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Klaus Märtens was a doctor in the German army during World War II. While on leave in 1945, he injured his ankle while skiing in the Bavarian Alps. He found that his standard-issue army boots were too uncomfortable on his injured foot. While recuperating, he designed improvements to the boots, with soft leather, and air-padded soles. When the war ended and some Germans looted valuables from their own cities, Maertens took leather from a cobbler's shop. With that leather, he made himself a pair of boots with air-cushioned soles. Today, Dr. Martens remains faithful to the same formula of comfort and functionality, offering a wide range of leather footwear featuring the now-iconic yellow stitching at the welt.