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It’s hard to remember a time when people weren’t wearing Dr. Martens. The classic leather boots and chunky-soled oxfords have been a staple for years, as a favorite of both the street-style set and students, office workers and travelers alike.
Though “Docs” are often associated with the rise of punk rock and the counterculture movement, the original Dr. Martens boots were originally more modest, as everyday work-wear boots for postal service workers and factory workers in the UK. It wasn’t until Pete Townsend of The Who donned a pair of the 1460 boots that they became associated with music and art.
By the Seventies and Eighties, “Doc Martens” had become synonymous with music, rebellion, and self-expression. The brand’s combat-style boots, leather loafers and stitched oxfords were quickly adopted by the psychobilly, hard-core and alt-rock music scenes, and it seemed like every grunge and ska artist in the Nineties wore Docs too. By the time the 2000s hit, Dr. Martens had taken over street-style blogs and festivals as a subversive take on youth culture and individuality. A pair of Docs was as versatile as a good guitar lick or fat beat. Just look at the list of artists who wore Docs, which runs the gamut from Eddie Vedder and Morrissey, to Rancid and Rihanna.
These days Dr. Martens boots are seen on everyone from Machine Gun Kelly to Lizzo and Lil Nas X, while the brand has introduced new collaborations with The Sex Pistols and Black Sabbath. The low-key leather boot from London is still one of the most iconic pieces of footwear, but the brand has since expanded its offerings to include casual canvas styles, sandals and dress shoes too.
Whether you’re searching for a gift for a music fan and fashionphile, or looking to pick up a pair of kickass shoes for yourself, we’ve rounded up our four favorite pairs of Dr. Martens to buy right now. These time-honored boots and oxfords have been updated with modern details and features, to work as a comfortable and durable pair of shoes, whether you’re rocking out on stage, bar hopping across the city or running to make your blind date. Here’s what to add to your closet right now.
1. 1460 Greasy Leather Lace-Up Boots
The 1460 leather boot is one of the most iconic silhouettes in Dr. Martens arsenal, with black leather construction, all-black laces and the classic pull-tab built on top of Dr. Martens’ signature air cushion sole. This “greasy leather” version re-imagines the original boot with a matte black leather that’s treated to give off a “waxy” look and feel. The easy-wearing boot breaks in beautifully, with the leather getting softer and achieving that coveted distressed effect the more you wear it.
Purchase: $150 at DrMartens.com
2. 2976 Smooth Leather Chelsea Boots
The 2976 leather chelsea boots are a sleek and streamlined version of the 1406 boots above. Originally released in the early Seventies, the Chelsea boot takes its cues from dapper London style and rebellious rock and roll alike. This pair slides on easily with an elastic ankle gusset and works great paired with everything from skinny jeans to trousers.
Purchase: $150 on DrMartens.com
3. 1461 Atlas Leather Oxford Shoes
We like the styling of these 1461 leather oxfords, which are at once preppy and punk rock. The smooth “Atlas” leather is handsome and sophisticated, while the contrast-color laces and stitching add a contemporary twist.
This was the second shoe ever introduced by Dr. Martens and the same attention to craftsmanship and small details is showcased here, proving that good design never goes out of style.
Purchase: $120 on DrMartens.com
4. 1460 Slip-Resistant Leather Lace-Up Boots
The 1460 is the iconic Dr. Martens silhouette and the shoe that started it all. The 1460 boots have been seen on everyone from rock stars to rappers, and the distinctive lace-up eyelets, leather construction and chunky sole remain an instantly recognizable status symbol.
The classic boots have been re-engineered this season with extra cushioning and a grippy, slip-resistant GripTrax™ tread, making this a great pair of kicks to take outdoors. The rugged, tough-as-nails design holds up to all-conditions, while the industrial-grade leather is spill and weather-resistant (just wipe clean with a soft cloth if it gets dirty).
Dr. Martens says the boot has been re-fitted for comfort, with a lighter weight, increased cushioning (thanks to built-in memory foam padding) and a moisture-wicking lining to keep your feet warm and dry.
It’s hard to make a good thing better, but this updated take on the 1460 leather boots makes a case for adding a pair of Docs to your everyday wardrobe again. Get in the cherry red colorway (seen above) or in classic black.
Purchase: $160 on DrMartens.com
See more rocker-inspired boots, oxfords, dress shoes and more for men and women at DrMartens.com.