With regard to style, Dr. Martens’ simple silhouettes allow their wearers to adopt the boots and shoes as part of their individual and very distinctive style; on a practical level, their famous durability and comfort make them ideal for the unforgiving world of gigs and street fashion; and then finally on an emotional level, they are a badge of attitude and empowerment.
However, it wasn’t always this way: Dr. Martens were originally modest workwear boots which were even sold as gardening shoes at one stage.
Initially worn by postmen and factory workers, Dr. Martens’ first few years of existence were very much like that of £2 workwear boots for Britain’s working classes. Then, the incredible happened.
Without any warning or intent, Dr. Martens were suddenly picked up by early multicultural, ska-loving skinheads – who proudly championed the British working class style.
Shortly after, Pete Townshend of The Who became the first high-profile individual to wear them as a symbol of his working class pride and rebellious attitude.
In so doing, both first generation skinheads and Townshend altered the course of the brand’s history, changing these functional workwear boots into a subcultural essential.