Docs & Chucks: Are Both ‘Mainstream’ Now?

Wait a minute. Am I missing something!?

You may recall that in January, I was super excited to open my first pair of Doc Martens. I bought the Jadon ones with the big ass platform because I’m 5’1″ and need all the help I can get. I feel like Gene Simmons when I wear them. It’s awesome.

Though I’ve always wanted my own pair of these grunge-era/90s fashion staples (I put off buying them because they are a little bit pricey and others things came up), something about the fact that they are now everywhere on Instagram made me actually pull the trigger on buying them.

I know! I was influenced! Yikes!

The crazier thing was that I wasn’t just seeing them online. I was seeing them on the feet of some folks right here in Rochester, before they were on mine! I know! Me! The rocker! HOW DID I NOT HAVE MY OWN YET!? I was happy to change this and get my own pair, but I was actually mad at myself for not doing it sooner. It’s weird, but my logic was: “other people” had their pair – as a music fan, I needed mine because of their significance in the rock community.

I realized that I had associated Doc Martens and Chuck Taylors with being ingrained in the music scene. I associated them with being rebellious and confident.

Those brands of shoes were something that only “outsiders” were supposed to wear, and now they’re everywhere! I wasn’t immediately comfortable with this.

Now that I’ve “restocked” my pairs of both brands of shoes, I’ve calmed myself.

I’m actually thrilled to see that we’re opening our minds to other options of footwear than the typical sneakers or heels. It makes me smile to see that grunge and “alt” culture have now carved a space for themselves on Instagram and in life.

I’m not sure what turned the light switch on for so many. It makes me wonder if more of us are feeling like outcasts or rebels? I say this because in a world that’s consistently become more “family friendly,” I don’t think that the branding has changed for either shoe – yet they’re still selling like hotcakes!

One website explained that last year, “Dr. Martens said that the company achieved 30 percent rise in revenue to 454.4 million pounds (549 million dollars) and 70 percent EBITDA growth to 85 million pounds (102.6 million dollars), with strong double digit sales rise across all key regions and channels, in particular e-commerce.” How did they do this? Fashion United wrote, “Kenny Wilson, CEO of Dr. Martens, said: “By putting consumers first, accelerating our DTC expansion and improving our operational performance we have delivered double digit revenue growth in all of our key markets and strong EBITDA performance. In my first year as CEO I have had the opportunity to work alongside our incredibly passionate and talented people. We look forward to the year ahead, during which we expect to deliver continued strong growth and accelerate the many positive trends seen in the past year.” Putting the consumer first, and plugging into the digital world was key.

Converse experienced the same continual growth. They’re so valuable that even Nike has invested in them.

My take: these brands of shoes aren’t just for the “outsiders” anymore. They’re for everyone who wants to stick it to social norms. In a heightened political climate, I think we all want that.

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