In short: Doc Martens can hurt the top of the foot and the back of the ankles when they are not given enough time to break in. Wearing thick socks and applying blister cushions can help.
Doc Martens boots hurting your feet? Relax, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort over style. Here’s what you can do if your Doc Martens hurt the back of your ankles or the top of your foot.
Do Doc Martens hurt your feet?
Doc Martens can hurt your feet, especially at the back of the ankles and the top of the foot, if not given enough time to break in properly. The lining can also cause pain through friction.
Almost all Dr. Martens boots have a seam inside, running across the top of the foot, that digs into the foot every time someone wears them, which ultimately can cause pain.
What to do if Doc Martens hurt your feet
To prevent Doc Martens from hurting your feet, wear them around the house for short periods of time, especially when they’re brand new. Don’t attempt a long walk the first time you wear them.
Some Doc Martens are made of leather that stretches quicker than others. For example, Dr. Martens Nappa, Carpathian, and Virginia are some great soft leather options.
On average, most Dr. Martens Boots that are made of genuine leather can take up to 4 to 8 weeks to fully break in while vegan Doc Martens don’t need to be broken in at all.
Additionally, make sure you get the perfect fit. When it comes to genuine leather boots, no amount of breaking in will do you any good if they are the wrong size to begin with.
If you normally take a half-size, size down. Doc Martens should feel tight, but not uncomfortable. If the boot feels uncomfortable when you try it on, especially in the width, then it is too small.
Depending on what Doc Martens you own and the shape of your foot, the boots can hurt the back of the ankles or the top of the foot. Here’s what you can do to solve the issue:
Doc Martens hurt the back of the ankles
Doc Martens hurt the back of the ankles because the inner lining is made of an abrasive material that rubs against the foot, especially in the heel area, and creates blisters.
Here are two things you can do to stop Doc Martens from hurting the back of the ankles:
1. Wear thick socks (or two pairs of socks)
If your pair of Doc Martens hurt the back of your ankles, wear thick socks to protect your heels. Thick socks help reduce friction and minimize pain, especially near the back of the ankles.
If you don’t have thick socks, you can double up and wear two pairs of socks. This will give your feet enough protection against the lining of Dr. Marten boots.
2. Protect the back of your ankles with bandages
Applying a pair of heel bandages can protect the back of your ankles and prevent heel blisters altogether. This is especially important in the beginning when your Doc Martens are brand new.
I recommend these blister cushions from All-Health. They are ideal for use on heels, as the bandages are designed to flex and bend with your foot effortlessly.
I used these for my Doc Martens, which I didn’t have the chance to break in before an event. They prevented any blisters on the back of my ankles and made the boots more comfortable.
Doc Martens hurt the top of the foot
One problem that many people have with Doc Martens is that there is a seam inside, running across the top of the foot, that digs into the foot every time you wear them. Here’s how to fix it:
1. Remove the inner sole
Dr. Martens boots come with removable insoles; removing the insoles is a quick and easy way to give your feet a little extra room during the break-in period, especially near the top of the foot.
Just remember, if they feel snug where the tongue meets, remove the inner liner to give your feet some extra space for wiggle room. All Doc Martens have a pair of extra inner liners.
2. Apply Wonder Balsam
The Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam is a must-have shoe care product if you own a pair of Docs, especially if you notice that the boots hurt the top of your foot.
Thanks to the mix of lanolin, beeswax, and coconut oil, this godsend product will help soften the leather if you apply it regularly on your Dr. Martens boots (with the help of the sponge).
In addition to softening the leather, the Wonder Balsam also adds a protective layer and subtle shine to your boots. Now that’s a win-win – your boots become more pristine and comfortable.
Boot stretchers help a lot
Whether your Doc Martens hurt the back of your ankles or the top of your foot, you can try installing boot stretchers and leave them to work their magic overnight.
For those who don’t know, boot stretchers are items that do what their name suggests: stretch boots. Four-way boots stretchers, like these, can widen and lengthen the entire boot.
The boot stretchers emulate what both of your feet do, stretching the material of your Dr. Martens boots and breaking them in faster than you would have while wearing them.
If you’re not confident about using the product, you can always take your Doc Martens to a professional shoe cobbler and have them stretched professionally instead.
Or, you can check out these Doc Marten alternatives from Skechers.