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Since the first pair of Dr. Martens shoes, or 1460 boots to be exact, rolled off the production line on 1st

April 1960, we've been making tough, durable and distinctive footwear for individuals from all walks of

life. Today we still design and manufacture our exclusive Made in England range in our original Cobbs

Lane Factory in Northamptonshire. 


The small factory employs skilled and dedicated staff - some have worked for Dr. Martens for over 40

years, and some have mothers or fathers who've worked in the factory. Engineered with out patented 

Airwair technology and durable Goodyear Welts, in Doc's you're literally walking on air. 

#madeinengland #drmartens



In Cobb’s Lane, Wollaston, Northampton, England, stands the Dr. Martens factory where the famous boots were fi rst made in April 1960 and where the ‘Made In England’ range of boots are still manufactured using the same unique process to this day.

The county of Northamptonshire’s reputation for footwear production dates back as far as the 17th century when Oliver Cromwell, who ordered marching boots for his armies from this area, and for centuries the region has been home to craftspeople, artisans and leading experts in the shoe trade.

Back in 1901, the Griggs family became involved in the production of working men’s boots that quickly garnered a reputation for being highly durable. In the 1930s, the site of the future Dr. Martens factory was actually an old house with a small, slightly run-down brick-built cottage in the large garden. A Griggs family member, Reginald, bought the house to live in and promptly demolished the old cottage, re-using some of the stone bricks from its demolition to build the factory that still stands on the site today – eagle-eyed visitors to the Cobb’s Lane manufacturing building can actually spy a few of those original bricks from the old cottage.

By 1960, the Griggs family had acquired the exclusive licence to produce a revolutionary air-cushioned sole invented by two German doctors. When Bill Griggs bought the specialist machinery for making these unique soles from a defunct company in London, on returning to Northampton he discovered that the new equipment was too tall to fi t into the factory. Raising the roof would require a lengthy and expensive planning application with the local authorities, so Bill thought of a better idea – he simply dug a big hole in the factory floor and fitted the machines in that way.

One of the workers would always arrive at the factory at 6am to start warming up the small vats of wax that would be used to help make the famous air-cushioned sole. In the early days, a large diesel engine would need to be hand-cranked to start and power the factory – this engine (albeit no longer operational) still stands in the Cobb’s Lane building to this day as a reminder of those early years.

The Griggs family were always looking to innovate and, with the help of a key workman, designed a production line that made the manufacture of the boots both safer for the workforce but also, crucially, quicker. Many of the workers were multi-skilled and could operate several of the stations. In those days, like most factories of the period, Cobb’s Lane would have been a noisy workplace environment, fi lled with the smell of tanning leathers and clanking machinery.

Fast-forward to the present day and the world of fashion and workwear has changed beyond recognition – however, in many ways the original factory remains largely unchanged. Within these factory walls, in amongst the smell of freshly cut leather and the noisy backdrop of carefully preserved machinery, the unmistakeable shape of the Dr. Martens boot starts to form: travelling the length of the factory, beginning with a small pile of tanned leather hides, the process takes the boots and shoes through various highly skilled stages of evolution until its fi nal arrival in the customer’s box.

True to more than a century of footwear craftsmanship and innovation, this famous footwear is still manufactured by a specialised team of cutters, clickers and welters, schooled in traditional shoe-making methods and experts in the unique process that makes Dr. Martens like no other shoe on earth.









Quilon leather is a recreation of the original Dr. Martens classic leather. It is durable, with a fi ne hair-cell print to give the vintage look. ‘Hair-cell’ refers to a classic vintage fi ne textured print which the tannery adds to the finished leather to add interest and premium expression. In 2007, the Dr. Martens sourcing team took some boots from the brand archive which dated back to the 1970s. They deconstructed the sample and looked at all aspects of the pattern and the leather. The base of the Quilon leather is a classic brown colour contrasting with the grain colour, another feature synonymous with vintage leather. As the leather ages and wears, scuff marks and fl ex points will start to reveal the base leather colour, which creates an aged and worn appearance.




Boanil Brush is a classic two-tone formal leather - the two tone effect is made by hand, using a three stage polishing process during the fi nal stages of shoe production. This is where the ‘brush’ in the name comes from - motorised circular rotating brushes are used to polish the fi nished shoes so no two pairs are ever exactly the same.










Tuscon leather is processed using a natural ‘veg tan’ process, just the way all leather was made over 100 years ago. The grain surface is left naked with no fi nish so the true character of the natural leather can show through. Dr. Martens Tuscon leather is manufactured by Italpelle in the Santa Croce region of northern Italy, famous for it’s leather production. Vegetable-tanned leather absorbs the traces of our life, and matures without ruining.  The natural ageing does not compromise its resistance. The colours of tannins give the leather an unmistakable warm and brilliant shade that becomes more intense with the passing of time and the daily use









The carefully selected hides are stored in a small pile of just one week’s supply. They are then lifted – one at a time – on to the desk of the Clicker. This has long been one of the most prestigious jobs in a footwear factory. It is the Clicker’s task to cut the single hide into various component parts of the boot’s upper pattern; using just the right strip knife, the expertise lies in creating the minimum amount of waste while ensuring the fi nest sections of the hide are utilised. His knife also pricks marks in the leather to show where eyelets and seams will later be placed. To succeed to the standard required for a ‘Made in England’ product, the Clicker needs experience, a steady hand and, above all, an eye for detail. The cut components are then handed to the Skiver. Despite the Dr. Martens boot having a global reputation for its durability, certain elements of its production life are subject to incredible fi nesse. The Skiver will split key parts of the leather within an accuracy of 0.1mm – for example, the tongue will be reduced in weight, the toe is left at full weight and the hide needed for overlapping seams will be given a deftly bevelled edge. At this point, a stamping machine uses a hot foil to mark the inside of the tongue with the size, style number and the prestigious legend, ‘Made in England’. Now the fl at hide is ready for assembly.


The so-called vamp - the toe of the boot is lined, ahead of the intricate skill of “Closing”. Here, the two quarters – the section of the leather that wrap around the heel – are joined together by hand using a zig zag stitch. Then the backstraps, the famous “Airwair with bouncing soles” heel loop and a stiffener for the heel are also seamed together. Meanwhile, the front section of the boot is stitched together, consisting of the stamped tongue and the vamp. These are also sewn together using a so-called “Puritan” machine, which puts a crucial line of three stitches over the quarter and into the side of the vamp, using very heavy weight cord thread.


Next, the eyelets are punched into the boot using the pre-pricked markers which were added by the clicker. Finally, the stitching and cutting part of the process is completed by a “toe puff”, which is laminated into the vamp to give the toe resilience and strength. Now the boot’s upper is ready to head over to the “lasting line” which is where it will be attached to the famous Dr. Martens air sole.


A “last” is a plastic foot shaped form that is used to complete the boot’s manufacture. First, the boot’s insole is attached to the last with tape along with a pre-coated piece of canvas - known as a rib, which is used to marry the uppers and sole together.


The Dr. Martens air cushion sole itself is produced in the factory, using a granular compound that is melted and then injected into a mould which carries the distinctive “DM’s” sole pattern and the Resistance Rectangle indicating that the compound is resistant to Oil, Fat, Acid, Petrol and Alkali. When the soles have cooled, a felt strip is inserted into the cavity of the insole, followed by a comfort pad, both of which are placed by hand.