How To Break In Vegan Doc Martens

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Looking for a vegan, timeless alternative to chunky leather boots? Vegan Doc Martens might be the right choice for you! Their only downside? Unlike animal leather, vegan leather is not as soft and flexible. This means they can be more painful to break in than regular Doc Martens. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! With a little patience and the right technique, you can easily break in your new vegan Doc Martens.

Key Takeaways: How to Break in Vegan Doc Martens

  • Choose the right size
  • Pay a cobbler to stretch them if you can afford to
  • If you are on a budget use heat, oil, and shoe stretchers
  • Be patient and break them in gradually to avoid over stretching

How to Break in Vegan Doc Martens

The process of breaking in Dr Martens is usually painful and time-consuming, but when they are made of vegan leather, it becomes its own unique challenge. There are a few things you can do to help break in your vegan Docs more comfortably. Here are 8 tips to get you started.

1. Choose the Right Size

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to make sure you’re getting a pair of Doc Martens that actually fit. Trying to force your feet into a smaller size vegan shoe will only make the breaking-in process more painful. And if they are too big, you run the risk of blisters and heel slippage.

The other thing to take note of is the width of the boot. This is the most difficult part of vegan docs to stretch. Make sure you buy a size that will accommodate your foot width, or be prepared to do some serious stretching (more on that later).

Don’t forget to try your Docs on with a pair of thick socks too, as you are likely to wear them with socks most of the time.

2. Pay to Have Them Stretched by a Professional

If you’re in a hurry and have some extra cash to spare, you can always pay someone to stretch your boots for you. This is the quickest and easiest way to break in your vegan Docs.

Any shoe-repair shop can do this for you. It saves your feet from having to do the hard work and avoids blisters and sore feet the first few times you wear them. Secondly, it ensures an even stretch, so your docs will be more comfortable to wear. This is because the professionals will have the proper tools and techniques to stretch them without causing damage.

3. Use Heat

If you’re on a budget or can’t get to a shoe-repair shop, you can try stretching your Dr Martens at home using heat. One way to do this is to use a hairdryer.

How to Use a Hairdryer to Break In Vegan Doc Martens

Step 1 – Put on a thick pair of socks and your docs.

Step 2 – Turn the hairdryer on to the hottest setting and hold it about six inches away from your boots.

Step 3 – Move the hairdryer around so that the heat is evenly distributed.

Step 4 – Do this for about five minutes or until the vegan leather is warm and pliable.

Step 5 – Remove your shoes and socks and let them cool down for a few minutes.

Step 6 – Try on your docs again. They should feel a bit more comfortable.

4. Wear Them Around the House

The next step is to start wearing them around the house. This will help to stretch them out and make them more comfortable.

Step 1 – Insert heel pads or thick plasters at the top of the heel

Step 2 – Put on a pair of thick socks and your vegan Doc Martens.

Step 3 – To get started, walk around your house for a few minutes. Gradually build up the time. Just be sure not to wear them for too long at first, as this can cause pain and discomfort.

Step 4 – Repeat this process a few times until the Docs feel more comfortable.

5. Use a Leather Stretching Spray

You can try using a leather stretching spray or oil if you’re still having trouble breaking in your vegan Doc Martens. This will help to soften the fabric and make it more pliable. Simply spray or apply the oil to the inside and outside of your Docs. Repeat this process as necessary. You can also combine use of the spray with one of the other methods on this list, such as wearing them around the house or using a shoe stretcher.

6. Use Shoe Stretchers

Shoe stretchers are devices that you insert into your shoes to help stretch them out. They come in different sizes, so make sure you get the right size for your shoes.

When purchasing shoe stretchers, keep in mind that some come as a pair while others are single units that can stretch both shoes. There are also shoe stretchers tailored for various types of footwear, such as flats, heels, and boots. Just make sure you purchase the right tool for the job. There is a huge range of highly reviewed shoe stretchers at different price points on Amazon for you to choose from.

How to Use a Shoe Stretcher to Break in Vegan Doc Martens

Step 1 – Spray the inside and outside of your Doc Martens with water or a liquid shoe stretch spray. This will help to soften the faux leather and make it more pliable. Let the liquid absorb for a few minutes.

Step 2 – Place the shoe stretchers into your Docs. The stretchers should be as wide as the Docs can handle.

Step 3 – To stretch your Doc Martens, turn the knob on the shoe stretcher until you feel resistance.

Step 4 – Leave them in for a few hours or overnight.

Step 5 – Remove the shoe stretchers and try on your Docs. They should be more comfortable.

Tip: If you leave the vegan Doc Martens on the stretcher for too long, they will start to over-stretch. To avoid this problem, try stretching them for a shorter period of time at first. Dr Martens that are too loose can cause just as many problems as those that are too small.

7. Walk Them Around Outside

Once you’ve broken them in a bit, it’s time to take them for a walk around the block. This will help stretch out the fabric even further and make them even more comfortable. If possible, try walking on different types of surfaces so that your Doc Martens can really stretch out. For example, walk on both concrete and grass or pavement and carpet. This will help ensure that your Docs are as comfortable as possible!

8. Be Patient

Ultimately, the best way to break in vegan Doc Martens is just to give them time and do it gradually. The more you wear them, the more they’ll conform to your feet. So, be patient, and eventually, they’ll be as comfortable as any other pair of shoes!


Breaking in vegan Doc Martens can be a bit of a process, but it’s definitely possible! With a little effort and patience, you can make them just as comfortable as any other pair of shoes and learn how to care for them. Just remember to take your time, be patient, and use one (or more) of the methods above. With a little effort, you’ll have a pair of comfortable Docs that you can wear for years to come.


Breaking in your Vegan Doc Martens is just the first step. Read my next article about how well your Docs stand up to wet weather!


Frequently Asked Questions

Do Vegan Docs Last as Long as Regular Doc Martens?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on a number of factors, such as how often you wear them, how you care for them, and the quality of the materials used. However, in general, vegan Doc Martens are just as durable as regular Doc Martens and should last you for many years with proper care. Additionally, some people find that vegan Doc Martens actually stretch less and hold their shape better over time than regular Doc Martens.

Does Vegan Leather Crack?

Just like regular leather, vegan leather can crack over time if it’s not properly cared for. However, there are a few things you can do to help prevent this from happening. First, make sure you store your vegan leather shoes in a cool, dry place when you’re not wearing them. Additionally, avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or excessive heat, as this can cause the leather to dry out and crack. Finally, be sure to regularly condition your vegan leather shoes with a quality leather conditioner to keep them hydrated and looking their best.

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