A brief history of Doc Martens boots

Everyone recognises them and most of us have owned a pair at one time or another or at least wished we did. Doc Martens are the essential boots of choice for punk rockers, goths, hippies, students, clubbers, and anyone involved in almost any subculture. They’ve been around for decades and the Doc Marten phenomenon shows no sign of slowing down.

Docs first arrived in the 1960s, and at first they were purely work boots. Dr Martens recognised that factory workers, bricklayers, and people in industrial occupations needed boots that were both comfortable enough for long, hard days and tough enough to stand up to serious punishment and protect the feet in demanding situations.

The boots that evolved from this thought were quick to become popular in the UK as work wear. It wasn’t til the beginnings of the punk era in the 1970s that wearing Docs became a cultural statement. They were no-nonsense, all-purpose, easily recognisable, and the toughest footwear around- perfect for the pogo and perfect for a movement that defined itself as the early punks did.

The company was quick to realise that not everyone buying their products was working in an industrial situation. Docs had become a fashion statement (or an anti-fashion statement if you prefer) and they responded by diversifying away from the basic black model. New colours and new designs appeared, but the clever people who developed new looks for Dr Marten’s original shoes realised that they had to keep their footwear recognisable. Almost every pair produced today still have the distinctive two-tone sole and with chunky yellow stitching on top, and that’s how we all recognise Docs so quickly.

These days the range includes mens and womens shoes, childrens footwear, and even sandals.  They are still just as tough as they once were and just as comfortable as modern materials and designs can make them. Half a century on, it’s certain that Doc Martens are here to stay.

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