The Fascinating Origins of Dr. Martens 1460 Boots

Footwear has been an important part of fashion for many decades, as there have been many pairs of shoes that are considered today as classics and must-haves for everyone’s wardrobe. Some of these classic pairs include the Converse Chuck Taylor, the Air Jordan 1, the Timberland Classic Waterproof Boot, and the Dr. Martens 1460 Boots.

In this article, we will talk about Dr. Martens 1460 boots and their influence on the fashion industry. How did the Dr. Martens boots come to be? And why did it become so popular in the 1960s and the 1970s? Let us find as we take a look at the fascinating origins of Dr. Martens 1461 boots.

The Founding of Dr. Martens

Dr. Martens logo

The original Dr. Martens boots were invented by Klaus Märtens, who served as a doctor in the German Army during World War II. He got the inspiration to create his own brand of shoes when he injured his ankle in 1945 while skiing. [1] The injury seemed to have been caused by wearing boots that were too rigid and uncomfortable for his feet.

Not wanting to be injured again, Märtens designed a pair of boots that features softer leather and soles that have pads filled with air. After the war, Märtens took leather from a cobbler’s shop when the Germans began to loot valuables from their own cities. With the use of the leather and tires, Klaus Märtens was able to make himself a pair of boots with air-padded soles.

Märtens began selling the boots he designed around 1946, and although the boots were much more comfortable compared to most boots available during that time, Märtens had difficulty selling his product. Fortunately, Märtens met with an old friend named Herbert Funck in 1947. Funck would be instrumental in making Märtens’s boots more marketable. 

It was also in 1947 when Märtens and Funck started selling the boots in Seeshaupt, Germany, using discarded rubber that is shaped by molds so that they can easily turn into soles. Surprisingly, the boots became popular among housewives during the late 1940s, as women over the age of 40 were responsible for about 80% of sales of the boots.

Dr. Martens in the United Kingdom

Dr. Martens yellow stitching

In 1952, Märtens and Funck were able to open a second factory in Munich due to the success of the boots. Then, in 1959, Märtens and Funck decided to market the boots internationally and start in the United Kingdom. 

Upon seeing the features and success of the boots, a British shoe manufacturer called R. Griggs Group bought patent rights to manufacture Märtens’s boots and sell them in the UK. The R. Griggs Group decided to call the boots “Dr. Martens” after its inventor. In addition to the name, the R. Griggs Group redesigned the heels to make them fit better, and they also added the yellow stitching on the leather that will eventually become the trademark of the boots. The air-padded soles were also trademarked by the R. Griggs Group as “AirWair.”

The first pair of Dr. Martens boots that were available in the United Kingdom was the “1460,” which had a leather upper with a cherry red color and eight eyelets. The name of the boots is taken from the date when it was released, the first of April in 1960 (1/4/60). The low-cut version of the boots called “1461” was released a year later. These two models of Dr. Martens shoes were manufactured in Wollaston, Northamptonshire.

The Dr. Martens boots first became popular among factory workers, police officers, and postmen, who liked the durability and comfort that the boots provided compared to the other boots they had worn before. By the late 1960s, skinheads began wearing Dr. Martens boots. 

Skinheads are members of a subculture that started in the 1960s in London, England. The subculture is composed of working-class youth who are rebelling against the norms set upon them by the English government and society as a whole. 

Because Dr. Martens boots have become one the symbols of rebellion, punks and delinquents in the United Kingdom in the 70s also adopted the fashion trends. [2] Unfortunately, due to the brand’s favorability towards violent individuals, Dr. Martens has been stereotyped as the boots made for the unruly. Nevertheless, Dr. Martens in the United Kingdom never really experienced a decrease in sales during the 1960s and 1970s.

The Expansion and Decline of Dr. Martens

Dr. Martens boot

In 1989, a company called Accent Group gained the rights to manufacture Dr. Martens boots in Dunedin, New Zealand, which made the first manufacturer of Dr. Martens outside the United Kingdom. By the 1990s, Dr. Martens boots became popular among the youth that listened to grunge music popularized by Nirvana, Soundgarden, and other bands that quickly rose into prominence during the said decade. 

In November 1994, a Dr. Martens department store was opened in Covent Garden, a district in London. The Dr. Martens department sold not only their popular boots and low-cut shoes but also belts, watches, and even food.

Unfortunately, Dr. Martens experienced a decline in sales during the early 2000s, and by 2003, the company came close to filing for bankruptcy. In order to save the company, the executives decided to close the factory that makes Dr. Martens boots in the UK and move the production to China and Thailand, where materials and labor costs are significantly cheaper compared to the UK. While the sales of Dr. Martens boots that were made in China and Thailand are still quite low, it was enough to keep the brand and company afloat in the 2000s.

In 2004, Dr. Martens released a new range of footwear that is more comfortable and easier to break in compared to the original boots. This new range was created in order for Dr. Martens to attract a wider market. The new range was discontinued a few years later, as the classic range remained the more popular option for buyers.

The Resurgence of Dr. Martens

worn Dr. Martens boots

In the 2010s, Dr. Martens experienced a resurgence in popularity, as retro-style outfits that included Dr. Martens boots became trendy. Between 2009 and 2011, the R. Griggs Group opened 14 new Dr. Martens stores in the United States, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. By 2012, Dr. Martens became the eighth-fastest-growing British company. [3]

A private equity company from Britain called Permira acquired R. Griggs Group in 2013, which then allowed them to get the rights to manufacture Dr. Martens products. After the acquisition, Steve Murray, who was the former brand president of another shoe brand, Vans, became the CEO of the new Dr. Martens company.

There were ten million pairs of Dr. Martens shoes that were produced in 2018, and only 1% of those pairs were made in the United Kingdom. A year later, Dr. Martens decided to double the production of boots and shoes in the UK. [4]

Even though there are already dozens of different models of footwear under the Dr. Martens brand, the 1460 remains the most popular option for many people. Here are some of the best versions or variations of the legendary Dr. Martens 1460 boots that you can buy online:


Even though Dr. Martens has experienced numerous struggles over the years, it still remains one of the most popular footwear brands in the world. Because Dr. Martens 1460 boots are now considered classics, their popularity may never fade away until the near future.


[1] Hall, W. (2019, February 6). Sliding into my DMs: How Doc Martens conquered the world. Tatler. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from

[2] Manzoor, S. (2010, October 31). Dr Martens at 50: these boots were made for… everyone. The Guardian. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from

[3] Cochrane, L. (2012, July 19). Dr Martens enjoy comeback with best-selling season ever. The Guardian. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from  

[4] BBC News. (2019, February 27). Dr Martens invests £2m in Northampton site. BBC News. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from