The Docs, the original Dr. Martens, are undoubtedly the coolest boots in town. It is the go-to brand for boots and shoes with grit, backed by a long list of celebs and aficionados.
You can recognize Dr. Martens miles away but, even though its popularity is a guarantee, you may wish to stand out from the yellow-stitched crowd.
For you, we have spotted the best and most stylish alternatives to Dr. Martens. Here are 10 boots brands that are worth trying.
- 1. Timberland
- 2. Blundstone
- 3. Grenson
- 4. Solovair
- 5. Keen Boots
- 6. Fluevog
- 7. Grinders
- 8. Danner
- 9. Birkenstock
- 10. Guess
- 11. Conclusion
Timbs – aka Timberland – is a US footwear company rooted in the wild mountains and the great outdoors since its very start.
Launched in 1952 when Nathan Swart bought the shares of the Abington Shoe Company, Timberland is famous for its yellow boots which hit the market in 1973 and revolutionized this footwear with its innovative waterproof build.
Its first guaranteed boots were tested in a factory toilet to prove their resistance to water and humidity! Timberland’s boots were hikers’ faves until they appeared on screens in the early ’90s, introduced in music clips thanks to rappers and hip hop stars like Mobb Deep and Biggie.
Timbs went viral. The grunge Docs style is re-written by Timberland with these comfier and safer 6-inch women’s boots with padded collar, ergonomic structure, insulation, and its eco-conscious usage of recycled PET and friendly leather.
This shade of gray is perfect for the metropolitan landscape.
Image from Timberland.com
Blundstone Official Website
Maybe less popular than many others, Blundstone is an award-winning company since the end of the ‘800s from a remote corner of the globe: Tasmania.
Blundstone was founded in Hobart in 1870 by a British emigrant family, the Blundstones. After a short period as a footwear importer, the brand started its in-house production with high-quality leathers proudly from Tasmania.
Blundstone made shoes for workers and the whole family. Then the ’60s saw the creation of the brand’s true icon, the #500 Chelsea boots; the late ’70s saw Blundstone accompanied Australian explorers to the Everest: a new recognition of its endurance.
In the last decade of the 21st century, Blundstone walked the stage with the dance company Tap Dogs and expanded across 22 countries with success.
#154 is a woman boot twisting a timeless silhouette with a peculiar edge. The almond-shaped toe and satin leather go beyond the classic.
Image from Blundstone.com
Grenson Official Website
Grenson is the heritage of British shoe-making.
The brand goes back to the time when shoes were produced painstakingly by hand as William Green did. William – thought by his mom – was making shoes and boots in his loft in Rushden, Northamptonshire.
In 1966, William stopped his solo production to start employing local craftsmen and collecting their creations for sales. He set up a company, the “William Green and Sons”, and a factory.
After Mr. Green, the company stayed in the family, and in 1913 his successors coined a new name that could sound catchy while honoring the family’s story: Grenson.
The brand was writing history once again: it was the very first trademark launched in the UK.
Always forward, Grenson imported the moccasin hype from the States in the ’50s and the exotic leather boots in the ’60s and the ’70s.
Only in 2008, the historic brand opened its first store!
Bessie is Grenson’s alternative to world-famous Docs: the shiny pitch-black leather combined with its chunky patterned soles conveys the same kick but with a touch of elegance.
You might also like: 10 Boots Brands Like Blundstone: Our Favorite Alternatives
Image from Grenson.com
Solovair Official Website
Solovair is another historical British footwear brand with something to do with both Dr. Martens and Grenson.
In fact, Solovair hold the patent to produce Dr. Martens for decades and it was born from the attempt to counteract the unfair shoe-making system that made Grenson big.
Craftsmen were suffering from low wages at that time. 5 men from Wollaston, Northamptonshire, tried to break the system and protect themselves by founding a co-operative, the NPS, in 1881.
NPS mastered different production techniques including the Goodyear welt technology which is at the core of its Solovair soles or Sole-of-Air.
The Solovair innovation allowed NPS to make a profitable contract to make the original Docs – called “Dr Martens made by Solovair” – until the mid-1990s.
After that, NPS/Solovair kept making its unique suspended-sole boots for its label or on behalf of other prestigious companies.
Take a look at the Green Scotch Grain 8 Eye Derby Boot, the shape and soles are like the best Dr. Marten you have ever worn but with an eccentric personality given by the grainy leather texture exalted by the deep bottle green hue.
A pair Solovair is not inferior to the best Docs in the market.
You might also like: Are UGG Boots Still in Style This Year? + 5 Suggestions
Image from nps-solovair.com
5. Keen Boots
Keen Official Website
You have been already introduced to the unusual story of Keen Boots and the light bulb that made it.
This young footwear company was born in 2003 in California and made its name thanks to its innovative protective sandals.
Not too long after, the brand moved to Portland and to the next step: protective working boots.
Innovation and durability go hand in hand with the company’s responsibility towards the local community and ecological matters.
It could be young but Keen Boots’ working boots have already a good reputation and are very requested.
Keen Boots’ alternative to Dr. Martens cannot go too far from its signature boots.
Women’s Seattle 8″ Waterproof Boot has the Docs’ lines and gripping sole married with the resistance Keen Boots is famous for.
A natural textured tanned leather and the aluminum toe cap suggest these boots are for serious jobs.
Image from Keenfootwear.com
Fluevog Official Website
Out of the box and dandy: Fluevog creates a masterpiece of shoe design worth a museum exhibition!
Fluevog ideally started with John Fluevog from Vancouver. John was working at Sheppard’s Shoes when he met Peter Fox, his future partner in business.
The two opened their first store in 1970 and, for a matter of luck, they found a supply of old Mexican buckle shoes they sold all.
The retro design left an indelible mark in Fluevog’s style. When the couple split, Fluevog opened his store and became the distributor for Dr. Martens in North America.
He is a designer at the heart and as such, he also personalized the Docs his own way with leopards prints and pastel-tinted uppers.
Quirkiness, colors, and fantasy make unique Fluevog shoes like the Angel and Munster seen on Madonna and Lady Miss Kier in the ’80s.
John describes himself “quirky yet very solid”, a fitting description for his creations as well!
The 7th Heaven Hess lace-up boots are a perfect example: vegan boots with a kawaii and shocking personality with a chunky rubber ‘F’, wrinkle texture, and dazzling white skin.
You might also like: 8 Cheaper and Comfortable UGG Boots Alternatives to Wear this Winter
Image from Fluevog.com
Grinders Official Website
The UK gave birth to another street style boot makers linked to the British musical scene: Grinders.
Grinders is renowned for its sturdy and long-lasting boots. Born in 1965, Grinders became very popular between the end of the ‘80s and the ’90s when everyone could see Grinders on the feet of English bands of the likes of Take That, The Prodigy, and East 17.
It was the decade of street style and baggy pants, a perfect pairing with boots. Build with one cushioned sole and Goodyear-welted technology, they were made to last no matter the work condition or lifestyle.
Although Grinders is not under the spotlight, it is for all genders. Even Rita Ora wore a pair of Grinders!
Taylor CS summarizes Grinders’ cutting personality: pitch black, high-ankle leather boots with a semi-mat finish. The natural environment of the boots is the metropolitan jungle.
Image from Grinders.co.uk
Danner Official Website
The West Coast is the home of outdoor footwear and is where Danner comes from.
The company was founded in 1932 by Charles Danner in Wisconsin and stayed within the family until 1983.
Charles had a great business acumen: as he felt the timber trade was expanding in Oregon, he moved “house” in Portland.
Danner found popularity with its spiked-soled boots, stability with army boots, and its vocation with shoes for hikers in the ’70s.
The key feature of a pair of Danner is a meticulous handmade production..
The wildness is Danner’s natural environment and its boots follow the adventurer with a lightweight yet sturdy structure made with Danner signature stitchdown technique.
Women’s Danner Jack III is an elegant outdoor boot in a warm shade of mahogany.
These shoes keep the safety of a classic boot, the comfort of a Danner with its wide sole, and a refined country touch in its smooth, earthy-tinted superior leather.
Image from Global.danner.com
This is not a mistake, we can list Birkenstock here. The history of Birkenstock goes back to the end of the XVIII century; it had and still has the health of our feet as its focus.
The first Birkenstock known as a shoemaker was Johann Adam Birkenstock living in a small village in Germany.
His descendant Konrad developed his “orthopedic” insoles in 1986 and, from here, the family brand devoted itself to the making of friendly insoles.
Birkenstock’s innovative insoles were made to contour and adapt to the wearer’s foot thanks to a 4-layer flexible construction.
Birkenstock is famous worldwide for its wide-soled sandals but they did not meet with immediate success on their arrival in the US in 1966.
Birkenstock is not only sandals and healthy footwear. The company also experiments with boots and casual footwear like sneakers.
A pair of boots like Bryson features the key characteristic of a Birkenstock: a wide sole with a removable insole.
Not as gracious or stylish as the above-mentioned examples, Bryson focuses on total comfort.
The silhouette is simple and rounded with a low and unrefined platform; the main aesthetic accent is the grainy leather texture.
Image from Birkenstock.com
The tale of the name and how Guess was born is a legend. The four Marciano brothers started in 1981 with a pair of jeans to cover every aspect of fashion including accessories, perfumes, and footwear.
Guess’ style takes the classic Hollywood glamour and enrich it with today’s sensuality and verve.
Guess knows what women want and give them what they need to never get unnoticed with researched and precious applications.
Its logo is made to attract and so do its products like Talisi.
A brilliant example of Guess glam and extrovert style, these all-black boots are made with genuine leather and a tantalizing semi mat finish.
The logo is printed on the back heel and on the front on a metal plaque, four silver stars work like hooks for the laces.
Guess loves adverts, these boots are an ad for the brand.
Image from Guess.eu
Dr. Martens has been a sign of rebellion for decades and still has that original taste for an alternative lifestyle.
We saw too many people and celebs wearing the Docs, so it is no wonder if you want to spice up your black boots.
Who says you need to follow the crowd? We have just seen 10 alternatives to the alternative boots for excellence and there are plenty of options to choose from.
From country to glam passing to unorthodoxy, the choice is at your feet.