax will hydrate and ease the leather and soften gently.
  • Remove the inner sole if you’re finding that you’re feeling pressure on the top of your foot when walking, or if they feel too tight.
  • If loose, wear thick socks. This can also be a great way to stretch the leather whilst protecting your feet and ankles to.
  • Never socak them in water as this will loosen sticking and over time, may crack the leather.

Do Dr. Martens shoes run big, small or true-to-size?

Dr. Martens can differ in size and this depends on the last that the shoe has been made with, therefore sizing depends on the style you are buying.

We would suggest that you try the footwear on and if they are found to be unsuitable, we are more than happy to process a full refund for the shoes providing that the order is returned in the required condition. You can then place a new order for the correct size.

If you are between sizes, then you may benefit from using an insole in the larger size.

How can I waterproof my Dr. Martens?

Although Dr. Martens shoes and boots are not completely waterproof, they are designed to withstand the elements in moderation.

To enhance water-resistance for your Dr. Martens, we recommend applying a protective shoe oil such as Dr. Martens’ own Wonder Balsam. The Balsam is created from a unique blend of coconut oil, lanolin and beeswax which works to protect the leather against water, liquid and salt marks. The Wonder Balsam will also moisturise the leather and helps prevent cracking.

How do I clean my Dr. Martens?

This would depend on the material that your footwear is made from.

Generally for leather Dr. Martens products we would recommend a fully clean, conditioning and polish every 3-4 months. Please see above for detailed instructions on this process.

How should I polish my Dr. Martens?

  1. Clean the Shoes: Remove your laces, and begin to clean each section of your shoe using warm water and liquid soap, starting with the sole and working your way to the upper. To clean, use a damp cloth, shoe brush and toothbrush to access more difficult areas such as around the eyelets.
  2. Condition the Leather: Using a premium leather conditioner such as the Dr. Martens Wonder Basalm, massage the conditioner into your Dr. Martens using a cloth or sponge. This will help to prevent the leather from drying up, cracking and losing its durability, keeping the leather soft and comfortable to wear.
  3. Polish: Again using a quality polish matched to the colour of your leather (Dr. Martens produces its own range of polishes which are highly recommended), apply the polish to your shoes using a cloth to rub the polish onto the shoes in a circular motion that will warm the wax and make it easier to apply the polish.
  4. Leave to Rest: Once you have finished polishing your shoes, allow the polish to sit on your shoes for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Buff: Using a shoe brush, gently buff the leather all over to work the polish into the leather and remove any excess polish simultaneously.
  6. Shine: Using a clean nylon cloth and the mirror shine technique, buff the leather to a shine while also removing any dust and excess polish.

Can I resole my Dr. Martens?

The iconic Dr. Martens AirWair sole is famous for its hardwearing durability and should only need to be resoled in extreme circumstances.

Since most Dr. Martens boots are one-piece moulded, they would need to be returned to the factory for an entire new sole to be stitched on. If your shoes require resoling due to sudden unexpected damage, we recommend contacting the brand with information about your shoes to see if they may be repaired.

Where are Dr. Martens made in England?

Dr. Martens has produced its iconic shoes and boots from its Cobbs Lane factory in Wollaston, Northampton since 1960 and the factory remains in operation today.

Until recently all Dr. Martens shoes and boots were made in England at the brand’s Wollaston factory, but the brand now also outsources production to various factories around the world.

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How can you style Dr. Martens boots?

The iconic Dr. Martens boot is undoubtedly one of the most versatile footwear silhouettes of all time and has been styled by everyone from factory workers to punk rockers during its 57-year lifetime. More recently fashion influencers and bloggers have demonstrated the timeless quality of the Dr. Martens collection by styling them with everything from tailored suits to more casual jeans and tees.

For inspiration on how to style your Dr. Martens, check out our blogger style editorial which sees four influential bloggers style the collection or read our exclusive interview with blogger Bitchin’ Blonde which sees her style the classic 1460 boot.

How long do Dr. Martens last?

Dr. Martens boots are famous for their durability and many of its wearers attest to their boots lasting for up to 20 years and even longer. When properly cared for, Dr. Martens boots can last a lifetime.

Indeed the brand is so sure of the quality, craftsmanship and robustness of its shoes that it now also offers the For Life collection, which comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Is the Dr. Martens AirWair sole slip resistant?

Dr. Martens products are oil, fat, acid, petrol and alkali resistant.

Are Dr. Martens unisex?

Yes. But bare in mind that men’s sizes do come up slightly larger.

What Dr. Martens should I get?

We stock a wide range of men’s, women’s and children’s Dr. Martens shoes here at AllSole, with a style perfect for everyone.

If you are yet to discover the Dr. Martens range, we recommend beginning with one of the brand’s most famous silhouettes such as the 1461 8-eye shoe or the 1460 boot.

You can discover the full collection online at AllSole.

Are Dr. Martens suitable in a kitchen environment?

Dr. Martens footwear, with its PVC air-cushioned soles, is known for both its comfort and durability. It is, however, wear-tested in a street environment, not in a kitchen environment.

Fats such as cooking oils and greases used in kitchens are very aggressive on all types of footwear, including Dr.  Martens. If shoes are intended for this environment, we suggest special care. Washing the soles off daily with warm water and a grease-cutting soap (i.e. Dawn, Palmolive, etc.) and ensuring that the uppers are cleaned and protected may help footwear last longer in the kitchen environment.

Dr Marten’s soles are oil, fat, acid, petrol, alkali RESISTANT, but not PROOF.

Where is the Dr. Martens factory shop?

Tracing its roots back to post-WWII Northampton, the Dr. Martens factory shop is located in the brand’s hometown of Wollaston just 10 miles east of Northampton at the below address:

Doc Shop
71 High Street
NN29 7QE


Olivia Seed

Olivia Seed


A minimalist fashion fan with high interests in the odd print or check. Constantly trying to make my home look like a catalogue; you can find me shopping for cute bedding, candles and other Instagrammable interior accessories.