April 02, 2020
It's hard to believe the humble origins of Dr. Marten's boots and shoes. The brand originally aimed to create a modest workwear shoe, something to be worn during gardening. Today the boots and shoes would feel more familiar at a music festival or gig, than in the garden.
Dr. Marten's has a strong appeal to individuals after footwear that reflects their unique style and attitude. The simple silhouettes of the boots and shoes mean they can easily be incorporated into the wearer's personal style.
The brand is known for its hard-wearing durability. Durability was the focus of the company right from the very beginning. In the small town of Wollaston, Northamptonshire the Griggs family in 1901 founded a footwear company that became known for its sturdy, durable, and British made boots.
The iconic air-cushioned sole and the first Dr. Marten boot
The Grigg family kept their business running through the generations. Third-generation co-owner Bill Grigg noticed in a shoe trade magazine a unique post-war German invention, an innovative air-cushioned sole that moved away from the traditional hard leather sole. Bill Grigg along with brothers Ray, Colin, and son Max acquired the patent license in the 1960s. Several subtle changes were made when incorporating the new sole to the footwear. Changes included an altered heel, a simple upper, unique yellow stitching, a two-tone grooved sole edge, and a new sole pattern. These new eight- hooked boots were branded as ‘Airwair’. They also featured a distinctive black and yellow heel loop with the brand name and the slogan “With Bouncing Soles”. The iconic 1460 Dr. Martens boot had arrived.
The 60s and 70s
The new Dr. Marten boots seemed a little at odds with the 1960s colourful and extravagant fashion scene and initially worn by postmen and factory workers. The company was selling good numbers of their well-priced boots to the British working class.
Then very unexpectedly Dr. Martens boots started being worn by early multi-cultural, ska-loving skinheads. A subculture that proudly championed British working-class style. When Pete Townshend of punk band The Who started to wear them the brand fully shifted from a working-class shoe to a symbol of a rebellious spirit and subculture.
The 80s and 90s
Punk, Two Tone and goth subcultures all incorporated Dr. Marten's boots into their wardrobes. Girls started to wear them too, buying smaller men's sizes.
Dr. Marten's brand started to reach the States with US hardcore bands that toured Britain returning with the footwear.
Music and Dr. Martens
The music of tribes who wear Dr. Martens has become synonymous with the brand.Dr. Marten's authenticity and history keep the brand relevant to individuals, fans, and subcultures today.
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