I have been thinking of this post for a while, given some shoes of theirs that I’ve bought. Then, just now, I went to take my belt off and it snagged on my belt loop. It turns out that my year old Timberland belt has delaminated. It’s been this way for months, only over just a small portion. But now, that portion is huge and almost took my belt loop off (I never just take my belt off; I unbelt and whip it off… yeah baby!).
I bought a pair of their shoes a little over a year ago that lasted me just under a year. Within about two months of buying them, the stitching along the heel of both shoes came undone. Then a few months later the soles started to squeak. Finally, the sole began to separate from the shoe and I decided to toss them.
What bugs me about the shoes (other than not getting a year from them) was that I swore off Timberland shoes back in the mid-90s. I bought a pair and found them very uncomfortable after a few months. They essentially disintegrated a few months after that, causing me to swear I’d never buy another pair.
So, is it just me? I’ve had shoes from Clark, Born, Rockport, etc. that structurally lasted more than a year, only needing to be replaced due to the sole being worn out.
I am not a big fan of Timberland anymore just because I think other companies make better quality shoes for the same price (or just a little more). Their hiking boots are killed in terms of performance by brands like Montrail or Merrill and their oxford type shoes by brands like Rockport and Clark. I am not sure how their work boots rate. This is mainly to do with actual technical performance than it does longevity. The Timberlands boots I have had I would rate OK on longevity. They would last about two to three seasons for me which seems to be about the max I get out of a pair of boots, no matter the brand.
Over the 90’s into the 00’s Timberland moved from a nominally outdoor and working boot/shoe oriented brand with pretty good (not awesome by any means) build quality to a fashion oriented brand with very mediocre build quality on average, because their shoes (tan work boots specifically) became must have fashion accessories with the rap and hip hop devotees.
They did a masterful job of spinning this association into getting this demographic to embrace all things Timberland. The average Timberland footwear these days is Chinese made, and is built no better than a generic Walmart work boot (and not even a “good” Walmart workboot) , but costs 300% more.
I have a pair of Timberland shoes I bought about 20 years ago, and they’re still fine.
I remember a commercial back then. ‘What does “Timberland” mean to you?’ There’s a shot of a supermodel who looks at the camera and says petulantly, ‘Nothing.’
I liked Timberland back in the day, but my hiking boots are Vasque, and my walking shoes are (currently) Keen. (FWIW my other shoes are a couple pairs of Dr. Martin – older than my Timberlands – Converse, Vans, Nike, a pair of Alden 405s, 25-year-old Dr. Martin 10-hole boots, Chippewa boots, three pair of cowboy boots in a box somewhere, and I-don’t-know-what-else. No need for any more Timberlands.)
I still think pretty highly of Timberland footwear, but I’ve never bought any of their clothing or accessories, so I have no opinion about those.
I do think that the Timberland Pro series of work shoes and work boots is significantly better than the standard Timberland fare. Often this mean the inclusion of a “safety toe” which isn’t necessarily a steel toe. However, my experience even with their standard fare is universally positive.
I like Timberland footwear. For casual leather shoes, I usually give their stuff the first look. Right now, my daily wear shoes consist of two pairs. A safety toe Pro Series chukka and a low cut oiled leather.
My last was a pair was oxfords that lasted for ten years. The uppers were still in pretty decent shape when I discarded them. Not good enough to bother resoling them, but ten years is a pretty respectable run.
I need a new pair of work boots and I’m really at a loss as what to buy. I’ve been a loyal Redwing fan for many years but now they are selling RW branded boots that are made in China. At the same high prices as the USA made ones went for. The Redwings I’m currently wearing are around 15-20 years old (not worn continuously, they went to the back of the closet for several years.) Chippewa has some USA made ones that look good but I’ve never had any Chippewas before.
I’ve had some good boots from Walmart, very reasonably priced but I started boycotting them 10 or so years ago and will never spend another dime there. A shame really, they had a steel toed boot for around 25 bucks that lasted a long time. Could buy 5-6 pairs for what I spent on my last pair of Redwings.
As I said in my previous post, the Timberland Pro series is well above average quality, in my opinion. I will concede that I still believe their standard fare to be slightly above average. I’m sure that they have made some shitty lines, but I haven’t encountered any.
I had some Timberland Pro work boots a couple years ago that were great while they lasted, but didn’t last long enough. The soles split all the way through, to where water would immediately reach my feet with one quick step in a shallow puddle. I’ve had various brands over the years (Red Wing, Iron Age, Georgia, Kirkland) and never experienced such a thing. Hell, I’ve never experienced that even with econo-cheap footwear of any kind or brand. I can’t imagine why Timberland alone would be unable to find a sole material that wouldn’t crack, but it was a total deal-killer for me.
Haven’t bought Timberlands in at least 15 years - and the only reason is because my old ones are still doing fine. Bought a pair of Gore-tex boots at least 15 years ago. They have gone to Volcanoes, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Acadia, as well as being my standby daily winter footwear walking to and from the train, and sole paintball footwear. I’ve kinda wanted to buy new boots, but these are still water tight with plenty of tread. I think they cost around $100.
Wouldn’t be surprised to hear that newer ones were of lesser quality, tho. Was disappointed when I tried to replace some of my Docs a while back… Recently got my 1st pair of Redwings, but am not sure I love the way they fit.
I bought a pair off a friend - he got the wrong size. The tread on the bottom was SLIPPERY! What was that all about? I havn’t worn them much and I’ve had them for about 10 years. I’m using them more regularly now in the garden and those slippery soles started to peel so I pulled them off and they’re much better now.