How we move on and not give proper respect to the Timberland boot? No matter what city, what coast you claim, Timbs was a staple in every hood U.S.A. And for decades too. ’70’s, ’80’s and ’90’s babies wore out pairs of the iconic wheat boot like fitted caps, and by the millions. Other than white crispy Air Force Ones, no other shoe held us down for 20 plus straight summers like the boot that came wrapped up in the heavy green box with the tree logo on it.
I copped my first pair back in ’87. One of my homies who used to hold court on the dance floor of the Paradise Garage switched up his footwear from the official red, white and blue Adidas boxing shoe to the truck sized construction boot. Seeing him spin fluidly to house music, a gorgeous Ethiopian Amazon banging her stallion ass all over him confirmed the fact that I was going to cop an effin pair that next day. I blinked when the store clerk hit me with the $100.00 price tag but I threw ‘em in the bag nonetheless. Unwrapping the tissue thin paper delicately, like I was changing my baby daughter’s diapers, the first time I slipped them on and laced them shits up, I instantly felt bullet proof. And gully. Like Gigantor. Fresh to death too, the contrast of that light Nubuck leather on some jeans, a thick Champion hoodie and fitted to make the cypher complete had a knicca feeling exclusive, even if every other dude in Brooklyn plus the other four boroughs felt the same way.
Summertimes too. Didn’t matter if it was 100 degrees out or we was headed to the beach, no pair of girlie chancletas was gonna replace a pair of Timbs. Feet stayed baked up, especially if worn with no socks on, and they was heavy like phone books, but still they felt comfortable. And the chicks dug em on us. On them too. Only thing better than rocking a crispy pair was spotting a real purty chick rocking a pair, tight jean shorts highlighting their thighs, their round asses. That’s real Hip Hop love right there B.
Funny thing about Timbs was actually how gully the shoe was built to be, official certified construction gear weather proof for any types of harsh conditions, and how we hated getting them scuffed up in the mud, the rain, at a gas station, in the snow, at the bar or in the club. Your foot was always, safe, ultra-protected even, but the value of a pair dramatically dropped once you peeped that mortal wound, the first irremovable scuff by the toe. Still, if provoked, there was no better shoe to stomp a head out on the market than Timberlands. Please believe that many a tooth got kicked in by a pair. Wearing Timbs and dranking copious amounts of liquor with your crew on a wintry evening or hot as hell summer night was a sure recipe for destruction.
As much as I replaced pair after pair after pair like a fiend, and for years, I stayed needing a new pair for when I had to get dipped. Timberland had urban America on lock, cats dumping barrels of money, and in revolving turnstyle fashion, even after 1993, when they publicly dismissed the demographic sector that proved to be their most profitable market.
They took heed though, and started dropping more flavors, like the sleeker Beef and Broccoli’s. The smooth Gore-Tex design felt mad lighter without at all compromising the ruggedness that was synonymous with the Timberland brand. We had more flavors to choose from. What was more Robocop than the short lived 40 Below’s?
The sharp decline of sales marking the death of the boot was made official by the homie Rafi and Oh Word back in 2006. Timberland itself woefully acknowledged that the loss of the urban market resulted in over $150 million dollars of lost revenue.
I’m assuming the cause for Timbs’ demise was how cats stopped wanting to drop a grip on a shoe that became damaged goods shortly after they got snatched up out the box. That, and how Timberland got desperate for the urban dollar they had previously turned their back to and started putting out all colors and nasty variations of the trademark wheat boot (powder blue Timbs?). Plus the “minor” factor sneaker manufacturer Nike played when they strategically muscled the ACG Boot firmly into Timberland’s lane, violently moving the old beige soldiers off the block and replacing them with the sharper shooting young gunners, black, leather, more murderous, savage and better equipped to take over today’s volatile urban market. Nonetheless, even though some still may want to deny that the shoe ever died, it’s way past time we collectively acknowledged it’s death and paid the Timberland boot a respect worthy send off. On behalf of the Hip Hop nation, a Combat Jack salute. You have served us well.