One weird way of identifying whether a footwear brand is successful is if it is being imitated. Such is the case for the icon of punk rock boots, Dr. Martens. Since the brand's rise to popularity in the 1960s, many knockoffs have existed, and some even carry their logo.
With all these faux boots available in the market, you must be trained on how to legit check a pair of Dr. Martens. But how can you do this exactly?
To identify whether a Dr. Martens is real or fake, you have to check three main things: its box, sole, and stitching. The box should have the brand logo and size in the correct position. You’ll also find the logo and brand name in the insoles and outsoles of the shoes. Also, the yellow stitching should be high-quality.
Aside from what I’ve mentioned above, there are a couple more things that you can check to spot fake Docs. I listed them all below, so go grab your boots and start checking!
If you are a true fan of Dr. Martens, it would be easy for you to identify legit from fake. However, these days, imitators are getting better at their deceitful practice, which isn't a good thing considering the price at which they sell their faux shoes.
Before you think of buying a pair of Docs, especially from resellers online, check out this list of tips on how to spot original Dr. Martens.
First off, a pair of Dr. Martens is packaged carefully in a sturdy box— one that is made of high-quality cardboard. The box has Dr. Martens' logo on the lid and the side, and it is the same logo featured on the brand's official website.
You can check if your Docs are fake if the logo is placed incorrectly, and if the size and font are different. You can also check for a misspelling since most faux brands do not bother with this.
Aside from the logo, you will also find a white label on the side of the original Dr. Martens box. The label contains details such as size, style, color, number code, and bar code.
Do not forget to check whether the details printed on the white label matches what you bought. There are some resellers online, especially of supposedly secondhand Docs, who use original boxes, but the shoes are fake.
When you look at the tongue of the boots or its upper inside, you’ll find printed data. This information should match whatever is in the white label on the original box. It should also state the country where the Docs is manufactured.
Aside from the size and product code, you should also find an inspection sticker on the tongue or the upper inside of your Dr. Martens. Commonly, this is a small yellow sticker containing the words Insp by QC, which indicates that it passed quality control.
Dr. Martens is famous for its air-cushioned soles or bouncing soles— the non-traditional type of sole developed by Klaus Martens himself after getting involved in an accident that broke his foot.
The soles are called as such because during production, the air is trapped in the heels to make them bouncy and comfortable. This has been one of the distinct features of Dr. Martens. Thus, if your Docs sport the traditional hard leather sole, there is a high probability that it is a dupe.
By now, you should have realized that Dr. Martens is big on logos and brand names. You’ll also see these printed on the insoles of your Docs.
If you have a pair of old Docs, it would most probably have the additional words Original or Made in England. But newer pairs have extra captions, such as with Bouncing Soles or with Air Cushioned Soles.
The first thing you’ll notice on the outsole of your Docs is the embossed brand marking. The words The ORIGINAL, along with a cross, the brand name, and resistance details, are featured in a flawless embossed finish that would satisfy most perfectionists.
Other features that you’ll notice are the plasticizers and pigments used in making the outer soles. They make the sole very flexible, not to mention that they provide good traction. Lastly, Dr. Martens subtly added indentions at the edge of the soles that you won’t find in counterfeits.
The stitching on Dr. Martens is high-quality since they are made by hand. Unlike other dupes, they are not loose, and they are not also doubled. Moreover, they are spaced evenly and very straight.
The thread used in the stitching is yellow. This has been the case since Dr. Martens first boots in the 1960s; thus, it is easy to identify these iconic boots.
Since a lot of fake Docs also use yellow stitching, it is really crucial that you look at its quality.
The AirWay loop is another iconic and historical element you’ll see in authentic Docs. It is sewn on the upper, and the caption says with bouncing soles, written in the handwriting of Brill Grigg. If your Docs don’t have this loop, then it is most probably a fake.
If you purchased a new Dr. Martens, there should be spare laces included in the package. It is put inside a sealed small plastic bag with its logo on top.
Along with the tips I discussed above, you can avoid buying fake Dr. Martens if you purchase directly from their website or visit a Dr. Martens store near you.
If you do not know the nearest outlet to your area, use Dr. Martens' store locator here. All you have to do is enter your zip code or location, and you’ll see all the suggested stores along with the exact address, contact number, and time and days when it’s open.
As much as possible, avoid Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist as it is hard to identify the credibility of the sellers in those platforms.
It is quite easy to spot fake Docs with all the tips listed in this guide. To summarize, here are 10 ways to tell if you have real or fake Dr. Martens...
If you are still unsure of your judgment, you can always ask the help of your friends or someone who's a geek when it comes to Dr. Martens.
Always be cautious when transacting with people online, because more often than not, they do not care whether they are selling a faux pair of Docs. They are only after the profit. Surely, you don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on a pair of boots that will only last you a few weeks.