Are Your Doc Martens Tight On Top Of Foot? Learn What To Do

DATE: July 23, 2022

Author: Jimmy Lewis


Haven’t you heard the saying- no pain, no gain? I am sure you have. This also happens in the case of a brand new pair of Dr. Martens, the most famous British footwear brand that has gained immense popularity worldwide, especially among Hollywood celebrities.

But the most common complaint against this gigantic footwear brand is that you feel the Doc Martens tight on top of foot when first worn. So what to do to make them comfortable?

Are Your Doc Martens Tight On Top Of Foot? Learn What To Do

Let them break in properly. That’s the only thing you can do. After a certain period, all your discomfort will be gone. You can soften the rigid shoes by applying coconut oil, wearing socks to avoid blisters, eliminating the inner sole, using the hairdryer to stretch the shoe materials, folding the boot’s back, etc. to let the shoes fit to your feet.

Read also: Shoes Similar To Doc Martens

However, let’s get into the detailed discussion below for your further queries!

How Tight Is Too Tight for Doc Martens? 

How Tight Is Too Tight for Doc Martens? 

Docs offer snug fitting at the beginning. But it shouldn’t feel too tight. If you don’t have at least 6 mm of a gap between your toes and the toe box, it will feel uncomfortable forever.

Usually, experts recommend to size down for a new Martens pair. Even if you feel uncomfortable at first, after a few weeks of regular use, they will surely stretch to a comfier fitting. 

So, don’t feel awkward or rush to size up if your Docs feel tight on top of your foot out of the box. But a quarter inch of length past the toes is an absolute must to not shed blood from your feet.

How Do You Break In Doc Martens Top of Foot?

How Do You Break In Doc Martens Top of Foot?

Actually, several methods to break in your favorite footwear from the iconic Dr. Martens. It includes picking up the perfect fit, wearing thick socks, stretching out the materials, bending the back of your boots, wearing them for a few hours first, etc. Above all, you need to be patient to let them soften over time.

Now, let’s look forward to the breaking-in process in detail below!

Don’t Wear Docs Frequently At First

The very first thing I can suggest from my 10 years of experience of using Docs is that you shouldn’t wear them every day in the beginning. This will lead you to have bruises, blisters, ankle pain, and whatnot. Eventually, you’ll stop wearing them.

If only you can be patient to wear them for a few hours, that too on alternate days, they will offer the comfiest fitting after a certain period.

However, you can practice wearing them at home first. Once you feel they are okay, wear them outside.

Try Thicker Socks

Secondly, the thick socks therapy wonderfully works to let the leather stretch. Also, they prevent foot injuries. Particularly, socks can add extra padding at the back heel and ankle. 

In this regard, the manufacturers designed the “Double Doc Sock” which offers amazing blister protection. And you must tie your shoelaces tight so that the shoes can be molded to your foot structure. 

Remove Inner Sole

If your Docs get too tight over the top, remove the inner liner. This will give you a little bit of extra room inside to move the feet comfortably. When the shoes feel alright or a bit slack, you can put the inner soles back for snug-fitting.

Soften The Materials

There are some DIY methods to soften the premium leather used in the Docs. You can apply coconut oil that works great to soften the leather. Or if you opt for a faster result, try the Wonder Balsam from Dr. Martens which is a balanced mixture of beeswax, lanolin, and of course, coconut oil. It doesn’t only hydrate the leather but also lengthens its long-lasting luster.

However, you must avoid applying olive oil, vaseline, etc. if you want your boots to serve longer. 

Bend Your Boots

Last but not the least, you should bend the back of your boots more often to accelerate the breaking-in procedure. To be more exact, folding the heels back and forth to different heights makes them more malleable. So, it’s a proven way of minimizing the stiffness when the Docs feel too snug or unforgiving.

How to Stretch Doc Martens That Are Too Small?

Well, the quickest solution to the tightest Docs is to rely on stretching spray. You have to apply the spray moderately so that the shoes aren’t fully soaked. 

Now, place the shoe stretcher inside and wait for at least 24 hours to get the shoes fully dried. Finally, polishing with a bit of leather conditioner would eliminate the chances of creasing or cracking.

How to Break In Doc Martens with a Hairdryer? 

How to Break In Doc Martens with a Hairdryer? 

A hair dryer comes in handy to speed up the breaking-in process. You just need to heat the shoes lightly while wearing one or two pairs of chunky socks. The warm-up process lets the leather soften up pretty fast.

However, for unfailing leather stretching, wear thicker socks first. The number of pairs would depend on your requirement. Take a hairdryer and keep it at least 6-7 inches away. Holding it too close to the shoe straps might create creases. You need to apply medium to high heat here.

You must heat one shoe at a time. And it should not last more than 30 seconds. Although this will take some time to warm the leather up, once it’s done, you can press down the leather to stretch it. Of course, you need to let the straps cool down first.

Repeat the process quite a few times until you get your preferred fit. And don’t forget to apply a good quality leather conditioner so that the heat cannot crack the shoes. 

How Do You Break In Doc Martens Overnight?

Just got a new pair of Doc Martens and need to put it on the next morning? No worries, here I covered an overnight breaking-in method.

To make the shoes stretch overnight, you need plastic bags to put the shoes inside.  Then use zip lock bags full of water and place them inside the Docs. Finally, leave the shoes overnight inside a freezer to stretch the leather with the expanding water.

Seems so simple? Not actually. You must be careful enough to make the method effective. First, do not fill the zip lock bags with water completely, only one-third of them would be okay. Because the water will turn into ice and expand. 

Secondly, you should use spacious zipper bags to touch each and every corner of the shoes to stretch the materials properly. And you must not forget to wrap up the shoes again before putting them into the freezer so that they don’t get frosty outside.

Once you take the ice out the following morning, let the boots adapt to the room temperature. This process is quicker but not as effective as the traditional method. You can expect a little expansion only!

How Long Does It Take To Break In Doc Martens? 

Usually, it takes around one and a half months to let the Docs break in.  However, you can always accelerate the process by using a hairdryer, shoe stretcher, etc. This will let the shoes stretch within two weeks only.

Final Words

Docs are premium-quality shoes, no doubt. But you can make them the comfiest shoes ever in the closet even if you feel your Doc Martens tight on top of foot at first. The aforementioned techniques are year-old proven methods to soften the shoes pretty fast.

Whether you try to break in the shoes traditionally wearing stocky socks or opt for an overnight method using a freezer, both work to make the shoes a bit more comfortable. 

Nevertheless, you should always go for a size down in purchasing a pair of new Docs as they will surely break in after a while!

Related Posts:

Are Doc Martens Good For Snow
Are Doc Martens Slip Resistant
How Long Do Doc Martens Last
Doc Martens Sizing Advice 
Are Doc Martens Worth The Money

You may also like...

Jimmy Lewis

Travel & Shoe Fashion Enthusiast
This is Jimmy Lewis, a travel enthusiast with professionalism and a hobbyist who goes around the world, leads an enjoyable life with remarkable comfort. I’m one of the men with expertise in traveling, hiking, trekking, and jumping over 5 years of experience in living a remarkable life to be happy! That’s what, about shoes, I built an amazing website named to express my gathering knowledge over decades.

This blog explores the latest shoe trends, offering insights into popular styles, materials, and brands. From sneakers to heels, it covers everything you need to know to stay fashionable and comfortable in your footwear choices. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising & linking to Amazon properties. Simply as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more
© Copyright