How To Wear Doc Martens


I’m thrilled to have OE back (remember this?).  OE is a dear friend, and the fabulously talented mama behind Girl Meets Baby.  I’m gaga over her take on Doc Martens.  Enjoy!!



Hello again ANMJ readers… Eek! I am not sure if I am more excited to re-guest post here or cover this awesome topic: good ol’ Doc Martens.

Ok y’all, they’re back — in a big way. And no longer are they strictly reserved for the punk rock grunge culture or ‘Hot Topic’ crowd. These babies are making their way into real fashion. My eighth grade self is blindly diving head-first back into this trend.

I am here today to show you a few ways to style these bad boys and hopefully give you a bunch of tips on size, fit, and breaking them in with the least amount of pain as possible.


Ok, Let’s do this: Doc Martens Edition


The overall look is meant to introduce some punk elements into your wardrobe. And, while these boots come in a multitude of colors, for most of us, I think you’re safest sticking with the black. If you’re feeling really adventurous, burgundy. But after Miley Cyrus rode a wrecking ball wearing nothing but her burgundy docs, I think I am going to say those babies are practically off limits now.

If you are under the age of 18, heroin skinny, or super edgy, by all means, embrace the crazy pink patten leather or wild floral prints. I am beyond envious of you! But, for the rest of us, we’ll be rocking the black. And since I do prefer to wear clothes with my boots, here’s how I do it.


Look #1: Skinny Jeans


This is the look I rock the most. As in… every. day. I like to stick with the black skinny jeans. Sometimes, when they’re paired with the blue, I feel like I start looking more like a chef than I intended. However, if blue jeans are your go-to, then tight roll them to form a cuff right above the first lace whole. And stick to pretty destroyed denim to balance the edge and hardness of the boot. The black of the boot keeps the fashion element alive. Moving up from the pants, I always pair them with a more feminine top to offset the masculine hardness of the boot. Button downs work great here.


The one I am wearing — albeit not overly feminine — is from Madewell. And it’s the top that allows you to introduce some color and personal style to keep you from feeling like a total poser. Be true to you.


Look #2: Dress with Tights


Ok. Brace yourselves. This one is huge right now. The black tights. With the short rock and roll dress. I love this look. I even rocked it to a wedding a couple weeks ago (full disclosure: I felt a little underdressed, but 100% more badass than the sea of Cache dresses). The tights can be opaque to keep it a little more conservative. But the real look is with either patterned tights (polka dot being my favorite) or with sheer destroyed tights. You know how destroyed denim is sort of a thing? Well, destroyed tights with Docs. Yep. That is the sub-culture way. So if you’re feeling brave, by all means, shred away. My legs, on the other hand, aren’t my best feature, so I’ll be sticking with opaque. But fun, nonetheless.


Look #3: Shorts

Eek. This one is hard. First of all, the docs cut the leg short. So if you don’t have some rockin’ legs (we hate you Shana)… you can sit this one out with me. But this is a huge trend right now. High-waisted cut-off denim shorts with the docs. A lot of girls are rocking this look with thick socks scrunched right at the top of the boot. In a different life, I will be dancing at a dive bar rocking this look. So so effortlessly cool. For now, look at these girls:


[photo credit:  Amy Valentine, Mode D’Amour]

Look #4: Bohemian

This is a great way to dip your toe to this trend. It’s fun, flirty, and sorta “anything goes”. It’s also where you can really “girly” up the boots. Flowing dresses, skirts, shorts, overalls, floral pants, hats, accessories by the boatload.  Unfortunately — this may shock you — almost all of the preceding don’t work on me. Though, like the high-wasted shorts, I’d kill to look amazing in them! This look was all over Coachella Music Festival this year. So embrace your inner Sienna Miller and try this one out. And, of course, more girls for reference:

[photo credits:  Surfstitch, Tessa Diamondly, Elle Victoire]


Now for the comfort. Docs are notorious for initially murdering your feet. Like blisters that resemble battle wounds. Ironic since they were originally created by a member of the German army during WWII who found his regular combat boots to be too uncomfortable after sustaining an ankle injury (yeah, I read Wikipedia). While I do agree that they provide incredible ankle support when laced to the top, that is about the only nice thing I have to say about these shoes on the comfort/practicality front (until broken in).


Here are some tips to make these something wearable now.


  1. First and foremost, size up. A lot. Maybe even a whole size.  For me. The 7 fit tight — like a glove. The 8 fit perfectly. I bought the 9. You want your foot kind of swimming in there. The whole foot just clunking around (is clunking a word?). And, since the whole look is an oversized boot anyway, this actually works in your favor style-wise. This is going to help reduce the blisters.
  2. Now that your shoe is big. You can either add insoles to raise your ankle above the part that gives you blisters on the heel or just use the heel pads. Or maybe both. I suggest wearing them for a little bit first and seeing exactly where they rub.
  3. Thick socks. Like real deal winter socks.
  4. Tie the laces low and tight. You should have a good 4-5 unused lace holes. But still tie them pretty tight. This is going to keep your shoe on and comfortable as you walk. It also holds your foot back and keeps it from rubbing back and forth length-wise as you walk.
  5. Wear them. Break them in. All Day. Every day. Once they are broken in. They will literally be your favorite boot.


Y’all this trend is so hot right now. So go for it. Dive in. There are clearly a million ways to make this look work with your personal style. And I guess, if all else fails… go Miley. Throw on some white underwear and a wife-beater tank.


Ciao! Girl



  1. So I can get my old ones (from 20 yrs ago) out again?! What about the oxfords? I still have those too. I’ve been saving them for my daughter, who will be 15 in 13 more years…this trend will surely roll around again about then, right?!

  2. I literally just bought a pair of black (patent!) combat boots today. I was trying to figure out styling them, and decided to check what ANMJ had to say on the subject. This post made my night… Thanks for making my impulse buy seem like a wardrobe staple for fall!

  3. Thank you very much! I bought a black and a floral pair, and yes, I’m no longer 18 nor heroin skinny or super edgy so the pair goes back to the store. I have been deciding for two weeks now whether to return – we have a 30-day policy here. This post made it easier for me to decide! 🙂

  4. you’re not supposed to size up lady, the leather won’t mold to your feet if you size up. don’t be a pansy and earn your boots.

  5. I’ve finally managed to break in my docs. I bought them slightly used to spare me a bit of the pain three years ago and been meaning to break them in ever since. I finally stuck to it and am now deeply deeply in love with my black floral pattern docs. Finding the perfect way to lace them was probably the biggest thing for me. Totally agree with the tight lacing bit! And the insole (sheep skin for me). I now pair them with everything from dresses for when I go out to nice skinnies and a blazer for work. I work at a memorial where we get quite a few right wing visitors and I thoroughly enjoy pissing them off with my floral combat boots 😀

  6. No no no! Never ever buy your Doc a size up. It’s all over the website! Every Doc sales person will tell you to size down. If you buy a size up, as the leather wears and relaxes your boots will get ever bigger and you’ll end up with clown shoes.
    Terrible advice, your telling people to just throw $150 away. If you can suffer through 1 week of breaking, your perfectly molded Docs can last 20 years.

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