When I first moved to the UK from Kentucky, I was a little bit overwhelmed by the sheer hipness of British fashion, and Dr. Martens are the absolute epitome of British coolness for me. (Seriously – have you ever seen someone look uncool wearing DMs? It’s happened maybe like three times ever.) Buying my very first pair – 3 Eye 1461 in Smooth Black – made me feel like such a badass that I couldn’t believe my luck when last year I found these gorgeous Navy DMs on sale at Office for £35. (£35!!!)
I was so thrilled to get such a good deal that I kind of forgot how painful it can be to break in a new pair – I laced them up and pranced into to work feeling like a chic cosmopolitan goddess and then hobbled home from work feeling like I could easily be cool with going barefoot for the rest of my life. They’ve been gathering dust at the bottom of my shoe shelf ever since…until last week.
I read about a Stanford University study that found that surgical paper tape applied to blister-prone areas of the feet is the most effective method for preventing blisters in marathon runners. Now, while I have a very complicated relationship with running, I am definitely familiar with shoe-related injuries. With autumn in full swing, I remembered my poor, neglected DMs and decided to give them another try. Unsurprisingly, I had no surgical tape at hand, but I had something way more fun.
I bought this MT tape for £2.75 from Utility here in Liverpool – this particular pattern is called Sankuku Blue, but you can choose from loads of other colors and patterns here. Initially I had tried to use some regular washi tape from Paperchase, but it tore too easily and my feet blistered really quickly. But the MT tape has an element of elasticity to it which means that the shoes only rub against the tape instead of ripping through it. If you want to give it try, just apply a few strips of the tape where you have issues with blistering. My problem areas are across the back of my heels, around my cute little pinky toes, and across the knuckles of my big toes. (I know feet gross some people out, so here’s a photo of only my heel as an example of how I’ve applied the tape. So sexy, right?)
Also, I know lots of people recommend big, thick socks for breaking in DMs and I’m glad it works for them, but I found with my first pair that thick socks make my blisters worse – too much fabric and too much friction. I just wear a pair of 100-120 denier tights over the tape. No one can see it, and it’s a like a fun little patterned secret that only I know is there. (And now you do, too, I guess.)
This method has worked so well for me that I was able to go on a night out in my new Docs during only my third time wearing them. I managed to walk all over the Liverpool city centre going from club to club and even to dance until 3 a.m. with no pain at all (except for my poor, little head the next morning).
Anyone else have some advice on breaking in Dr. Martens? I’d love to hear about it because I’m dying to buy a few more pairs!