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Blog/Brand Bible/Dr Martens Technology
Dr Martens boots are famed for their counter-cultural appeal, which has won them countless fans over the generations. However, perhaps in slight contrast with their “rebel without a cause” image is the extraordinary comfort they offer the wearer. Here, we’ll look at what it is that makes their shoes belie their tough, rugged image to provide an incredibly luxurious experience for your feet.
The key is all in the sole, which was the original driving force behind Dr Klaus Märtens’ first design. He wanted a boot that would help cushion an injured ankle, and landed upon the idea of using some discarded rubber to create the sole. The natural bounciness of the material was then added to by Märtens leaving air pockets between the layers of rubber to allow for extra compression (so the sole better moulds itself to the wearer’s foot) and shock absorption.
Of course, with Märtens’ original creation being made in a rudimentary fashion, there were lots of improvements to be made. By 1960, when the Griggs family of Northampton had secured the rights to produce the boots for the UK market, the design had been refined to the point where it’s barely needed touching in the 50 years since.
Three distinct layers are used in the classic Dr Martens 1460 boot, and the same is true for most of their other styles. The upper is attached to the sole via the goodyear welting technique, which is both highly durable and allows for easy re-soling - not that Docs ever need that!
The midsole is comprised of a felt strip on top of an insulating pad, designed to cushion the foot against the tough rubber outsole and provide the wearer with an optimum fit.
Finally, there’s the sole, and this is where the magic happens. A granular rubber compound is melted into a liquid and then injected into a mould which produces a unit that incorporates the famous AirWair technology, as well as offering resistance to a number of industrial elements, such as oil and acid petrol. The honeycomb design in the top portion of the sole (below the midsole) creates shock absorbing, cushioned air pockets. The sole is then attached to the welt by being placed against a red hot blade to create a watertight seal.