Doc Martens exploded onto the alternative fashion scene in the 1960s, quickly gaining a following by electic groups like skinheads and punk rockers. Until recent years, most Doc Martens were manufactured exclusively in the United Kingdom, though now both England and Asia produce the brand’s footwear. Many knock-off brands exist, with some manufacturers even adding Doc Marten logos to the mimicked shoes. By educating yourself as to the distinctive design features of authentic Doc Martens, you can spot imposters quickly and easily.
Examine the back heel of the shoe. Seek out the AirWair loop stitched into the back of the shoe, which will be present only in authentic Doc Martens.
Look for the “bouncing soles.” Open the shoe and examine the insoles, as real Doc Martens will sport air-cushioned soles.
Check for brand representation errors. Seek out typos on the “Dr. Martens” logo inside the shoe, as many knock-offs will misspell the brand.
Examine the shoe’s stitching. Look around the base of the shoe for the authentic Doc Marten’s yellow stitching.
Turn the shoe over. Look for an imprint on the bottom of the shoe with a cross and the Doc Marten’s stamp.
Find out the shoe’s manufacturing place and date. Asian-manufactured recent Doc Martens (post 2002) will have the brand imprinted on the shoe’s side, whereas older shoes will not. England-manufactured shoes will have “Made in England” stamped on the sole and imprinted on the insole.
Not all authentic Doc Martens will have lace-up holes, as there are a variety of styles available.
The best way to guarantee you are purchasing real Doc Martens is to buy directly from a Doc Marten store or website.
References and ResourcesDoc Martens official website
Alphabet City's Guide to Doc Martens: Made in England vs. Made in Thailand