Taking the world by boots

Nia Sogaard, Staff Writer

Take a look at the crowd at a concert or art show, and everyone’s feet will probably be covered in leather lined with yellow laces. Doc Martens have long been timeless symbols for the alternative scene and for fashion enthusiasts. Recently, they have been gaining popularity among teens. Consequently, Doc Martens have skyrocketed in popularity.

“They’ve been around forever, but I feel like now everyone wants to get Docs,” said Amelia Tubbs, a freshman. 

Long before Doc Martens’ reputation for the trendy and well-dressed, they were a badge shared by various counterculture identities. The shoes took hold especially in punk, goth, and grunge culture around the 70s and 80s. Pioneer music artists introduced the shoes and general style to their fans, where it spread to the out of the ordinary people. 

“I associate [Doc Martens] with biker skater people. My dad wears them, he’s had them forever,” said Courtney Hall. 

Pete Townshend from The Who made history as the first known artist to wear the shoes on stage. Townshend wore the shoes to rebel against the ‘Mod’ style that he was often seen wearing. The Sex Pistols and The Clash were some other bands that popularized the style. 

This history begs the question of where the alternative connotation with a simple shoe sprouted from. The founder of Doc Martens, Dr. Klaus Maerten, created a special sole in 1901 for his injured foot. The word of his shoe design made it to England, where Stephen Griggs heard about it. Maerten and Griggs collaborated to create the iconic Doc Marten 1460s that people know and love today. It was a shoe created for the people, by the people.

“If you worked in the streets, like in construction, you needed [Docs], that’s where they started from. In different times it’s been associated with the punk movement – those with a rebellious streak.” said Tracy Clay, a sophomore English teacher.

Doc 1460s were marketed as a durable boot for the working class, making it popular for British skinheads in the 1960s. Skinheads during that era had a different reputation, as a multicultural group focused on the financial position and social status of the working class. Skinheads adopted the boot into their uniform of buzz-cut hair, a white shirt, and levis, and could often be seen worn in photos of the group protesting. 

Now, a new generation of fashion has turned the brand into a fashion must-have, more specifically Doc Marten boots. Urban Outfitters, a popular retailer among teens and young adults, has featured the shoes on many of its models and on its website. 

“I feel like they just started coming out of nowhere. Teenagers will find something retro and stick to it,” said Courtney Hall, a sophomore. 

Thanks to the love for retro fashion by young fashion enthusiasts, trends from previous eras have been re-established in what is considered fashionable in modern-day. This demand is responsible for the renaissance of Doc Martens. According to Fashion United, the total revenue for the brand rose by thirty percent within a year.