Doc Martens: a Pillock boot
Why you shouldn’t buy Doc Martens anymore
Doc Martens: an iconic British boot worn by humble postmen to rock superstars like Pete Townshend. Like many other British brands, Docs has gone from a utility boot to a mainstream accessory worn by celebrities and Fordham students. Its popularity is not only based on its iconic style, but also on a reputation built by decades of quality, durable construction and longevity. Yet over the past 20 years, Dr Martens has spoiled a well-established reputation. To understand its decline, we must first understand its origins.
A German or a British boot?
The origins of Doc Martens were not in Great Britain, but in Germany. The company was founded by Klaus Martens in 1947, after teaming up with a friend at his university to produce a boot model that he created himself. He came up with the design which used air-cushioned soles after injuring his ankle while serving in the German military.
At first the two sold the majority of their boots to housewives, but by 1952 their sales had grown to the point of attracting the attention of British shoe maker R. Griggs Group. In 1952, the R. Griggs group purchased the patent rights to manufacture the boot in Great Britain and changed the name from Märtens to “Dr. Martens.”
During the 1960s, “Documents”Became popular first with blue collar workers, then with scooter riders, punks and other youth subcultures. It was in the late 1960s and 1970s that the popularity of footwear cemented itself in youth culture.
In 2003, declining revenues forced Doc Martens to the brink of bankruptcy, which led the company to halt production in the UK and outsource its production to cheaper East Asian manufacturers. This, coupled with a relaunch of its product line, brought the company back to solvency and led it to be taken over by private equity firm Permira in 2013.
Since its acquisition by Permira, Doc Martens has experienced record revenue growth. In 2019 alone, its turnover was £ 454 million, a six-fold increase since 2013. But what was the cost? Prior to the 2000s, Doc Martens made almost all of his boots in Britain at his original factory on Cobbs Lane in Wollaston, Northamptonshire. However, after its near bankruptcy and acquisition, Doc Martens only produces 1% of his boots in the UK from 2018.
The question is: are the Doc Martens still worth it?
The question is: are the Doc Martens still worth it? Okay, that’s complicated. For the average Fordham student who wears boots purely for their looks, yes, the Doc Martens are a good (overpriced) pair of boots. For those who care about the quality of their shoes and where their money goes, the Docs aren’t worth the money.
In 2019, The Guardian published a item detailing dozens of customer complaints about the decline in quality of the boot after its acquisition. A long-time owner detailed the sentiments shared by many other customers: “I have two otherwise identical pairs of Dr. Martens boots – one made in the UK, one made in China – and although the ones made in the UK – United are among the most comfortable shoes I own, the ones made in China (are) in nasty, stiff and thinner leather.
Another avid London owner wrote: “The replacement pair has a bonded flat foam sockliner that leaves space between it and the inside of the boot. Not only that, but the leather that includes the tongue is 0.2mm thinner, or 1.4mm against 1.6mm for the previous pair.
It is the continued purchase by consumers of overpriced and inferior products that allows a company to move to offshore production.
The perceived decline of Doc Martens is not only an isolated case, but rather emblematic of an industry trend in which companies on their own – or after being bought out – are moving production from their home countries. to cheaper regions like Southeast Asia and South America. Well-known brands like Barbour, Allen Edmonds and Schotts have all relocated their production overseas to reduce costs and quality while increasing prices.
If you want an in-depth Doc Martens gap analysis, I recommend this item compare the foreign-made Doc Martens to an American-made competitor: The Iron Ranger.
Consumers without thorns
At this point, some readers might ask, “So what? “What if I buy a boot made overseas if it feels comfortable and of decent quality in my mind?” Such an attitude towards specific products is at the origin of the decline in their quality. It is the continuous purchase by consumers of overpriced and substandard products that allows a company to move to offshore production, reduce quality and raise prices to exorbitant amounts while making a profit. records.
Voting with your wallet can be a powerful sign for companies to change their practices – just look at the video game industry and microtransactions.
Personally, knowing where my clothes and shoes come from is a matter of principle and pride. Before many brands outsourced their manufacturing, their local factories in America or Europe supported hundreds if not thousands of skilled workers and supported many cities. Corporate greed was the death knell not only for American and British clothing and footwear workers, but also auto and factory workers.
What sets Doc Martens apart from the rest is that you can always choose to support the right company. Solovair is a British made boot brand manufactured by NPS Shoes in Northamptonshire, UK. They have been making handmade British shoes in the Northamptonshire factory since 1881 and in the 1960s they were hired by the R. Griggs Group to make the iconic Doc Martens boot with a Solovair sole and Griggs upper. . This partnership continued until the mid-1990s until Doc Martens began to move production overseas.
The only way to stop this practice of corporate greed is to start genuinely caring about the source of manufacture and corporate ethics.
In 1995, however, Solovair trademark its name, enabling it to manufacture its air-cushioned boots which once created the British-made Doc Martens in the 1960s. Today Solovair continues to manufacture boots of their design and similar designs to the original Doc Martens. in the Northamptonshire factory.
When comparing Solovair Greasy black 8-eyelet derbies to Doc Martens Boots 1460 Vintage Made in England, it is obvious that their appearance and price are almost identical, amounting to $ 225 and $ 230 respectively, and adorned with white stitching and yellow stitching, respectively. The main difference is Solovair quality and the fact that it did not use questionable business practices which cost hundreds of British workers their jobs and reduced its quality in search of profit.
The only way to end this practice of corporate greed is to start genuinely caring about the source of manufacture and corporate ethics by not closing your eyes for the sake of cheapness and appearance.