British investment company Permira says it plans to sell around 25% of Doc Martens total outstanding shares.
Permira bought the shoemaker in 2014 for $400 million. DMs continued to sell well throughout the pandemic.
Dr. Martens reported sales of more than $220 million after it was acquired. For its latest fiscal year ending March, the company reported sales of more than $900 million. Dr. Martens reportedly sells more than 11 million pairs of shoes annually across all of its stores in more than 60 countries.
Dr. Martens is famous for its rugged boots, which have become a symbol of a rebellious youth culture. The boot design was created by German soldier Dr. Klaus Maertens in 1945.
According to the company's website, Maertens designed the first pair with an air-cushioned sole to help accelerate the healing process of his broken foot. As a result of their durability and comfort, the shoes became popular with the public - particularly among "older women," the company's website said.
In 1960, a shoe manufacturing company owned by England's Griggs family bought exclusive rights to the boot. They sold them to factory workers and mail carriers. They became the go-to footwear for the working class.
By the end of the 20th century, the boot became popular with youth groups such as punks and early Goths. Celebrities such as Drew Barrymore and Miley Cyrus started wearing them furthering their cultural status.
More recently customers started complaining about declining quality. In 2019, customers complained about the stitching on some newer models. Critics said declining quality may be the result of shifting manufacturing to China.
Permira has already said quality hasn't changed and the manufacturing process remains the same as ever - even if it is mostly done in China.