Linked to class and worn by the likes of skinheads, hippies, punks and now your everday joe, Dr. Martens is a brand that has never stopped trending. Since the beginning, Dr. Martens has been a symbol of the working class. Even when they are worn by rockstars and featured in high fashion runways, Dr. Martens have been used to present the same thing. The enduring appeal of these boots center around the simple fact that they are a boot of the people, for the people - whether you see them as symbols of subcultures like "punk" or grunge," or think they are purely for the hardcore, dirty workwear.
The history of this killer brand began in 1901, in the Northamptonshire, England. Almost immediately establishing itself at the forefront of British work boots. At this time, the company was known as Griggs - the iconic Dr. Marten shoe would only make its way into public eye 50 years down the track. Back in the beginning, they did make boots, however it hadnt hit the look that would dominate half a century of pop culture.
Like with so many brands who began in this age, the world wars changed the course of history for Griggs. In 1945, the 25 year-old soldier, and founder of the brand Dr. Klaus Maertens was in post-war Munich. Whilst aid a broken foot, he created an air-cushioned sole for his boots, getting rid of the opposedm traditional hard leather. Assisted by his partner Dr. Herbert Funk, the two found large success with their prototype. They would start by selling to mostly older woman, placing ads in footwear magazine and spreading the word of this unique design. After some time, word about these soles found its way back to England, where the Griggs family took note of this advertisement of a shoe with an air-cushioned sole.
In the late '50s Griggs was able to aquire the license, a collaboration between Griggs and Maerten soon resulted in the original Dr. Martens 1460. This boot has been the flagship of the brand ever since. Utillizing Maerten's eight eyelet design, but adding a few key flourises like the yellow stitching, branded heel loop and the two-tone grooved sole edge. Until 2003, the 1460 was soley manufactured in the UK.
The boots quickly became a countercultural symbol - It's popularity as a working class boot made them a favourite of skinheads. The look began as a stripped down working class, consisting of buzzed hair, a white tee, Levi's denim and Dr. Martens 1460. The skinhead subculture adopted the look and public figures began to notice. Rockstars of the time started to wear the boots on stage, in 1975 Elton John wor an iconic pair of oversied Dr. Martens in The Who's rock opera Tommy - this was the first big moment on an international stage.
Today, the Dr. Martens remain popular - though its position in the culture is much different compared to where it was 25 years ago. Worn by the likes of Rihanna, Pharrell and many many more icons, the boots are now a fashion statement rather than an identification. Working class or upper crust, the influence and impact that Dr Martens has had throughout it's years is indeniable - this boot will continue to be at the forefront.