Do Doc Martens Run Big? A Sizing Review

Doc Martens are a great shoe that have become more and more popular as time goes on, but they were originally designed as work shoes which made them popular among the British for whom the shoe became a large part of their culture and identity.

As a fashion piece they began to symbolize non conformity mainly thanks to how related their image became with the punk movement in the late 1970s and 80s in Britain.

Do Doc Martens Run Big A Sizing Review

You would regularly see oxblood Doc Martens paired with tartan or plaid pants, and they soon became a symbol of the punk energy of the Brits at the time.

Even till today they are super popular and have become more popular as these alternative cultures from Europe make their way over the pond via their influence on newer sub-cultures in the US as young kids form their own American version of punk and goth culture that are in conversation with the original Euro punks of way back when.

But one thing even the Brits forget is that the Doc MArten shoe’s design and initial popularity was based on the shoe being an ideal piece of footwear for many gardeners and laborers at the time.

They are comfy, safe, and when fit well can be very effective work boots.

Whether you want to wear them for fashion purposes, or just for work, some time can be taken wit this unique shoe to figure out how to get them to fit you best, so that you can get the most out of your purchase and remain comfortable and safe.

With this in mind, we investigated whether Doc Martens sizing can be big or small, and how you should choose your size as well as how this affects the breaking in period.

Keep reading to learn more about Doc Martens and their sizing!

How Is Size Affected?

Well, Doc Martens are generally boots, depending on the style of Doc Martens you get, of which there are many, and they are leather boots at that. 

If your Dad has ever bought cowboy boots before you may have seen him walking around the house in them before he’s even worn them anywhere.

He’s not trying to show off his new purchase, or he may well be to be honest, but this first period of wear is actually super important to get leather boots to fit you well. – this is often called a ‘breaking in period’.

Put simply, the first few times you wear your Doc Martens, they will be somewhat uncomfortable and you may need to take certain precautions in order to stop your feet from getting blisters – this is a common practice with most authentic leather boots.

The leather isn’t shaped to the unique parameters of your lower leg and feet just yet, you have to ‘wear them in’ so the shoes and leather can create a memory of your feet so in the future they fit snugly like a glove rather than providing you with blisters.

More on this later, but this shows how the fit of your Doc Martens is super important for safety, comfort, as well as general style.

So, choosing size is super important, let’s investigate whether you need to buy them up a size or down a size.

Go Big Or Small?

In general, you can say that Doc Martens are essentially true to size, if you buy a US size 6 in Doc Martens then they will be true to this size.

Doc Marten will have adapted their US size 6 so that this specific size fits someone with US size 6 feet well, but this does usually mean they will slightly be bigger than regular size 6, but this is common for boots in order to fit right.

With this said you don’t need to buy bigger or smaller because of this fact, as we mentioned this is pretty common for most boots especially leather, as the actual silhouette of shoes can change as you break them in.

What is clear is that the breaking in process is what will be affected by buying too big or small, and should be your focus rather than size.

One anomaly where this might not be true is if you find that a half size fits you better right now. While many people might be a size 10 or a size 6, some people can be size 6.5 or size 8.5.

This is quite common for those who perhaps have wider feet or flatter feet.

With this in mind, if you are a half size, we would buy the full size that is up from your half size. So if you are US size 9.5, consider a US size 10.

If you do have flat feet, then insoles in a size 10 will fit you well, teh same can be said for wide feet also.

How To Tell When My Docs Are The Wrong Size?

If you are new to these types of boots or shoes, or Doc’s in general, you might not be sure if your Docs are fitting you the right way or not.

We have provided a small checklist you can run through to see if your Docs are too small, or if they just need breaking in.

Blisters

There are ways to avoid blisters while breaking in your Docs (see our guide below) but they can be a natural part of the breaking in period.

However, if your blisters persist for over a week then you really should consider if your Doc Martens are too small.

Toes

You want your little soldiers to remain pretty free within your toe cap. In other words, if your toes are squished or uncomfortable, then your Docs may likely be too small.

Heels

Getting some rubbing on your heel is common with Doc Martens, and should alleviate as you break your shoes in. If this persists, your shoes are too small.

Similarly, your heel shouldn’t slip around at all really, this could mean your shoes are too big and equally lead to blisters.

Comfort

Your Docs should be comfortable, they have many features to enable this, and if they are uncomfortable, then you may need to consider if they are too small.

This means any tightness leading to an ache in your feet shouldn’t occur.

Space

While your Docs should not be tight, what is equally important is that you feet shouldn’t have too much room either, this can be really uncomfortable.

The Docs should fit you well, but your feet shouldn’t be flying around in the shoe, meaning you have to tie them real tight.

How Does Size Change With Style?

However, each Doc Marten style can have its own specific sizing guide, as reported by the customers who use them and have been through the breaking gin period.

Here’s a quick sizing guide to each type of Doc Marten and how they can fit differently depending on the style or silhouette.

Do Doc Martens Run Big A Sizing Review

Doc Marten 1460

Dr. Martens, Unisex 1460 Slip Resistant Steel Toe Light Industry Boots, Black Industrial Full Grain, 7 US Women/6 US Men

This is the classic ‘boot’ style Doc Marten, they are also referred to as the 8-eye Doc Marten, referring to the number of shoe lace holes on one side of the boot.

Generally, they do run a little wider than most Doc Martens, but not by a huge amount. This is mainly due to most people choosing to wear thick socks in these shoes for extra comfort.

This is the original model of Doc Martens that were most popular when working or laboring.

If you are in between sizes then consider going a size under as they run a little wider, providing you aren’t going to wear them with thick socks all the time.

Sale
Dr. Martens, Unisex 1460 Slip Resistant Steel Toe Light Industry Boots, Black Industrial Full Grain, 7 US Women/6 US Men
  • Original 1460 design, with heritage Docs DNA like yellow welt stitching, 8 eyes, grooved air-cushioned soles and a scripted heel-loop
  • DM's iconic air-cushioned sole, re-engineered with an enhanced grip for next-level slip resistance: PVC fused with the central rubber pods of GRIP-TRAX, our unique outsole lug formation
  • Serves up enhanced ergonomic comfort via breathable, moisture-wicking SoftWair sockliners, with strategically placed memory foam pods
  • Made with industrial, water-resistant leather — spill-resistant, and easily wiped clean
  • Padded collar and tongue. Thoughtful, anti-fatigue design, with extra flex and less weight

Doc Marten 1460 Jadon

Dr. Martens mens Jadon-w combat boots, Black Polished Smooth, 7 Women 6 Men US

So, the Jadon style of the 1460 are basically the same shoe, but they have a much larger sole that is super chunky. This is more for the fashion lovers, and is a great choice if you want that punk rocker look.

In any case, as the same design is afoot here, pardon the pun, with only the sole changing, their sizing can be very similar to the original 1460 design, which is that they run slightly wider than the conventional parameters of each size.

It can take a little more attention to break this large 1.5” platform in.

Dr. Martens mens Jadon-w combat boots, Black Polished Smooth, 7 Women 6 Men US
  • THE PLATFORM: A fierce adaptation of the 8-eye boot with chunky platform soles and rugged tread for extra empowerment; Made with original grooved edges, yellow stitching and heel-loop
  • AIR-CUSHIONED: Dr. Martens famous “bouncing” AirWair soles are comfortable, oil and fat resistant and provide good abrasion and slip resistance
  • MADE LIKE NO OTHER: Boots built to pound the pavement; The leather upper and sole are heat-sealed together for exceptional durability
  • AUTHENTIC AS YOU: Made with classic leather that only gets better with time; Use Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam to protect the leather and keep your boots clean, soft and supple
  • KICK THE NORM: From utilitarian work boot to cultural icon, Dr. Martens became a symbol of self-expression; Stand up, stand out and wear them well

Doc Marten Chelsea Boots

Dr. Martens unisex adult Chelsea Boot, Black Wyoming, 9 Women 8 Men US

Chelsea Boots are another shoe style that has made its way across the pond, but while Doc Martens make their own style of CHelsea Boot now, this wasn’t one of their original designs but it made total sense when they applied their unique house style to the chelsea boot.

In any case, they size up quite similar to how the general 1460 does, they are a little wider and larger but still fit ‘true to size’.

What is certainly true is that these Chelsea Boots will take a little longer for the leather to break in as due to the shape of the shoe and how it fits the foot.

Dr. Martens unisex adult Chelsea Boot, Black Wyoming, 9 Women 8 Men US
  • Pull-on Chelsea boot style
  • Wyoming is a rich leather with a subtle grain and oily surface.
  • Built with core Dr. Martens DNA: grooved edges, an AirWair heel loop and visible stitching
  • Target gender: unisex

Doc Martens 1461

Dr. Martens, Unisex 1461 Slip Resistant Service Shoes, Black, 9 US Men/10 US Women

These are the other classic Doc Marten shoes, the 1461, or the 3 eye Doc Marten. These are oxford shoes so they look much like a dress shoe and can be worn in smart, casual, and albring settings.

Many still wear these shoes for work.

These will fit pretty exactly to size, as the way the shoes tie up mean that, in contrast to the boot, the shoes can fit pretty well thanks to tension across the arch of our foot.

They can still require some wearing in, just a little less than the ankle high styles.

Sale
Dr. Martens, Unisex 1461 Slip Resistant Service Shoes, Black, 9 US Men/10 US Women
  • Original 1461 design, with heritage Docs DNA like yellow welt stitching, 3 eyes and a grooved air-cushioned soles
  • DM's iconic air-cushioned sole, re-engineered with an enhanced grip for next-level slip resistance: PVC fused with the central rubber pods of GRIP-TRAX, our unique outsole lug formation
  • Serves up enhanced ergonomic comfort via breathable, moisture-wicking SoftWair sockliners, with strategically placed memory foam pods
  • Thoughtful, anti-fatigue design, with extra flex and less weight
  • Made with industrial, water-resistant leather — spill-resistant, and easily wiped clean

A Guide To Break In Your Doc Martens

Doc Martens are notoriously hard to break in, at least harder than the majority of shoes, but this is due to their quality, and just like cowboy boots there are often plenty of wive’s tales about how to do so.

Whether it’s putting them in the bath, burying them in the ground, or heating them up in the sun, there are many ways to do this, but we are here to show you the best and easiest.

Protect Your Feet With Socks

Investing in a good pair of thick bolster proof socks are probably the easiest and least stress when it comes to breaking in your shoes.

This means you can walk around with new Docs in and not be too worried about harming your feet, especially if you are at work.

Doc martens sell their own brand of blister proof socks you can order from their website, called Doc Socks. Alternatively, you can find other blister proof socks on Amazon.

Get Your Hands In There

What may sound like a myth, but makes a lot of scientific sense, is to literally massage the leather with your hands.

With your hands you can essentially mimic the movement of the shoe from walking, by bending the sole into a U shape and back again you can break them in manually without actually walking, but this may require the same amount of time, just less risk of blisters.

Use Mink Oil

Mink oil can be a big help when breaking in your shoes. The mink oil effectively softens the leather as it is a form of conditioner meaning that the leather of your Doc Martens will break your shoes in nicely.

You can use these on any leather shoes – great!

You can also use mink oil in other situations, such as when your Docs get too wet, but works best in tandem with the next step, if they do get wet.

Break Them In Even When You Aren’t Wearing Them

Even when you aren’t wearing them you can help this process along by using tools to break the leather in while that aren’t on your feet.

This means putting something in your shoe that will stretch the leather while your feet aren’t actually in there.

There are two ways you can do this, you can either find something in your house to do this with, such as a can of beer, newspaper, or anything else that can mimic the shape of your foot.

Or, you can go online and purchase a ‘shoe stretcher’ which can be more effective in its imitation of a foot as well as more accurate in its stretching. It’s the ideal product for breaking them in.

A Note On Vegan Leather

As we are sure you can imagine, Vegan leather Doc Martens will break in much quicker than their animal counterparts.

This is because, of course, vegan leather is synthetic and not made from actual animal skin so operates quite differently. If you want to break your Docs in with speed, go vegan.

Doc Marten sells most of their models in vegan leather these days, which we love.

Final Thoughts

So in general, Doc Martens can be said to fit true to size, however most models of Doc Martens, especially the boot kind, will almost always be a little wider than the conventional size measurements as they accommodate for breaking in as well as thick socks which are commonly worn with Docs.

If you feel like your Doc Martens are too big or small, we have included a checklist for this, then you may need to consider if you have broken them in properly, and if problems persist then you might need to consider if you got the sizing right on your shoes.

However, if you do just need to break in your shoes, we provide many products and methods which can help you do this without risking your feet or blisters if you have no room for them while you work and get on with your life.

Breaking in leather shoes is annoying for sure, so investing in the process can be really beneficial, and if you aht it that much then consider investing in Doc Martens’ vegan leather collection.

Jenna Reign

Last update on 2022-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API