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Dr. Martens

When the Dr. Martens boot first catapulted from a working-class essential to a counter-cultural icon back in the 1960s, the world was pre-internet, pre-MTV, pre-CD, pre-mp3s, pre-mobile phones…hey, they'd only just invented the teenager.

In the years before the boot's birthday, April 1st, 1960, kids just looked like tribute acts to their parents, younger but the same. Rebellion was only just on the agenda for some - for most kids of the day, starved of music, fashion, art and choice, it was not even an option. But then an unlikely union of two kindred spirits in distinctly different countries ignited a phenomenon.

In Munich, Germany, Dr Maertens had a garage full of inventions, including a shoe sole almost literally made of air; in Northampton, England, the Griggs family had a history of making quality footwear and their heads were full of ideas. They met, like a classic band audition, through an advert in the classified pages of a magazine. A marriage was born, an icon conceived of innovation and self-expression. Together they took risks. They jointly created a boot that defined comfort but was practical, hard-wearing and a design classic.

At first, like some viral infection, the so-called 1460 stooped near to the ground, kept a low profile, a quiet revolution. But then something incredible started to happen. The postmen, factory workers and transport unions who had initially bought the boot by the thousand, were joined by rejects, outcasts and rebels from the fringes of society. At first, it was the working-classes; before long it was the masses.

Decades have come and gone, brands have exploded and then imploded, but the 1460 is still there, unique, individual, original. Anti-fashion defined in eight holes. Dr. Martens have always been different. No other 'brand' has been mutated, customized, and freaked out like DM's. They were just fascinated bystanders on a journey that has raced through every crevice of subculture, every twist and turn of youthful creativity and now, here, with a generation who have always had email, mp3s and downloads, it is as relevant and vibrant as ever.

Shoebuy Insider on Dr. Martens Shoes

Few brands send a message as loud and clear as Dr. Marten's. They are after all, the face of generations of counterculture. The rugged defiance Doc Martens has come to symbolize might not have been the original goal of the brand, but they have always been about being different.

The Doc Marten brand was born out of the rubble of post war Europe. While skiing in the Alps during WWII, Dr. Klaus Maerten took a nasty spill, hurt his foot, and found himself in dire need of something more comfortable than the classic military boot. Dr. Klaus put his mind to work and designed a boot with an air cushioned sole. The brand was soon bought by a British company and the 'e' was dropped along the way. In England, the boots became mildly successful in the rank and file world of police officers, factory workers, and mail delivery men.

The mundane image of Dr. Marten's as a basic work shoe would not last long. With the emergence of the punk scene in Europe Doc Martens transformed into the symbol of a movement that was anything but rank and file. Youth who sought to proudly display their individuality and rebel against the ideals of older generations took the brand and made it their own. The high laced, 8 eyelet, boot that had been designed to conform to the feet became a symbol of non-conformity.

No longer exclusively tied to the punk movement, Dr. Martens continues to be a leader of the shoe industry in individuality and non-conformity. Although the classic high laced, large stitched, air soled design remains mostly the same, the brand continues to be anything but unoriginal. The iconic 1460 comes in a variety of styles from the classic cherry red smooth to the more modern pink patent plaid. If the classic 8 eyelet look isn't for you, the high lace 1B60 or the rugged 8053 make their own unique statements. Evolving from the shoe of choice for police, to punks, to fashion forward trendsetters, Docs have always been about taking the something plain and making it unique.