Also known as Doc Martens or DMs
Klaus Märtens was a doctor in the German army during World War II. While on leave in 1945, he injured his ankle while skiing in the Bavarian Alps. He found that his standard-issue army boots were too uncomfortable on his injured foot. While recuperating, he designed improvements to the boots, with soft leather, and air-padded soles. Märtens and an old university friend, Dr. Herbert Funck, went into business together in Munich in 1947 to make shoes and boots that were comfortable and durable. At first, they were popular with women over the age of 40.
A shoe/bootmaking factory was opened in 1952. In 1959, British shoe manufacturer R. Griggs Group Ltd. bought patent rights to manufacture the shoes in the United Kingdom. Griggs anglicized the name, slightly re-shaped the heel to make them fit better, added the trademark yellow stitching, and trademarked the soles as AirWair.
The first Dr. Martens boots in the United Kingdom came out on 1 April, 1960 (hence known as style 1460 and still in production today) with an eight-eyelet, cherry-red, Nappa leather design. Originally Dr. Martens were made by a number of shoe manufacturers in the Northamptonshire area, as long as they passed quality standards. By the late 1960s, skinheads started wearing Dr. Martens boots. By the late 1970s, Dr. Martens boots were popular among some British punk rock and New Wave musicians, and soon many punk fans were wearing them. The boots and shoes then became popular among other youth subcultures.
On April 1, 2003, under pressure from declining sales, the Dr. Martens company ceased all production in the United Kingdom, with production moved to China and Thailand. In 2007, the company began producing footwear again in England, in the Cobbs Lane Factory in Wollaston. These products, the “Vintage” line which the company advertises as being made to the original specifications.
Styles of boots made: lace-up boots.
Value: Dr. Martens Boots present good to moderate value for the price paid. The vintage boots are constructed of good quality leather and materials. The others are constructed of lower-quality materials in China and Thailand.
Availability: Many licensed third-party vendors sell Dr. Martens Boots. The boots are also available from the company's website.
Custom sizing: Not available. How to order: Try on and purchase in brick-and-mortar stores or from on-line vendors.
Bootmen's experience: Dr. Martens Boots soles tend to run extremely narrow and bootmen requiring any width above regular should try out the footwear before making a purchase. I gave up 3 pairs of DMs as wearing them left angry red welts on the inner edges of my feet. - Bruce