First established in 1960, Dr. Martens is an iconic fashion brand worn by both punks and celebrities alike. Today, I’ll be reviewing the Ironbridge Safety Toe.
As a general rule of thumb fashion statements and all day comfort rarely go hand in hand. Because of this the Ironbridge are actually my first purchase from the brand.
I finally decided to give them a try because I’ve heard some very good things about their air cushioned sole.
The first thing that you should know about the Ironbridge is that even for a steel toed boot, they’re significantly heavier than average. My pair clocked in at just over 2.5 pounds a piece.
Given the thickness of both the sole and uppers, I was expecting a lengthy break in period but they were good to go within 3 days of light wear. After that, if you can get past the weight, there’s a lot to like.
Like most Dr. Marten boots, there’s an air cushioned sole. This refers to a layer of tiny air pockets in the midsole that insulate your feet against the shocks that they take when hitting the ground.
According the to the brand this results in a feeling of walking on air. While I wouldn’t go that far, I will say that the shock absorption levels are excellent. I experienced zero foot fatigue even after the twelve hour mark.
If you’ve worn boots with anti fatigue technology in the form of small rubber cones, then that’s pretty much what you can expect from the air cushion with a little added bounce thrown in.
The uppers are also well designed. They probably have the most padding that I’ve found in a boot. And because it’s made from ballistic mesh, it keeps your ankles and upper foot cushioned without hampering air flow.
One potential downside is that the removeable insole isn’t the best. If you need a lot of arch support, I recommend replacing it.
Overall, a heavy pair of boots but enough added comfort to justify carrying it.
The Ironbridge is equipped with a steel toe that meets or exceeds ASTM standards. Some versions include electrical hazard protection. The outsole is slip resistant against both water and oil. Unlike some slip resistant boots, these work, traction levels are excellent.
The Ironbridge are water resistant, not waterproof and there’s a big difference between the two. They will keep your feet dry in light rain or a quick step in a puddle. But anything more than that will result in wet feet.
As for insulation, the uppers are made from full grain leather which generally makes for a solid year round boot. So far, I’ve only worn them in Spring but I think that with the right socks they’ll make for a comfortable wear in both Summer and Winter.
Style is obviously a big selling point of these boots. They’re available in a choice of three colors. I chose the teak version and that color in the least doesn’t disappoint. The brushed leather and heavy duty eyelets give them a much higher end appearance than their price tag would suggest. And the distinctly modern appearance coupled with Dr. Martens famous yellow thread makes them ideal for weekend wear.
At the time of writing, they’ve been reviewed almost 300 times on Amazon alone for an average score of 4.5 stars out of 5. The most popular features are simply comfort and style. Multiple reviews compliment the boots on both the anti fatigue sole and generous ankle padding.
One thing that is a bit worrying is that multiple reviews complain about the sole coming apart within a matter of months. While these reviews are in the minority (many people praise durability levels), there is enough of them to suggest a quality control problem.
The Ironbridge are heavier than I expected and I have no idea how long the sole is going to last. I’ll update this review in six months but for now, I’m happy that I finally gave this brand a try.
The air cushioned sole makes a real difference during a long shift. Slip resistance is well above average. And despite costing half the price, they easily rival Red Wing in terms of style. If the sole holds up, they won’t be the last pair of Dr. Martens that I try.