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Dr. Martens

The origin of Dr. Martens footwear dates back to 1945 when military veteran Dr. Klaus Maertens injured his foot in a skiing accident and needed more support than his standard-issue boots could offer. Having had a background as a cobbler, he conceived of a soft rubber sole, but sealed with air pockets that would add extra cushioning. Dr. Maertens brought the idea to his friend Dr. Herbert Funk and the two went into business together using discarded and recycled military supplies. By 1947, they were in full production and by the 1950’s, Maerten’s ambition and Funk’s engineering experience had produced the perfect work boot. The air-cushioned soles were an innovation and ...

The origin of Dr. Martens footwear dates back to 1945 when military veteran Dr. Klaus Maertens injured his foot in a skiing accident and needed more support than his standard-issue boots could offer. Having had a background as a cobbler, he conceived of a soft rubber sole, but sealed with air pockets that would add extra cushioning. Dr. Maertens brought the idea to his friend Dr. Herbert Funk and the two went into business together using discarded and recycled military supplies. By 1947, they were in full production and by the 1950’s, Maerten’s ambition and Funk’s engineering experience had produced the perfect work boot. The air-cushioned soles were an innovation and arrived serendipitously as thousands of military men, tired of years spent in unforgiving army boots, joined the labor force. Additionally, they were highly popular amongst hard-working, long-standing housewives. 

By 1959, the company sought to expand the business and placed advertisements across European trade publications promoting the “bouncing soles” of their Airwair boot. Fortunately, the ad was answered by the owner of Griggs’ Footwear. Started in 1901, Griggs already had a reputation for sturdy, durable work boots from the heart of the British shoe industry in the English Midlands. Griggs adapted Dr. Maertens design, adjusting the heel to improve the fit, adding a rounder and more comfortable toe box, adding the now iconic aesthetic elements like the contrasting yellow stitch and anglicizing the name. 

Finished on April 1st, 1960 and named after the date (1-4-60), the most iconic work boots in history - Dr. Martens 1460 was released in smooth, oxblood colored leather. Dr. Martens has kept the icon nearly identical since its first days with simple and sturdy production, a PVC sole that will soften with wear instead of cracking or splitting, and being oil and acid resistant. Built for function, they became popular in England amongst postal carriers, police and factory workers.

They may have remained just a quality leather boot, but they became a statement of ethos. Pete Townshend of The Who is largely pointed to as the one who started it all. Sick of the “foppish” clothing popular in 60’s rock and roll fashion, Pete very purposefully adopted an utilitarian style as a symbol of solidarity with Britain’s working class. This shifting role of fashion as class conscious identity grew even stronger with subsequent subcultures, evolving into part of the uniform for rude boys, punk, grunge and finally back into mainstream fashion thanks to the likes of Marc Jacobs in the 90’s. 

Much of the cultural importance attached to DMs is no longer so poignant. Doc Martens have returned to being what they were always intended for - a quality, comfortable boot that looks good. However, it doesn’t hurt that they’ve been on the feet of more rock and roll icons than any other...

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The origin of Dr. Martens footwear dates back to 1945 when military veteran Dr. Klaus Maertens injured his foot in a skiing accident and needed more support than his ...

The origin of Dr. Martens footwear dates back to 1945 when military veteran Dr. Klaus Maertens injured his foot in a skiing accident and needed more support than his standard-issue boots could offer. Having had a background as a cobbler, he conceived of a soft rubber sole, but sealed with air pockets that would add extra cushioning. Dr. Maertens brought the idea to his friend Dr. Herbert Funk and the two went into business together using discarded and recycled military supplies. By 1947, they were in full production and by the 1950’s, Maerten’s ambition and Funk’s engineering experience had produced the perfect work boot. The air-cushioned soles were an innovation and arrived serendipitously as thousands of military men, tired of years spent in unforgiving army boots, joined the labor force. Additionally, they were highly popular amongst hard-working, long-standing housewives. 

By 1959, the company sought to expand the business and placed advertisements across European trade publications promoting the “bouncing soles” of their Airwair boot. Fortunately, the ad was answered by the owner of Griggs’ Footwear. Started in 1901, Griggs already had a reputation for sturdy, durable work boots from the heart of the British shoe industry in the English Midlands. Griggs adapted Dr. Maertens design, adjusting the heel to improve the fit, adding a rounder and more comfortable toe box, adding the now iconic aesthetic elements like the contrasting yellow stitch and anglicizing the name. 

Finished on April 1st, 1960 and named after the date (1-4-60), the most iconic work boots in history - Dr. Martens 1460 was released in smooth, oxblood colored leather. Dr. Martens has kept the icon nearly identical since its first days with simple and sturdy production, a PVC sole that will soften with wear instead of cracking or splitting, and being oil and acid resistant. Built for function, they became popular in England amongst postal carriers, police and factory workers.

They may have remained just a quality leather boot, but they became a statement of ethos. Pete Townshend of The Who is largely pointed to as the one who started it all. Sick of the “foppish” clothing popular in 60’s rock and roll fashion, Pete very purposefully adopted an utilitarian style as a symbol of solidarity with Britain’s working class. This shifting role of fashion as class conscious identity grew even stronger with subsequent subcultures, evolving into part of the uniform for rude boys, punk, grunge and finally back into mainstream fashion thanks to the likes of Marc Jacobs in the 90’s. 

Much of the cultural importance attached to DMs is no longer so poignant. Doc Martens have returned to being what they were always intended for - a quality, comfortable boot that looks good. However, it doesn’t hurt that they’ve been on the feet of more rock and roll icons than any other...

Read more

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