Doc Martens

Boots
ca. 1982 (made)
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

'Doc Martens' (or 'DMs') boots had their beginnings during World War Two, when Dr Klaus Maertens was convalescing from a skiing accident in which he had injured his ankle, and produced a design for a cushion-soled shoe to relieve the pain of walking. With some help from a friend, Dr Herbert Funck, he made the prototype by heat-sealing old tyres for the sole: within two years the process had been patented and 'Dr Maertens' shoes were popular in a number of European countries. In 1960 Maertens and Funck agreed that a licence should be granted to the Northamptonshire firm of R Griggs & Co, to make the shoes on a larger commercial scale: at this point the Maertens name was anglicized, and the range branded as 'AirWair'. The resistant finish, allied with exceptionally tough and long-lasting uppers, led to the boots' popularity as workwear, but during the 1960s they went on to be associated with rebellious youth such as skinheads. Having become a design classic, they are now available in fashion effects such as bright colours, and tartan or floral patterns, in sizes from toddler to adult.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Boot
  • Boot
Additional TitleDr Martens (manufacturer's title)
Materials and Techniques
Leather with a composition sole
Brief Description
Pair of 'Doc Martens' boots; UK, ca. 1982
Physical Description
Pair of 'Doc Martens' derby lace-up boots, of black leather with textured synthetic unit soles. Each boot fastens with a black lace threaded through eight pairs of metal-bound eyelet holes, and has a fabric loop at the top of the backstrap, woven with the words "AirWair WITH Bouncing SOLES". The boots are topstitched around the edges of the uppers with yellow thread.
Dimensions
  • Back height: 18.5cm
  • Sole width: 30cm
Production typeMass produced
Marks and Inscriptions
AirWair / DR MARTENS AIR CUSHION SOLE / OIL FAT ACID PETROL ALKALI RESISTANT
Credit line
M Harty gift
Object history
Worn by the donor, Michael (Mick) Harty (Technical Co-ordinator at the V&A Museum of Childhood) as a young man
Production
Dr Martens AirWair
Summary
'Doc Martens' (or 'DMs') boots had their beginnings during World War Two, when Dr Klaus Maertens was convalescing from a skiing accident in which he had injured his ankle, and produced a design for a cushion-soled shoe to relieve the pain of walking. With some help from a friend, Dr Herbert Funck, he made the prototype by heat-sealing old tyres for the sole: within two years the process had been patented and 'Dr Maertens' shoes were popular in a number of European countries. In 1960 Maertens and Funck agreed that a licence should be granted to the Northamptonshire firm of R Griggs & Co, to make the shoes on a larger commercial scale: at this point the Maertens name was anglicized, and the range branded as 'AirWair'. The resistant finish, allied with exceptionally tough and long-lasting uppers, led to the boots' popularity as workwear, but during the 1960s they went on to be associated with rebellious youth such as skinheads. Having become a design classic, they are now available in fashion effects such as bright colours, and tartan or floral patterns, in sizes from toddler to adult.
Collection
Accession Number
B.78:1-1995

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record createdApril 19, 2000
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