Doc Martens became popular in the late 1980s and stayed with a lot of the styles in the 1990s. A lot of the styles in the shoes have stayed the same throughout their production through several decades, but there are a few ways you can tell if a pair of Doc Martens is from the 1980s. You may be able to find a pair of these vintage shoes in a clothing shop that sells used clothes or classic styles.
Identify Doc Marten shoes by their combat boot and shoe style. They are generally brown or black, and they have thick soles with the brand's trademark yellow stitching. Doc Martens from the '80s look like combat boots and lace up the front. Some of the boots sit at the ankle and some come up to the mid-calf.
Look for Doc Marten boots that have had their laces replaced with coloured or mismatched laces. This was a popular style in the '80s, and could be an indication that the Doc Martens were worn in that era.
Search for the lace-up boot style that was worn by punk bands and grunge dressers in the '80s. This style can be mostly attributed to the "Capper Boot" style that was developed in the 1960s and was the popular Doc Martens boot style of the 1980s. The style reference for the Doc Marten "Classic Boots" is "8 Eye 1460z." This style was worn in the 1980s and the boots are still made today.
Search for Doc Marten vintage boots that resemble the "Classic Boot" model. You will need to ask the person you are buying the used boots if there are from the 1980s, since the Doc Marten styles have been made for several decades.