Consumer Advocate: The Dr Martens #solegate saga part 2!

A while back I posted about how I discovered that my classic Dr Martens shoes had developed split soles (read the original post here!). Although four or five years since I had purchased them, they had seen little use and I was very surprised to find that the soles, while displaying marginal wear elsewhere, had split along the sides, opening the core to the elements.

Dr Martens split soles on almost unused new shoes.

Dr Martens split soles on almost unused new shoes.

Action must be taken!

Not being one to ignore such matters, I contacted Customer Service at Dr Martens and explained the situation. The Customer Service contact at Dr Martens was suitably sympathetic to my plight, but would initially offer no more than that the damaged was due to wear and tear. Naturally, given that there was little wear involved I couldn’t accept such tear. After consideration, they asked me to return my shoes for inspection.

A month went by without word, though when asked they said the shoes had been sent for repair. An acceptable outcome, and certainly better than continuing to use a pair of shoes that would no doubt degrade further rather rapidly.

A brand new pair of classic Dr Martens arrive!

A brand new pair of classic Dr Martens arrive!

We have a result!

Imagine my surprise when I returned home to the lair today and found a box had been delivered from Dr Martens! Containing a brand spanking shiny new pair of the classic 1461 shoes, with yellow stitching, shiny uppers and perfectly moulded soles! An outcome I really had not expected, but very much appreciate.

In fact, I’m quite gobsmacked, as Dr Martens was under no obligation to supply me a new pair, and even repairing my shoes would have been outside of their commitments under consumer law. Given that they are a huge and rapidly expanding company these days, far from the family owned company of yore, I was expecting a treatment far less accommodating than how it turned out.

So, in all: Well done, Dr Martens, you stood behind your product and made good! Thank you for my new shoes, may the soles wear well and many gruelling walks be endured.


2020 update!

This article is from 2014 and since then others have picked up on the crummy quality of newer Doc Martens:


  • Richard D Trenholm (@rich_trenholm) 19/03/2015 at 19:49

    Exact same thing happened to me (the same split between the dark and light section of the sole) and I’d only owned mine eight months. When I contacted DM they asked me to email a picture, then agreed to repair them – and I too was chuffed to receive a brand new pair. Can’t fault the service

  • clyde 16/10/2016 at 22:12

    dad power …. 🙂

    • nick 16/10/2016 at 22:15

      Believe it 🙂

  • Lundchris 12/04/2017 at 17:56

    I was in a DM store asking about a repair/refurbishment because I have a pair of Made in England Steads and I was a bit disappointed they don’t do this at their Cobb’s lane factory. I was told Timpsons can do a DM resole, but it’s never quite the same as getting them on the original lasts.

  • Carl 23/11/2017 at 15:30

    I have had the same issue with my daughters shoes.. both soles coming away from the uppers.. I contacted Dr Marten but they refused to even look at the shoes as they where not purchased from them directly but off the highstreet.. 7 moth old shoes that are in wearable.. any advice here??

    • nick 23/11/2017 at 20:40

      I’d keep at them. At the end of the day it’s Doc Martens that made them and should stand behind the product. Who buys shoes direct from them anyhow? Mine certainly didn’t come from them. I’d talk to the shop as well though.

  • Carl 23/11/2017 at 15:35

    forgot to mention.. the highstreet chain would not address the issue as receipt was not produced.. who would think to keep a 12 month receipt for Dr Martens when they usually last 10 years without issue.. and are they not still Dr Martens product regardless of where they where purchased.. the fault was with the manufacturing of the shoes full stop

    • nick 23/11/2017 at 20:45

      I agree totally. Doc Martens used to be a solid and safe choice. Falling apart after half a year is not acceptable at all.

  • Pipsand 19/12/2017 at 18:56

    Sadly the new DMs are pretty poor. Soloavir are good though getting more expensive by the week – if you can find a pair of deadstock Loake/DMs or Hawkins with DM soles then you are in business.

  • Coco 25/01/2018 at 13:10

    Very interesting blog……and a result for you in getting a replacement pair of shoes. It pays to be persistent as they are a multi national company so should have no hesitation n replacing faulty goods.
    I ‘ve been wearing Dr.Martens since 1976 and, whatever the company says, they are certainly not the same quality that they used to be. I’m not convinced there’s a lot of difference in the leather upper – it’s the sole unit which is drastically different. The Asian soles are thinner, wear out quicker, seem to be flimsier and less dense in composition than the “old” Docs – clearly not made with the same material.
    It’s a pity that really as Dr.Martens were a British institution and now they are just a trendy footwear retailer. I always buy the MIE boots or solovair or even second hand on ebay.

  • Alban @ William John Lisen 29/01/2018 at 12:09

    I have a split sole of Dr Marten shoe and the cobbler does not know how to repair, so what can I do. Do I need to send to Dr. Marten factory t o repair.

  • Alban @ William John Lisen 29/01/2018 at 12:11

    I have 5 Dr Marten shoe so I want to know where to sent my split sole shoe.

  • carl 30/01/2018 at 18:10

    Hi. .dr marten say they will only take them back if purchased from a dr marten store… If not then they have to be retured to the retailer you originally got them from (so they can presumably send them to dr marten lol) seems like they don’t want to accept responsibility for faulty goods but good luck getting repair/replacement

  • Keith Benson 29/03/2018 at 18:56

    I’ve sent three pair back for that “sole split” problem where the two layers have separated. All Thai manufactured. They replaced the first two, currently waiting to hear about the third. I love the look of Docs but may have to stick to MIE’s in the future. Hope they address the problem or they’re going to lose their customers. K

    • nick 29/03/2018 at 19:21

      It’s good to hear they are standing behind their product at least!

  • Adam Elliott 19/04/2018 at 23:34

    oh gosh – happened to me too, but how do you send shoes anywhere from Papua New Guinea!!

  • Michael 05/05/2018 at 12:25

    Same problem here. The shoes broke at exactly the same part of the sole. Contacted Doc Martens, they requested pics but now are writing there’s nothing they can or will do and that I should talk to the retailer which says there’s nothing they can or will do as the shoes are out of warranty and that it is a manufacturing defect anyway. Shoes for 170 Euros down the drain because some company decided making (more) money is more important than quality. Shame on you Doc Martens.

  • Peter 17/05/2018 at 11:05

    Go to their facebook and voice your opinion, post pictures, other people are doing the same right now!

  • Peter 06/06/2018 at 19:15

    We opened up a Facebook group for people with the same kind of problems, feel free to join!

  • João 30/12/2018 at 17:21

    Hello Nick. After couple of years of following your blog and post regarding your doc shoes issue, I had experience a similar situation.

    I have decided to buy a new pair of boots – 1460 BLACK SMOOTH on 5th March of 2018. I have received the delivery package near the end of the same month. Since then, and as per today, I have discovered that not even after 9 months of using these boots they show signs of cracks/holes in the upper part of the boots as also on the sole.

    Which makes the water get inside of the footwear.

    For 170€ and well known brand of footwear that last for ages, the quality is disappointing. nowadays. Specially when I am a customer for near 20 years, and close friends that are customers for longer still have those indestructible quality footwear. It seems quality is not the same nowadays.

    Therefore, I have reached Dr Martens via email and explained them my case. Oddly the order number vanished from the my account on the portal. I am unable to find on email. Gladly I do have proof of transaction payment and I have also sent message to their facebook page. Lets hope I do also have a happy ending.

    Have a good weekend and happy NYE.

    • nick 30/12/2018 at 17:25

      I wish you the best of luck in dealing with them! It’s a crying shame a legendary company is being run off a cliff in this way.

  • Alwick 25/02/2019 at 18:06

    Just called the US office regarding split soles on my 10 moth old Church Monkey Boots. they were helpful and said I should receive an e-mail in a few days regarding how to return them for a replacement pair. We’ll see. Bottom line, you never know unit you ask (nicely).

  • euhill 02/04/2019 at 07:28

    Someone mentioned on YT what the problem with the DM sole cracking is. Apparently the soles are made out of PVC. So during the cold winter months the sole becomes brittle and cracks or splits. Makes sense as that is when I noticed the soles of my DM industrail shoes split.

    • nick 02/04/2019 at 09:42

      It might possibly be a factor, but speaking for my own experience my shoes had not been used outside in the cold and split regardless!

      • Randy 19/05/2019 at 17:50

        I have with docs for years and love them but the cold is definitely a factor. I was moved to a freezer in the warehouse I work and found that my soles had split but the boots were a few years old so I got a new pair and within two days the new pair had also split from the minus 10 temperatures.

  • Frank T. 03/04/2019 at 18:31

    2 pairs so far and counting. Just mailed another away for replacement. I have 20 pairs and rotate them for office use. They do stand behind their warranty. Seems like the Vietnam made ones are at fault. I have British made ones from 1980’s still in use and no splitting. All have been the 3 and 6 hole shoes. No boots or slip-ons so far, knock wood! Calling them, they seem to not “know” anything of the issue. Seems for $150+ per pair, $30 sneakers from Walmart outlast Docs these days. As long as they keep replacing them, I don’t mind except for the constant $25 shipping cost to me. I hope my new Union Jacks don’t split. They are out of production!

  • Danski 09/05/2019 at 12:51

    I just noticed my 1460 shoes have split along the side at the weld as well! I have a pair of boots (my second pair, I think the style was called Aldwych), and both of those split along the sides too.

    I just emailed them to see if they will do anything for me.

    Are the Made In England boots any more hard wearing, anyone?

    • Peter 09/05/2019 at 21:25

      While it is true what Billy wrote aka that the leather quality is better we also see quite a bit of the split soles om made in england docs in our facebook group Dr Martens Fails, it seems to be a general problem but much worse with the asian docs. I still would think very hard though if that much higher price is worth it. You can get lots of different shoes for that price.

  • Billy 09/05/2019 at 20:14

    In my experience the made in England boots are far superior. The leather uppers are thicker and the sole seems to be made differently also – its more dense.

  • Danski 10/05/2019 at 10:58

    Well, after having a good read, I think I’ll be looking at Solovair for my next buy.

    Thanks for the replies.

    • nick 10/05/2019 at 11:38

      A wise move. Solovair make most of the classic styles in the NPS factory. I visited them at Easter and can confirm that style, quality and British made is all legit and above board!

    • Prakash 10/05/2019 at 19:12

      Actually I bought Solovairs and the leather peeled and sole split within six months! They wouldn’t replace or repair them, but offered half price on a future pair

  • Halfmahalfdrum 06/09/2019 at 14:17

    When I was a youth in the mid 70’s DM’s were the staple for school. These boots and shoes were UK made and I clearly remember the numerous pair that I had over a 5 year plus period splitting along the side of the soles. We used to heat a knife over a gas hob til it was cherry red (pun intended) and weld them back together. I still have a pair of boots from this period.

  • Neil 10/09/2019 at 10:07

    Hi, I’m on my third pair in 4 years and have had the same problem with each pair, this lastest pair must just be a year old, granted the Doc Martin shop in Liverpool replaced the others without any problem. Thing is they take so much effort to break in you get them just right then the buggers start to split 😡. I love them and they are the most comfortable boots I’ve ever had once broken in. Think I’ll write to manufactures this time and see what happens.

  • Selina 14/11/2019 at 18:19

    I am facing the same problem for the first time on my second pair of Martens.
    The first ones I bought with soft leather for 120 euros, was 6 years ago and they’re still going strong.
    I bought the 1460 unknown pleasures, the joy division collaboration. The sole split after 1 and 3 months… I haven’t been wearing them as much so they basically just broken in.
    Frankly I’m disappointed but mainly just terribly sad because I can’t find them in my size anymore so buying them again isn’t an option.
    I’m now hoping for either my retailer or the company themselves to give me an opportunity to resole them.
    For a pair of shoes that was being sold for 210 euros more than a weak performance.

  • Panos 03/12/2019 at 16:22

    Just happened to me today on a pair of 1460 Cherry boots.
    I bought them on 28 February and they were pristine.

    I walked down to the Oxford ST shop and they have replaced them straight away no questions asked. I walked in and told them ” I guess this pair is not a tough as me”.

    Make sure you keep your receipts, makes things lots easier.

  • Helen 11/03/2020 at 22:56

    Dr Martens UK have made good on my complaint regarding a pair of boots that started to show defects within 12 months of wear, and sent me a brand new pair of boots. I did use this website quite a lot, so I am thankful for your help in getting me a brand new pair of boots. I’ve also shared your link on Facebook at the Dr Martens Fails. group.

  • Ben Cowell 02/05/2021 at 00:02

    Hi I’ve got two pairs, one a Chukka bought thirty years ago, another made using their soles (they used to sell them to other makers in the seventies). I had one pair ‘repaired’ Timpsons and another shoe repairer to no avail. I can’t bring myself to chuck them as the uppers are fine, so I was looking for some firm who could replace the soles even though they are fine as I now consider this is the only reliable option. Anyone had a good experience?

    • Billy 02/05/2021 at 11:00

      Are you in the UK ? If so there’s a cobbler in Kendal that resoles DM’s……check the “the key cobbler” on YouTube 👍

  • Michael 12/05/2021 at 17:11

    Not a new issue. I have a pair of 1460s I bought in 1999, made in England. After 6 months the sole split and the local retailer(in Texas) was unwilling to help. No easy way to get to someone at Docs back then. Local shoe repair places said there was no way to fix it short of a re-sole. Still sitting in the back corner of a closet.

  • Gianni 07/04/2022 at 21:04

    I have been wearing DR Martins steel toe boots for over 20 years, and started having this Issue with the last 5 pairs I have bought, I have tried many ways to fix them as I only wear Doc’s in a factory environment and there is a easy fix for them!!!!!!!

    Use Locktite 135423 Black Max 380, I use a tooth pic to coat the two mating surface’s and clamp them with a pair of wood clamps and let them dry for 24hrs and don’t have issues with them again!!!!!!!

  • Naomi 02/09/2022 at 04:37

    I bought a pair of the vegan Jadon II’s, and both platform soles have split where the arch of the foot bends. I tried using Shoe Goo, and it was laughably useless. I’ll just keep trying different brands and see if anything helps. The splits are very big, and eventually I won’t be able to wear them, which is nuts because they were $250 after tax and the cracks started forming 8-9 months into having them. I didn’t keep my receipt because my pair of 1460’s are almost 13 years old and still going strong, so I assumed that they’d be similar quality. I was sadly very wrong. It’s wild to me that they don’t offer some sort of official repair service…at this point I’d pay to get them fixed, but they told me at the store that they don’t.

  • Mark Wayne 08/08/2023 at 12:23

    Just read through this thread and i’ve picked up on something i didn’t realise despite having worn DMs for 40 years – the Goodyear welted sole isn’t what i originally thought it was! Like everyone else here, I have suffered from the modern Docs splitting along the sole and starting at the flex point beneath the arch of the foot. This split develops at the exact level of a change of colour between an almost black section immediately below the stitching and a slightly lighter in colour section from that point down to the ground which has the treaded section on the bottom. I hadn’t realised prior to reading this thread that the sole must be assembled from these two pieces in order to permit stitching to take place. Therefore, the soles have always been glued / cemented together at this point and yet the problem of splitting never used to occur, despite it having become such an issue more recently. I spoke to an old fashioned cobbler who told me he was certified to repair DM soles by cutting off the lower section and heat sealing a new treaded portion to the stitched upper section. However, he said it was quite an expensive process and he didn’t really like doing it as he was rarely completely happy with the result. I note that someone mentioned one of the chain repairers could also perform this repair – does anyone have any experience of the outcome?
    I currently own about 8 pairs of DMs of varying age, but it occurs to me that this is how this common problem seems to be kept out of the public eye. I wear different boots for work and leisure, meaning the wear is spread over several pairs of boots and by the time the split soles occur, the boots are too old to bother about even though they are little used. My current ‘work’ pair have only a few months wear and have split in the aforementioned place on both boots. I am in the process of addressing this having sent various photos to DMs customer service section. The boots were bought from DMs own website at a sale price as most of my boots are.
    I’ve never had any Made in England boots, but have heard people talk about the leather being better. Is the sole unit any better, or does the same issue still apply?
    Sadly, after 40 years I think it may be time to move on. What can anyone tell me about Solovair boots in regular wear?

    Cheerz, Mark


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