20th Aug 2019
From @drmartensoffical Instagram
An ode to Dr Martens. Why they are the shoes I could not live without…
Is there any other shoe as iconic as Dr Martens? Now in their fifth decade as a brand their popularity shows no sign of fading.
They are large, chunky, bold and impossible to ignore. With their thick rubber soles, iconic yellow stitching and rounded toe they are instantly recognisable. They are also instantly cool.
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Synonymous with almost all music subcultures they have always represented a form of rebellion. For some they remind them of skinheads, rockers, the punk scene, and for others it’s Florence Welch and Kate Moss with bare legs and denim jackets at Glastonbury. Whether you’re pairing them with Fred Perry or a floral Topshop gúna there is vey little they don’t look good with.
I’ve had numerous pairs over the years, the low rise shoe, the soft chelsea boot style, I even have a flowery pair tucked away at the back of my wardrobe. My favourites though will always be the classic eight hole lace up boot. The ones I own currently are not the hard patent leather but are instead butter soft and wear beautifully.
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An enduring staple
First created in 1960, the boots we know and love today were not worn by moody teenagers at gigs. Instead, they were a work-wear boot favoured by postmen and factory workers. This explains the utilitarian look to them, with their ‘bouncing soles’, heel loops and thick rounded toe, they were a safe and practical choice. Since their inception in the ’60s they have remained a working class shoe, moving from factory floors to pubs, clubs and venues around the world.
As a result of this they are still looked at as a symbol of rebellion. Worn by The Who’s Pete Townshend in the mid-’60s they then exploded into the music scene. Loved by punks, skinheads, mods and rockers they’ve always been associated with musical sub-cultures.
In more recent years, although still on heavy rotation in the music world, you can spot them on almost anyone. A family friend in her 40s loves to wear them with leggings and boots, my boyfriend is never seen without his and I even know a three-year-old who has a mini pair. No matter which generation you were born into, Dr Marten’s are unwavering in their popularity and forever cool no matter what your style or age.
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Wear them anywhere
As a woman with a larger shoe size (I’m between a 7-8) I spent years avoiding them for fear of my feet looking even more like canoes. Then I realised, no matter what your shoe size they look huge, and embraced them instead.
I have worn mine pretty much everywhere. They are so comfortable and classic looking they never feel out of place. I’ve worn them to formal work meetings with all black, to an outdoor gig with a summer dress, to a funeral, hiking in Glendalough and through the icy streets of Copenhagen in December. They are one of the few shoes that really take you to any occasion which is why I could never be without mine.
The juxtaposition of a ‘working-man’s’ boot with a floral dress has endless appeal and I’ll always be in love with this contrast. As someone with quite androgynous style they always tone down an outfit that might otherwise be a little too girly.
Wearing them in
For anyone who has owned a pair, you’ll know that there is a little bit of pain involved at the beginning. The best things in life don’t come easy and neither do these boots. However, once you’ve got through the first few weeks of wearing them in, they are so comfortable, you’ll never want to wear anything else.
If the idea of a long wearing-in period has scared you off in the past, here’s some tips to make it quicker and easier;
- Vaseline. Sounds weird I know, but if you rub Vaseline on the inside of the boot behind your heel it helps to soften the leather fast – just don’t wear any fancy or expensive tights as you will be left with marks
- Wear thick socks – and I mean thick. I have always borrowed a pair of my Dad’s/boyfriend’s/brother’s socks as they tend to be a bit thicker
- Wear them at home first with said thick, fluffy socks – this helps stretch them out a bit, even if you’re just sitting on the sofa
- Don’t wear them all day – make your first excursion in your shiny new boots a short one, there’s nothing worse than being stranded in town with blistered feet
Apparently even Pope John Paul II had a pair custom made, in white of course. So if everyone from the Pope to rock ‘n’ roll icons can wear them, why can’t you?
Header Image: @drmartenoffical
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