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Why Are Doc Martens So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)

worn pair of dr. martens

 

When you’re in the market for a new pair of boots, the name Dr. Martens probably comes to mind.

Many people consider it common knowledge that Doc Martens makes the highest quality (and coolest) boots available.

However, many people pause after they see the price tag.

What’s so special about the Doc Martens name and the products they make that justify the slightly inflated price tag?

We cover ten reasons Dr. Martens are so expensive and whether they live up to the hype.

 

1. Durability

Dr. Martens

 

Most boots last for 300 to 500 miles or approximately six months with heavy use in challenging conditions.

In most cases, you can expect a pair of boots to hold up for a couple of years before you notice them starting to wear down.

This is not the case with Doc Martens!

While Dr. Martens has discontinued their “For Life” line of boots that came with a lifetime guarantee, Doc Martens still regularly ranks as the most durable boot brand available with some people reporting wearing them for life and passing them on for generations.

While not everyone will get a lifetime of use out of the boots, you can rest assured that you will get at least five to seven years out of them, if not more, thanks to the high-quality materials used in the creation of Doc Martens as well as the care and detail put into each boot’s creation.

 

How Can I Prolong The Life Of My Doc Martens?

To prolong the life of your Doc Martens boots, the company offers proprietary shoe care spray that you can use on leather, suede, canvas, and nylon.

To start, wash off all of the dirt on your boots with a warm, damp washcloth.

After the boots dry, spray them with your shoe care spray to provide your boots with an extra layer of protection against damage.

If possible, you should also avoid keeping the boots in the sunlight when not necessary as the sun can fade the leather.

 

What Happens If My Doc Martens Become Damaged?

Doc Martens have a complex design that makes repairs more difficult than other boots.

If you bought the shoes within the previous 12 months, they may still fall under the one-year warranty provided on all Doc Martens products when they contain some sort of defect.

After the warranty period, you must enlist the services of a professional and cover repairs on your own.

 

2. High-Quality Materials

Man working with leather

 

The reason that Dr. Martens boots last as long as they do is the high-quality materials used in the creation of each pair of shoes.

Doc Martens only uses high-quality 100% leather in their leather products.

However, they have multiple types of high-end leather to choose from.

Some of the most popular types of leather you find in Doc Martens include the following:

  • Smooth: Traditional Dr. Martens leather that can appear either shiny or rugged.
  • Carpathian: Sophisticated leather with an oily appearance.
  • Virginia: Italian-style soft leather with a feminine appeal.
  • Danio: Italian-style soft leather with a more masculine feel.
  • Patent Lamper: High-shine, easy to clean leather appropriate for any color.
  • Petrol: Leather with interesting multi-tone effect.

However, not all Dr. Martens are made of leather.

Some shoes use fabric to create a lightweight option as fabric tends to weigh much less than leather.

Most Doc Martens fabric shoes use synthetic leather and sturdy polyester.

 

3. Comfort

Classic black leather Dr. Martens AirWair boots

 

Despite using strong leather in their construction, Doc Martens are surprisingly comfortable.

One main contribution to the comfort of Doc Martens shoes can be found in products with the company’s signature AirWair rubber sole.

The rubber sole contains air pockets specifically designed to provide you with bounce and mobility so that your feet fit perfectly into your boot.

Doc Martens also run a bit large, ensuring you have plenty of room for your feet to move.

You can also use the extra space to fit thick socks in the winter.

Wearing uncomfortable boots can result in blisters and other problems that may cause pain and an expensive trip to the podiatrist.

To ensure your Doc Martens feel as comfortable as possible, you should break them in properly when you first get them and keep your laces tied tightly.

 

How Do I Break In My Doc Martens?

To break in your Doc Martens, rub them with baby oil every day.

The baby oil helps soften the leather.

You’ll also have to bandage your feet and walk in the boots until you experience pain.

 

How To Lace Doc Martens

Dr. Martens suggests four ways to lace your boots:

  • Classic cross lace: standard laces
  • Ladder lace: tight, military-style lacing
  • Straight bar lace: distinct style and additional length
  • Bow tie lace: loose fit with a cool pattern

These aren’t your only options!

Many people have shared unique and creative ways to lace their Doc Martens which you can try, too!

 

4. All-Season

A pair of Dr Martens 8 eyelet 8 inch classic unisex cherry red oxblood lace-up fashion combat boots

 

Doc Martens knows that you won’t want to store your Doc Martens away during any particular season, so they took great strides to allow you to wear your boots at any time of year and during any weather conditions.

The waterproof rubber sole on most Doc Martens products protects your feet from getting wet, making them suitable on rainy and snowy days.

You may not need to buy a pair of snow boots, especially if you have a pair of high tops.

The leather used in Doc Martens also allows the boots to breathe, keeping you cool on hot days.

Even in the summer, it’s best to use cotton socks that come up higher than your ankles to prevent your skin from rubbing against the leather.

 

5. Experience

Classic Dr Martens

 

Founded in Germany in 1945, Dr. Klaus Märtens, only 25 at the time, created Doc Martens’s famous rubber sole while waiting for his foot to heal after a war injury.

Soon after, he partnered with Dr. Herbert Funck to sell his new invention, targeting older women thinking that they would like the comfortable sole.

In the 1960s, the company released its traditional style boot known as the Doc Martens 1460 (named for the date of its introduction, 1 April 1960), tweaking Dr. Märtens’s original design by adding yellow stitching.

The company continued to learn about how to make the best possible boots, passing down knowledge from generation to generation.

Many secrets that helped make Doc Martens so great shape even new innovations.

These new innovations led Doc Martens to receive the 2019 FN Achievement Awards for “Shoe of the Year” thanks to changes to the 1460 boot.

With about 80 years of experience making high-quality footwear, Doc Martens continued to tweak their products and processes to near perfection that new shoe companies will take years to learn.

 

6. Vegan Leather

Top view of wooden blocks with letters on orange surface

 

Doc Martens does its best to cater to a wide audience, adjusting to trends in the leather and footwear industry.

A vegan lifestyle involves not wearing or eating animal products, including leather.

According to Forbes, the number of vegans in the United States has grown from 1% in 2014 to 6% in 2017, with about 19.5 million potential customers.

Many vegans still liked the appearance and quality of Doc Martens shoes, so Doc Martens decided to make a shoe out of vegan leather in 2011.

The decision proved to be rather lucrative for Doc Martens with vegan leather sales currently making up 5% of their international sales.

Doc Martens decided to take their commitment to cruelty-free manufacturing to the next level by not using angora, fur, exotic skins, or feathers in their products.

They also have an animal welfare policy approved by the organization Five Freedoms.

All consumers deserve a vegan leather option of their favorite shoe, and Doc Martens delivered (whether the buyer is actually a vegan or not).

Since the vegan population represents a small yet vocal group of people, appealing to them fit into the history of Doc Martens being a part of the counterculture.

 

7. Counterculture Fashion

Unlimited one-to-one meetings with a 30 hour time limit per meeting.

 

Doc Martens as a company likes to challenge the status quo and aspire for something greater, but it’s the daring and unique design that established the company as a trendsetter in the industry.

First used as work boots for blue-collar workers, new trendsetters in the London punk scene started wearing Doc Martens as part of their countercultural style.

Doc Martens embraced this sudden turn of events and quickly put their own mark on the counterculture with their blessing.

Soon, everyone saw punk artists wearing Doc Martens on stage during performances, such as The Who’s Pete Townsend, making them even more popular with punk fans.

The punk appeal of Doc Martens survived much longer than the punk scene itself.

In 2020, Doc Martens paired up with the remaining Sex Pistols to create a special DR. MARTENS x THE SEX PISTOLS model that attempts to embody the way the Sex Pistols introduced the world to the punk scene during a notorious interview on the Grundy Show in 1976.

Soon, the English punk style, and Doc Martens, started growing in popularity around the world, and they still seem to be in style today.

Doc Martens boots don’t only work with punk style.

In fact, a number of modern celebrities proudly wear their Doc Martens:

  • Bella Hadid
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Diane Kruger
  • Selena Gomez
  • Miley Cyrus
  • Kristen Stewart
  • Rihanna
  • Jessica Alba

No matter your career or perceived style, you can always express your rebellious side by pairing an otherwise drab outfit with a pair of Doc Martens boots.

 

8. High Demand

Shoes inside a Dr. Martens store in New York City

 

Despite their products lasting extraordinarily long periods of time, Doc Martens still generates impressive sales.

On average, Doc Martens makes seven million pairs of shoes each year.

Since they maintain these numbers every year, they had the ability to adjust prices according to the demand.

When Permira acquired the company from the original family in 2014, Doc Martens increased the price of the boots by 25%.

They also saw a 70% increase in profits thanks to a manufacturing change.

Originally all shoes were made in a Northamptonshire factory, but now only 2% of manufacturing takes place at the original plant with the other factories located in Asia.

Anyone who wants to buy products made at the factory in England can search for them on the Doc Martens website.

With a cost-effective business model, Doc Martens can keep up with the demand it receives while also maintaining quality so that the demand continues to remain high all around the world.

Demand for Doc Martens is highest in Britain, Germany, and the United States, but they also saw an impressive increase in demand in Japan and South Korea.

 

9. Variety

Shoes inside a Dr. Martens shoe store in New York City

 

Some people don’t think the traditional Doc Martens design meshes well with their personal style, so Doc Martens created a wide range of different types of shoes to appeal to any consumer.

In fact, Doc Martens creates about 250 different types of shoes every year.

Many Doc Martens boots have an androgynous appeal made for both men and women, however, they do carry some gender-specific options as well.

The different shoe styles available include:

  • Canvas boots: casual boots made out of fabric with a leather sole
  • Chelsea boots: ankle boots with elastic sides and leather fabric connected at the back that transition well between casual and formal
  • Oxfords: low-rise formal shoes that have shoelace eyelets under the vamp
  • Mary Janes: typically for women, this low-cut, closed shoe has straps that go over the top of the foot
  • Utility boots: heavy-duty work boot

The choices don’t end there, though!

Some boots come in an ankle boot option and mid-calf option.

While most people think that Doc Martens only offers boots in brown and black, they actually have shoes in a wide range of colors, including pink, red, green, white, and blue.

You can even find boots with prints on them or multiple colors.

Finally, you get to decide whether the boot laces up, zips up, or slips on.

Some additional features:

  • Fleece lining
  • Wintergrip
  • Hardware

It costs Doc Martens a significant amount of money in their efforts to create new styles, contributing to a slight increase in cost of the new products they release.

Are you still not seeing anything that suits your style?

Contact Doc Martens to tell them what new products or designs you want to see available!

 

10. People-Related Business Practices

Dr Martens Sign outside shoe shop

 

Doc Martens aren’t only in the footwear business but also the people business.

It all starts by giving the consumer a great product, but what if the product isn’t the perfect fit for the person who bought it?

 

Returns

Doc Martens accepts returns within 30 days of the purchase date.

You will get a refund when they receive the unwanted product in the mail.

If you use their return label, they will deduct $7 from your return.

They can only provide return labels for people in the United States.

International customers can still receive a refund, too, but they must go through a different process.

 

Customer Access

If you have questions or concerns, Doc Martens’s highly rated customer service team can help you via phone or email.

To learn more and stay up to date on the latest products, Doc Martens also connects with customers via active social media accounts.

 

Covid

Doc Martens has gone above and beyond to keep employees and customers safe as things return to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stores go through rigorous cleaning processes, and they have emphasized online sales in an effort to minimize unnecessary contact while buying Doc Martens.

 

Social Movements

As a company that has seen significant success, Doc Martens does its part to give back to the community through numerous charitable causes while still staying true to the company’s antiestablishment roots by supporting important progressive movements of the day, including:

  • Black Lives Matter
  • The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
  • Show Racism the Red Card

When you buy Doc Martens products, you spend a little bit more, but you also know that you purchased from a company that stands up for its customers.

 

Conclusion

Red classic dr martens boots automn shooting

 

Doc Martens cost more than the average pair of boots, but they also last longer and carry a fashionable and rebellious connotation to them that doesn’t come with a price tag.

In the interest of promoting individual style, Doc Martens provides a wide range of shoes so that you are sure to find something that fits your feet as well as your personality, and they emphasize the people aspect of the business, ensuring a fair interaction when you need to contact them for support.

Still, it’s hard to believe that these boots first sold for $3 when they first came to the market.

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