Klaus Martens was a doctor in the German army during World War II. While on leave in 1945, he injured his ankle while skiing in the Bavarian Alps. He found that his standard-issue army boots were too uncomfortable on the injured foot.
While recuperating, he designed improvements to the boots, with soft leather, and air-padded soles. When the war ended, Dr. Martens made himself a pair of boots with the now-famous air-cushioned soles.
The first Dr. Martens in the United Kingdom came out on April 1, 1960, with an 8-eyelet, cherry-red, Nappa leather design. They were popular among workers such as postmen, policemen and factory laborers. By the late 1960s, skinheads started wearing Dr. Martens boots, and street gangs made the oxblood-red boots a trademark style.
In the 2000s, Dr. Martens became sold exclusively under the AirWair name, and come in dozens of different styles, including conventional black shoes, sandals and steel-toed boots.