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Choose your canvas: the 8-hole or the 14-hole boot. Use pens, use paint, use whatever. Use your imagination. They've provided some tools here. They've made it fun and easy, with templates, you can download, color changing with the click of a mouse, and more. So don't be intimidated... go for it.
Or if you want, you can use your own tools and templates. They will have two winners. One voted for by the people. The other chosen by their panel of industry insiders. You enter it. They’ll actually make them. You’ll see them in shops. Worldwide.
Last year's winners available for purchase:
A custom design by Jeremy Asher Lynch of San Diego, CA, entitled "Faces." 2007 winner of our boot design contest. This is a limited edition and each pair is numbered. Buy the 'faces' boot in the US here.
Your competition (or inspiration).
Above: design of the week as selected by the panel of judges.
Below are the highest rated top ten designs as of sunday, june 8th:
A bit of background on Dr. Martens:
Dr. Martens is the stuff of legends. It all began near Munich, Germany in 1945 when Dr. Klaus Maertens injured his foot in a skiing accident in the Bavarian Alps. To make walking easier during the healing process, he designed a shoe with an air-cushioned sole. Using old rubber tires, he constructed soles that had air trapped within closed compartments. He showed his prototype to his engineer/inventor friend, Dr. Herbert Funck, and together they decided to develop and produce the shoes. Not only did the shoe solve the doctor’s immediate problem, but it also started to sell well in Germany.
On April 1st, 1960, the famous eight-hole Dr. Martens boot – the so-called 1460 was born. This was followed by the 1914 with its 14-holes. Both of these boots were immediately embraced as a working-class essential across the UK.
But then something incredible started to happen. Like some viral infection, the postmen, factory workers and transport unions who had initially bought the boot by the thousand, were joined by the rejects, outcasts and rebels from the fringes of society. At first, it was the working-classes; before long it was the masses.
Skinheads were the first subculture to adopt the boot in the early 1960s. They were followed by nearly all the tribes that emerged over the next four decades: Mods, glam rockers, punks, ska, psychobillies, grebos, goths, industrialists, nu-metal, hardcore, straight-edge, grunge, Britpop, emo… etc.
Subcultures are exactly that – outside of mainstream culture – true to form these disparate ‘tribes’ rapidly began customising the boots: hot knifing, spraying, cutting, painting, deliberately roughing them up or obsessively polishing them to a luminous shine.
High fashion has similarly messed around with the core design in order to include the famous boot in their collections over the last 50 years. Designers who have produced their own unique customisations include Manolo Blahnik, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivian Westwood, Gareth Pugh and most recently Yohji Yamamoto.
Regardless of whether it was a street tribe, musician or fashion legend who was personalising this iconic footwear, the common denominator was the ‘person’, the individual, the creative streak that lies deep within every Dr. Martens wearer. No marketing was ever needed, or used, to create this cycle of invention, and as such this forged a purity that has made the boot one of the most recognisable symbols of creativity and rebellion purely through the people who’ve worn them.
We will be forever indebted to the people who have made us what we are today and continue to do so by using Dr. Martens boots as a blank canvas for their own relentless creativity.
above photos and information courtesy of dr. martens
Now, get designing!