about dr. martens
Where it all started
In 1901 the Griggs family founded their family-run company in a small town named Wollaston in Northamptonshire in England. Soon after that, the family-run business made a name for themselves creating boots that were sturdy, and ideal for workers. At this point the brand was known as Griggs.The Griggs brand history took a turn at the end of the Second World War. While a soldier named Dr. Klaus Maertens was recovering from a broken foot, he decided to create an air-cushioned sole in order to help his foot recover well. Dr. Maertens then decided to show a prototype version of the shoe and sole to an old friend of his from university, Dr. Herbert Funk, who happened to be a mechanical engineer.
The two friends decided to partner up together and began producing their uniquely created footwear. By 1947 the main production of their footwear began, and the business started to boom. At first the two doctors were mainly selling their footwear to older women looking for good quality comfortable shoes. By the end of the 1950s the two business partners started advertising their footwear in global magazines in order to gain higher brand recognition. Back in England in the 1960s, the Griggs business was now run by the third generation of the family, Bill Grigg alongside his two brothers Ray and Colin and son Max. While looking through a shoe trade magazine, Bill stumbled across a page advertising the innovative, air-cushioned sole.
After Bill had reached out to the creators behind the air-cushioned sole, they decided to combine the bouncing sole with one of the Grigg family’s boots. A couple of changes were made to the boots, including altering the heel and adding a distinctive yellow stitching around the edge of the black boot. The 8-hole boots made of smooth leather also featured a little black tag on the back of the shoe branded with the words ‘AirWair’ and the slogan “With Bouncing Soles” in Bill Grigg’s own handwriting. The name for the boot was taken from no other than the man who invented the air-cushioned sole himself. By April 1st, 1960, the “Doc Martens” boot was officially born!
The sixties was the decade when fashion became very exotic, colorful and alternative. Dr. Martens heavy boots didn’t really seem to fit very well with the culture of the time, but that didn’t bother the family-run business very much, since Dr. Martens boots had always gone against the norm. By the time the 1970s came along, the punk and goth scene was very popular, and this time Doc Martens boots were a perfect cultural fit. At this point the boots became a staple piece in the wardrobe of anyone who went with the flow and followed trends. By the end of the 70s the iconic boots had become a symbol of self-expression, especially among the British youth. Girls were also increasingly wearing Doc Martens, which led the company to bring out new (frequently floral) versions of the 1460 boot.
In the 1990s Dr. Martens was popular worldwide, especially among youth groups who went against the norm. In the 90s the clumpy boots were mainly seen on rappers and hip-hoppers who were were also frequently seen performing in Dr. Martens boots. The 2000s started off badly for the family-run business, as sales dropped drastically. All but one of the UK factories had to close to avoid company bankruptcy. But a couple of years later Dr. Martens had began working together with high fashion designers to re-interpret the classic 1460 boot and were able to win back the reputation they had enjoyed in previous years.
We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Dr. Martens.