Dr. Martens Made in England range is created at the unique Cobb’s Lane factory, which has been producing footwear for the Griggs family since 1901. It is the home of the original Dr. Martens boot. Within these modest factory walls work a close knit family of people steeped in traditional shoe-making methods.
Here, in among the smell of freshly cut leather and the noisy backdrop of pristinely preserved machinery, the unmistakable shape of a Dr. Martens boot begins to form: travelling the short length of the factory floor beginning with a small pile of tanned leather hides, the process takes the boot through various highly skilled stages of evolution until its final arrival – laced up and spotless – in a box … ready for a life of being cherished.
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 finest 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 finesse. 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.