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The history of the air cushion sole

The comfort of Dr. Martens shoes are made up of two components - the leather, which adapts perfectly to the shape of your foot, and the patented air-cushioned sole.

Today I would like to introduce you to how this sole has evolved. In the beginning, Dr. Klaus Märtens, a German doctor, developed a stable shoe shortly after World War II that was lighter and softer than the work shoes common at the time.

Dr. Märtens is said to have got the idea through his skiing accident, because he hoped for a faster recovery and relief for his feet.

Rubber had not yet been used in the fashion industry, so the soles of the shoes of the time were hard, heavy and thick. Finer leather soles were also sensitive to moisture and stress.

As with many other items of clothing, the need for comfort and suitability for everyday use grew, and functionality was now also demanded from fashion.

Together with his friend Herbert Funck, he turned his ideas into reality and, out of necessity, made shoes from old soldiers' uniforms and rubber scraps from the Luftwaffe, which were much more comfortable than usual at the time and were also a recycling product. I also like the fact that materials that originally stood for suffering and war were reworked into a product that helped people and made their everyday lives easier.

At around the same time, English soldiers, interestingly enough, brought the original version of the Creeper from North Africa to London, the soles of which are also made of rubber.

Märtens and Funck opened a factory in 1952 and successfully put their idea of ​​a comfortable and hard-wearing shoe into practice by producing hundreds of different models. So successful that Bill Griggs noticed the two of them through an advertisement and bought the production license from them.

Together with Solovair, Griggs presented the first Dr. Martens boots, Solovair was responsible for the soles from now on. You can find more about this in the blog entries about Dr. Martens company history.

The unique air chambers and different upholstery ensure the unmistakable comfort of Docs, which gave them the name 'bouncing soles'.

The principle of air chambers in an elastic rubber sole was also a pioneer for the emergence of sneakers, so the air cushion soles by Dr. Martens was a milestone!

Incidentally, the soles are still resistant to oil, acid, grease and petrol to this day - even if they are no longer just worn as work shoes!

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