When discussing most sneaker or clothing brands, the story eventually boils down to one of persistent vision and meeting a goal. Nearly all of your favorite brands had mainstream success as one of its original premises. Timberland, on the other hand, differs in this regard.
Having been around long enough to be as household a name as you can get, the age-old company found its iconic status almost accidentally.
The brand might actually feel relatively new to most of us, but it has been around since 1952, At this stage, it was called the Abington Shoe Company and focused on supplying other manufacturers. As with a lot of great companies in their early days, someone saw great potential and decided to take some risk.
In this case, it was Nathan Swartz who decided to buy into the company and see where he would take it. A large majority of the company’s history has been fixated with putting together the perfect work shoe. The methodologies were detailed and rigorous, eventually arriving at a huge hit in 1973.
That year, we got our first glimpse at perhaps the most recognizable part of Timberland’s catalog: the 6” boot. At that point in time, the very idea of designing this piece of footwear seemed farfetched. Sidney Swartz would be the name behind this legendary release, but he wasn’t looking to release a pop culture hit. Again, this product was purpose-driven.
The boot’s nubuck leather build was meticulously tested – part of an 80-step process – so that it could withstand the punishment of a hard day’s work. Part of this durable profile was, and still is, the boot’s waterproof nature. The cultural relevance? Completely accidental.
The classic Timberland 6” boot finds itself in over a decade of popularity. The hip hop scene in the united States, particularly New York, was quickly fond of the design. It represented a flamboyant and expressive styling that mirrored the music’s experimental approach. In Europe, an Italian retailer was the first to purchase the shoe, at a whopping 600 units. It would take two months for every piece to be sold out.
Today, we see the shift from purpose to style represented in the sheer number of options you have. The 6’ boot is available in a bevy of style and colors. With that being said, it’s also still a workplace staple among those with grueling workdays. As accidental as it was, style never beat out Timberland’s substance.
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