Tricks and tips for quickly breaking in a new pair of Doc Martens.
September 23, 2004 11:24 AM   Subscribe

Tricks and tips for quickly breaking in a new pair of Doc Martens. Love the boots, am crying from the blisters on my heels.
posted by Katemonkey to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
assuming you bought the right size (this is not always the case, unfortunately: try going to a shoe store where they have that weird ruler thingie to measure your actual foot size), you can try to soften them with a -- not too greasy -- cream (wax, not acrylic based).
then when you're not wearing them stuff newspaper inside of them to stretch out the leather.
(and remember to put disinfectant and bandaids on those blisters)
posted by matteo at 11:42 AM on September 23, 2004

(or, just have a manservant wear them for you for a while, to break them in)
posted by matteo at 11:43 AM on September 23, 2004

that weird ruler thingie to measure your actual foot size

The infamous Brannock Device.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 11:51 AM on September 23, 2004

right on
posted by matteo at 12:06 PM on September 23, 2004

I have heard rumors of people soaking them in water, which in some way changes the leather and makes them more comfortable.

Or you could suck it up and just deal with the blisters until they're broken in. :)
posted by falconred at 12:08 PM on September 23, 2004

I have always used alcohol to break in leather boots.

These steps aren't too unlike what I do.
posted by majick at 12:23 PM on September 23, 2004

My father used this method to break in his work boots for years: Get them wet and walk in them until they are dry (he obviously wasn't working behind a desk though).
posted by trox at 12:27 PM on September 23, 2004

I've gotten them damp, not wet, by throwing some damp towels over them for a while, then wearing them around.

I've often felt you should be able to hire 15 year old punk rockers to do this for you...
posted by JoanArkham at 12:57 PM on September 23, 2004 [1 favorite]

Good grief, people! It's a very simple, nine-step process:

1) Get some heavy twine; the kind the post office sells.
2) Wet the boots with mink oil or lether balm - you want to soften the outer shell without distorting or damaging the leather.
3) Wrap the still-moistened boots up in an old toel or bedsheet. Secure the cloth with twine.
4) Strike the boots repeatedly with a heavy rubber mallet, sledgehammer, or large rock. Be sure there's only enough cloth around the boots to prevent scuffing.
5) Untie twine and extract the boots. Wipe off any remaining oil/balm.
6) Scrunch the boots up, in such a way that the toe end curls back toward the upper laces. It'll take time and a fair amount of effort, at first, but it'll get easier. Cover with cloth again and retwine as best as possible. Use c-clamps of a wood vice, if available. Again, be sure to place a soft cloth between the clamps and the boots.
7) Strike again with mallet, making sure this time to use softer blows.
8) Untie/unclamp. Test-fit boots for comfort.
9) Repeat steps 2-onward, until desired effect is attained.

Depending upon time & effort, it should take anywhere from 3-4 days to maybe a week.
posted by Smart Dalek at 12:59 PM on September 23, 2004 [2 favorites]

If you want them to last, you need to moisturize them with a leather cream after you wet them, wetting without moisturizing drastically shortens the life of the leather. I've broken in many pairs of leather boots by cleaning them with saddle soap, then moisturizing them very well, and just wearing them around the house for a few days (you do the cleaning and moisturizing before each wearing). If you have a tack shop near you, get a leather cream for horse tack and riding boots, it's cheaper and better than what you get in shoe store - or order some online - don't use oil. Also, if you must wear them right now, get a couple of neoprene ankle braces from the drug store, they normally cover the areas most affected by blisters, so you can wear the boots fairly comfortably while they're breaking in (I have done this many times with riding boots).
posted by biscotti at 12:59 PM on September 23, 2004

Good god, I never imagined there could be so much complication involved. I just start wearing 'em and slap patches of moleskin onto anything that hurts.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:36 PM on September 23, 2004

If I can manage it I try to sleep in new boots for at least one night and effectively wear them for a solid 48 hour period (taking them off only to shower, etc). Probably doesn't do anything, but they seem to fit better afterwards.
posted by mmcg at 4:19 PM on September 23, 2004 [1 favorite]

We would run ours over with the car and then put lighter fluid on them and set them on fire to get that lived in look and feel. Then again, that was in high school.
posted by jessamyn at 4:35 PM on September 23, 2004 [1 favorite]

My husband says: rub them really well with mink oil, put on a nice thick pair of work socks, and wear them for two days straight. He says the work socks should be thick enough that so you won't get blisters, and that he used to wear his to bed to speed up the process.

I personally would not make such a sacrifice for fashion as to wear my boots to bed, but I don't think he's done this breaking-in process since he was a teenager. ;)
posted by Melinika at 4:48 PM on September 23, 2004

My father, a postman, always used trox's method.
Me, I swear by dubbin. I also find alcohol helps. I don't put it on the boots.
posted by monkey closet at 1:33 AM on September 24, 2004

« Older Bungee Jumping   |   Sweet! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.