Shoes International DRM Factory Visit

Lynne, our Dr Martens Brand Manager, recalls her visit to Wollaston Northampton

My first ever visit to Docs factory in Northampton made me speechless for the first time in my life! To see the footwear take form was an almost magical experience for me. To many others, diamonds are a girls best friend, but mine is shoes, shoes, shoes - and none more so than Dr Martens!

We were shown step by step how these luxurious Made In England and Vintage shoes and boots were made.

Unlike many other footwear manufacturers, Docs make the entire shoe or boot for the Made In England and Vintage Range on the premises.


The first stage of the making of the footwear takes place in the clicking room and is performed by the 'clicker' - so called after the clicking noised made by the machines used to cut the leather.

I was amazed to see all the large hides of leather from the tannery. The finish of each piece resembles the leather on the final shoe. There were hundreds of pieces of leather which had been dyed in various colours.

The precise skillful cutting of the pieces of leather is done by Mick Woods who makes up the footwear, ensuring the right part of the leather corresponds with more prominent pieces such as the ‘vamp’, which goes over the toes at the front. He showed that great care is taken to ensure no leather goes to waste. Mick had been working for the Dr Martens factory for over three decades which was quite evident in his skill and craftsmanship.


The ladies showed great skill in their sewing skills (closing). I was shown how they sew three rows of stitches to ensure the quaters (sides) of the shoe are securely and reliably sewen to the vamp (front) of the upper - this is a unique feature which distinguishes Dr Martens.


The next stage is the fitting of the ‘Eyelets’. One of the skilled seamstresses showed me how small holes were cut into the leather to form the eyelets for the laces. Eyelet studs were then fired into the leather to create the metal hole.


The soft leather was then fitted tightly around the ‘Last’ and will sit in these for a few days for the footwear to take shape. There was an assortments of lasts lined up waiting for the next shoes to be made.

Dr Martens Sole Manufacture

Adding the Airwair Sole

The gold foil is then transferred onto the inner sole heel. This is only done on the footwear made in the UK. They then sealed the sole until to the upper with a long coiled rubber strip. The iconic yellow stitching is then added and the footwear is quality checked, laced and boxed.

This was a unique and fantastic experience for me, and hope I will be privileged enough to be invited back by the enthusiastic passionate people that make these wonderful shoes and boots.

We are constantly adding new Dr Martens lines here at Shoes International and we have a number of great designs including our Tattoo Core Shoes and Daytona Desert Boots.