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Dr. Martens

Dr. Martens can trace its history to an unlikely partnership between the Griggs family of Wollaston, Northamptonshire, former soldier Dr. Klaus Maertens, and mechanical Engineer Dr. Herbert Funk. While the Griggs family got its start in 1901 producing sturdy, durable work boots, Maertens and Funk entered the shoe industry in 1945 when Maertens developed a unique air-cushioned sole to aid his recovery from a broken foot and then showed it to Funk for his approval. Maertens and Funk soon began a partnership using disused military supplies to produce their unique shoes, establishing formal production in 1947 and expanding their business overseas in 1959. After seeing an advertisement for Maerten and Funk’s shoes in a trade magazine, the Griggs family acquired an exclusive license from the two men, while making a few key changes to the boot’s design, including an altered heel, a bulbous but simple upper, a distinctive yellow welt stitch, a two-tone grooved sole edge, and a unique sole pattern. Taking its name from date of its inception, April 1st, 1960, the eight-eyelet 1460 Dr. Martens boot arrived with “Airwair” branding and a black and yellow heel loop featuring the brand name and the slogan “With Bouncing Soles.” With the U.K. going through major cultural shifts in the 60s, Dr. Martens were adopted by early multi-cultural, ska-loving skinheads who proudly championed British working class style. Soon after, Pete Townshend of The Who began wearing Dr. Martens, establishing the brand as go-to boot for musicians, artists, and numerous subcultural movements over the following decades. In 2007, Dr. Martens earmarked its original Cobbs Lane factory in Northampton to manufacture hand-made Dr. Martens Originals; in 2010, the brand celebrated its fiftieth birthday.