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.
The footwear is characterized by its exclusive air suspension, characterized by air cushioned soles (nicknamed Bouncing Soles), developed by German doctor Klaus Martens in the 1940s.
In 1945 Dr. Klaus Maertens, a 25-year-old soldier, while convalescing from a broken foot created a unique air-cushioned sole (rather than the traditional hard leather sole) to aid his recovery. Using a salvaged cobbler’s last and a needle, Maertens made a prototype shoe and showed it to an old university friend and mechanical engineer, Dr. Herbert Funk. The two teamed up, and using disused military supplies began to produce their shoes. In 1947 they began formal production, and quickly in the 1950s sales skyrocketed.
In 1960 the English shoe company R. Griggs Group Ltd. bought the rights and began marketing the boots in the UK, creating for the first time the classic 1460 eight-hole model. The boots were marked with the name ‘Airwair’ and were completed with a black and yellow heel loop with the brand name and the slogan ‘With Bouncing Soles’ (based on Bill Grigg’s own handwriting).
During this decade in which the Dr. Martens boot was born as we know it today, there were unprecedented changes in Western society: new ideas, cultural upheaval and finally a social revolution. This radical atmosphere also witnessed an extravagant and often exotic fashion. Although Dr. Martens began as work boots, in the late 1960s the skinheads adopted them as their hallmark. In the mid-1970s, Dr. Martens boots were popular with British punk and rock stars such as Sex Pistols, The Clash, and generally throughout the punk movement and other youth subcultures. Later they also became popular in the Grunge Movement originated in the United States, with artists such as Kurt Cobain or Eddie Vedder.