A day at the DM Factory

I love watching how things are made so I was like a kid in a candy store at Christmas when I was invited to the Dr Martens Factory to watch how their iconic footwear is made.

Along with Charlie May, Sara Lux and the winner from my blog competition, Tara from The Style Rawr, we all went on a historic and informative tour of the only UK factory where DM’s are made.

Before we had our trip in the factory, we had a little walk around the achieve and historic room that had all kinds of celebrity DM’s, old styles from over the years and also some of the first ever Dr Martens’ that were ever made. Charlotte who works for DM’s and knows so much about the brand, told us how Dr Martens got started and developed into the brand we love today.

Once we had our history lesson on the brand’s depth, we all went down to the Factory to see where the magic happens.

Dr Martens do an Apprenticeship scheme where people can apply to work for Dr Martens to learn how to be a shoe maker. Frankie and Mollie who are on the scheme and impressed us with their knowledge on the first part of the tour.

To get us started, we approached the leather area where all the leather sections for the shoes are cut out.

Mick the clicker (the name clicker comes from the tools they used to use to cut out the leather) showed us the best pieces of leather to cut from and how he uses a compressor to cut out the shapes of the shoes using metal templates.

So after all the sections are cut out, it’s time to get them sewn together…

With all the leather pieces sewn together, Frankie and Mollie passed us over to Stephen who was about to show us around the more manly side of making Dr Martens.

First the shoes had to be molded into a more shoe-like shape. With a molding style machine, the shoe is compressed into a more rounder look and a ready-made inside-sole, helps give the shoe something to fit around. Once the shoe is molded, any extra leather or material that overhangs is trimmed off to keep it clear.

The next step is to attach the rubber rim that sits around the shoe.

Once the rubber rim is ran all around the sole of the shoe, waxed threading is sewn into the sole and rubber to secure both together and to also add decoration if the threading is meant to be contrasting against the design.

Now its time to fit the soles.

Any excess pieces are trimmed off and a soft grey cushioning is glued into the shoes. Once they are in place, a small amount of adhesive is used to temporary hold the soles into place.

Once the soles are at this stage, it’s time to secure them to the shoes for the final stages.

Using a very hot metal rod, the soles are melted onto the shoe.

Now the soles are on the boot, the signature lines can be cut into the rubber soles.

With all the heavy processes out-of-the-way, it’s time for QC checks and some buffing.

The soles are also made on site but with plenty of weeks in advance as sometimes its hard for the factory to predict how many orders they will have and in what sizes.

A big Thank you to Dr Martens for having me at their Factory. It was a very educational visit and I appreciate the love, care and craftsmanship that goes into Dr Martens even more now!

All images by Bunnipunch


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