Dr Martens - a short history of a British style icon in numbers

With the global cultural phenomenon of Dr Martens marking its 57th birthday at the beginning of this month, we thought it would be a good excuse to look at some more numbers that matter from this great British style icon.

This is the age of a German soldier who, in 1945, adapted the design of his army boots to help him recover from a broken foot. Dr Klaus Märtens came up with the idea of air-padded soles which he made out of tyres.

Klaus Maertens

Dr Klaus Märtens (left) and his business partner Herbert Funck

14 years later and with the manufacture of his boots growing within his native Germany, the good doctor’s design caught the eye of an established shoemaking family from Northamptonshire.

On April the 1st, 1960, the first eight-holed Dr. Martens boot was produced in Woolaston; named simply as ‘style 1460’, the first boots were popular for their comfort and hard wearing nature and not for their style.

It wasn’t until the end of the 1960s when the skinheads adopted the 1460 that the original boot designed ‘to make working men’s footwear comfortable’ started evolving into the style icon we know today.

Dr Martens skinheads

Despite a seemingly endless stream of reinvention through collaborations with global designers and brands, the strength of the original 1460 design remains the genesis for everything that Dr Martens has become over the years.

And finally, a big one! 56,000 is the number of pairs of shoes that were made at the Dr Martens factory in Northamptonshire in the last 12 months (give or take a few hundred).

If the Dr Martens brand has a heart then it beats in the small shoemaking village of Woolaston where the factory is located, just a few miles outside of Northampton. This is where the Griggs family made some important changes to the orthopaedic shoe design licensed by a Dr Klaus Märtens and which included adding a distinctive yellow welt stitch.

Dr Martens 1460

This is also where manufacturing still continues and where the factory outlet store - the Doc Shop - is located. This where the numbers really start getting interesting and where you can pick up amazing Dr Martens bargains for up to 70% off the retail price

So, we say a big happy birthday to the classic Dr Martens 1460 boot and a thank you from the thousands of owners who have helped shape such a distinctive place in history for this great British style icon.

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