Timberland is one of the world’s most famous clothing and footwear brands. People of all generations (including your grandpa, probably!) love its shoes for their comfort, quality, and unique style.
Renowned for its yellow waterproof boots, Timberland took over the world thanks to its founder’s vision and realization that he could offer a better product than anyone else.
Here’s the inspiring and fascinating history of Timberland.
The humble beginnings
The history of Timberland began quite modestly in South Boston. Nathan Schwartz, whose family emigrated to the United States before World War I, began his career as a shoemaker in 1928, continuing a long family tradition. He was a fourth-generation shoemaker. Talk about legacy!
The Abington Shoe Company, founded in 1933, was in Nathan’s neighborhood. He was always interested in the business, so in 1952 he bought 50% of the company, and three years later, he bought it out entirely.
Getting his sons Herman and Sidney to join made it a family business that later became Timberland.
The company grew quickly and steadily, and Nathan, wanting to speed up the production process and reduce costs, began to look for an alternative to hand-stitched shoes.
He didn’t want to compromise on the high quality, and his trials and experiments led to injection molding, a process that made it possible to mold and bond the shoe sole to the upper layers much more quickly.
This discovery speeded production and made the shoes far more waterproof than any other footwear on the market.
Waterproof Timberland shoes
The business was based in New England, a wet, rainy place in the winter and a hot one in the summer.
One of the most popular jobs in the state at the time was lumberjacking, for whom waterproof, sturdy, and protective footwear was essential. It was the perfect market for something new.
Soon after Nathan resigned in 1968, in 1973, his son Herman released new and improved waterproof boots perfect for workers and named Timberland.
These were the world’s first high-quality, mass-produced waterproof shoes, and thanks to their success and fame, the whole company was named Timberland in 1978.
Only the best
One of the main reasons why Timberland boots gained such recognition is the company’s rigorous approach to production and testing processes.
Great attention is paid to every step of shoe design and manufacturing. For example, in the early years, the shoes were left in a damp environment overnight, only to see if they were wet in the morning.
Over the years, as technology advanced, the company’s manufacturing and testing methods have too improved. However, the most important thing has always been to ensure the durability and waterproofness of the shoes.
A billion-dollar shoe
By the mid-80s, Timberland footwear was one of the first choices for workers, and the company had sold about a million pairs of shoes.
But it was just the beginning of worldwide success. While the 1970s and 1980s were some of the most important for the company’s growth, it skyrocketed once Sidney Schwartz took the company public.
It is estimated that by 2000, Timberland had reached about one billion dollar turnover. By that time, the company was selling shoes and clothes.
Time for expansion
During the growth years, Timberland expanded its product line, started offering clothes, and began doing business globally. The shoes became highly fashionable in Italy, and soon this trend spread throughout Europe.
Although in the early years, Timberland boots were mainly worn by working-class people working in cold and harsh environments, the world of music and fashion also significantly contributed a lot to their popularity.
When Timberland managers saw a massive increase in sales in the 1980s and later realized that it was due to hip-hop, they were surprised.
Timberland became popular among rappers like Biggie, Nas, Jay Z, and others who were making their mark on the streets of New York in the 80s and 90s.
Not only did they wear these shoes, but they also sang about them. Timberland became a symbol of rebellion, and as rap became more popular, so did the boots.
The 1980s was a time of change in fashion and culture as working-class-inspired styles became popular with various subcultures.
And by wearing Timberland boots, musicians and other celebrities wanted to show that they achieved success through hard work and were not that different from ordinary people.
A uniting force
Timberland boots united different classes and races and became a must-have for everyone.
The shoes were worn by middle-aged working men, young Brooklyn rappers, Hollywood stars, and their fans.
The popularity of shoes not only did not decrease over time but grew. Retro fashion and nostalgia for the 70s and 80s, which continues today, played a big part in it.
Footwear for everyone
In 2011 Sidney’s son Jeffrey sold Timberland to VF Corporation, which owns brands such as The North Face, Dickies, and Vans. The new owners managed to reach even more markets and better results.
Today, Timberland has something for the whole family. The selection is massive, from Timberland shoes for women that look fantastic with jeans, skirts, and dresses to classic Timberland shoes for men and Timberland shoes for kids.
The footwear line includes hiking boots, winter boots, sneakers, classic ankle boots, suede espadrilles, and more. One thing is undisputable: Timberland shoes are always comfortable and last for years.
Find your unique style
Timberland is beloved by everyone, from comfort-seeking men to fashion-conscious celebrities, musicians, and fashion bloggers.
No surprise there because these boots are perfect for any occasion, be it hikes in the mountains, walks in the woods, or evenings spent in the city. Comfort and style go hand in hand and help everyone create their own unique style.
It’s also very easy to style your favorite Timberlands. Wear them with jeans, trousers, short skirts, flowery dresses, and shorts.
Do not be afraid to experiment and try even the most unusual combinations: only this way you’ll find what suits you best.