Dr. Martens Boots & Shoes

Dr Martens Mens


Dr. Martens also known as Doc Martens, Docs or DMs came to the UK in 1960. Dr. Martens boots are distinct because of their air-cushioned sole (dubbed Bouncing Soles), developed by Dr. Klaus Märtens of Germany.

A firm favourite of Mods and Skinheads in the Seventies and Eighties, Dr. Martens boots made excellent hard wearing and durable footwear for scooter riding or for casual wear. The boots enjoyed a Retro fashion resurgence in the Nineties as the New Mods and Indie fans adopted them as the footwear of choice.

Klaus Märtens was a doctor in the German army during World War II. While on leave in 1945, he injured his ankle skiing in the Bavarian Alps. He found that 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 to make the boots more comfortable to wear, while retaining their durability and quality. When the war ended and some Germans looted valuables from their own cities, Märtens took leather from a cobbler's shop. With that leather he made himself the first pair of boots with air-cushioned soles.

Märtens didn't have much luck selling his shoes until he met up with an old university friend, Dr. Herbert Funck, in Munich in 1947. Funck was intrigued by the new shoe design, and the two went into business that year in Seeshaupt, Germany, using discarded rubber from Luftwaffe airfields. The comfortable and durable soles were a big hit with housewives, with 80% of sales in the first decade going to women over the age of 40. Sales had grown so much by 1952 that they opened a factory in Munich.

In 1959, the company had grown large enough that Märtens and Funck looked at marketing the footwear internationally. Almost immediately, 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 (known as style 1460 and still in production today), with an eight-eyelet cherry-red Nappa leather design. The 1460 boot became the style we recognise as the Dr. Martens boot today. By the early 1970s, skinheads started wearing them, and by the late 1980s, they were popular among punks, some New Wave musicians, and members of other youth subcultures.

Dr. Martens sponsored Rushden & Diamonds F.C. from 1998 to 2003, and when a new main stand was built at Nene Park in 2001, it was named the Airwair Stand. In the 2000s, Dr. Martens were sold exclusively under the AirWair name, and came in dozens of different styles, including conventional black shoes, sandals and steel-toed boots. In 2007, the company began producing footwear again in England, in the Cobbs Lane Factory in Wollaston. These products are part of the 'Vintage' line, which the company advertises as being made to the original specs.

Here at Atom Retro we have a a whole host of Dr. Martens footwear to choose from, including the iconic Dr. Martens 1460 Boots and of course the equally iconic Dr. Martens 1461 Shoes.

From Mod Revival-ists, Skinheads, Punks and Indie fashionistas, Dr. Martens have always played a massive part in how youth subcultures expressed themselves through what they wear. A symbol of youth revolution with a hint of the rebel streak, the heritage of the Dr. Martens brand is as durable as the boots they make. A legend that will live forever. 

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