An Agrarian Take #3: Doc Martin “Work” Boots

WornOutDocMartinsPic

This Agrarian Take will be practical, not theoretical. In the summer of 2018, I got a pair of Doc Martin brand works boots for agricultural use. By the beginning of the 2019 garden season, they were rough. Now they are basically trashed.

I love Corcoran brand combat boots. Corcorans are well designed, of quality material and workmanship, good looking, and even American made (in Pennsylvania)! They are my preferred everyday footwear. I always like to keep one “good to very good” condition pair at all times. The only downside to Corcoran boots is the high price.

To save wear on my precious Corcorans, I decided to get a pair of work boots for utility purposes. I went to a local chain shoe store, and Doc Martins it was. I recalled, back from my days of working in a lumberyard, that one of the managers there had raved about how comfortable his Doc Martins were. The Doc Martins I chose were moderately priced, looked decent, and felt very comfortable.

I soon found out that comfortable though they are, Doc Martins are *not* built for hard use. I wondered if maybe I had not babied them as I do my combat boots, wearing them in wet grass more, and giving them leather conditioner less often. Probably not. I had one old pair of Corcoran “Tanker boots” for over a decade; I subjected them to long distance walking, periodic very hard woods hikes, heavy construction use, got them very wet on several occasions, and they were better after a decade (other than worn smooth soles) than these Doc Martins were after a year and a half. Even if I treated these Doc Martins *hard* for a year, it still does equate to *moderately hard* for 10 years like my old Corcoran Tankers.

My Doc Martin’s soles are intact, but the leather uppers are very rough, and literally coming apart at the seams and near the sole, There are torn threads, and in several places they are gaping open. This is substandard construction for a work boot.

On another note, the soles still have decent tread, but the rubber sole material is smooth in texture. This is fine on grass, mud, or frozen ground. But it is slippery on packed snow and ice, and on a frosty hillside. I slipped and fell twice last winter in these Doc Martins, when I probably would not have if I had been wearing my #1525 Corcoran Leather Field Boots.

Doc Martin advertises their shoes as perfect for postmen, those who are on their feet every day. Aha. I missed that. Doc Martins should be considered heavy duty tennis shoes, not work boots. Doc Martins might be good for a lumberyard or a car mechanic, and for mail carriers, but are substandard for heavy outdoor labor.

The Agrarian Take: Buy a better boot than Doc Martins for your homesteading needs.

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Endnote: I have made no blog posts about the current Trump impeachment circus. I have not put up a politics and current events themed piece since March 19th of this year. I did not vote in the 2016 or 2018 election cycles, and have basically lost my interest in politics. After releasing Rethinking The Propositions in late 2018, I feel no need to make further political statements. I plan to continue blogging here at GKS, focusing on agrarianism, history, Southern culture, and Christian theology.  

9 thoughts on “An Agrarian Take #3: Doc Martin “Work” Boots

  1. Great info, Mr. Putnam.
    I’ve had a similar experience recently with a pair of Thorogood work boots I bought at the beginning of this year. I’ve only had them 10 months and they are already falling apart. I get more use out of a pair of surplus desert combat boots that I can buy for $40! I’ve had a pair of the #1525 Corcoran Field Boots and I really liked them. Unfortunately they were lost in the last move my family made. I might look into getting another pair as soon as I can afford it.
    Keep up the great work on your blog, I enjoy the direction your taking it in! I apologize for not commenting regularly on your posts, but I read every article you publish and enjoy them immensely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey A Southerner,
      Glad that you are still enjoying the blog.
      Sorry to hear of your experience with Thorogood boots. They look nice on Amazon, but so did the Doc Martins I bought at a chain store one county up… Glad that you have had a pair of #1525 Corcorans; mine are great, but were made 5 years old. I hope that Corcoran still makes them as good!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am sorry to hear this about a brand that I have coveted for some time. I’ve been wanting a pair since Highschool. However, I always have my military field boots, that wear down enough to be unserviceable, and are still good enough to wear around the house for work in the yard or woods, so I haven’t bought work boots for civilian wear for over twenty years! But I still fancy the style of the Doc Martens. Sorry to hear of their lack of durability in a real work setting. Cheers!

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  3. Hello again! I am sorry to hear this about a brand that I have coveted for some time. I’ve been wanting a pair since Highschool. However, I always have my military field boots, that wear down enough to be unserviceable, and are still good enough to wear around the house for work in the yard or woods, so I haven’t bought work boots for civilian wear for over twenty years! But I still fancy the style of the Doc Martens. Sorry to hear of their lack of durability in a real work setting. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey maplelattefamily,
      Doc martins do indeed look and feel good, but are just nowhere near as durable as a boot of their price range should be. Your GI combat boots are no doubt a better option!

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  4. Joe,

    I own a pair of Doc Martens that I purchased around 2003. These boots are still going strong although I don’t wear them regularly. Because of my work I got the steel toe and electrical safety soles. The main difference I believe is these were made in England so the quality is much higher than the Chinese versions. I usually wear Red Wing lace up and pull on boots. Since these are made to repair I’ve had 4 pairs resoled multiple times. I do agree with having a few pairs of good works boots and rotate them.

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    1. Hey Tony,
      Interesting about your Doc Martin experience. Mine were bought in 2018; I think the tag said made in Vietnam. I am sure that an older actual English made pair would be much better than mine.
      I just Googled it, and apparently some Doc Martins are still made in England. They retail for $220-280 per pair, while mine cost me just over $100. Those two facts just might be the difference…
      https://www.drmartens.com/us/en/c/made-in-england

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    1. Hey Warpipes,
      That is a good thought. Your everyday gear should be practical, including footwear. I think the Boy Scouts (I never made it past Cub Scout) have a saying something like “travel light and be prepared”.

      Like

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