These Cult Boots Have Been Best Sellers for Over 60 Years

Having spent years training myself in the art of trend-hunting and It item–spotting, I could say confidently that I'm certain Dr. Martens boots are more popular than ever. In 2019, the heritage footwear brand reported double-digit growth (revenue stacks up now to a pretty cool £454.4 million—NBD), and that translates very visibly into just how often I spot girls wearing Docs on the pavements of my home city of London as well as on my Instagram feed, within celebrity echelons and in street style galleries.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Each month, more than 12,000 people in the UK search for "Dr. Martens boots," and that's before you start analysing all of the breakout search terms for specific styles shoppers are looking for, like Sinclair or Jadon. According to Google Trends, there's a noticeable spike during November and December. When the cold weather strikes, DMs really come into their own.

But even ahead of chillier moments, we've seen the brand's signature bovver boots, chunky soles, lace-ups and Chelsea styles take centre stage. As well as gathering momentum throughout spring, we've witnessed them become a go-to choice for festival season (which we hope will resume sooner than not), and they have even made their way onto the fashion week circuit, with combat and biker styles making a comeback in highbrow circles. It's perhaps no surprise, then, that the original stompy boots of the punk era would be a clever choice for those in the know.


(Image credit: @slipintostyle)

The summer has also seen success with the British brand's flat-shoe offering—a thick-soled pair of Mary Janes (cutely named Polley) being a far more affordable way into the dolly-ish shoe trend Burberry first kicked off. Influencers have been wearing them with swishy dresses and socks, all to a rather "cute" effect.

However, the real turnaround, in my opinion, started a year or two ago. Comfort and practicality had been slowly but surely infiltrating the fashion industry for some time, with other footwear options like sneakers and ugly sandals becoming as mainstream and accepted as can be, but when it came to winter boot options, things seemed to halt.

That was until a few clever fashion enthusiasts remembered just where one could buy practical yet cool flat footwear: Dr. Martens. At the same time that A-listers and editors started revisiting classics created by the brand (like the signature 1460 lace-ups), the shoe purveyors started to introduce more radical, directional styles that appealed to a younger, entirely new audience. They were stocked on the likes of Free People and ASOS, and we would keep checking back to see every single stacked-platform style repeatedly sold out.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

These more extreme DMs were also picked up by celebrities like Bella and Gigi Hadid. The impact of highly stylish celebrities wearing a relatively affordable pair of anything should never be underestimated. While much of their public outfits are made from prohibitively expensive pieces, a wearable, useful item with a friendly price point, such as Dr. Martens boots, can inspire many to purchase.

Add this A-list seal of approval to the growing street style fans and models off duty, an increase in wholesale stockists, a sharp rise in direct e-commerce sales and major product developments—such as the fact that Dr. Martens has been ahead of the curve in introducing versions of its classic styles in vegan leather—and it's hard to ignore just how booming this brand is right now, even if it's been around since the '60s. 


(Image credit: @ASOS_LOTTE)

Anyone who owns the vegan versions will tell you the same thing: They're so much softer than the OGs. Many Dr. Martens styles take some time to wear in (I'm still trying to stretch the leather on my Chelsea boots from last autumn and keep doing the hair-dryer trick), and girls often opt for second-hand pairs for that instantly comfy fit.

In addition to the faux-leather options, you'll find some fabric versions coming in this season, complete with Velcro-strapped ankles to really tap into the combative mood across the runways. In essence, you have DM options for days and, as proven by the many outfits we've witnessed them paired with, about 50,000 ways to wear them.

Below, we chart the key Dr. Martens boot styles, from classic to more adventurous, that you can shop now.

Dr. Martens Jadon Flatform Chunky Boots

Dr. Martens 2976 Quad Chelsea Boots

Dr. Martens Voss Quad Leather Strap Platform Sandals

Dr. Martens Sinclair Leather Platform Boots

Dr. Martens Ambrose Archive Boots

Dr. Martens Clemency Lace-Up Boots

Dr. Martens Clarissa II Leather Strap Sandals

Dr. Martens Rometty Chelsea Boots

Dr. Martens 1460 Mono 8-Eye Boots

Dr. Martens Leona Platform Ankle Boots

Dr. Martens 1460 Pascal Front Zip Boots

Dr. Martens Modern Classics Smooth 1460 8-Eye Boots

Dr. Martens Gryphon Rick Owens Sandals

Dr. Martens Jadon Max Platform Boots

Dr. Martens Olson Zipped Leather Strap Sandals

This post was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated. 

Next Up: The 9 New-In Pieces I'm Adding to My Wish List This Week

Hannah Almassi
Editor in Chief

Hannah Almassi is the Editor in Chief of Who What Wear UK. Hannah has been part of the the Who What Wear brand since 2015, when she was headhunted to launch the UK sister site and social channels, implement a localised content strategy and build out the editorial team. She joined following a seven-year tenure at Grazia magazine, where she led front-of-book news, fashion features and shopping specials as fashion news and features editor. With experience in both print and digital across fashion and beauty, Hannah has over 16 years in the field as a journalist, editor, content strategist and brand consultant. Hannah has interviewed industry heavyweights such as designers including Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Anderson through to arbiters of taste including Katie Grand and Anna Dello Russo. A skilled moderator and lecturer specialising in the shift to digital media and e-commerce, Hannah’s opinion and work has been sought by the likes of CNBC, BBC, The Sunday Times Style, The Times, The Telegraph and, among many others. Hannah is often called upon for her take on trends, becoming known as a person with their finger of the pulse of what’s happening in the fashion space for stylish Brits. Hannah currently resides in Eastbourne with her photographer husband, incredibly busy son and highly Instagrammable cat.