THE DR. MARTENS 1460

All you need to know, and possibly more, about the Dr. Martens 1460 boot.

HISTORY

The story begins in 1901 with the Griggs family. The Griggs’ were widely known in the small town of Wollaston, Northamptonshire, for making boots. For six decades the Griggs’ created a line of sturdy, reliable workman’s boots – all under the family name.

Now, fast-forward a little to 1945 where a young army doctor, Klaus Maertens, who suffers from a broken foot creates a bouncy, air-cushioned sole ingeniously crafted from tires (rather than the usual hard leather) to help aid his recovery. Whilst on leave, Klaus put his time to good use by improving on his new boots and creating prototypes using a salvaged cobbler’s last and needle.

Sales were pretty slow for poor Klaus, that was until he showed his boots to his old university friend, Dr. Herbert Funck (great name). The good doctor saw something in Klaus’ design and so together they went into business creating shoes using discarded rubber from the Luftwaffe airfields. By 1959 sales had grown so much the duo looked to market the shoes internationally.  

Ft the Dr. Martens 1460 boot in Cherry Red

So here our story takes us back to the Griggs family in Northamptonshire. The Griggs Group Ltd. quickly snapped up patent rights to manufacture the shoes in the UK. They anglicised the name from Maertens to Martens.

The first pair of Dr. Martens boots came out on the 1st April 1960 – AKA the 1460 boot we still have today. The factory the Griggs family first used in Wollaston is still in operation.

By the late 1960’s and early 70’s the boots were popular in myriad youth subcultures; skinheads, punks, bikers, new wave, the list goes on.

Ft a pair from the Dr. Martens x Joy Division collaboration, released in 2018

THE BOOT

The silhouette of the classic 1460 boot remains pretty similar to the original shoe created by Klaus. Notable updates are a re-shaped heel, for a better fit, and the inclusion of the yellow welt stitching – now a DM’s signature. The bouncing soles were rebranded as ‘Airwair’, with the brand name and slogan “with bouncing soles” added to a heel loop – the writing featured is based on Bill Griggs’ own handwriting.  Other details of boot include an 8 eyelet lace up and chunky goodyear welted sole with unique tread pattern.

A testament to the boots’ incredible popularity, in 2006 the Dr. Martens 1460 Airwair boot was added to the list of British Design Icons, the list also includes Concorde, Jaguar E-Type, and, the World Wide Web.

Reiterations, collaborations and revamps have seen the 1460 updated in multiple colourways and materials through the years, as well as the creation of a popular off-shoot collection, the Pascale 1460 boots – click here to learn more about these.

In an age of sneakers and athleisure, the ever-growing popularity of the 1460 boot shows us that sometimes you can’t beat a classic, even if you have to break them in first. We don’t doubt the 1460 will remain at forefront of fashion and style for another 60 decades.

Ft pairs from the Dr. Martens x Sex Pistols collaboration, released in 2019

The Dr. Martens collection Is available all five TOWER London stores & on the TOWER London website

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