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In Iconic Products, we honour Dr. Martens, a company that went from producing hard-wearingstrapazierfähighard-wearing work boots to becoming one of the most culturally relevant brandMarkebrands of the modern era.
Designed for comfort, Dr. Martens began life as workwearArbeitskleidungworkwear. Later, they became a symbol of rebellion among the young. Today, these iconickultigiconic boots are a fashion classic for all.
In 1945, the young German doctor Klaus Maertens was to serve(Militärdienst) leistenserving in the Wehrmacht when he injured his foot in a skiing accident. Maer-tens’s military boots were uncomfortable after the accident, so he designed boots with air-cushionedluftgepolstertair-cushioned sole(Schuh-) Sohlesoles. In 1947, the doctor and his friend Herbert Funk began selling the boots in Bavaria, using materials from old army
By the late 1950s, the business was doing well – the boots were being bought mainly by older women as a work shoe. Maertens and Funk decided to sell their products abroad and, in 1959, the British shoe manufacturer R. Griggs bought the licence to make Dr. Maertens in the UK. Griggs introduced the yellow stitchingNahtstitching, a new heelAbsatzheel and a new sole patternProfilsole pattern. Griggs to launcheinführenlaunched Dr. Martens 1460 boots on 1 April 1960.
Over the next decade, Doc Martens – or DMs, as they came to be called – were to adoptübernehmenadopted by English teenagers as a sign of working-class identity. The brand really to take offdurchstartentook off in 1967, when Pete Townshend, guitarist with the rock band The Who, was seen wearing the boots. Since then, they have been worn by mods, punks, rock stars and protesters. Right-wing groups tried to steal the look, but diversity and individualism triumphed. Today, more than 500 styles of Dr. Martens are produced – but the classic 1460 makes up half of all sales.
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