doctor martens, i presume.

>> Wednesday, December 14, 2011

doctor klaus martens was a doctor during the world war II era, who had injured his ankle while skiing in the bavarian alps. of course, necessity is the mother of invention, and finding that his standard issue military footwear didn't provide adequate support to his injury, he made some custom adjustments to his boots - softer leather uppers and air-cushioned soles. after the war, he hooked up with an old friend, dr. herbert funck, who was fascinated with martens' design and the two went into business together, using reclaimed rubber from the luftwaffe airfields. (note to self - handmade ruled, even back then.)

eventually the design caught on, especially gaining favor with german housewives, who were initially the largest consumer base of the comfy, durable boot. martens and funck sold the patent rights to manufacture the shoe in the UK to footwear giants R. griggs group ltd, who made some minor modifications to the design and branded the soles as AirWair.

the first boot to come off the UK production line was the classic 8 hole oxblood - named 1460 (for the date it rolled out - April 1st, 1960) and still the benchmark product today. they quickly became popular with postmen, police officers and blue collar workers. in the 70's & 80's they were adopted by skinheads, punks and musicans - remember when people used to get 'rolled' for their docs? and then the whole grunge thing brought another layer to the style.

docs from jeanginakim on etsy (definitely on my wish list)
 after a dip in popularity in the early '00s, the UK factories were shut down and production moved to asia. (some hardcore fans defected and now choose similar brands that are manufactured in the UK only). but recently, there has been a revival - and how could there not be?

i'm on my 6th pair (14 hole burnished brown miranda boots - yum) and i still love them. they are comfy and utilitarian and go great with skirts and jeans. and seriously, kicking someone's butt just isn't the same in flip flops.


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