Learning how to tell if Doc Martens are too big is important as if you buy the wrong size boots or shoes you are going to end up with blisters, foot pain and heel slip. Buying the right size footwear right from the start can save you a lot of pain and hassle but how do you know if you are getting the right size especially if you have never worn Doc Martens before?
There are a number of key indicators that will let you know if you are wearing shoes that are too big or whether you have the right size for your feet. Here’s how you can find out if you have the correct size or whether you need to try a different style or shoe size.
This post may contain affiliate links which means that we get a commission if you choose to make a purchase through the link. This is at no cost to you. Please read our disclosure page for more information.
How Are Doc Martens Supposed to Fit?
Finding the perfect fit for your Doc Martens is a bit of a balancing act. You need to find a pair that gives you the right amount of comfort and support without being too tight when they are new. An ideal fit for a pair of Doc Martens is a pair of shoes or boots that fits snugly but will allow enough wiggle room for your toes. Usually, this space should be around a quarter of an inch.
Doc Martens boots and shoes generally are made from relatively stiff leather which can feel a little tight and inflexible at first however as you break in your shoes they will start to stretch a little and the leather will soften.
Any shoe or boot that allows your foot to move around too much is likely to be big and will cause you problems. If your Doc Martens are too small they are going to feel instantly uncomfortable and may even hurt.
If you find that any Dr Martens footwear hurts you in any way whilst you are trying it on you need to choose a different shoe size.
Do Doc Martens Run Big Or Small?
Generally, Doc Martens sizing is right on the money and they are true to size.
This means that you should initially seek out your normal shoe size when buying any of their footwear. The only problem you are going to get is that the brand doesn’t offer half sizes which is clearly a problem if you are between two different shoe sizes.
Sizing Down in Doc Martens
So what do you do if you normally wear a shoe in a half size? Well, Doc Martens recommends that you size down half a size rather than sizing up.
Whilst the brand obviously understands how Doc Martens fit I don’t believe this is the best advice because inevitably some people will do just this and find their shoes are too small.
I always recommend that if you are buying a pair of Doc Martens you assess the perfect size for you by trying on a number of different pairs and styles to get the right size.
Always try and shop for your shoes in the afternoon after your feet have swollen a little and think about what socks you would be using with them when you are trying them on. If you normally wear thick socks with your footwear wear them when you are trying the Doc Martens boots and shoes to get a better fit.
Are My Doc Martens Too Big?
Whilst I always prefer people to buy the right size Docs from the start inevitably some people will get the wrong size.
So how do you know when you have bought the correct size or when you have bought a pair that is too big for your feet? Well here are the dead giveaways that tell you that you either need to take your shoes back or you need to find a way of adjusting the shoe to make it fit better.
You Have a Bad Case of Heel Slip
I have a whole blog post about how much heel slip is normal which will give you a ton of information about heel slippage and what you can do about it.
If you don’t know much about heel slip it is when your shoes start to move up and down at the back of your foot causing discomfort. Most shoes will have a small amount of heel slip which is normal but if your shoes are too big this slippage will make your shoes rub your ankle causing blisters or your shoes will feel as if they are falling off.
Whilst it is always good to have a little extra room in your footwear that extra space shouldn’t cause your foot pain or discomfort as you walk. If this is what you are feeling then you will need to either take your shoes back or if that isn’t possible find some ways to reduce that extra room on the inside of your shoes.
Your Feet Are Sliding Forward In Your Shoes
If you want to know how to tell if your Doc Martens are too big then the next sign is when your feet start to slide forward in them and your toes hit the front of your shoes and boots.
When you have Docs that fit snugly and the laces are tied you should find that your feet are stable inside the footwear and don’t move around much. If your Doc Martens run big then instead of your feet staying in one position they start to gravitate towards the front of your shoes as you start to walk.
Significant movement like this can cause blisters and calluses and as your toe hits the front of your shoe or boot it can also cause foot pain or nail problems.
Anti-Sliding Pads can help to stop this by keeping your feet in the correct position in your footwear.
You Have Too Much Toe Room
As I mentioned earlier when you buy a new pair of Doc Martens you should have around a quarter of an inch of toe room at the front of your footwear. This gives you just enough extra wiggle room to move your toes around inside your shoes rather than them being pressed up against the shoe.
If you buy a pair of Dr Martens with too much extra space inside that front section then this can cause problems. Not only can your feet end up slipping and sliding around but you can also get blisters from the friction and ingrown toenails.
Plus by having a shoe with less stability you are putting strain on your ankles and arches which can lead to injuries.
Toe filler inserts can work for some people to plug this gap.
The Tongue Of your Shoe Moves To The Side
When you are wearing the right size Doc Martens shoes or boots the tongue of the footwear tends to stay in place. When your shoes are too big then the tongue tends to move around even when you have laced your Dr Martens securely.
A shoe tongue that bunches up or moves to the side is a good indicator of poorly fitting footwear. Not only does the tongue look unsightly when it isn’t in the correct position it can make your Docs hurt the top of your foot.
Your Feet Move From Side To Side
I’ve talked about how to tell if your Doc Martens are too big by discussing how your feet can move forwards in your footwear but what about when your shoes and boots feel too loose at the sides?
If you have narrow feet you may have a problem buying your normal size shoes. This is because Doc Martens doesn’t really sell shoes and boots built for narrow feet. This means that if you want a better fit you may have to size down considerably to find a pair that fit.
Of course, when you size down you could have the problem of the width being ok and the length being too small.
If you do have narrow feet then the normal Doc Martens sizing chart won’t help. The only way to get a good size for your feet is to spend a lot of time trying on different sizes and styles until you find something that works.
You Are Gripping With Your Toes to Keep Shoes Stable
Another indicator that your new shoes might not be the right size is if you find yourself using your toes to grip your shoes to keep them from sliding down in your shoes.
If your feet are moving around in your shoes and you are gripping too hard then you are going to cause yourself an injury or foot deformity.
You should return the Dr Martens to the online store or shop or if you have left it too late find a solution to make the boots or shoes fit better.
Buckles and Straps Close On the Loosest Settings
Whilst a lot of Dr Martens footwear use laces they do make some with buckles and straps such as Doc Martens sandals.
It should be relatively easy to see if you have a problem with sandals being too big because if you try and do up the buckles or straps you are going to find that you may need to use the loosest setting whilst securing them.
I have known some people to actually find that the settings don’t fit at all and people put another hole into the strap with a hole punch device to make the shoes close. This isn’t something I would really advise as it is an indicator that the sizing is off however it works for some people.
Your Boots Make Noises When Walking
One of my most popular posts is about about to stop boots from squeaking when walking. People really can’t stand footwear that makes noises because it draws attention to them.
Footwear that is too large can be one of the reasons why you are hearing sounds especially clomping or clacking sounds as your shoes slip and slide as you walk.
If you are hearing sounds and your Doc Martens feel too loose you can assume your boots or shoes are too big.
The Heel Lifts Out Of Your Shoes Without Undoing Laces
Doc Martens boots and shoes have laces to help secure your footwear to your feet. If the laces are tightened correctly you should have a snug fit and your foot will not be able to come out of your footwear unless you undo them.
Learning how to tell if your Doc Martens are too big isn’t difficult in a case like this because if your heel starts to lift out of your shoes without you undoing your laces you have the wrong size.
Doc Martens Loose Around The Ankle
Finally, one to look out for if you are a lover of Doc Martens boots is when you feel they are much too loose in the ankle area.
Your boots don’t need to just feel secure in the foot section but in the ankle as well. Usually, when you tighten their laces you should find that this is enough to keep your foot in position.
If your Doc Martens stretch or are too big to start with you will find that the ankle area isn’t secured properly and you get that loose feeling.
What To Do If Your Docs Are Too Big
If your Docs are too big then the obvious answer is to take them back to where you bought them from if you still have that option. Usually, you can return or exchange them if they haven’t got signs of wear and tear.
However, I know plenty of people continue to try and wear uncomfortable footwear long past this date and miss the return period. If this is the case you need to do something to try and improve the fit otherwise your only other options are to sell them or stick them in the back of your closet.
Here are a few tips that might help your Doc Martens fit better and feel more comfortable if you are stuck in this situation.
Insoles For Doc Martens That Are Too Big
Now you know how to tell if Doc Martens are too big here is what you can do about it.
The most obvious solution is to buy an orthotic or insole for your shoe to reduce the space you have on the inside of your shoe. You may need to play around with the inserts that are available to find one that suits your footwear.
These Dr. Scholls Comfort Insoles are an example of something that you could use just to reduce the inside space in your shoes and to make your feet more comfortable.
Wear Thicker Socks
If the space inside your shoes isn’t too bit then you could also try wearing thicker socks.
As Dr Martens shoes and boots tend to be worn with socks this won’t look out of place. The only issue you might have is in the summer months thick socks might be too hot to wear.
Try and choose some moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry and comfortable.
Use a Tongue Pad
My final tip is a great one if you have a low instep or feel that you need something to stop the tongue of the shoe from moving around.
A tongue pad is something that you place just under the tongue of the shoe. It is padded so that it takes up some of the space and that with help your shoes to fit better and feel more snug.
More Articles About Doc Martens
*This site is owned and operated by Chicpedi.com. Chicpedi.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.