When looking to purchase our first pair of Doc Martens, it’s common to wonder how long do Doc Martens last? Before getting your first pair of Docs it’s key to know as much as you can about how they will perform, so you don’t feel like you’ve wasted your money down the line.
I’m a long term customer and fan of the Doc Martens brand I’ve been wearing their boots for over 15 years and have owned several pairs. Here’s a photo of my current collection:
In this article I’ll be answering the above question for you, along with my own personal review and photos of my Doc Martens, so you can see how they perform over time.
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How Long Do Doc Martens Last?
Doc Martens last between 5 and 20 years, depending on their level of use, care and how they are stored. If the leather is properly cared for and soles replaced they could potentially last even longer.
Doc Martens will last you many years if you take the time to clean, waterproof and condition the leather. Conditioning the leather helps soften it and prevent cracks and damages.
Caring for the soles is also very important, as despite their tough durability, as with anything several years of wear will take a toll.
Replacing the soles at a cobbler/shoe repair shop will give your boots a new lease of life should they wear down. As of yet I have not needed to replace the soles of any of my pairs of Docs. They hold up really well.
How long your Doc Martens will last does also come down to an individual person’s habits. Of course those who wear their Doc all day every day will find the boots depreciate faster than those who wear them once a month. Footfall is also a factor. Heavy or uneven footfalls (dragging feet) will wear the sole down in patches much quicker. Despite this, the soles will still endure at least 5 years of heavy use.
It’s also worth noting the Doc Martens that are made in England will outlast the Docs made in Asia. Only 2% of their boots are made in England in a small factory. Despite Doc Martens insisting the boots produced in Asia are of the same quality, I personally find this not to be the case.
My Docs made in England are now 15 years old, whereas the Docs I’ve owned from the Asian factories have had a lifespan of between 5 and 10 years. That’s still a long time however, but I wanted to make you aware.
I’m currently breaking in a pair of Asian factory made Doc Martens Jadons (as pictured above) and they are made with ‘pisa leather’ instead of the standard leather. This leather is softer, and I predict it won’t last as long as it feels a lot thinner, so keep that in mind when selecting your own leather type preference.
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My Personal Review
In my personal experience my oldest pair of Docs are 15 years old and still going strong. I expect to get another 5 to 10 years of use out of them at least.
As you can see in the above photo the leather looks great and isn’t cracked (just a bit creased with age). I’ve changed the laces only once in 15 years, which is good going in my opinion.
In the above photo you can see how the soles on my Doc Martens have held up. They look fantastic and have hardly any wearing on them. I’ve never replaced the soles in 15 years.
They see less use from me now as I work from home and don’t go out as much!
In terms of care and cleaning I do take the time to clean the soles and condition the leather on my Docs, to prevent cracking and help them last as long as possible. I also took the time to properly break them in when they were new, which I think helped prolong their lifespan. For help breaking in Docs I have a full guide here: How to Break in Doc Martens Fast – ULTIMATE Guide.
All in all I’m very pleased with their performance and how long they have lasted.
Here’s a video of me showing my Doc Martens and discussing how long they last, for further help:
How Long Do Vegan Doc Martens Last?
Vegan Doc Martens last between 5 and 20 years, depending on the level of care the soles and vegan leather receives.
I have owned one pair of vegan Docs and they are still in decent condition. Doc Martens claim their vegan leather is as tough and durable as the real thing. So far I find this to be true.
The soles are still of the same excellent quality on the vegan Docs, which is to be expected.
I clean my boots once a month, which helps keep them in nice condition. I must admit I don’t wear them as frequently as my leather Docs, which will have helped them last longer. Less use, less wear of course.
In terms of extending the lifespan of vegan Docs the same rules apply as with the real leather ones. Replace the laces and soles as needed, make sure to condition the vegan leather and clean debris from the soles.
Store them in a box away from direct sunlight and they should last you years.
I also want to note that vegan Docs are easier to break in then real leather Docs which makes them more comfortable in the first few months. The leather molds to your feet and will last years. For this reason the vegan Docs might last you longer, as you’ll find them more comfy and won’t have the urge to sell them on or throw them out.
I’ve had many friends sell their leather Docs because they found them too painful to break in. The blisters are no joke!
How To Make Doc Martens Last Longer?
There are a number of things I have mentioned in this post that you can do to make your Doc Martens last longer. I’ll summarise them for you here, with a bunch of my own tips and tricks:
- Replace the soles on your Docs once they start to look worn. I’ve found this happens around the 10 year mark. It’s relatively inexpensive to do this at a shoe repair shop and will help you get many more years out of your Docs. Here’s an image of the soles on my Doc Martens Mary Janes, that have seen heavy use over the last two years, and still don’t need replacing yet:
- Purchase a nice quality leather conditioner and condition your Docs every 6 weeks or so. Do this every 4 weeks in winter, as the harsh cold conditions are tougher on your leather. Conditioning the leather will help prevent cracks and damages, making the side panels of the boots more flexible, and last much longer.
- Store your Docs correctly when they are not in use. Keep them in the box they came in, away from excessive heat and direct sunlight. This will prevent the leather from drying out or sun bleaching.
- Make sure to replace the laces when needed. This will make your Docs look much fresher.
- Properly break in your Doc Martens during their first few months of wear. Using a leather conditioner and shoe stretcher will help them soften quicker. This helps them last longer as the leather is properly taken care of, and won’t crack, plus you’ll get more use out of the boots when they feel comfortable.
- Clean the soles of your Docs when dirt and debris builds up. Docs’ soles are super durable and can resist many substances, but this doesn’t mean stray chemicals from the sidewalk won’t affect them over time.
- Properly waterproof your Doc Martens to help extend their lifespan. Making sure to pay close attention to waterproofing the seams will help the iconic yellow stitching last longer and the soles stay attached to the boots. Water damage is really bad for Doc Martens, so don’t skip this step.
Thank you for reading this post on how long Doc Martens last, I hope you feel like you are able to go ahead and purchase your own pair with the information in this article in mind.
I love my Doc Martens and I will stand by the quality of the brand. They are a durable, iconic boot that are a staple footwear choice for me. Mine have lasted me many years because I take care of the boots. Clean and waterproof them and don’t skip conditioning the leather and you should be fine.
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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).