Wednesday, April 3, 2019

What's Up, Doc?

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted a pair of Dr. Marten's workboots. Considering my total ignorance of punk rock and grunge, I don't know exactly what inspired this lifelong desire, but I suppose I know counterculture when I see it. Today, I received my first pair of Doc Marten's boots in the mail. Since I refuse, on Scottish-infused principle, to purchase any shoes costing more than 50 USD, I had to wait until I found an oddly-colored one on sale. (Tip: before buying, ensure you understand the differences between British and U.S. sizes--they're not the same.) 

The story of Dr. Marten's is an example of globalization and perfect timing. Though the boots are associated with Britain, the creator was actually a German military doctor named Klaus Märtens aka Klaus Maertens. A partnership with a friend from Luxembourg resulted in the business opening in Seeshaupt, Germany, where their comfortable boots were a hit with older women. That's right--Dr. Marten's, now a counterculture fashion brand, succeeded because older women with foot problems cared more about comfort than style. From humble beginnings, eh? 
When a family-owned British boots company noticed the German design in an advertisement, it realized the comfortable soles would be perfect for blue-collar workers and purchased an exclusive license. After altering the heel and adding a yellow welt stitch and a two-tone grooved sole edge, Dr. Marten's began production in the U.K. on April 1, 1960. As I said, the timing could not have been better: to be born on the cusp of a counterculture revolution means as long as you maintain quality, your brand will never die. 
A newer style. The company is trying to appeal more to a younger generation.
Sadly, Dr. Marten's lifetime guarantee no longer applies: 

From the 27th of March 2018, the For Life range will be discontinued. Dr. Martens will continue to honor all existing For Life guarantees on purchases made before the 29th of March 2018 and registered within 60 days of purchase. The For Life registration website will be deactivated on or about the 25th of May 2018.

If you bought a pair of boots before March 29, 2018 and registered it, you were the last consumers eligible for the authentic Dr. Marten's experience. Being a Johnny-come-lately bloke, I'll be buying another pair in the distant future. On that date, I'll go as original as I can: the no-frills black ones, sale or no sale, guaranteed only to change with time. 

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