Dr Martens Wonder Balsam Vs Dubbin – Which one is best? and how to use?

Last updated on July 23rd, 2022 at 10:32 pm

Can’t decide between Wonder balsam and Dubbin? Our Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam vs. Dubbin guide can help…

Dubbin is a thick, waxy substance that is usually used for more heavy-duty leather types, such as saddles or cowboy boots. In contrast, Wonder Balsam is a lighter cream formula that is generally easier to apply, making it a good choice for softer leathers such as handbags or shoes.

We’ll discuss both these products in detail here.

Dr Martens Wonder Balsam Vs Dubbin

Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam – What Is It?

There is no better option than the Doc Martens wonder balsam when it comes to shining and protecting your leather boots. The mixture is made up of martens’ unique blend of coconut oil, beeswax, and lanolin which makes it perfect for adding a protective layer over leather surfaces.

As the wonder balsam has no color, it can be used in any leather product, whether blue or black.

The waxy mixture is designed to protect your leather boots from all sorts of weathering conditions such as rain and dust. Also, it helps to nourish the leather, which leaves your shoes looking shiny and soft.

Using the wonder balsam routinely will preserve the shine of your new boots and keep them looking as good as the day you first got them.

Who Should Use Wonder Balsam?

If you own even one pair of leather footwear, then you should definitely purchase the wonder balsam. While your average shoe brushes and shoe shiners do a good job, getting a wonder balsam will preserve the looks and offer strong protection.

During harsh weather conditions like summer or winter, your shoes are exposed to a lot of weathering components. As a result, the leather surface tends to wear off easily and lose its shine.

With the Doc Martens wonder balsam, you can easily protect your pair of shoes from water and salt marks. When applied to the shoe, the leather is covered in a water resistant coating, which causes the droplets to fall off easily.

Furthermore, this is a great product to soften up your leather boots when wearing them for the first time. Usually, out of the box, leather footwear tends to be a little stiff and, in turn, can put extra pressure on your heels. Applying wonder balsam will make the breaking-in process much easier and less time-consuming.

How to Use Wonder Balsam?

Step 1: Setting Up

First things first, you must set up a space to clean work on your footwear. Get yourself a few pieces of soft cloth, some water, and your Doc Martens Wonder Balsam. Find yourself a nice flat surface that you wouldn’t mind getting a little dirt on.

Step 2: Cleaning and Preparing

Before you start the cleaning process, you want to remove the shoelaces and put them in a tub of water with detergent. Take a damp cloth to wipe on those seams and try to remove dirt as well as you can from the creases.

Once you’re done, take another piece of dry cloth to wipe the shoes clean.

Step 3: Applying Wonder Balsam

Next, you want to take your Wonder Balsam and scoop out a good chunk of wax. Apply even layers of the balsam directly across the surface of your leather footwear. Try to get in the nooks and crannies of all the creases. Pay close attention to the creases as these parts need extra shielding from dirt and salt marks.

If you’re satisfied with your layers, leave the shoes to dry for around 10-12 minutes.

Step 4: Re-Lacing

Now that you’re done cleaning your shoes, the laces can be put back into them. In order to maintain the aesthetic, make sure your laces don’t look too old or ragged.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

This last step is more of an option, but we certainly do recommend it. Along with the Wonder Balsam, Dr. Martens has an amazing Ultra protector. This further reinforces the wax layer to add extra protection from wear and tear.

Furthermore, you can also give your shoes a quick spray of Dr. Martens Shoe freshener to remove any bad odors inside. This will truly leave your shoes looking and smelling as good as the day you bought them.

How to use wonder balsam video guide

Dr. Martens Dubbin – What Is It?

Dubbin has been a staple shoe care product since the 18th century. It is essentially made from a natural wax formula containing tallow and coconut oil. Dubbin wax is great for leather footwear that needs to be softened or made waterproof. Not only does it restore the natural shine, but it also extends the lifespan of your footwear.

If your boots have been out of shape for a while and need some restoring, there is no better option. The wax adds a shiny protective layer, which offers extra protection from stains and dirt.

In addition, the waxy layer is naturally waterproof to prevent water droplets from seeping into the leather. When the rain droplets fall on your Dubbin-protected shoe, they start slipping across the surface and eventually slide off your shoe. This keeps them from accumulating on the little creases on your shoe.

Who Should Use Dubbin?

Dr. Martens Dubbin is the best option in the market right now. For old boots that have completely lost their shine, ditch your shoe polish and try this.

However, we strongly advise you to only use this product on leather and not other materials like suede or nubuck. This can cause damaging effects rather than rejuvenating your shoe.

For people who reside in areas with a harsh winter, Dubbin is a necessity. Snow and cold temperatures can be detrimental to leather boots. Dubbin is generally required by anyone who needs to protect their shoes from excessive dust and other weathering conditions.

In addition, Dubbin is a great catalyst for breaking in your newly bought leather boots. Most if not all leather products are stiff out of the box and need to be worn a few times before adjusting to the shape of your feet.

Applying a layer of Dr. Martens dubbin will help soften the leather to accommodate your heel easily. This will also protect your new shoes from deep creases and dirt.

How to Use Dubbin?

Step 1: Setting Up

In order to begin the cleaning and shining process of any shoe, you need a table or dry surface. Same as the Wonder balsam, you need a few pieces of cloth, water, and Dr. Martens Dubbin.

Step 2: Cleaning and Preparing

Before applying dubbin, you need to use a damp cloth to clean your shoes properly. Pay extra attention to the creases as these areas are more prone to dust accumulation. Take off the shoelaces and wash them separately using warm water and detergent.

Once you’re done cleaning, use a piece of dry cloth to remove any excess water from the surface.

Step 3: Applying Dubbin

Next, you want to get a clean cloth to apply a generous amount of dubbin over your shoe. When rubbing the wax across the surface, make sure you get into the seams and creases.

After you’ve applied an even layer, you should see instant results. Fresh dubbin will make your footwear look super shiny. The texture becomes matte as it starts to dry and stick to the leather surface.

Step 4: Re-Lacing

If you’re happy with the dubbin layer after drying, you can take out your clean pair of laces and put them back on.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Finally, when you’re done with all the basics, you can add a few additional touches to protect your shoe further. Dr. Martens Ultra Protector and Shoe freshener are great options to reinforce the protective layer added from the use of dubbin.

how to use dubbing wax video guide

Differences between Dubbin and Wonder Balsam

The main difference between dubbin and wonder balsam is that dubbin is used to give a shine to leather, while wonder balsam is used to soften and keep leather supple. Dubbin is also suited for greasy/waxy leathers, while wonder balsam works better on smooth leather surfaces.

Wonder balsam is applied less frequently than dubbin because it can be harmful if used too often. Finally, wonder balsam is a better choice for breaking-in purposes. Let’s put them against each other here.

Usage Frequency

In order to keep your boot soft and supple, apply even layers of dubbin at least once a week. However, we advise you to use wonder balsam once a month. This is mainly because the balsam works to soften the leather and keep it supple, so frequent use can be harmful.


The balsam is a better choice for breaking-in purposes since it aims to keep leather soft and supple. If you’re looking for a nice shine, then your best bet is to use Dubbin.

Leather Type

Balsam is usually more effective when used on smooth leather surfaces. On the other hand, Dubbin is well-suited to greasy/waxy leathers.

Final Words

It isn’t a matter of Dr Martens Wonder Balsam vs Dubbin; rather, you should purchase them both. Dubbin helps add shine and weatherproofing whilst balsam revitalizes old leather boots really well. Both the balsam and dubbin are important for proper care of your leather footwear.

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