I think we are all familiar with the classic yellow Timberland brand boots. In fact, they are one of the most popular boots of all time. However, you may see them being worn more often at the local shopping mall than out on the trails. Or maybe you already own a pair and want to take them on a hike. Let’s dive in and take a deeper look at these boots and discuss their pros and cons.
So, are Timberland boots good for hiking? The classic yellow Timberland boots are not recommended for serious hiking. They do not have the level of comfort, support and traction that you can expect from a true hiking boot. Timberland does produce some higher end boots more specific to hiking but your best bet is to go another route. When it comes to quality hiking boots, the axiom “you get what you pay for” definitely holds true.
If you’re still set on using your Timberland boots for your next hike or want to check out some alternatives, keep reading…
Timberland Boots for Hiking – The Cons
Made for fashion – The problem with Timberland is they veered more towards looks instead of function. Many deem them as fashion boots, making them questionable to wear on an actual hike. While a pair of Timberland hiking boots are good for a time, their flaws quickly surface on longer treks.
Leather creases can cause blisters – The material can crease once it saturates in mud and water, which can be problematic. These creases in the leather protrude into your foot and can cause blisters.
Leather can become waterlogged – The saturation of the leather also results in the user being forced to carry that extra weight of water.
Weight and flexibility – Many modern hiking shoes are durable but much lighter. They are now more akin to sneakers instead of the traditional leather boots, and they now prioritize mobility before looks and fulfill different needs too.
Outdated materials – Traditional hiking boots now use superior materials like GORE-TEX and Vibram, which improve the entire user experience.
Almost no design changes or improvements have happened between their first decade in business and today. Their boots are still iconic because of the nostalgia and the innovation it provided back then. If you like hiking, you’ll know that going light and mobile is the way to go. Today’s hiking shoes are flexible and are easy on the feet too.
Timberland is trying to branch beyond their leather hiking boots with their new day hiking shoes. Even then, their innovations are too little too late. There are far more superior boots than what they have in their line. Most of the current boots from Timberland do not work beyond being casual boots. These hiking boots don’t meet the current needs of modern hikers.
Timberland Boots for Hiking – The Pros
With all these said, Timberland hiking boots are not all bad. Many of their boots are still viable for hiking, but more on selected trips instead of every hike.
Easy and short hikes – Much of the hikes where you’ll find a Timberland boot helps, is in easy day hikes. You would want to wear Timberland boots in a situation where you need to traverse both city and rugged paths. The shoe remains in its best form without crinkling or crumpling.
The primary issue with Timberland boots is that when you use them as daily hiking boots, they will fall apart in time. Don’t get me wrong — a pair of Timberlands are durable for hiking purposes, but serious hikers do not care for them. The seams will start to melt and once you put some mileage on them, they become a problem.
Casual wear – People who are traveling around and can only bring a pair can rely on Timberland hiking boots. They’re used for many different activities that don’t need serious mobility or movement. If you’re distance hiking, however, viable Timberland boots are too far and few.
Timberlands will experience wear and tear like no other, and you don’t want that. If you need the protection of a good, durable leather hiking boot for a short time, they’ll make it. If you’re going up on a record run or multi-day hike, these are not the boots you want.
Price – Timberland is also good if you’re a bit low on budget. For the longest time, people thought of it as an expensive brand. Apart from a few signature lines, Timberland hiking shoes go for below $100. If you look around tighter, you can even find them for even less on sale.
If your only option is Timberland’s more expensive classics line, it’s better to buy other brands.
The Different Timberland Boot Models
If you’re a serious hiker and you’re dead set on using a Timberland boot, we have a small list for you. There’s a handful of Timberland boots that will make do. They are:
Original Yellow Boot Style 1006
The Timberland 1978’s Style 1006 Yellow Boots are another great choice for day hikes. They’re beautiful and rich, with a premium look from the outside. They’re quite comfortable to wear and can last for a while outside of very serious hiking.
These boots are great city-use hiking boots, with easy break-in for a solid out of the box experience. The Style 1006 Yellow Boots are great for everything other than serious hikers.
White Ledge Ankle Boot
Timberland’s Men’s White Ledge Ankle Boot is among the more comfortable pairs out there. They can keep your feet dry even in inclement weather while going the distance. You can wear them and forget them without much problem.
The general issue with them is durability. Once the boots start crumpling, you can expect the shoes to start deteriorating. Extreme weather can also overcome the advantages the shoe provides.
Timberland Chocorua Trail is the only one of these options that perform for the modern hiker. If you do multi-day hikes or go on a lot of day hikes, these are the best hiking boots if you insist on buying a Timberland shoe. If you, however, go for ultra-long distance hikes, go with something else.
The Chocorua Trail is 100% waterproof, has a lot of traction, more stability, and quite comfy. They’re a bit on the heavy side, but still give you the mobility that you need. Sure, the quality and durability are a bit questionable, but they’re still better than the rest.
Recommended alternative: Zamberlan 1996 Vioz Lux GTX RR Hiking Boots Review
1978 Waterproof Hiking Boots
The Men’s 1978 Waterproof Hiking Boots are some of Timberland’s better hiking shoes. They’re good for day trips and are beautiful for city use. The Vibram outsoles are the highlight of the boots, making them more durable than normal. The classic clay pot color makes them stand out a lot.
The only issue we find with these shoes is their comfort. Some buyers complain about their general construction, especially the seams. The synthetic liners don’t scream quality, but they work for some people.
Breaking In and Sizing
Breaking in – When you first wear your Timberland boots, you can expect them to be uncomfortable. Like any leather boot, you need to break them in. Doing a break-in with Timberlands is not as complicated as it sounds.
To break-in your Timberland boots, wear them at home and move around in them. Do a variety of chores, walk in them and treat them like you’re moving up a mountain on a hike. The trick is doing the same routine with them every day.
Wear the same socks. Tie them the same way. Move about as you intend to use them for a long time. The way you break in your boots will dictate how they’re shaped for a long time.
Sizing – As for sizing, it’s one of the few brands who are accurate within the inch. They also ask for width on some of their styles, which is better than most brands too. When buying your Timberland boots, go for the exact size that you need for your feet.
As for the width, you can pick between medium or wide. If you’re on the burly side or know you have wide feet, it’s best to go for wide. Going wide is easy to resolve with thicker socks, but narrow shoes are hard to solve.
The History of Timberland Boots
Timberland boots are a solid pick, but they’ve become obsolete over the past decades. Many modern hikers are looking to move faster and lighter, something Timberland has not kept pace with. They stopped innovating and got left behind in a time when sturdiness was the only feature users cared about.
The brand innovated in two areas of the hiking boot industry. First, is the use of thick leather imbued with silicone, allowing for true waterproofing. By using stitched seams on the backside, it allows for very durable shoes that can take on any weather. Their other innovation is the injection molding of their shoes to leather uppers.
Back in the day, this happened through stitching, but stitches can compromise the waterproofing. By using injection molding they innovated in 1968, they can get a complete seal on the shoe. During this process, the polymer they used to glue the uppers to the soles works as a midsole cushion. It creates a solid seal around the seams, creating a lighter shoe than other hiking shoes at the time.
With this level of technology, Timberland hiking shoes were great during their heyday. They are fantastic and comfortable in comparison to their contemporaries. The issue is that Timberland stopped being inventive with their shoes.
Timberland hiking boots are not the best picks if you’re looking for hiking boots. They are not flexible enough or durable enough for modern hikers to wear. While you can wear them on short day hikes, expect your Timberlands to fail you once you start distance hiking.
Are you looking for the right hiking boots for you? It’s best to look somewhere else. Timberlands are great daily use city boots, and nothing more. They’re beautiful and look premium, but it stops there.
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Erick is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. Growing up in Nairobi Kenya and now calling Glasgow, United Kingdom home. Sipping on homemade spiced swahili tea and enjoying a good book is his idea of bliss.