A New Collaboration Is Using Reclaimed Leather to Make Classic Boots

This iconic fashion mainstay is better than ever!

Dr. Martin's classic boots.

(Aninka Bongers-Sutherland / Shutterstock.com)

These boots really are are made for walkin. For generations Dr. Martens boots have been known for their classic style and durability. Now, a collaboration with Gen Phoenix has made the company’s boots even better by using recycled leather to make the product environmentally friendly and sustainable. This is a part of a commitment to taking care of the earth, reported Fast Company.

Creating sustainable leather
The history of the  Dr. Marten boot began in 1945, according to Tatler. Over the next 79 years, the London- based company became a fashion mainstay, and the iconic yellow stitching of their leather boots could be seen on the feet of celebrities everywhere. 

However, according to Fast Company, the leather industry does some serious environmental damage. It is linked to deforestation; it emits harmful chemicals into water sources, and about 60 percent of every ton of rawhide that is entered into the leather-making process becomes a physical waste-product. That’s more than 600 kilograms of waste per ton of leather produced.

Luckily, this is where Gen Phoenix, a UK-based company, comes in. According to a Gen Phoenix press release, the company  has 15 years of experience creating durable and creative reclaimed leather products. 

Essentially, Fast Company reports that Gen Phoenix takes the cutoffs from the leather making process, and using almost entirely recycled water, it deconstructs the rawhide back into fibers, and re-entagles them around another proprietary material to create durable, recycled leather.  This reclaimed leather is then used by  Dr.Martens to create versions of their classic boots in a collection called Gennix Nappa.

“The sustainability challenges of today are complex, and circular business models are one of them. At DM's, we have been taking steps forward in our journey towards circularity, and Genix Nappa is a great example of one of them,” Tuze Mekik Arguedas Schwank, global head of sustainability at Dr. Martens said in the press release. “It demonstrates that waste is a valuable resource and shows how we can think differently about our products in the future.”

This new collection features remakes of three of the most-loved and best-selling boots and was officially released in March, 2024.

Not the first collaboration
The collaboration between Dr. Martens and Gen Phoenix began in May of 2023, when the shoe company took part in an investment round for the materials company. However, this is not the first collaboration that Gen Phoenix has had with major players in the fashion industry. 

Earlier in 2023, according to a Gen Phoenix case study, the company collaborated with the high-fashion handbag maker, Coach, to create a sub-brand called Coachtopia, that focused on creativity and creating a circular business model. The launch was extremely successful, selling out within two days.

With companies like Dr. Martens and Coach leading the way, fast fashion is out and environmentally conscious fashion is in. The industry is quickly learning that Gen Zers want clothing and accessories that they can wear and use without worrying about its potential negative impact on the environment. 

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