D.O.T. (Death Of Timberland)

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?

beef-broccoli-timberlands-420x333

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. nike-acg-goadome-black-post-01Nonetheless, 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.

Shout to Marcus Troy, Da Heavy Hitter, Cousin Dame, Drewpreme and the rest of my Tweoples for inspiring this post.

About Combat Jack

Attorney, author and radio personality Reggie Ossé is an established authority in all things urban entertainment. He is considered the first in today’s new wave of savvy attorneys well versed and nurtured in Urban, Hip Hop and Popular culture. He is the author of “Bling, The Hip Hop Jewelry Book”, a cultural anthropology coffee table book which provides an in depth and entertaining study of man’s fascination with jewelry spanning back to the birth of civilization.

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  • Ricky Choo

    Also there was that Timberland Is Dead/Timbaland Is Dead series on OhWord years ago which was also fires!

  • SbuJah

    I gotta say Timbs were on point circa 94. we were going crazy here in South Africa as well… eff i used to wear mine on special nightsout…

    sidenote: i heard the family that owns the company has KKK affiliations, thats why i stopped lacing em up.

    • http://earthkeeper.com Robin Giampa

      Great article! SbuJah, Just wanted to let you know that Timberland is most definately not affiliated with the KKK. I have seen that before and it’s one of those internet hoaxes (see http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_maya_angelou.htm for other confirmation that it’s untrue). We love our customers so please, lace ‘em back up!

      Robin Giampa, Timberland

  • http://www.pleasedontstare.com Big Homie

    I still rock Timbs. I’ll rock ‘em in the Summertime. They’re like Polos. Never go out of style lol

  • http://ghettosofthemind.blogspot.com/ williedynamite

    I still rock timberlands, tough not in the summer anymore.

  • http://wesleyverhoeve.com Wesley Verhoeve

    nothing reminds me of ‘my’ kind of hip hop, the kind I grew up on, as timberlands + a champion hoodie

  • http://twitter.com/dameSTATUS dameSTATUS

    I figured you would end by saying that you had personally stopped copping Butter Tims. You sort of alluded to it though.

    When I moved to ATL in 96 (in late august mind you), I was like “how in the hell are these up Norf ninjas wearing five pounds of leather and rubber on their feet in the summer?”

    I would soon figure out the allure though. Agreed also, they did dilute the brand with the crazy colorways (can you even call them that) and purposefully “urban” designs and styles. Jumped the shark I guess.

    Happy Born Day to your young one Champ.

  • http://twitter.com/dameSTATUS dameSTATUS

    Also, I noticed that true east coast heads recognize eachother mad easily when they are on the east coast. How? The crispy Timbs.

  • http://howfresheats.blogspot.com HowfreshEats

    Once I threw a pair of Goadomes on I knew my relationship with Timberland was over. No mourning period at all. Field boots feel like bricks compared to these.

  • http://www.tropicaltv.co.uk Mr.Londoner

    funnily enough.. kanye been rocking Timbz a lot recently..

    It’s coming back..http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/gg73/PdPizzle/6-1.jpg

  • http://pleasedontstare.com Benhameen

    I bought my first pair of tims when I moved to DC to attend Howard. I felt like I couldnt b on the east coast without a pair. I bought my last pair sometime around the beef and brocolis. I had a couple of those variations some real ill colors but when they went to pinks and powder blues they lost me. Also NorthFace came out with some ill ones that year that didnt get scuffed immediately upon wearing. Done deal. Great one as always Combat.

  • http://pleasedontstare.com Benhameen

    Big Homie
    July 16th, 2009 at 8:45 am · Reply

    I still rock Timbs. I’ll rock ‘em in the Summertime. They’re like Polos. Never go out of style lol

    ^
    he still rocks troop and British Knights too. On sundays he wears elleses.

  • vhingrhamesonyo’momma

    nigga timb boots and baliin shorts, back packs, velours, joggin pants…whateva! Timbs never go out of style if you ill wit’ ya outfit steez.

  • don garcia

    In Germany Timberlands are still the best brand to choose! Especially in the snobbish Munich society you wear the boots in winter, the boatshoes in summer, together with Ralph Lauren or Tommy Hilfiger Polos and 501s!!! Anyone else diggs it?! ;-)

  • Polotron

    The tragedy of the colors aside, the quality of their products fell off quite a bit. It was to the point were you could only get the decent stuff in the flagship stores. Add that for the price, you could do better w/ other “outdoor” brands not nearly as well known…and Timmy was dead.

  • UptownJesus

    Colette is released a limited edition Timberland collabo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23037255@N07/3726043969/

    Alife did one too (couldnt find a pic)

    Funny after reading that “Timberland is Dead” article where they talk about it being reclaimed by the hipster set. This confirms it.

  • Wordisbond

    After the 90′s, they started to fall off dramatically due to the fact that they blatently tried to go after the “urban” market by putting large logos and print on everything, and releasing the boots in all types of ridiculous colors. However, I knew it’s demise was official around 03′ when they released the 6 inch boot with the “all over print” as a response to the “Gucci” joints that bootleggers were selling.

  • Polotron

    It was over when cats went en masse w/ keeping the key chain on their boots. I always thought that was most corny. Looks like Colette’s going hard w/ that.

    (aside: please take the stickers off your 59/50′s)

  • roblo74

    Hell NO!!!!
    I still rock Timbs, I will never acknowledge that they are out of style!!! from the construction to the beef and broccoli, to the sesame chickens, will alwyas be picking them joints up.
    I rocked my first pair back in like 91′ or 92.

    Do any of y’all remember the high top beef and broccoli’s?? Those were just tough!!! I still look for them in stores, hoping to find them again in stores.

  • roblo74

    Iim with Polotron though,

    mad corny when cats be leaving the little key chain thing on the boot, what the hell is that about?

    And yes take the damn sticker off the fitted!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/LiamCorcoran LiamC

    You know how i know they are dead?
    Rich kids in Vermont and New Hampshire wearing them trying to look hard
    Shit, if you live up in New England, you should only be wearing those cus you got some country boy shit to do.
    Gravis sneakers is where its at

  • http://streetknowledge.wordpress.com street Knowledge aka Rap Limbaugh

    Funny thing is that my Cali dudes(Nipsey Hussle and crew) were ragging me about my Nike boots while we were on the LAX tour. Cali dudes do not get the Nike boot thing and probably would not be caught dead in them.

    I live in Bed Stuy and I was just walking down the block and was thinking I was gonna bring it back to original NYC style and cop a pair.
    Now you guys have given me pause to let them rest in peace.

    Damn bloggers! Great post

  • http://differentkitchen.blogspot.com/2009/07/video-dave-chappelle-live-in-portland.html ian

    Ha! I remember rockin’ the chukkas in the summer back in the 90′s with jeans, shorts whatever, REGARDLESS of how hot it got! I still rock the hiking books in the winter now and kept a beat-up old pair of the classic contruction boots for when I have to be out shoveling snow even though they ain’t ‘hot’ like that any more. My ass is too old to pretend I can pull off a pair of them ACG’s, LOL….

  • http://www.espn.com M-EZ

    Ya’ll need to check for the Abington collection from Timberland though. They’re a much more grown and casual line of shoes than the regular timbs. They’re hitting premiuim shops already. I still can’t do the constructions anymore (I left Timbs behind about 5 yrs ago), but the Abington collection is DOPE. No small trees or crazy colorways or branding. just ill footwear for a grown ass man.

  • http://worldschamps.blogspot.com Mr.Inconspicuous

    You all know that Kanye, Lil Wayne and a few other people in the game are starting to wear Timbs again right? I’m not saying their dead but they may possibly make a comeback even if for a brief amount of time

  • Brooklyn ‘Lo

    I remember the “Give Racism the Boot” t-shirt campaign after the public dismissal of the urban market. Took me a couple of years after that fiasco before I bought another pair.

  • gank

    I can’t let em go… still drink forties too… whatever for you grownup types… great post tho

  • $ykotic

    @ roblo74

    I copped them high beef & broccoli’s last year @ Burlington Coat Factory for $30! Gore Tex flavor and got the black ones. I couldn’
    t let that slip by.

    And yes take them stickers off the fitted! Not cool at all…

  • http://www.dallaspenn.com/weblog Dallas

    The word has come down from the honorable Polotron that I should finally unveil my Timb collection to the internets so that heads can see who inspired the Boot Camp Clik.

    I still love my Timbs but Nike done damn near shut the door with a key (sissies!) when they drop these…

    http://theshoegame.com/articles/jordan-spizike-boot-holiday-09-preview.html

    • Polotron

      I’m not even gonna front…I regarded Nike boots as hot garbage until seeing these. They might have to happen.

      Still prefering:
      Lowa
      Scarpa
      Montrail
      etc.

  • prophecy_projectz

    I still dont get how those nasty Nike ACG boots beatout good ole’ timbs. Them shits is wack.
    Hip Hop really is Dead.

  • http://danjlovesthe90s.wordpress.com DANJ!

    Yeah… I guess all things do come to an end… I really thought Timbs were gonna be the ever-enduring boot of choice. Niggas even wore ‘em in the summertime!

    I wouldn’t doubt they come back tho’. Just like them niggas lookin’ for justification as to why they spent so much money on throwbacks will be able to pull ‘em back out in about 3 years.

  • Lion XL

    I will always wear Timbs….have a pair now!!!

  • Lion XL

    I will always wear Timbs….have a pair now!!!

  • Lion XL

    I will always wear Timbs….have a pair now!!!

  • Lion XL

    Tron’…those are nice shoes you listed, they just dont excude that rugged, Ill stomp a mudhole in ya ass, feeling that Timbs give you.

    side note: remember that night we that ‘thing’ at the movie theater, and I had to stomp the security guard? I know you were glad I had Timbs on then!!

  • Lion XL

    Tron’…those are nice shoes you listed, they just dont excude that rugged, Ill stomp a mudhole in ya ass, feeling that Timbs give you.

    side note: remember that night we that ‘thing’ at the movie theater, and I had to stomp the security guard? I know you were glad I had Timbs on then!!

  • Lion XL

    Tron’…those are nice shoes you listed, they just dont excude that rugged, Ill stomp a mudhole in ya ass, feeling that Timbs give you.

    side note: remember that night we that ‘thing’ at the movie theater, and I had to stomp the security guard? I know you were glad I had Timbs on then!!

  • http://differentkitchen.blogspot.com ian

    @Brooklyn ‘Lo:

    Check this out.

  • east londonium

    im not gonna lie i bought a pair of powder blue timbs, the only time i bought a pair of timbs that weren’t wheat coloured. i still rock timbs to this day, they are a staple in shoe collection along with the dunks. Timbs are definitely classics in my book and i hope to be rocking em for a loong time yet

  • gwicth

    kanye is getting a big paycheck to sport timbs @ events. timbs r wack. not going back. too many lighter betters non racial options.

    http://concreteloop.com/2009/07/fashion-picks-kanye-west-his-timberlands

  • http://minymetropolis.com setrule

    All things come to an end, even for this URBAN ICON… as far as the NIKE ACG … been rocking those joints since 97′ way too comfy..

  • http://www.blipblopbloop.blogspot.com Blah Blah Blah

    …probably…but I’ve never seen a dude wearing Timbs in east Oakland. I could be wrong but…naw.
    I’ve always seen that as a east coast fashion…and thought, I’mma get me a dude that wears Timbs with shorts, wife-beater and a yankee hat…but never materialized and now I am just to damn old to hang with a dude that dresses like that. Shallow I know, but shallow I am.

    Timbs…an urban icon, indeed!

  • Eddie R

    Timberlands are expensive!

  • Chuck_You

    Tims are like b-boy Stacey Adams, there will always be an occasion for them. I will admit, Clarks have nudged Timberland outta the top spot. The outlet is killing em with the $30 desert trekers.

  • cjcshadow
  • DJ NITTI

    I agree with ChuckYou there will always be an occasion for a crisp pair of construction Tims but I ain’t gonna lie they killed themselves when they supposedly went after the urban market and starting putting out those ridiculous color schemes. I nearly shed a tear and stopped copping them when I saw how they destroyed their classic iconic status with these ridiculous interpretations of “urban” footwear. I can only imagine the meetings that led to this, old white man says “numbers are down, we need sales!”, young white rocker dude says, “I know them urban people like colors just make them in all kind of ridiculous colors and THEY will go crazy!” old white man says, “you’re a genius!”. Then proceeded to destroy the brand.

    All in all though I still love Construction Tims, that’s classic hip hop attire no matter what. I guess I’m Old … School, lol.

    I’ll be honest, as an older hip hop head I find it kind of hard to find footwear that I can be comfortable wearing. A lot of these new sneakers are just too colorful for my taste, to me they’re too fruity and gay looking. I did the Dolemites and Northface boots for a second (like four years ago) been rocking the ACGs for three winters now but I hate wearing the same thing everyone else is wearing. Here in NYC in the winter it looked like the Northface and ACGs was a damn uniform! You could drive for blocks and it seemed like you’d see the same person/s on every corner, crossing every street, etc.

    My question is if Tim’s are officially dead then what can an older Hip Hop head wear besides ACGs?

  • http://daily-math.com Combat Jack

    ^ “My question is if Tim’s are officially dead then what can an older Hip Hop head wear besides ACGs?”

    As per Marcus Troy a fellow blogger from Montreal up on all things dope:

    “I don’t believe there is a real alternative to timbs unless you want to wear a classic pair or red wings which will last 4ever.”

    via http://twitter.com/marcustroy
    marcustroy.com

  • Alex Delarge

    Nah, Timbs is up there with AF1, Shell toes, and Jordans. Nowadays kids are wearing busted flamboyant colored sneaks (remember those Bapes) or boat shoes. But those are fads, I see acg’s joinin’ the ranks, but Timbs is just a shoe the hood will always wear. Nothin goes with an army jacket quite like a pair of Brown or wheat Timbo’s.