Inside Solovair’s shoe factory where it helped make the first ever pair of Dr. Martens

  • Solovair has been making shoes since 1881.
  • In 1959 it helped to create the first pair of Dr Martens boots. 
  • The company made Dr. Martens shoes under licence for over 30 years.
  • All Solovair shoes are made in this one factory in Northamptonshire, England.

is a British shoe manufacturer, originally founded as a co-operative in 1881. Over its long history Solovair has made boots for the British army and in 1959 it helped to create the first pair of Dr. Martens boots.

Solovair made Dr. Martens shoes under licence for over 30 years but now it now only makes its own footwear.

Northamptonshire is famous for its shoe production but many shoemakers have been forced to close or have outsourced their shoemaking over the years.

Solovair makes 10,000 shoes and boots each year. Workers begin making the boots by cutting sheets of leather into the correct shapes, a process known as clicking.

These leather pieces are then sewn together to form a basic shape.  The boots use traditional Puritan sewing machines, these machines provide a triple width, heavy duty stitch and are over 120 years old. 

To shape the boot the leather is stretched over a nylon last. Once stretched it is stapled and the loose edges trimmed. 

Once trimmed a welt is stitched to each boot with a silver thread. This welt is fused to a sole with heat, this method means that no glue is required. 

Solovair makes over 400 unique styles, you can find them all in the


Produced by Charlie Floyd

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