Many years ago before purchasing my first pair of iconic Doc Martens boots I found myself asking ‘are Doc Martens worth it’?
I consider Doc Martens to be pricey, so I wanted to be sure I was investing in good quality, durable boots that wouldn’t tear my ankles to pieces and end up discarded in the back of my shoe closet. Unfortunately for me I didn’t know anyone at the time who had personally owned Doc Martens so I had to find out for myself.
Over ten years later I consider myself a long term fan of the Doc Martens brand have gone on to own several pairs of Docs, so I have plenty of knowledge to share on these boots nowadays.
In this article I’ll be including my own personal review of these statement boots, including photos and a video to help you get as much information as possible before you get your own pair.
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Are Doc Martens Worth It?
Doc Martens are worth it if you are looking for a durable boot with a timeless fashion style. They are not worth it however if you find heavy boots uncomfortable to wear, or don’t have the patience to properly break them in.
Doc Martens are pretty expensive, so you need to be sure you’ll get good use out of them.
Here is my video review on the Wearably Weird YouTube channel:
Here are some things to consider when deciding whether Docs are worth it for you personally:
- Take a look at your wardrobe and imagine what kind of outfits they would pair well with. If you can instantly picture them with your favourite jeans and feel excited about the pairing then get them!
- What do you intend to wear Doc Martens for? If it’s for work, they make a great boot for being on your feet all day. If it’s to look fashionable then you’re in luck because they never seem to go out of style. However if it’s for serious hiking/exercise then they might not be the best fit (casual walks and running errands is fine!).
- How many years do you want your Doc Martens to last? Durability is an important factor when picking long lasting boots. Docs are made with great quality materials and should last several years when properly cared for. If you are willing to keep them clean and protect the leather from the elements then they should be a great fit for you.
Here’s one more thing to think about…
- What’s your budget? Doc Martens have a range of styles, however they are quite expensive. Check out my below suggestion if you are worried about the cost.
My Personal Doc Martens Review
As I mentioned above I have been wearing Doc Martens for over a decade, so I wanted to include my own review of whether Doc Martens are worth purchasing.
There are a few things to consider here that can make or break your decision to purchase a pair of these expensive boots (to justify the cost):
1. Will they stay in fashion for years to come?
In my experience Doc Martens haven’t gone out of fashion for the years I have been wearing them. I’ve worn them with hundreds of outfits to loads of different events – music gigs, to work, on dates, you name it!
They are a timelessly cool boot that have stood the test of ever changing fashion trends cycles for decades. In my opinion this makes them a safe bet if you are looking for a new wardrobe staple. This goes for both men and women!
Docs have been around since 1947, when they were originally founded. That’s a long time for a boot style to stay popular. They started to appear in the UK in the 1960s as working boots made for tough jobs, with acid resistant soles, making them an ideal footwear choice for multiple blue collar workers.
Over time Doc Martens moved away from being primarily used as a working boot and became a fashion statement for alternative dressers, like punks and rockers. In the 1990s they were synonymous with the grunge aesthetic, and gained a cult following in the edgy fashion world.
Today they are associated with similar grungy, punk themes and add a cool twist to many different outfits. Personally I like to keep it simple and style my Docs with cuffed jeans and a plain white t-shirt, for a timeless look.
2. Are they going to fit properly and will they be comfortable?
Making sure you like how Doc Martens feel when worn is key to making them worth the money, or else they may end up discarded in the back of a closet somewhere.
It seems obvious that we all want to get the most enjoyment and use possible out of our shoes and boots, but many fail to think about all the different factors they may go into their fit and comfort (like how heavy they feel to wear).
First, making sure you get the sizing right is really important. My Doc Martens fit me perfectly; both the pair I’ve owned for 15 years and the newer pairs I’ve bought over the years. This is because I took the time to make sure I got the sizing right, by measuring my feet against a Doc Martens size chart.
I have a full guide (and chart) on how to get this right below:
In terms of comfort and how heavy they feel to wear expect them to feel a little clunky at first until you get used to them. They will be heavier than your sneakers, and a little more similar to the weight and feel of chunky walking boots.
I don’t mind the weight of my Docs personally, and this has never affected my decision to purchase more pairs.
In my experience once broken in they are super comfortable, so stick with them. The leather will soften with wear (the vegan leather softens much quicker as an FYI).
If you’re wanting to wear them in snowy or wet weather, making sure they are waterproof enough for your needs also factors into their comfort.
For more in depth answers to the above I have written full guides here, including breakdowns of the different Doc Martens models:
3. Are Doc Martens Durable?
Doc Martens are durable boots that can handle tough wear. As long as they are properly cared for the quality materials the boots are made with (leather and thick soles) can withstand decades of use.
My first pair of Docs are still going strong after 15 years of use, and the soles have never been replaced. The leather is still super tough and durable, despite having a few age related creases, as pictured below:
One thing worth noting however is Doc Martens no longer offer a lifetime guarantee (source).
This worries me slightly for two reasons.
My first reason is, in 2002 Doc Martens moved 98% of their production to Asia, and whilst they deny a drop in the quality and durability of their boots I often find my newer pairs of Docs don’t feel as tough as my old pair.
It seems their quality is decreasing very slightly year on year, but that’s just my opinion.
My second reason is obvious – without a lifetime guarantee Doc Martens are a less attractive purchase, and seem a little less ‘worth it’. I love insurance, and insure many aspects of my life, from my home to my health.
If I see a lifetime guarantee on my footwear, I’ll take it. It’s a shame Docs no longer come with this.
4. Overall, are Doc Martens Worth The Money?
Doc Martens are worth the money if you are looking for a boot that will stay in fashion for decades, feels like a second skin when broken in and can handle several years of tough wear.
So let’s look at all of my above points and see if individually they are worth the cost of Doc Martens, then we’ll do a final tally:
- Will they stay in fashion for years to come? My bet is yes, and for fashion purposes Doc Martens are certainly worth the money. They are timeless and have been around for over half a century.
- Are they going to fit properly and will they be comfortable? If a good fit and comfort is what you are after then make sure you get your sizing right and take the time to properly break in in your Doc Martens over the course of several weeks. If you do this, then yes they are worth the money in my opinion.
- Are Doc Martens durable and how long do they last? In my experience buying the boots for years I have noticed a deterioration in their durability as the production quality has dropped. Don’t get me wrong, they are still tough boots, but not as durable as they once were. Expect 5 years of heavy use out of them, not 20. So no, they aren’t worth the money if you’re after a pair of boots for life.
So that’s a score of two out of three! Not bad.
Where Are Doc Martens Made?
Doc Martens are made in the UK in Northamptonshire, however this small factory only produces 2% of the boots each year. The remaining 98% are made in Thailand, Vietnam and China. They are designed in the UK (source).
Originally in the 1960s all Doc Martens boot were made in the UK, however the company has since moved their production to Asia (in 2002) to reduce costs and meet high demands.
Docs are an iconic fashion boot and their popularity has exploded over the last few decades, meaning that larger scale production was necessary which just can’t be achieved in small UK based factories. These boots aren’t used much for workwear purposes these days as they were originally deigned for, but instead are more of a fashion statement.
Doc Martens produced in Asia are still held to the same high quality standards as the boots made here in the UK. The company now produce around eleven million pairs a year (source).
I hope you found this article helpful and are able to decide for yourself ‘are Doc Martens worth it’ before purchasing a pair.
I love mine and think they are a great investment. These boots never go out of style and work well in most weather conditions and with a variety of outfits. They really are a staple shoe closet piece!
For more Doc Martens related content, check out:
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Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).