Dr. Martens: Not Just for the Punks and Goths
By Danny Agnew / October 11, 2019 6:30 am

Quick, what kind of person wears Doc Martens?

Your correspondent would be willing to bet that the above question conjured images of punks, goths, grunge kids or some combination thereof — and not for no good reason, as Dr. Martens’ iconic boots have been adopted and propagated by these subcultures (and many others) consistently since the brand’s official inception in 1960.

But while these associations aren’t incorrect, I believe they also overshadow a few key elements that make “Docs” an excellent fall footwear choice for your average bloke. To wit:

  1. They are crazy comfortable — Nursing a broken foot post-WWII and finding the hard leather of his military-issue boots wildly uncomfortable, German doctor Klaus Märtens improved the design with softer leather and air-cushioned soles made from old tires. Thus was born the famed “AirWair” outsole now known the world over, which anyone with old bones (see: yours truly) will tell you is a helluva lot easier on the body than a full day in leather-soled dress shoes or boots.
  2. They are an excellent bad-weather shoe — Long story short, that very same AirWair also makes for excellent grip on slippery surfaces, and the brand’s beefy, bulletproof construction techniques yield kicks meant to withstand the harshest elemental treatment.
  3. They ain’t just punk boots — While the original styles still make up the lion’s share of their line (and marketing efforts), Dr. Martens has quietly been turning out an impressive selection of alternative designs that are way more conducive to everyday dress — while still lending a little counterculture cred via that eminently recognizable yellow stitching.

Below, a few of our favorites and some tips on what you might consider pairing them with this season.

1460 DM’s Wintergrip

A really nice alternative to the Red Wings and Wolverines of the world, with DM’s “Wintergrip” soles for extra-snowy sidewalks.

Wear ‘em with: slim dark denim and a Fair Isle sweater.

1460 Pascal Ambassador

Same vibe as above, just in a left-of-center deep green for a slightly more military feel.

Wear ‘em with: brown cords and a Barbour jacket that matches the boots.

8053 Crazy Horse

Your correspondent’s current cold-weather favorite, a brawnier alternative to your average brown dress shoe with more comfort and grip.

Wear ‘em with: olive chinos and a vintage athletic sweatshirt.

8053 Harvest

Same vibe as above, just in a lighter, warmer brown if that’s your thing.

Wear ‘em with: beat-up denim and a patterned bomber.

8053 DM’s Wintergrip

See above once again, only boasting the aforementioned Wintergrip for anyone navigating slick surfaces on a more regular basis.

Wear ‘em with: moleskin trousers and a dapper overcoat.

1461 Harvest

A three-hole style minus the yellow outsole stitching if you’re looking to keep things a tad more understated.

Wear ‘em with: a solid crewneck sweater and a nice pair of cold-weather GTH pants.

Vintage 3989

A slightly more churched up brogue treatment with the signature DM heft. Stick with the black.

Wear ‘em with: slim burgundy trousers and a black turtleneck.

Winchester II Smooth

A slick black alternative to your typical dress boot, boasting the signature grip but in a slightly more streamlined silhouette for a more upscale feel.

Wear ‘em with: skinny black jeans, a white henley and your best black leather jacket.

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