Archive for May, 2011

The Low-Down on Leather

When you think about eco-friendly materials, leather probably isn’t topping the list … and as an organization committed to reducing our environmental footprint and serving the needs of our consumers, leather presents a real challenge.  We get asked, “why leather?” often enough that we asked the question of our materials and supply chain experts, who had this to share:

Leather is a by-product of the food industry (meaning that cattle are a source of meat, first and foremost – leather is a secondary use).  So when we talk about the environmental impact associated with leather, we’re primarily talking about the tanning process (tanning is the process of preserving the leather so that it doesn’t break down over time).  Tanning is a necessary but resource-intensive process, and that makes leather the most environmentally-impactful material we use. Using a less durable material could mean less short-term environmental impact, but it could also mean that our products would need to be replaced more often, which poses additional environmental problems.

The durability of our footwear is due in large part to the quality leather we source and at present, there is no acceptable synthetic substitute for that quality leather.  We do make some shoes out of non-leather materials and there are high-performance synthetics available, but none currently that mimic the look, feel and durability of genuine leather well enough to satisfy many of our consumers.

Within the leather challenge, we do see opportunity: although no one tanning process is superior overall in reducing the environmental footprint of leather, we work closely with the tanneries we use to encourage sound management and continuous improvement in environmental performance, and several years ago helped to convene a cross-brand, cross-tanner working group (the Leather Working Group) to create a common, streamlined environmental assessment for tanneries for energy use, water quality and reduced waste.  The working group rates tanneries as non-compliant, compliant, Bronze, Silver or Gold; 98% of the leather that Timberland currently uses for our footwear (not including apparel and accessories) is from Silver or Gold-rated tanneries.

We believe that by engaging with like-minded companies and helping to influence improvements in the way it is processed, we can help create real, positive change in the leather industry.

‘Missing the Boat’ Was Never This Much Fun

Timberland’s latest TV commercial is a salute to diehards everywhere – and we don’t mean “diehard” in an angry, elite or intense way, but in a fresh air, sun on your face, fun-seeking way.   Take the hero in our new Timberland TV commercial, for example: what kind of sailor oversleeps and misses the boat on the day of the regatta?  I’m guessing one that has some seriously fun stories to tell from the night before:

Fortunately for our sailor and his crew, our new Formentor boat shoe is made with Gripstick™ technology, which is engineered for traction on wet and dry surfaces, as well as water-shedding quad-cut siping and anti-microbial footbeds and linings for odor control (because there’s nothing funny about stinky feet, ever).

The Formentor kept our hero jumping all the way to his own boat without a single slip along the way, and nary a hair out of place (although I don’t think we can take credit for the hair).

Learn more about the design and technology behind the Formentor, and check out our entire spring line of boat shoes before you embark on your own version of diehard fun.

Ride On!

Tell me this video doesn’t make you want to blow the dust off your bike, put on a pair of pedal pushers and get out on the road / trail:

Are they even called “pedal pushers” anymore? Maybe not. But shoes are still shoes, and you’ll need those for your cycling (and hiking, and boating). Check out our spring line.