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Flood-damaged Dr Martens

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    Flood-damaged Dr Martens

    Hi there... This is my first post. Seems like you all are a helpful bunch as opposed to many of the men's fashion bloggers out there. So thanks in advance.

    Here's my dilemma:

    I have a pair of flood-damaged Dr Martens shoes. Should I refurbish them or is the brand and look so dated that it wouldn't be worth it?

    A few weeks ago, I was back home for my grandmother's funeral when I decided to clean out my parents' garage, which was flooded by a hurricane in 2008. Most of it was childhood toys, collections and clothing that I'd left when I went away to college. The majority needed to be thrown out, but I did manage to salvage quite a bit of old belongings, including my old pair of Dr Martens.

    These aren't the typical big black lace-up boots worn with baggy faded jeans. They are actually a pretty good looking pair of dark brown 1461 "Made in England" shoes. But they are from the late 1990s, so they have a different sole pattern than the ones currently on the market:

    I ain't rich by any stretch of the imagination, so when it comes to shoe-shopping I can't afford to buy top-of-the-line brands. I'd love to own a pair of Alden's, but my budget is extremely limited.

    So I did clean them up, gave 'em a polish and new laces. But they still smell a little mildewy and there are some pock marks in the toe area. Should I just retire this pair, or invest more time into making them look new again?


    As for the mildew, have yuo replaced the insoles? I would remove the insoles and leave them out in the sun for a few days. I'm not much help with the pock marks, though.

    And if push comes to shove, they can always be your work shoes. Sounds like you weren't using them much to begin with.



      I thought about taking out the insoles, but they are sewn and glued in. Also, it seems like it's the leather itself that smells. I tried closing them in a bag with fresh baking soda for a day, stuffed dryer sheets in the shoes, and sprayed Lysol inside them. I think I've got the interior smell covered. But I'm thinking I might have to scrub all the polish off with saddle soap or lighter fluid, buff out the pock marks and reapply polish.

      I've never done all that before, so I thought I might just take them to a local cobbler. I'm not opposed to wearing them for hiking (the soles are just as good as my trail running shoes).

      So you think the style is still attractive and not too dated? I can post pics later on.



        So you think the style is still attractive and not too dated?

        If the sole on yours is as thick as the ones that you linked to, I personally don't find it a particularly attractive shoe. I'm not a fan of the thick rubber soles. In the side profile view, imagine the shoe with a thinner, leather sole...

        But that's all personal opinion. The fact of the matter is that the majority of people won't notice & won't care. They'll see black shoes on your feet and think you're dressed up better than all the guys wearing sneakers.

        So it becomes a matter of your preference and taste: if you like their look, then wear them and wear them confidently.

        Because if you decide to replace them with anything less than Aldens (if that's what you're setting your sights on as the shoe to get), you still could find yourself in a similar boat: Are my non-Alden shoes (Cole Haan, J&M, Ecco, Rockport, Bass, dare I say AE etc.) stylish enough?



          Point well taken!

          While I do think the sole is a bit on the thick side, once I'm wearing them I hardly notice, and I don't think many people really do. It even helps give me a bit of height (I'm 5'5").

          I suppose I'm more concerned now with the smell and the blemishes in the leather.



            Might not work, but who knows:




              Not sure if it is OK for leather (and it isn't cheap) but Anti Icky Poo ( is pretty amazing. I know it works on cat pee, the label also claims it takes care of "dead body fluids," so it seems like a little mildew should be no problem



                I would try to save them if you can. DM boots get a lot of crap on style websites for their looks, but I love their quality. I have a pair of DM ankle boots that I've owned for about 10 years. They still have tons of life left in the tread and they are comfortable as hell. They are great for winter time in Michigan when the snow gets out of control.



                  I had some boots get nasty in a damp Parisian basement once. The thing that made the biggest difference for me was drying them in the sun for several days.

                  After that I would take them to your cobbler for a shine, or you could do the work yourself with saddle soap, then maybe some DM's wonder balsam and a new coat of polish.

                  Good luck with them.



                    Mildew can't survive in a place that's too hot and too dry, but if you don't get it all, it can come right back in full force.