About Us

THE BEGINNINGS OF AN ICON | HISTORY




Dr. Martens’ appeal to people who have their own individual style but share a united spirit – authentic characters who stand for something. People who possess a proud sense of self- expression. People who are different.

On a stylistic level, Dr. Martens’ simple silhouettes allows their wearers to adopt the boots and shoes as part of their own individual and very distinctive style; on a practical level, their famous durability and comfort make them ideal for the unforgiving world of gigs and street fashion; and then finally on an emotional level, they are a badge of attitude and empowerment.

However, it wasn’t always this way: Dr. Martens were originally a modest work-wear boot that was even sold as a gardening shoe at one stage. So, how did this utilitarian boot transform into one of the most culturally relevant brands of the modern era? It is an interesting and unique story...



Starting in 1901, the Griggs family were known for making boots in the small town of Wollaston, Northamptonshire in the English Midlands. They were at the very heart of the English shoe industry and for six decades Griggs’ footwear earned a solid reputation as sturdy, durable work boots.


son Max. Whilst scanning the pages of a shoe trade magazine, Bill’s eye was caught by the German’s advert for their innovative air- cushioned sole.

An exclusive license was acquired and a few key changes made, 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. The boots were branded as ‘Airwair’ and came complete with a black and yellow heel loop featuring the brand name and the slogan “With Bouncing Soles” (based on Bill Grigg’s own handwriting). Taking its name from date of its inception, April 1st, 1960, the eight-holed 1460 Dr. Martens boot had arrived.

A CULTURAL ICON

The 1960s – the decade in which the Dr. Martens boot was born – saw an unprecedented wave of change, new ideas, cultural upheaval and eventually social revolution. This radical atmosphere also witnessed extravagant and often exotic fashion, an odd backdrop for the birth of such a functional work-boot ... but then Dr. Martens has always kicked against the norm.

Initially worn by postmen and factory workers, Dr. Martens’ first few years of existence was very much that of a £2 work-wear boot, selling solid quantities to Britain’s working classes. Then something incredible started to happen..

Without any warning or intent, Dr. Martens were suddenly picked up by early multi-cultural, ska-loving skinheads – who proudly championed British working class style. Shortly after, Pete Townshend of The Who became the first high profile individual to wear them as a symbol of his own working class pride and rebellious attitude. In so doing, both first generation skinheads and Townshend altered the course of the brand’s history, changing this functional work-wear boot into a subcultural essential.




Shortly after the brand’s fortieth birthday, sales declined so dramatically that all but one of the UK factories had to be closed to stave off bankruptcy. Then in 2003 the revitalisation of the famous brand began with high fashion designers from around the globe re-interpreting and customising the classic 1460 boot.

In 2007 the resurgence continued when the original Cobbs Lane factory in Northampton factory recommenced the manufacture of hand-made Dr. Martens Originals.