Posts Tagged ‘boots’

Beauty in the Eye of the Bootholder: David Hellqvist

We’ve invited some of the most influential stylists, menswear designers and editors to guest-write for us here on the Bootmakers Blog. Here’s David Hellqvist, Online Editor at PORT Magazine sharing his thoughts about the history and inspiration that came with his pair of Timberland Abington Work Boots.

Inspiration is in the eye of the beholder. It’s not exactly how the old saying goes, but it is equally true. Especially in all creative fields and when there’s a journalist (me) involved, interpreting and translating what we see, trying to reference pieces and themes, putting them in a context that I and others will understand. Hopefully.

That’s what happened when I first got my Timberland Abington 6″ Work Boots. In my eyes, the olive suede boots – 6013R if you want the proper colour code – were inspired by US army boots. It was something about how the suede mixed with the British Millerain canvas on the ankles that made me think of the USMC boots, worn by Marines all over the world. Clearly, the Abington appeared to a be a rarified version; the luxe Charles F. Stead suede, the white Vibram soles and subtle piping details made it obvious that this was a boot made for Hackney, not Hanoi.

Initially it was this connection that attracted me to the boots; all quality sportswear have elements of military utility details incorporated at one point. Why? The level of functionality and craftsmanship involved in producing military RAT gear (Rugged All Terrain) is superior. Take away all of the nasty and depressing downsides that comes with the military per definition, and you are left with one of the best sources of sartorial inspiration ever.

But. Having done a bit of research into the Abington 6″ Work Boot I soon realised that its humble beginnings was not a desert battlefield, but a mill in New England. The boot was modeled on the kind of protection gear workers “wore during their long, demanding shifts.” And that was it, my dream of wearing US Marine Crops boots shattered. But then it hit me; after army-influenced equipment, what’s the next best thing? What other category of professionals need and use hardened boots and state of the art protection gear? Workers, the people who gave us workwear!

The history and heritage of these workers go way back; mill towns and factory villages began developing in the Northeastern corner of the US from early to mid 19th century. Centered around New England, the factories manufactured steel products like saws, ploughs, cutlery, axes and guns, but textiles were also a big part of the production line.

It was the men who worked these factories who inspired my boots. And their need of footwear and clothing that kept them safe and dry is as an important source of inspiration today as any army gear, and rightfully so. There’s something noble about going back in time, looking at what honest blue collar artisans wore, and how that can be translated into a 21st century wardrobe. Having read about the factories, I’m fine with wearing New England mill-inspired boots. I can always pick up a pair of Delta Force boots next time around.

In His Boots

Nigel Fisher is a humanitarian and international development expert who has lead relief and recovery efforts with UNICEF for over 20 years in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.  He’s done most of his work in a pair of Timberland Fastpacker Boots, circa 1997-98.

Mr. Fisher’s boots have witnessed some truly amazing events, including wading through floods and knee-high mud in 2008 post-cyclone Haiti, through the 2004 post-tsunami rubble of Aceh, Indonesia and the 2010 post-earthquake devastation of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  The boots were with Nigel as he visited a UNICEF-supported shelter for girls in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and again while he trekked across central Afghanistan in 2002 to visit the first schools for girls in remote communities and newly-opened health centres accessible to women for the first time.

These boots have personally encountered tens of thousands of children. If you bear in mind the negotiations undertaken, plans made, operations overseen, assistance delivered, schools built, while they were worn, and the fact that I often negotiated on behalf of UNICEF and many organizations for nationwide emergency or vaccination programs while wearing them, then they have influenced millions of children’s lives.

- Nigel Fisher

Last week, I was honored to be on hand for the induction of Nigel’s boots at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, where they will become part of a permanent collection.  I was also delighted to present Nigel with a brand new pair of Timberland hikers, so that he can continue on his humanitarian journey. Nigel’s wife was on-hand to accept as he joined us via satellite from Haiti, where he continues his work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

You can learn more about Nigel’s inspiring work and the Bata Shoe Museum exhibition in his honor here, and in the UNICEF Canada video below.

Walk With Me: The Marcus Troy Experience

Last month, Timberland convened a group of creative influencers, led by lifestyle and fashion journalist Marcus Troy, for a unique outdoor journey designed to take them from nature to city and back again.  Against the backdrop of Timberland Canada’s headquarters in Toronto, we outfitted our group of ten trendsetters in Timberland gear, including the Earthkeepers City Premium boot and GT Scramble and led them on a 2.8 mile hike through some of the city’s most beautiful settings.

During the day, each participant was tasked with taking pictures and capturing the experience through their own creative lens.  The result is a series of phenomenal images and perspectives that live on Marcus Troy’s website.

What does an urban outdoor journey look like through the eyes of influencers like Karla Moy, William Yan, Shane Stirling and Bryan Espiritu?  Immerse yourself in the Marcus Troy Experience to find out.

From Everest to Iditarod: Cindy Abbott’s Incredible Journey

Cindy Abbott is a wife and a mother with some “normal” hobbies and interests (ballroom dancing, SCUBA diving and cheering on the San Diego Chargers) … and others that are not so normal.  In 2010, Cindy summited Mount Everest, and she’s currently in training for the 1150-mile Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska.

More extraordinary?  Cindy was diagnosed in 2007 with Wegener’s Granulomatosis – a rare and incurable form of vasculitis that affects the nose, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.  She’s functionally blind in her left eye and suffers extreme joint pain, fatigue and circulation issues because of the disease.

Not really the kind of person you’d expect to be summiting Mount Everest or braving the extreme conditions of the Iditarod, is she?

When we first heard about Cindy and her remarkable story, we did what bootmakers do (naturally): We sent her some boots.  As she trains to compete in the “Last Great Race on Earth,” her feet will stay warm and dry in a pair of our Earthkeepers Stratton Tall boots.

Cindy’s motivation for taking on these incredible challenges is simply to raise awareness for rare diseases such as her own – and that’s a mission we’re happy to support.  In the coming months, we’ll be providing updates on Cindy’s training and preparation for the Iditarod on our women’s site – please check back often to see how she’s doing.  In the meantime, you can learn more about Cindy and the journey that has brought her to this point on her website, reachingbeyondtheclouds.com.  To offer your support, go to Cindy’s fundraising page.

EIKNARF on Design

Graffiti artist, graphic designer, style influencer – that’s EIKNARF.   Here he is on site during our Abington Collection Fall 2012 photo shoot, sharing thoughts about collaboration and the creative process:

Want to see more EIKNARF? He’s all over the pages of our Fall 12 Abington Collection catalog, which you’ll find on the Abington website (while you’re there, check out the boots and shoes EIKNARF wore during the photo shoot).

The Madbury Club (and their GT Scramble masterpiece)

Rounding out a week of phenomenal videos that just so happen to feature some of our favorite products, here’s one created by the super hip, incredibly talented team at the Madbury Club, starring our rugged, colorful, always fun-loving GT Scramble boot:

Madbury Club for Timberland GT Scramble from The Madbury Club on Vimeo.

Boom, as they say. Let’s go start the weekend.

Classic Meets Contemporary: The “Nadège Winter for Timberland” Collection

Parisian style icon Nadège Winter likes nothing more than to mix fashion, design and urban eco-awareness. You can imagine our delight when she approached our Timberland Europe team with her idea for “reinterpreting” our iconic classic yellow boot for women!

We connected Nadège, a freelance artistic director and communication consultant, with our long-time partner TRAID, a UK-based nonprofit that recycles, customizes and sells second-hand clothes to fund overseas development projects.  Together, they set out to create a collection of footwear that was both fashion-forward and environmentally-aware.

After rummaging through the stock in TRAID’s London warehouse in search of fabrics, Nadège opted for statement Liberty, bandana and floral motifs for her designs:

The end result is a series of uniquely beautiful boots that have kept all of their classic charm — honey nubuck skin, golden eyelets and original laces – but with fresh, stylish, light-hearted print detail.

Starting this month, the limited edition (1600 pairs) “Nadège Winter for Timberland” collection will be available exclusively at prominent outlets and Timberland® stores across Europe.

Inspired by the Past, Designed for Today: Timberland Boot Company

When it comes time for a new web experience for one of your pinnacle collections, what do you do? For Timberland Boot Company, we wanted to do create something extra special, something that would match the quality, craftsmanship and attention to detail that is embodied in every shoe and boot that is in our Fall 2012 line. We also recognized that our heritage-inspired products are most often viewed on very modern technology, and so we created a site that’s designed for optimum viewing on devices like iPads and iPhones … giving you, our consumers, the best Boot Company experience we can (without actually putting our products on your feet).

The Fall 2012 Boot Company website highlights beautiful product photography, shot in our own backyard (at a Peabody, MA leather tannery and Lowell, MA mill) — meant to convey the spirit of the post-Industrial era and the hardworking men and women who defined it.

Tackhead 8" Fabric & Leather

Marge Snap Ankle Boot

Like those craftsmen who mixed tradition with innovation, our collection keeps one foot rooted in the past while the other treads fearlessly into the future.  We think they would have liked the Fall 2012 Boot Company collection … and we hope you do, too. Take a look: www.timberlandbootcompany.com

Behind the Scenes: Timberland Boot Company Fall 2012 Photo Shoot

Timberland Boot Company examines an era defined by hardworking men and women in New England from 1900-1045. This was a time when the world was rapidly changing, with one foot firmly rooted in the past and the other relentlessly marching forward. Precipitated by the advent of machinery, craftsmen mixed tradition with innovation.

When it came time for our Fall 2012 Boot Company photo shoot, we kept this spirit in mind and traveled to Peabody, Massachusetts — the unrivaled Leather Capital of the World. In the 1920s, men endured long days in harsh conditions to create exceptional footwear. To capture their story, we endured our own long days and harsh conditions inside one of the last remaining leather tanneries in North America.

Our photo shoot location - an old leather tannery

There we found lots of rich material to act as a back drop to our amazing Fall 2012 product (as well as lots of trash, mice and other gnarly stuff). The air was stale, but steeped in a rich history. In true Boot Company fashion, we found vintage leather dying barrels, handmade carts resting next to industrial measuring and cutting machines. Stacks of beautiful, multi-colored leather sat unused next to well-worn tools and gears. It would be a DIY, restoration aficionado’s dream. Interestingly, you could chart the history of this tannery through the various pin-up girl calendars scattered throughout the building.

Piles of beautiful, unused leather

Not kidding about the old pin-up girl calendars

Over the next few days, we worked feverishly to get all the shots in the waning winter light. Once we were done, we found out that we were the last ones to use the building before it was destroyed to make way for a condominium housing complex. Time continues marching forward.

Getting the last few shots

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the Fall 2012 lookbook images.  Enjoy and stay tuned — Timberland Boot Company’s Fall collection will be available soon.

What Happens When 400 lbs of Steel Meet PRO Boots?

The short answer is nothing good … the longer answer (complete with visual) you’ll find below in an email we received from Michael, a Timberland customer who most definitely does NOT have a desk job.

Hearing from Michael made our day – and do you know why?  Because there’s nothing better than hearing from people who have nice things to say about their Timberland products.  Check out the Timberlove:

A few weeks ago while working, a large 400 lb block of steel fell on my foot from about waist level. The way it landed, the tip of the steel toe took most the weight but part of the “foot print” of the landing caused it to hit above where the steel toe ended, resulting in a broken big toe. The boot held up, other than a gash in the leather. That aside, I know for sure if I was wearing any of my other brand boots … it could have been worse. I just have to say, as I walk on my foot that I still have, I’m definitely a lifetime Timberland customer.

Michael's Timberland PRO boot. Does anyone else's toe hurt just looking at this?

We also received the following from Hall — longtime Timberlover, first time commenter:

Over the past 15+ years I have purchased numerous Timberland garment items (jackets, shirts, shorts, socks, shoes, etc.), and I don’t recall that I have ever worn out any of these items to the extent that they are not still suitable for wear.  This is an unsolicited compliment concerning the uncommon quality of all your products and, therefore, I am never reluctant to buy any garment that bears the name of your company.

I felt compelled to stop what I was doing and give you encouragement to continue providing the inimitable quality of products that I have experienced during the last 15 years and I thank you so much!!!

Believe it or not, we also like to hear it when our products don’t work the way they’re supposed to – knowing when there’s a problem helps us to create a solution.  Got kisses or disses for us?  Fire away.