Footwear brand Dr Martens is considering selling shares in the business to stock market investors.

The shoemaker sells 11 million pairs of footwear a year in more than 60 countries, with annual sales of £672m.

Its best-known product is the eight-holed 1460, which was initially made as a work boot in Northampton in 1960.

Dr Martens’ most recent figures show rising sales, despite Covid-related restrictions on its stores, as it shifts more sales direct to consumers.

The company runs 130 stores around the world, but its push to online sales mean these now account for about a fifth of its revenues.

Group revenues for the six months to September 2020 were £318.2m, up 18% on the previous year, despite the impact of the pandemic.

It also sells a large proportion of its products through other retailers, but says it wants to continue the expansion of its own retail operations.

Successive waves of youth trends have sported Dr Martens as a key style marker

The company’s air-cushioned sole was developed by Munich-based Dr Maertens and Dr Funck and the UK patent rights were sold to R Griggs Group.

The footwear that emerged from their collaboration was initially sold as a work boot, but was taken up by the early skinhead youth movement of the 1960s.

The boots also become popular with punks in the 1970s and had a resurgence when Britpop emerged in the 1990s.

The company has been owned by Luxembourg-based IngreLux since 2014, which is linked to private equity giant Permira.

Dr Martens chief executive Kenny Wilson said the business had “significant global growth potential”, adding that the company had invested “massively” Dr Martens kickstarts plan to join stock marketin the business, both online and instore.

The company believes it has identified another 154 million potential customers in its major markets, on top of the 16 million that have actually bought products from the company in the past two years. .