The history of Doc Martens iconic boots and why they now suck

Never been a sucker for à la mode shoes, including Doc Martens. I tried them but they did not fit me.
Now that I’m closer to my first century than my twenties (since today!), there’s only one criteria for me: comfort when walking, and being water proof.
Two criteria, in fact: comfort when walking, being water proof and a Vibram sole.

This has been my daily drive (summer, winter, work, leisure) for some years now:

It’s the most comfortable shoe I ever had. Going to need a new sole soon, at 10-25 km a day…
I admit I’m lucky the dress code where I work is more or less just “clothes not optional”.

And this for slightly more serious walking/hiking/trekking (the discontinued GTX II model, in fact):

The only time I bought a son and daughter approved pair of shoes, it lasted me three months - Nike, BTW.

I’ve rocked Doc Martens pretty exclusively since the mid-eighties. They are not what they once were, but I had switched to the vegan ones when they started offering them.

If anyone knows of a vegan boot in the style from another company that is better made I’d love to try them.

For some reason, Vasques never really fit me. My heels are too wide for their lasts. If they fit properly across the balls of my feet, the heels are too tight. If the heels fit, they end up with a huge dimple in front of the laces when I tighten them up.

I am speechless at that interaction. She should have been fired for that. She probably got promoted, but should have been fired.


Same here. The soles are definitely the weak point and the wear seems pretty normal for their price range, but I wear them absolutely everywhere. My first pair was a gift to myself with my first salaried job as a distiller. The were absolutely brutalized with daily soakings in water and alcohol (I was not as disciplined back then). The leather got pretty nasty within the year, which led me to discover Obenauf’s Leather Protectant made from beeswax and propolis and created by a woodland firefighter. It is miraculous. With one application, the leather went from hard and brittle to more supple and flexible than when they were new. I think that also has a lot to do with why my soles always wear out first because that stuff is incredible. I used to give my crew cans of it for Christmas.

Have Blundstones become hip where you are, too? Here they are the current hipster boot, which is kind of annoying as I assume at some point the quality will take a hit as they try to keep up with demand. So far my newest pair is holding up well and the Youtube channel posted seemed to concur that they are a good value for the cost (which used to be about half the current price!).

edited for clarity.


I’m in England, and I couldn’t find them for the first few years I lived here. I still don’t really see them in store, I bought my last pair online. In Toronto, where I used to live, they had become quite popular. A good year-rounder if you buy a pair with enough space for nice wool socks.

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They’re all being shipped to the Hudson Valley so people can roll up their pants legs and show them off!

I’ve always bought them online because they’ve always been exclusively available in bougie shops and there was a good 25% markup because rich people bought them. There used to be a discount retailer in Manhattan that would ship them to me for less than $100 including delivery. That was nice while it lasted.

Extra :heart: for that! I’ve gotten to the point where I wear thinner wool socks in the summer when I’m not wearing flip-flops. Nothing has ever been cozier than a nice wool sock inside a Blundstone boot.

BTW, I’m not sure if these are available in the UK, but there is a relatively little-known sock maker in Vermont that offers a lifetime warranty for the best socks I’ve ever owned. I also really like LL Bean’s “Cresta” sock and found those two to be the most durable and comfortable brands. Blundstone, Obenaufs and Darn Tough is a winning combo!


Never really got any doc martins, because I have wide rectangles for feet and getting stuff that fits is a pain. (sometimes literally)

I have nothing further to add than “Old punks don’t die, they just swap their Doc Martins for Doc Scholl’s.” (Dr. Scholl’s has a division or a licensed partner company that makes decent boots and shoes with the insoles in them.)

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