Life Style

Dr. Martens, a mellow rebel

Eleven million Dr. Martens shoes are sold per year in some sixty countries. In 2019, Daphne, now aged 15, bought her first pair, classic black high tops, known as “1460” (since launched on 1er April 1960). “I wanted to wear shoes other than sneakers, adopt a Kurt Cobain-style grunge style” (1).

Dr. Martens, also known as Doc, and vintage in general are all the rage, especially among girls. For her second pair, Daphné chose a more original model, black and red, with a huge sole: “My mother found them vulgar at first but she got used to them”.

Babies too targeted

Not all of the brand’s models will tickle parents. Bought in 2014 by the investment fund Permira and listed on the stock market in early February, the sixty-year-old company (2) has broadened its range to attract a large audience. Worn in the 1960s by British police and workers, then by punks, skinheads and rockers, the Docs have largely lost their rebellious spirit. Among the 300 models offered per season in the eleven French stores (two new ones should open by summer), there are even some for babies!

The target remains 15-25 year olds, whom the brand seeks to appeal to by combining its cultural heritage with contemporary concerns (vegan collection, for example). “We no longer want to be confined to the image of punks but we strive to keep the alternative side, to promote freedom of expression, difference”, emphasizes Sébastien Duffait, marketing manager for France and Benelux. With his foundation or his advertising campaigns, Dr. Martens multiplies the commitments, from Black Lives Matter to the LGBT community, and supports young talents (singers, artists, independent radio stations). His slogan : “There is no age to assert your individuality. “


Our opinion

Expensive (count around 100 euros for children’s models and between 150 and 200 € for adult sizes, minus 10% reduction for students), the Dr. Martens is stronger than most shoes. Its thick leathers and thermobonded seams, then topstitched, make it particularly robust. Properly maintained, a pair can last for decades… the teenager will no doubt tire of them before actually wearing them. On the other hand, it must be prepared to suffer: the stiffness of the leather of iconic models (such as the 1460 which represents 40% of sales) puts a strain on the heels for months on end, while the shoe “is made”.


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