Brian Walker has 243 pairs of Docs: 182 boots, and 61 pairs of shoes. That makes him a superfan in our book — or at least a bona fide collector. Like the Docs version of a sneakerhead, his Dr. Martens collection is fit for a museum, with rare, hard-to-find collabs, archive prints and vintage finds. So when he tagged us on his Instagram feed, we couldn’t keep this one to ourselves. Read on to learn more about Brian’s collection, his DMs hunting tactics, and his first pair.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Brian Walker (Instagram: @BrianWalkersCloset). After living in New York City (when Hell’s Kitchen really was Hell’s Kitchen), San Francisco, Seattle and overseas I somehow ended up in Dallas, Texas.
Several years ago, I left the corporate world and co-founded a non-profit organization to address youth opioid addiction. At home, I am in constant battle with my wife, Kate, and my 9-year-old son, Declan, for closet space for our Docs.
When did you start collecting Docs, and why? How many pairs of Docs do you own?
It was never my intention to become a collector, I just ended up with this collection over time starting with my first pair in 1979. The number increased significantly over the past decade as DMs released new styles and collaborations.
As of today, I have 243 pairs of Docs (182 pairs of boots and 61 pairs of shoes). As I add new ones, I donate pairs to the homeless in my neighborhood. I can happily say my son will never have to be without shoes on his feet!
Do you have a favorite pair?
My hunt for the Langston oil-slick boots took several years and was well worth it. The Museum Collection, Cappers, and the Mark Wigan ‘Party People’ boots are high on my list as well. The Fulmar shoe is also a favorite.
How do you find your Docs, especially the rare ones?
Because of e-commerce, finding Docs is much easier than in my early youth. I was lucky enough to leave the Midwest for New York City in the 1980s and hang around stores like Trash and Vaudeville (the first store in the US to carry Docs). Whenever I travel, hunting for DMs is always on the top of my to-do list. People in the online Dr. Martens communities have also been helpful in discovering several rare pairs.
Why did you decide to focus on Docs?
I have always been fascinated by the subversive nature, the music, the psychology and the style of subcultures. Just as the safety pin became synonymous with punk, Dr. Martens has always been, to me, the quintessential symbol of various movements. Equally important to me is Dr. Martens’ dedication to social causes and awareness (e.g.: The Trevor Project and the #StandForSomething campaign).
You live in Dallas and manage to wear Docs on the regular. How do you stay cool in the heat?
It’s impossible to stay cool in this heat, so I wear cool boots.
Tell us about your first pair of Docs.
I bought my first pair of Docs in 1979 from a second-hand store in Cincinnati, Ohio. They were a beaten-up black pair of black 1460s missing a bootstrap and had mismatched laces. I treasured those Docs and felt 10 feet tall when I wore them. Eventually, the sole wore down, and I only felt 9 feet tall.
What are you listening to these days?
The music to which I listen is as eclectic as my Docs collection, and I select both based on my moods. One band, which I first heard about via this blog, July Talk, is still on heavy rotation in our house.
Got a sick Dr. Martens collection? Tag us in your Instagram caption — we may feature you next.
Photography by: Lori Gibson