The Shoes That Were Originally Made From Tires

You’ve seen them around — those classic, 8-holed boots with the distinctive tag peeping out the back, with yellow stitching all the way around. Whether they’re paired with skinny jeans or a floral dress, Doc Martens are a staple worldwide. In 1945, a 25-year-old German soldier named Dr. Klaus Märtens was out of commission because of a broken foot. He found that his regular boots were too hard on his foot, so he designed air-padded soles out of tires to speed up his recovery. When he showed his creation to his friend Herbert Fünk, who was an engineer by trade, the two decided to go into business together creating ultra-comfy shoes. Within a decade, the shoes were flying off the shelves in Germany, and it wasn’t long before they caught the eye of British manufacturer R. Griggs. He bought the patent rights to manufacture the shoes in the UK, and on April 1, 1960, the iconic AirWair 1460 boot, with its trademark yellow stitching, went on sale for the low price of £2 ($2.37). By the end of the 1960s, skinheads in America had discovered the boots, and sales shot through the roof overnight. By 1994, half of Docs wearers were women, and the work boots had made their way onto the fashion catwalks. These days, Doc Martens are sold in a variety of styles, from Chelsea boots to sandals to super-high tops. Today, sales have topped 100 million pairs annually worldwide.