Doc Martens boots take a place of honor in wardrobes of people following trends and caring about the comfort and quality from wearing shoes. Today Dr Martens is a symbol of individuality and self-expression. How did it happen that work-wear boots went so far and how to differ originals from the knockoffs when the market is flooded with imitations?
It was April 1st, 1960, when the first pair of Dr. Martens shoes went off the production line and got to the workers, according to their destination. These boots designed for working class became loved over the decades by different sub-cultures, individuals and people connected with fashion industry. How did it happen?
Fascinating Story of Dr. Martens Brand
Before this historical moment came, when the first pair of Martens shoes went off the production line, in 1901 Benjamin Griggs and Septimus Jones establish a footwear company. After 9 years they go in separated ways, although both of the men remain in the shoe industry. We’ll focus on Griggs, who with his son Reginald go towards producing sturdy work boots. And this is how next 35 years pass.
What happens in 1945? Dr. Klaus Martens, 25-year-old-soldier, creates unique air-cushioned sole with amortization. He presents it to Herbert Funk and this is how Martens company was established, which since 1947 produces boots using unique sole, military materials and leathers.
And this is the moment to ask, when do Griggs and Martens roads cross? The answer is in 1960 when the company ran by the third generation of the Griggs family acquires an exclusive license to produce air-cushioned boots. The company makes a few modifications, such as altered heel, emphasized tip and characteristics yellow stitching. These boots are branded as ‘AirWair’ and its upper is completed with a loop featuring brand’s famous slogan ‘With Bouncing Soles.’ This is how we come back to April 1st, 1960, when the first eight-holed Dr Martens boots go off the line. Dr Martens boots took its name ‘1460’ from the date of its inception.
Griggs’ boots are still produced for the working-class, however, in 1965 something surprising happens. Skinheads, who identify with the style of British workers, introduce Docs to their wardrobe permanently.
Later, when in the ‘70s new music genres are born and, simultaneously, new sub-cultures, young people look for characteristic clothing, which will help to express themselves. What do they choose? Of course, you know the answer. Interests in DM’s is even greater, because of music stars, such as Pete Townshend from ‘The Who’, who wear them.
During next years the company may talk about even bigger luck and client’s interest, which lead to opening the first shop in Covet Garden in 1994. In 1998 there were 10,5 million of Dr. Martens produced, which was an absolute record in footwear industry.
The crisis comes in 2002, when Martens company gets a poor gift for its 40th birthday – fall of sales. The production is moved abroad and in Great Britain remains only one factory. However, changes have a positive effect on company’s liquidity. Throughout next years Docs are promoted by music stars, fashion models (Agyness Deyn) and people associated with show business. In 2014 Martens is sold to the private company Permira and two years later has 56 mono brand shops all over the world.
In a nutshell, this is a story of Dr Martens boots for workers, which conquered wardrobes of rock stars and people related to the fashion world.
How to Recognize the Original Dr Martens Boots?
How do you know that your Docs are real? We have a few simple tips, which will help you to verify the authenticity of your purchase.
While buying DM’s you’re driven by their popular quality and durability, therefore you want them to serve you for a few seasons. Since they’re not the cheapest boots, you don’t want to be surprised after opening the box and see some knockoffs. Therefore, we’ll teach you, how to differ the originals from the counterfeits. Strain your eyes and let’s do this!
How Does the Original Dr Martens Box Look Like?
You’ll recognize decent brands by details – starting with box, ending on stitching, liner and laces. But let’s focus on the box. The original one is made of good quality cardboard, there is a logo on the lid and aside of the box. You can spot the fakes by similar but not the same logo. That’s why you should verify its location and the font. Does it look exactly the same as on the producer’s website?
The original Docs have a label
On the original box with Dr Martens boots you’ll find a white label and a numbering on it, style, code and color of the boots, and a bard code. Check, whether the description on the box is the same as its content.
The upper inside of the Dr Martens boots is made with extra care
Look at the boots’ tongue or upper inside and verify data on it. It has to correspond with the information from the label on the box. You should find the shoe size in different numberings and the country of manufacturing (here is Made in Vietnam.)
Companies such as Dr Martens pay attention to details, such as liner on which you should find brand’s logo. Older versions have extra captions, such as ‘Original’ or ‘Made in England’ whereas the new one have captions ‘Air Cushioned’ or ‘Bouncing Soles.’
Verify, how the loop was sewed into the upper. It’s also a historical element of the boots, since the caption on the loop is based on Brill Grigg’s handwriting.
How to Recognize the Original Dr Martens Boots? By the Sole
Now outsole. Even the outsole has the unique brand’s features. Check, if there is an embossed imprint of the brand. The edges should be finished carefully and neatly.
Let’s stop here for a while. Apart from the fact that the sole is made of plasticizers and pigments, it’s flexible and adhesive and the pressurized air, that is introduced into the outsole, provides excellent cushioning. Moreover, there are two-tone indentations on the edge of the original to help you distinguish your originals from all the inspiration and the counterfeits.
There is no doubt that distinguishing feature of DM’s is yellow stitching. It was present on the 1960 style, which is from the beginning. The color is not accidental here, Griggs chose it intentionally to contrast with the leather’s and sole’s color. This way he created boots with character.
Stitching in all Martens styles is high quality. It means that they’re carefully finished and not loose or doubled. Although some Martens elements are made in machines, people make them up, therefore each boot will differ slightly.
Remember to buy boots only from trusted and highly reviewed dealers. It will protect you from unnecessary costs and disappointment, which would be opening box with counterfeits.