It's the classic shoe that's been making an impact since 1901, and with its ever-changing style, there are so many ways to pull off Dr Martens boots. Read our style guide on the best Dr Martens out there and how to style them this season.
Dr Martens shoes have represented different things at different times. They started off as simple work boots, moving on to be a sign of rebellion, and now stand as a versatile piece that comes in a range of different styles and looks. On the whole, there's no one who can't wear Dr Martens, especially now that they've evolved to be such classic pieces with so many fits to choose from.
Whether you're eight or eighty, it's one of those boots that work with all kind of body types and styles, and if the chunky boots aren't for you there's always the slimmer models to choose from. All of the designs feature the same sturdy build and thick, yet flexible sole, and their variety of looks has made them a popular choice all over the world.
How to Wear Dr Martens Boots
Back in the day, and by the day we mean 1901, there was really only one Dr Marten boot to choose. The thick sole, leather boot that started its life as a humble work boot has evolved over the years, and now there's a whole range of styles to pick and style. Having a choice is great and all, but sometimes it can be overwhelming as different colours, textures and finishes can make a big difference in how you style them.
Black Dr Marten Boots
Black Dr Martens are probably the most common and popular styles to choose from, with the versatile colour matching with pretty much anything. Grabbing yourself a pair is easy, but deciding on the model can be a little trickier. Do you want to go for the original, chunky design, or a more streamlined model? Do you want high shine leather or a more muted material? Each design choice can give off a different vibe, so depending on your style you might want to go for a traditional or more unique model.
Dr Martens 1460 8 Eye Classic Boot
The 8 eye, as you can imagine, refers to the neatly placed eight eyelets that dot down the middle of the boot, giving this classic Dr Marten its trademark look and clean, secure fit. It's practical height, smooth leather, and clean finish makes it both a stylish and useful addition to your wardrobe, perfect for adding some dimension to your outfit, as well as a good thing to have if you're ever trekking through snow or rainy streets.
- Air cushion sole
- Smooth-finish leather
- Classic yellow stitching around the sole
There's a variety of ways you can wear this staple boot, and it's been experimented with over the years. There's been the classic grunge look, as well as more contemporary looks, but one thing this boot never is is boring, so if you're looking for something neat and easy to blend in, look elsewhere. These boots are great for adding some impact to a simple outfit, so even a basic jean and jumper combo can become a stylised, statement look. You can also go for a surprisingly tailored look with these boots. Despite their chunky sole, their smooth leather and solid black colour give them a sleek undertone that's great for smart casual outfits.
Classic Monkey Boot
Of course, there's a variety of other black boots from Dr Marten, with more sleek, formal styles on offer. The Monkey Boots from Dr Martens are a great option when you're looking for smart footwear with a unique twist. Their sleek, high shine leather with subtle lacing and slim shape makes them the look of a dress shoe, but their thicker sole, rounded toe and rigid finish keep things on the alternative side of things.
It's easy to add a contemporary finish to a classic suit, starting with a solid grey or black suit, adding a black jumper into the mix for a modern look and finishing off with the high shine monkey boots. The patent leather will help keep the outfit from becoming too muted and will brighten up the overall look while keeping it sophisticated and sleek.
You can also achieve a more laid-back look, incorporating different textures into the outfit to create a mixed vibe. Try something like a suede bomber jacket paired with a white oxford shirt, with the combination of tailored and relaxed fits creating a neat look.
Match these with some statement skinny jeans (or slim fit if you prefer something less binding) and complete the outfit with your slim-line monkey boots. The overall look will play around with texture and fit, with the jacket and monkey boots creating a clean contrast.
Red Dr Marten Boots
Red Dr Martens might not be as common or popular as the black and brown models, but their burgundy undertones help to keep them versatile and easy to make your own. Red can also be mixed with a surprisingly high amount of colours, blending in with more autumnal tones, and giving a subtle boost to an all-black look. If your clothing palette is more varied, or you like to make a statement with your shoes, this might be the right colour for you.
8 Eye Classic Boot
The classic shape comes in an unconventional colour, and the combination works pretty well. These soft leather boots in a rich burgundy are the perfect accompaniments to a range of outfits, and their recognisable shape helps keep it in the right mix of classic and contemporary. Like the black pair, they're clean and sturdy and are the kind of boots to last you years, even if you walk in them every day.
One way to bring a touch of style and vibrancy to a simple look is through your footwear, and these boots are perfect for the job. Even something like an all-black outfit can benefit from a bit of colour, and the rich burgundy colour of the 8 eye boots paired with the outfit creates a contrast that's not overly powerful, but still strong enough to make an interesting finish.
This can work with sleek, formal looks, adding some colour to a traditionally muted suit, or with more casuals styles, like a black T-shirt and jeans. The red keeps things more varied and stops the look from being too drab, even if you work with looser fit pieces, ensuring that you even the most standard outfit can be elevated to something unique.
White Dr Marten Boots
White Dr Martens boots don't usually fit effortlessly with many outfits. However, that's not really what they're for. In general, people wear white shoes for them to stand out. It tends to work pretty well and is probably why white trainers are so popular.
While white boots can be a little more daunting than slipping on some white Nikes, you can still achieve the same statement look without going overboard. The shape of the Dr Marten boots means you're probably going to get a more alternative vibe than with trainers. This can work in your favour if you prefer tailored pieces that can be complemented by more hard-edged footwear, such as shirts and straight leg trousers.
Church Smooth Boots
With their soft white leather, graphic style stitching and contrasting black lacing, the Church Smooth boots have both a clean and detailed finish that keeps them striking yet never stark. The contrast between the dark sole and the white upper ensures that you're never dealing with a fully white shoe, keeping some dimension to the look and upping its versatility.
- Air cushion sole
- Contrast stitching
- Upper and sole are heat-sealed and sewn together
Although these shoes seem like something that's hard to mix up with things, they can go surprisingly well with a variety of outfits, adding an alternative boost to different looks. You can start with simple outfits if you're unsure of working with too much colour, and black and blue are easy, versatile colours to work with.
A simple blue and black checked shirt with some navy jeans is a classic combination, and a leather jacket thrown over the top keeps on the alternative side. The white boots help to elevate the look, however, making it stand out just a little more while still staying in keeping with the overall vibe. But in less pretentious, layman's terms, these boots just help push the boat out a little more.
1460 Mono Smooth
Unlike the more dimensional Church Smooth boots, the 1460 Mono Smooth boots have a pure white look that encases every part of the shoe, even the iconic black and yellow tab. This 'dipped in paint' look gives a striking, muddy puddle fearing vibe that draws your eye to it and gives off a clean, bold finish. Not for those without a good shoe cleaner, and best saved for the city rather than the country lanes, these boots are statement shoes with a strong, clean edge.
- All-encompassing, identical white finish
- Heat sealed then stitched
So we know that white boots are great for alternative looks, but with their statement style, that's no real surprise. What's more useful to know is that you can actually incorporate white boots into fairly casual, everyday looks as well. Surprising for shoes that pack such a punch, but true.
The key is to try and keep the rest of your outfit in a light tone, so the contrast between your clothes and your shoes isn't as strong, therefore giving you less of an intense look. A light blue shirt is always an easy, flattering piece, but for a casual, relaxed look pick a denim one and layering it over a neutral coloured T-shirt. To ensure that the outfit isn't in an all light tone, which would give it a more striking appearance, balance out the outfit with some dark coloured jeans.
How to Break in your Men's Doc Martens Boots
So we now know that Doc Martens come in all shapes and sizes, as well as colours and textures. But there's one small problem with these bold boots - they're kind of uncomfortable when you first get them. Still, that's kind of how strong, sturdy leather is, and the plus side is that these boots will last you forever. You do, however, have to put a bit of work into making these the ridiculously comfortable and hardwearing boots they've known to be.
You can apply a softening agent to the boots to help accelerate the breaking in process, but if the product you use is too strong there's a risk you might damage the leather and wear down the colour. In general, it's best to do it the old-fashioned way and just gradually wear them in.
Here are some basic tips to help you through the process.
- Wear thick socks. They'll help protect your feet from the rigid leather as well as stretch out the boots.
- Walk around the house in them for a few hours at a time. This way you won't be wearing the shoes for long periods of time, and if your feet start to really ache you can easily slip them off - something you can't really do in the middle of the street.
- Invest in some foot cushioning pads. These will just help ease the pain a little and are easy to slap on in the mornings.
- Anti-blister sticks are key. Most Dr Martens are ankle height and can cause blisters at the back of your foot. Anti-blister sticks help create an invisible lubricant that stops the worst of the rubbing.
- A boot stretcher can help work out the leather when you're not wearing your boots.
How to Wear Dr Martens Boots
- Black Dr Martens are the most versatile and can be mixed up with so many things to create a variety of looks.
- Red Doc Martens can give a subtle splash of colour to a look and can be worn with an all black look to add some dimension, or a more colourful outfit to balance it out.
- White Doc Martens give off a striking look and can be used to add more punch to an alternative look.
- Wearing in your Dr Martens will help you style them with ease and comfort. Wear thick socks and carry around some plasters. No pain, go gain!
On That Note
There's a reason that Dr Martens are still such a big part of the footwear industry, and it's really down to their quality, longevity, and bold versatility. A good pair of Docs will boost the look of a tonne of outfits, and even if you're going for a classic black style, they can still help to elevate your style. Wear them with jeans and a T-shirt, wear them with a suit, wear them on a hike, wear them on a short walk to the shops. However you decide to style your Dr Marten shoes, you'll always be working with quality leather, a strong look, and something that can be worked into pretty much whatever outfit you want it to.
Author: Harriet Blake