While most of the pioneers of sneakers like Adidas, Puma, Converse, and Nike built their brand with their strong link with sports, Timberland was able to set itself apart. Starting the business catering to contract workers, it created its foundation with the demands of the outdoors in mind. The unique culture and vision of the company firmly reflect on its products up to this day. Moreover, the company changed the norms of how a business is run and goes beyond than being a manufacturer of apparel and footwear. Naming themselves as the Earthkeepers, Timberland takes the responsibility of protecting the environment and serving the community around the globe.
The Iconic Yellow Boot
The humble beginnings of this worldwide icon started in the 1970's, the same time when the Timberland Company was found. Initially producing work boots for manufacturers, son of founder Sidney Swartz had an aspiration of upgrading the boot to withstand the harsh weather conditions of New Hampshire, an area pounded with snow each year. He wanted to create a shoe that appeals to different people, from those working on construction sites, needing a boot for a nature hike, or wanting a shoe that can withstand the snow.
This ambition resulted in the conception of The Original Yellow Boot. It is waterproof and durable footwear clad in full-grain nubuck leather matched with thick rubber outsoles. Even though the runway and trends was not the primary consideration upon making this shoe, it boasted on function and form. It translated on how the brand is defined- someone that prioritizes purpose than looks which brought success to the brand.
Twenty years after, the brand continues to be relevant as its popularity slowly seeped into the unpredictable hip-hop trends. It became song references of artists like Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West, and Cam'ron. It then reflected on rappers' off-screen style, seeing 2Pac, Aaliyah, Gwen Stefani, and Jay-Z among others. Since then, the Original Yellow Boot, despite not made for the runway, was able to transcend on literally all walks of life.
The Making of a Brand
In business, to be relevant for a long period and survive the unpredictable taste of the market is an achievement. The Original Yellow Boot may have placed the brand on the map, and although there are various reasons for that, it is not the only thing that made the brand last until now. Here is the timeline of how the brand blossomed throughout the years:
- 1952: Founder Nathan Swartz bought half an interest in The Abington Shoe Company.
- 1955: He acquired the rest of the company and asked his two sons to join the business.
- 1965: The brand utilized an injection-molding technology on their shoes. This innovation elevated and equipped their boots to be waterproof, suitable for the colder or tropical weather.
- 1973: Because of the popularity of the waterproof boots, The Abington Shoe company was changed to The Timberland Company.
- 1978: Timberland released its first casual sneaker line followed by boat shoes the year after.
- The 1980s: The company expanded internationally, starting with the Italian market and later on the rest of the world. This year also marked an achievement for the brand for having more than 1 million pairs sold.
- 2011: A definitive merger agreement with VF Corporation was signed at approximately $2 million.
A Closer look at Timberland Footwear
There is probably only one silhouette that comes to mind when seeing or hearing Timberland. The 6" iconic yellow boot may have made its mark and has been deeply embedded in the footwear history, but the brand also proves that they are more than just that. Crafting casual shoes since 1978, it shows that the brand has also established its expertise in that area. Here are some of the most notable shoes worth mentioning:
Timberland Groveton Plain-Toe Chukka Shoes
The completely flat white rubber outsole sets these Timberland sneakers apart from the sea of hiking and work boots that the brand has produced and crafted its legacy on. The upper of the shoe dons a similar vibe as the Yellow boot, only using a different material. The addition of the Cordura fabric, a cloth that is torn, abrasion, puncture, and scuff resistant, mixed with nubuck leather boosts the durability of these sneakers. Despite having a different outsole, an L7 Traction Lug Outsole to be specific, it can still withstand the harsh New England snow and have maximum traction on most surfaces.
Having a Timberland stamp on these ensures that it possesses something extra. These Timberland sneakers are the not only versatile but the fact that most of the materials used are recycled, it brings these sneakers to another level. Made from 100% organic cotton matched with linings composed of 50% recycled plastic bottles, Users are then ensured that they are not only stylish, but they are also not damaging the environment.
If there is a certain image that Timberland sneakers have portrayed over the years, this one can probably be dubbed as the black sheep. The FlyRoam Go Knit exudes an athletic-inspired sneaker with its knitted synthetic jacquard upper. Some even seeing similarities to the Adidas Boost. It boosts the breathability and comfort while elevating one's casual street style level.
Timberland Killington Chukka Sneaker Boots
Although sneakers and the brand are not necessarily strongly linked, the Killington Chukka Sneaker Boots shows how versatile Timberland is. The mesh upper and the leather provides breathability and lightweight protection. The technologies infused on these Timberland sneakers, like the Sensorflex Comfort System and Ortholite Insoles, ensure the user's comfort for long-term and everyday wear.
Classification of Timberland Casual Sneakers
Because sneakers were initially intended for performance, only one type of sneaker construction prevailed, mainly to provide the support needed for different movements. However, as sneakers progressed, so did its purpose, allowing brands to explore different styles. Timberland, like how it generally applies in sneakers, can be classified based on profile cut. It not only dictates the shoe's aesthetic but brings different advantages as well. Here is a brief guide that can help users in choosing:
Timberland sneakers under this classification are characterized by a collar that hits below the ankle. Although the brand has been strongly linked on its 6" yellow boots, the low-top sneakers have the reputation of having minimal cushioning. Timberland, however, ensures that its users receive a comfortable and stable ride.
This type of sneakers falls in the middle of low and high in a way that its collar falls just above the ankle level. Basing on the Timberland website, sneakers that fall under this category is referred to as chukka, mainly because of the company's strong foundation with boots.
Described as the kind where the collar covers the area above the ankle, these sneakers are more popular for athletic purposes as it gives more support compared to low top versions. Timberland, with its first boot, also knows its fair share on high-top footwear.
More than the style of the sneaker, comfort and durability are some of the essential qualities one look for in choosing sneakers. A significant factor that affects all these elements lies in the materials. Unlike most mass-produced brands, the brand ensures that every detail used on its Timberland sneakers are premium and environmentally-friendly. What is used on its upper immensely affects the shoe's overall aesthetics, fit, and comfort immensely. This part of the footwear refers to the entire area that covers the feet. One of the primary purposes of the upper is to secure the feet to the sole upon movement.
Leather: This material, in the sneaker realm, is the oldest material utilized. It is sourced from the layer of the skin under the hair and comes from the strongest and outermost layer of the hide. Because the fibers are tightly interlinked, it also translates to being durable. It is also apparent for this material to develop a patina, a term that is used to characterize the change of color of the leather over time, giving it a more distinct character on the shoe.
As part of the brand's policy and effort to be environmentally-conscious, the leather used for Timberland sneakers should get silver or higher rating from The Leather Working Group. It is an independent entity that rates and classifies tanneries on their waste production, water, and energy use.
- Full-grain leather: This type comes from the top layer of the hide. No splitting or surface alterations are also made on this material, making it durable and display its natural state. Basing on its name, all the grain that comes with it can be seen on the material.
Timberland sneakers with this material: Bardstown Cupsole Chukka Boots and Killington Chukka Sneaker Boots
- Nubuck Leather: Nubuck is the outer layer of the calfskin. It goes through the process of sanding from outside the skin, making it exhibit the leather's natural imperfections. Compared to suede which uses the inner part instead, nubuck is stronger, making it also more expensive.
Timberland sneakers with this material: Adventure 2.0 Cupsole Alpine Oxford, Killington Hiker Chukka Boots, Amherst High Top Chukka
Suede: Contrary to nubuck, suede uses the inner layer of the animal skin. It also goes through the same process of sanding but achieves a cleaner and smoother finish than nubuck. A common misconception among users is that suede takes a lot of effort to maintain and that it cannot be exposed to wetness. However, with waterproofing product and proper maintenance, these will last longer and will not break in contact with moisture.
Sneaker with this material: Tidelands Suede Oxford Shoes
Mesh: Mesh is another favorite fabric among athletic footwear brands. It is understandable as comfort is immediately felt on the feet, with the added advantage of breathability. Sneakers using this material are also expected to be lightweight.
Timberland sneakers with this material: Graydon Trainer, and Flyroam Go Knit
Cordura Fabric: Although considered a textile, Cordura Fabric is not like any other. This material possesses double the durability of standard nylon, triple the strength of polyester, and ten times stronger than cotton duck. It makes this long-lasting as it is abrasion resistant.
Timberland sneakers with this material: Killington Hiker Chukka, Euro Hiker Boots
More than just a Yellow Boot
Even though Timberland became well-known thanks to its boots, the brand also boasts of different kinds of sneakers. Below are some of the range of Timberland sneakers that sports not just a new look but targets other activities as well.
Much like how the brand has been famous for, the Flyroam Timberland sneakers also focus on its heritage of being well-crafted, versatile, and durable footwear. However, this line delves into a much lighter approach utilizing its Aerocore energy system.
There is also a Limited Edition Flyroam collection, a unique product from a collaboration of hundreds of minds. Dubbed as "more premium than a sneaker, agiler than a traditional boot," this collection features three silhouettes—Flyroam City Sneaker Boots, Flyroam Sport Sneaker Boots, and Pull-on Hiker. All of which have clean, stealthy, and monochromatic designs that are lightweight, energetic, and agile, qualities demanded by the people.
Tribute to the original name of the company, the collection features three styles—the Hiker, the Roll-up, and the Cupsole. All of these Timberland sneakers come in premium and locally sourced materials from the Horween Leather Company matched with Vibram outsole. These sneakers were released in a very limited amount of 50 pieces.
The Altimeter collection features a mix of media—mesh and leather, which not only makes the aesthetic more modern but makes these Timberland sneakers lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. Its inspiration from hiking shoes greatly reflects on its details. Moreover, because it is upgraded with Sensorflex comfort system, this collection is deemed to be a game-changer.
If there is one thing consistent about Timberland, it is the fusion of aesthetics and performance. This range is unique in a sense that it can be taken to the trail and be dressed up for work. The monochromatic colorways also give its users the freedom to easily style them, whatever the occasion is. The Sensorflex technology delivers a three-layer feature of suspension, support, and flexibility.
Fit and Sizing Guide of Timberland Sneakers
Fit and Sizing is one of the most crucial factors that need to be considered when purchasing a shoe. Different brands have different size guidelines but because of the different materials, type of construction, and technologies infused those that are already familiar with the sizing, experience issues.
- Although it is best to go to a brick-and-mortar store, some find the convenience of purchasing online a better option. Below are some tips to bear in mind when choosing your Timberland sneakers.
- The sizes of the shoes on their website are engineered to American size standards.
- The website provides a conversion chart for Europe, Japan, UK, and Brazil.
- Commonly, the men's sizes come in a range of 7-15, medium and wide widths. Women's sizes, on the other hand, are measured from 5-11, medium and wide as well.
- Half size options are available.
Because Timberland sneakers come in different materials, the price point also differs depending on the material, the construction of the shoe, and the technologies infused on them. The range of its sneakers varies from $50-$300, quite a broad range but also an advantage for those looking for a more affordable pair of sustainable sneakers. Those in the lower range are usually made of canvas while those above the $200 sports Horween leather. This material is produced by the Horween Leather Company, the oldest running tanneries in the US. Much of the sneakers offered by Timberland fall under the range of $60-150 include a mix of materials, from leather, mesh, and canvas.
With the saying "two heads are better than one," it is refreshing to see brands with a solid and consistent branding statement be interpreted from a different perspective. Although the brand has a long list of partners, Timberland has created series of collaborations, a mix of hip-hop artists, retailers, and fashion retailers. Below are some of the most remarkable brand collaborations witnessed throughout the history.
Nas – Legends Collection
Timberland has been familiar with partnerships with rappers. Called the Timberland Legends Club, this partnership features a custom animation narrated by the legendary artist, Nas. This exhibits the stories of him growing up, his musical journey, and how he reached his place today. These Timberland sneakers were dropped monthly starting from September 2017 until the end of the year.
Not the first time for the streetwear brand to collaborate with footwear companies, its roster includes Reebok, PF Flyers, Adidas, etc.. Timberland x The Hundreds features three footwear entries that are highly inspired by the hiking boot style. It reflects on the name of the range, the "West Coast Trails," which gives a different look on the brand's existing silhouette, the GT Scramble. The names of these Timberland sneakers are named after different trails in Oregon and California.
Being a multi-faceted artist and music mogul, Pharell has vast experience not only in the fashion industry but with collaborations with shoe brands. Inspired by nature, bees specifically, the artist felt that there could not be a more fitting inspiration as it is kept in line with the brand. Naming the collection Bee Line, the shoes feature a Bionic Yarn, a fabric made from reusable plastic.
They may not be as popular as those above. However, this partnership shows the work of the same minds alike in a collection. Thread is a Certified B Corporation which transforms plastic bottles from the canals and streets of Honduras and Haiti into the most responsible thread ever invented. This exhibit environmental benefits but it also create job opportunities and meaningful changes. Moreover, Thread sets a new definition of what a business should be, that instead of being part of the problem, are a part and the predecessor of change.
For their latest collaboration, Thread introduces the Ground to Good Fabric, a material crafted from 50% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.
Known for its previous collaboration with Air Jordan, designer Virgil Abloh certainly puts a different spin on whatever stamp it puts. For the Timberland x Off-White, he puts a different twist on the streetwear staple and places a luxury seal on it. Aside from the price of $745, the velvet upper instead of the usual leather grabs the attention of the sneaker fans.
Much like athletic footwear brands, Timberland also boasts of technologies. As the company has been known for targeting labor workers that need durable footwear, the brand, over the years, also geared towards innovations that are useful for everyday wear without harming the environment. Below are some of them:
SensorFlex Technology. This technology is a three-layered outsole that is covered with a firm layer which supports the feet and makes the ride stable. The second layer, on the other hand, acts as a suspension system which absorbs shock and impact on every move. Sealing everything in is the third layer is composed of flex grooves to provide extreme traction, making Timberland sneakers great to use even on wet surfaces.
Aerocore Energy System. This aerodynamic outsole focuses on flexibility and weight-reduction. Timberland sneakers injected with this technology are incredibly lightweight and responsive because it is composed of polyurethane foam and removed the superfluous materials. It also allows the user to react with speed and has the freedom to move.
Ortholite Insoles. Ortholite is a shoe insole that provides excellent cushioning and support, whatever the structure and shape of the user's foot are. Although not exclusively a Timberland technology, Ortholite has also built its legacy in providing a quality cushioning system. Besides these benefits, it is also breathable, manages moisture, lightweight, and washable.
Gore-Tex Membrane. This technology is also not exclusive to Timberland sneakers, but it has established a reputation for providing one of the best features especially on outdoor footwear. The Gore-Tex Membrane mixes elements of maximum breathability and waterproofness, making it ideal to endure different climate conditions. It is no wonder that the brand chose this technology because of the moisture-wicking properties. Moisture from inside the shoe like sweat also breaks out and is not trapped inside.
Primaloft Eco Insulation. This technology is made from synthetic materials which include at least 50% PET. It results in a dynamic insulation structure to retain warmth even if it became in contact with moisture.
- The yellow boots, also known as butters or Timbs, were actually more popular than the Jordans during the 90s. Athletic footwear companies like Nike, Adidas, and Reebok attempted in producing outerwear hiking boots but couldn't compete with the original.
- Catering mainly to contractors, Timberland was able to interest the hip-hop community, resulting in tripling its sales figures. Several artists used Timbs on their song references, and up until this time, celebrities are seen sporting these on their off-cam street style.
- Staying consistent with its logo of a tree, Timberland is much in touch with the environment. Using renewable and recyclable materials on its footwear, the brand also is committed to its mission. In 2010, it vowed to plant one million trees per year in Haiti, in five years.
- The waterproof boots were left dipped in the toilet as part of a test in ensuring the waterproof qualities of its materials.
- Before the advent of the internet, the brand was able to make an impressive sale of selling one million pairs in 1985.
- The brand is one of the few brands, especially in the footwear industry that is serious about taking care of the environment. Through the Timberland Green Index, which was launched in 2007, the consumers can have an idea how their footwear impacts the environment. It is also the brand's corporate responsibility to reduce its use of carbon-intensive materials and be transparent to its consumers.
Commonly Asked Questions
How do you take care of Timberland sneakers?
Even though Timberland footwear is made to last, it is not meant to last forever like all kinds of sneakers. However, users can maximize the life of the shoe with the proper care and maintenance. Because sneakers are composed of different materials, there is also not one cleaning and protecting the product that suits everything.
The brand offers a wide range of products that help clean and maintain the quality of the shoe. Each shoe on the website also displays the ideal product ideal to be used. Part of the product list includes Balm Proofer XL All Purpose Protector Spray, Waximum Waxed Leather Protection, Renewbuck Suede and Nubuck Cleaner, and Footwear Dry Cleaning Kit.
Is Timberland footwear made from animals?
One of the significant areas of focus of the brand and its parent company, VF Corporation, is to be an environmental steward, an initiator of fair labor practices, and a pioneer for the ethical treatment for animals. It applies to all of the materials used on Timberland sneakers and apparel.
Is customization available?
Not one should be Beyonce to avail of customized Timberlands. In fact, the brand offers an extensive personalization for the 11 silhouettes available, from men's women's and kid's line. Users can freely choose from ten parts of the shoe to personalize, including the color of the upper, laces, hardware, and leather lining. Moreover, it can also be monogrammed to inject a more individualized feel on the shoe.
What does the Timberland logo mean?
From being The Abington Shoe Company, the need for change to The Timberland Company because of the popularity of the outdoor waterproof yellow boot. Translated as "a land that is covered in trees and shrubs," it reflects the brand's movement of protecting the environment, helping communities, and producing things responsibly.
How do you spot fake Timberland boots?
Although imitation can be perceived as a form of flattery, counterfeited shoes are not only illegal but may not equal the quality of the original. Here are a few tips to ensure that your Timberlands are legit:
- The packaging is made of a study recycled box with branding on the top and side. The outside also includes a white label on the corner which states the details of the shoe—style, size, footprint guide, and color. Ensure that all these details are the same as the one as your shoe.
- Most Timberland shoes also feature the logo on the outside of the shoe, usually on the heel part. Check if the logo also has an R on the side.
- Newer versions feature laces that are not burnt nor tipped with plastic or tape. It is also important to take note that for the Original Yellow Boot, men's have seven eyelets while women's have 6.
- The outsole is also incorporated with a Timberland logo. Designs vary per style but all of which show the highest quality.
- The stitching should also be consistent in terms of width and distance with each other. Any signs of inconsistency or worse, pull on the stitching, may connote to a counterfeited boot.
Can I expect the sneaker line to perform at the same level as the Timberland waterproof boots?
The iconic Timberland boots do come with several features including a waterproof, premium quality leather upper and rugged outsoles. More than its function, the shoe became known for its durability. Given that the materials used on most of the sneakers are made of canvas, mesh, leather, and a mix of those means that its performance varies. Nonetheless, given the established legacy of the brand, its sneakers are also packed with technologies its users need for everyday use.
Does the footwear have a warranty?
Timberland offers warranty twelve months from date of purchase. It is to express the brand's confidence in its craftsmanship and materials and ensures maximum quality despite rugged wear. However, for defects garnered from normal wear and tear, neglect, misuse, unauthorized repair, accident, and modification are not covered by the brand.
Even though Timberland sneakers are made to last, they do not last forever. For pairs that need attention, a complimentary cleaning and conditioning are offered by the brand on brick and mortar stores.
Who are the sister companies of Timberland?
Timberland is owned by VF Corporation, a company founded in 1899. Housing more than 30 brands, it divides its brands into five categories, Outdoor & Action Sports, Jeanswear, Imagewear, Sportswear and Contemporary Brands. Currently, it also controls 55% of the US Backpack market. Some of the favorite brands under it is The North Face, Kipling, Vans, and Nautica.
Where can I avail of Timberland sneakers?
Aside from Timberland outlets, users can also enjoy the convenience of ordering online through their website. Limited releases are also available on the site, but given that quantities, it can be harder to cop than regular models.
Online retailers like Amazon, Footlocker, and Zappos also carry different lines of Timberland sneakers of different sizes.
Is it appropriate for all kinds of weather?
Different sneakers are composed of different materials. Like all footwear, each element has pros and cons and therefore, specialized for all kinds of weather. Timberland has released a sneaker version using the waterproof leather that can withstand even the harshest snow. However, those made of materials like knitted fabric and organic cotton may not be ideal for all kinds of weather.
Why would I choose Timberland sneakers than other mass-produced sneakers?
Even though the Timberland brand did not start as an athletic-footwear brand and until now not classified as one, its expansion to sneakers or more casual footwear does not necessarily mean that it is behind the game.
Timberland has been known for its practicality, functionality, and durability. Although the style was not the priority upon conceptualizing its first boot, it is the main consideration on its casual footwear line. Having the Timberland seal also ensures that their sneakers hold technologies like Aerocore Energy System and SensorFlex Technology.
Are Timberland sneakers versatile?
One of the consistent features that are best to describe Timberland sneakers are its versatile style. Timberland offers a wide selection of sneakers, not only from low, mid, and high-top sneakers but of varying designs as well. Some of the sneakers are minimalist in design, meaning it can be styled in various ways. There are also dressier sneakers, some carrying the Original Yellow Boot upper with the rubber sole. Another example is the Newport Bay collection which is composed of canvas materials, making it ideal for summer and more casual setting. With proper styling as well, it can also be suitable as a work sneaker or can be taken to more formal situations.
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