Solovair and Dr. Martens are two brands you have probably heard of quite frequently and the things you have heard are likely good.
But which brand is the better option? Does one have better quality, durability, or price, than the other?
Let’s take a look at both the Solovair and Dr. Martens brands from start to finish and you can decide for yourself who has the best boots. (We will include our opinion at the end.)
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The Solovair company is known for its high-quality 100% British-made footwear. This company was started in 1881 and has grown and improved over the years, becoming one of the biggest sellers in the industry today.
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A Quick History of the Solovair Brand
Solovair official website
130 years ago, the Northamptonshire Productive Society (NPS) which owns the Solovair brand started in the village of Wollaston on Thrift Street, by a group of 5 men who owned and operated the business. This business was located in a dove house, and the men were known around the village as “The Duffers.”
Unlike many new businesses, the Duffers lucked out from the beginning, landing a year contract making army boots for the government.
Over time, the need for top-quality boots only increased and the 5-man boot-making business jumped to an 80-employee company just before its 10-year anniversary. The growth required a new building that was bigger and allowed for more workers and machines.
Sadly, the shoe industry started to diminish in the 1980s and the NPS were on their way out, when right before the collapse a man from the Wollaston village, Ivor Tilley, in 2006 offered to buy the business, save the company, and keep their employees working. They agreed, and he kept his word.
The Solovair company still stands today after more than a decade of changes, hardship, and rebuilding. They contribute their success to combining new innovative technology with the old fashion hand-crafted skills used since day one.
How Are They Made?
The Solovair company prides themselves on using durable, high-quality materials that last long, look amazing, and are comfortable with every step.
Let’s take a quick look at the leathers, suede, and other materials Solovair products use in their design.
- Smooth (Hi-Shine) Leather – (corrected full grain, smoothed and sanded leather)
- Full Grain/Soft Grain Leather – (uncorrected leather without imperfections)
- Patent Leather – (smooth leather with patent finish)
- Greasy Leather – (Full grain leather, saturated with oil, making it thicker and waterproof)
- Gaucho Leather – (Full grain leather, saturated with oil, and given a distressed look through a tanning technique)
- Rub-Off Leather – (High shine leather with multiple-colored coatings that when worn will rub away giving the leather a unique and worn design)
- Horween (Chromexcel) Leather – (A pull up leather, colored with aniline dyes, and sealed with natural oils or waxes)
- Suede & Nubuck – (The suede is made from the underside of a calf leather hide, Nubuck is made from the outer surface)
- Vegan Material – (Polyester and Polyurethane materials that have the classic smooth finish and are water-resistant)
All Solovair’s leather is made from 100% cowhide and is thick and durable, sourced from Europe and the USA (Horween Chromexcel leather is sourced from the US). It is water- and abrasion-resistant, but not waterproof.
The soles attached to the leather upper of the shoe are made from PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride). Many of them allow the boot to be resistant to acids, oils, fats, etc.
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Our Favorite Pairs
While there’s plenty of top-notch Solovair boots, there are a few pairs that we favor, and many customers agree.
Solovair Nut Brown Grain 8 Eye Derby Boot
These nut-brown colored boots provide amazing comfort and a profound appearance. They are perfect for those on their feet for long periods of time and will last many years if taken care of properly.
Tip: Popular public opinion tells us these boots will take a few days to break in before you notice their comfort.
Solovair Black Greasy 8 Eye Derby Boot
It is pretty easy to see why these are one of Solovair’s top sellers. This boot is 100% “Made in England”, comes in an array of beautiful colors, and many customers have commented on just how comfortable they are.
Are Solovair’s Boots Worth the Price?
Ratings and reviews don’t lie, and the public absolutely loves this brand. The boots are true to size and are sturdy and durable. This company offers a large line of products and designs that will fit anyone’s wardrobe.
The downside to the brand for some people may be the lack of waterproofing, meaning customers will have to purchase products and waterproof their boots themselves. With that said, we give these boots two thumbs up.
2. Dr. Martens
Solovair’s boots were not the only great product coming from Wollaston, Northamptonshire more than a decade ago. The famous Dr. Martens boots were also in the beginning stages of becoming one of the most popular footwear in the world.
(Dr. Martens 1460 Leather Boot with AirWair technology)
A Quick History of the Dr. Martens Brand
In 1901 the Griggs family, living in Wollaston, were hard at work, creating quality, durable, and strong footwear in the English Midlands for nearly six decades.
In 1960, after the Griggs family heard about the injured doctor Klaus Maertens from Munich, Germany, who created an air-cushioned sole for his boots while recovering from a broken foot 15 years prior, they decided to try their hands at a more comfortable creation. The classic 1460 boot was born, and later became an icon of the brand.
The Doc Martens boot brand with innovative soles and high-quality leather tops made its way throughout decades and many different trends, whilst still maintaining its popularity. From grunge to hippies and everything in between, these boots were the top style.
In the year 2000, the brand suffered from hard times and almost lost everything. To give one last attempt at saving the company, in 2007 the brand brought back the hand-crafted Doc Martens Originals and sales skyrocketed.
Also, the 1460 boot was customized by various fashion designers. This not only saved the company but gave it back the popularity it was once known for.
How Are They Made?
Dr. Martens boots are crafted from smooth or coarse leathers. The soles of these boots with their “AirWair technology” are made with a rubber outsole that some sources suggest also uses PVC, the chemical compound that creates the rubbering bedding for foot comfort.
Dr. Martens also has a vegan form of boots which are made from a polyurethane blend. This product gives the boot a comfortable and breathable design.
All of these materials are pieced together with extreme care until the final last, signature, stitch (the iconic yellow stitching).
As for where are they made, there is a “Made in England” range, with the rest of the brand’s footwear being made in Asia with high-quality standards.
(Dr. Martens 1460 Pascal Leather Boot – Made in Vietnam)
Our Favorite Pairs
After doing some research and reviewing many different Dr. Martens boots, we have selected two we feel are some of the best options on the market.
Dr. Martens 1460 Slip Resistant Boot
These Unisex boots are great for those on the job, or anyone looking for a durable boot to keep them comfortable all day long. These boots are created with rubber soles that are slip-resistant and offer an enhanced grip.
Dr. Martens Women’s Shriver Hi Fashion Boot
We love these boots because they are fashionable and durable. They have the unique yellow signature stitch, associated with the Dr. Martens brand that makes the boot stand out from many. Customers love the style and the comfort that comes with this shoe.
Are Dr. Martens’ Boots Worth the Price?
Dr. Martens’ prices start at around $100 and can reach $200 for some designs. If you take into consideration the quality, durability, comfort and you like the style, we think they are worth it.
(A pair of Dr. Martens black boots)
3. Which Brand is the Better Option for the Price?
When comparing both brands of boots we took into account a lot of what we researched and discovered on our own, along with many of the comments and reviews from other customers. While we feel both brands are reputable, fashionable, and high-quality boot companies, we would have to go with the Solovairs this time.
Although Dr. Martens has a great heritage story and their boots are fashionable and some would say more comfortable than Solovair, we like the Solovair leather more.
Solovair boots do come with a price tag a little bigger than Dr. Martens products, but if you are going to pay a lot of money for a good pair of boots either way, it would be better to front the extra $50 or so to get a pair that will last you a bit longer.
Another reason we decided that Solovair was a better option had to do with the soles of the boots. Many customers say that Dr. Martens’ boots cannot be resoled easily and this is a disadvantage for the brand.
Both boots seem to run a little bit bigger than the average shoe size so it is important to double-check your size maybe by trying the shoes on at a physical store, so you’re sure to purchase the right pair.
They both also seem to have fairly comfortable midsoles and supportive footbeds, but some customers believe Dr. Martens will need insoles for added comfort and arch support if you are on your feet for a lengthy period of time.
We truly believe both brands are some of the best in the industry and there are many options available to customers of all types. The boots are crafted from quality materials and by some of the best designers and professionals available.
We believe the better boot is in the eye of the beholder. No matter which brand you choose, you are going to have a reputable brand protecting your feet.