What color are these Dr. Martens?
December 25, 2009 6:52 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone recognize the exact color of these Doc Martens?

The ones in that photo look like a nice stiff leather, and I really like the color. I ordered a pair from Zappos that I thought were the same ones, at least very close (I ordered 'Dark Brown California'), but the leather is really soft (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) and the color isn't exactly the same.

Am I going to have to get a pair of the more expensive vintage DMs to get what I'm looking for? Or does Zappos just not have the color I want?
posted by Venadium to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm going to vote for Bark Grizzly, because these look very similar to my shoes which are that, and that's still an available color. As far as leather texture, I don't know. I've never had boots from them, just shoes.
posted by larkspur at 7:23 AM on December 25, 2009

There's a crazy wide range of the 'traditional' 1460 8-eyes from DM these days. The 'California' seems to show up as 'Materials Update' series, while the Bark Grizzly seems to be 'Originals' - that might explain the difference from leather you were expecting. Also, the ones in the pic look to have a little bit of age and some real polish and love.
posted by pupdog at 7:34 AM on December 25, 2009

Response by poster: Yeah they're definitely well broken-in and probably polished, I'm not sure they're the Bark Grizzly ones though, as those look to have a lot more texture than the ones in that Flickr photo. Though I guess that could be due to wear and tear. Also, on the Doc Martens online store, the Bark Grizzly ones also show up as part of the 'Materials Update' series.

I'm thinking these might be a closer match, though I'm still not completely sure. I could just send the Flickr user a message or something but they haven't uploaded anything in almost 4 years now so I wouldn't expect a response any time soon.
posted by Venadium at 7:51 AM on December 25, 2009

My university roommate had that exact shade and style of boots for years, what a blast from the past! Hers had the same pale laces, so that might be a clue. And definitely, the texture and colour variances on the Flickr boots is due to their being broken-in and well-polished.

That said, I think the Zeniths you linked to above look very close- maybe they're slightly redder? And of course the laces are darker, so they may not be the exact style... but I don't see any on the site with the same laces as the ones in the Flickr photo, so the Zeniths are probably the closest match.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:10 AM on December 25, 2009

I had those! They originally had a matte finish--indeed, a co-worker who was much more fashionable than me teased me when I showed up after trying to buff them a bit to hid scuffs. I bought them in 1995 or so. I don't remember anything beyond that.
posted by maxwelton at 10:18 AM on December 25, 2009

Response by poster: Is it possible these are 'Aztec Crazy Horse' boots? (the pictures on Zappos.com show them to be a bit darker) The laces match, but I'm not sure about the texture of the leather. What would happen if you were to apply polish to 'crazy horse' leather?
posted by Venadium at 11:59 AM on December 25, 2009

One thing that caught my eye is that the tongue reads "Made in England", which means they're either from the recent Made In England collection or they're pretty old, since Docs haven't been made in England (except for that collection) since 2003. I'm pretty sure you're looking at someone's labour of love there.

If you do want to try to do the same, don't get the Crazy Horse which is oiled leather. Maybe start with these, and then a lot of stripping polish and antiquing (or maybe just wearing the hell out of them and polishing well when necessary).

I believe the "Vintage" 1460s are only in black and cherry.
posted by mendel at 12:57 PM on December 25, 2009

Ah yeah, here's the before picture from that flickr set. And since the picture was taken in 2005, that predates the "Made In England" collection, which means those are definitely pre-2003 Docs.
posted by mendel at 1:18 PM on December 25, 2009

Best answer: From looking at mendel's before link posted above, I can tell you with confidence the boots are aztec crazy horse. (I worked for Dr. Martens for over eleven years)
posted by garden hoe at 4:59 PM on December 25, 2009

Response by poster: That's excellent news garden hoe, because I ordered the last pair of those in my size from Zappos before I came back here and saw mendel's first comment. Any idea what kind of particular treatment or shine someone would use to turn the crazy horse leather all dark and shiny like that? Or will that just come from wearing and breaking them in over time?
posted by Venadium at 5:25 PM on December 25, 2009

Best answer: Applying the DM wonder balsam would turn the leather dark and shiny. If you do use it, apply it lightly as the aztec leather is very absorbent. The natural oil on your fingers can rub out scuffs on this type of leather so normally the balsam is not recommended, but if you are looking to change the appearance of the leather, go for it!
posted by garden hoe at 6:27 PM on December 25, 2009

Response by poster: Perfect, thanks! I may just wear them as they are for a while to see how they break in on their own, but I do obviously really like the way they look in those Flickr photos as well. Thanks again!
posted by Venadium at 7:31 PM on December 25, 2009

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