But nobody in Germany was impressed by the idea. At least, not at first. Undeterred and with absolute faith in their invention, Maertens and Funck started an air-cushioned production line in a small shack on the edge of a peat lake, surrounded by piles of Funck’s university books and papers.
For some time, the new business barely put food on the two families’ tables, but gradually, customers started to return and word of mouth spread. Their revolutionary, durable and highly comfortable footwear started to take on a life of its own. As more orders flooded in, their shack was upgraded to a large former barracks.
By 1952, just a few years after Maertens had been airlifted off the Alps, the two doctors had to open a factory in Munich to start manufacturing their new shoes on an industrial scale. Seven years later, they received a call from Bill Griggs, a shoemaker from Northampton. The air-cushioned sole became the basis for the 1460 boot. The stage was set for Dr. Martens.