Dr. Martens boots are the most common boots I’ve seen worn. You can spot a person wearing docs by the heel tag or famous yellow stitching on the soles. There has been this hype over them for years that I never quite understood.
A few months ago, I needed a comfortable pair of versatile boots, one I can easily slip on and slip off. The black Chelsea boot came to mind. After checking and comparing different brands, I eventually opted for Dr. Martens 2976. 3 months after testing, are Dr. Martens boots all hype, or are they actually worth it?
The Dr. Martens 2976 are minimal, sleek, and stylish. They are a stylish take on utilitarian workboots. The design doesn’t look as fancy as a classic Chelsea boot, but they look and feel premium in their own way. These 2976’s don’t have the signature yellow Dr. Martens stitching, which I much prefer. But it does have the heel loop which I find myself covering up with my jeans, I’ve always felt like they stuck out like a sore thumb.
If you’re used to the look of the traditional, slim, and angular Chelsea boot silhouette, you’ll notice that these are more on the rounded chunky side, especially on the front part of it. It took me a while to get used to that, but now I don’t mind it so much.
The outer sole and heel area, usually wooden on most boots, has the signature Dr. Martens rubber with grooved sides that looks sleek.
How Versatile is Dr. Martens 2976?
These boots are very versatile. You can wear and pair them with just about anything, which is why I got them. You can’t go wrong with a pair of black Chelsea boots, especially if you’re someone like me who likes to wear darker colors.
One thing to note is since the silhouette of this boot is on the rounded, chunky side, along with the rubber soles, it makes them lean towards casual clothing than it does with formal. While you could pair it with a dress shirt and jeans, a classic pointy-toed pair of boots would look much better.
So Dr. Martens 2976 look good with everything, but I would still encourage you to have a pair of boots strictly for formal attire as you wouldn’t wear these with a suit the same way you would with a classic pair of Chelsea boots.
One boot from Dr. Martens that I discovered after I got these are the Graeme II Chelsea Boots. They actually look like traditional Chelsea boots and would be great for more formal attire.
Quality and Durability
At $150/€189, these Dr. Martens boots are on that entry mid-range spectrum in terms of price. Mid-range boots would be around 500 dollars. These are not 500 dollar boots, but also not 50 dollar low-end boots either. So entry mid-range would be where they are.
Dr. Martens boots are known for their stiff leather that takes time to break-in. I noticed that with these boots. The leather is stiff, lightly textured but feels durable with a soft sheen. After a while of breaking them in, they’ve started to get wrinkly. This is something I’ve noticed when I see people wearing these boots. It’s something to consider if by preference you like boots looking sturdy and not worn out.
The 2976’s have a heat-sealed good year welt construction meaning the upper and sole are sewn together. This is a technique mid to high-end shoemakers use to ensure the boots last as opposed to the process of gluing them together done by low-end stores.
For the price, these are great quality boots.
Are they comfortable?
With their elasticized ankles, these boots are convenient to put on, you can just slip them on and off anytime. As we mentioned above, because of the leather these boots are stiff and can be sore on your feet. This leads to issues like blisters, swelling, and soreness when walking long distances. However, after a few weeks, when the leather softens and the heat of your feet warms it up, they’re very comfortable.
If you want to speed up the breaking in process, I recommend the Dr. Martens wonder balsam. It softens and protects the leather making it comfortable quicker.
Now let’s talk about the soles. I’ve worn these every single day for the past 3 months, walked and traveled with them in all sorts of conditions and for long distances. They’ve been awesome. Because of the air-cushioned AirWair soles, you don’t really feel much of the surfaces you’re walking on than when you wear something that doesn’t have the AirWair soles.
They soften your impact on the ground whether you’re walking on pebbles or hard surfaces. They’re also said to be oil and fat-resistant, with good abrasion and slip resistance. And I feel that. I don’t recall ever slipping in these boots, whether on an oily surface, smooth indoor surface, or ice.
The boots are also well insulated, they keep you warm in the wintertime and keep you dry when walking in wet conditions.
When it comes to boots, I typically size down. However, I noticed these boots were snug when I did, so I tried my usual size in the store, and it also fits me well, but was slightly loose. I figured I could wear insoles so it fits better. But the store clerk suggested to size down, that they’re better off fitting without insoles and should stretch after a while.
I’m happy I did that, these boots do indeed stretch out, so I suggest sizing down. I also suggest trying it out in stores and finding what fits you best.
The biggest issue you’ll experience with these boots is from when you first get them.
At $150/€189, if you buy these boots and expect them to be comfortable right away, these boots may not be for you. You’ll end up tempted to return them after a few days.
But if you’re patient and don’t mind going through the pain of the breaking in process, these boots will mold to your feet and will be extremely comfortable. It’s short term discomfort for long term comfort. You’ll find that these boots are worth it and one of the most comfortable boots you can buy by staying patient. After wearing them for 3 months, I now understand the hype.
Where to Buy – Dr. Martens
Dr. Martens 2976