Are Timberlands Good for Hiking- The Original Model vs New Models

hiking in timberlands

Note: when I am mentioning timberlands throughout this article I am referring to the generic timberlands (Timberland’s work-boots), when I talk about other models I will make it clear.

Timberlands have been an icon in the footwear industry and have been loved by many people for decades so it is no surprise a lot of people want to know whether or not they are good for hiking.

The generic Timberland boots, also known as ‘The Original Yellow Boot’ are not recommended for serious hiking. They do not have the level of comfort, agility, traction, and breathability that you would expect from a true hiking boot– however, they can be used on short day hikes.

In this article I will talk about the different models of timberlands and whether or not they are good enough for hiking. The easiest way for us to identify whether or not timberlands are good for hiking or not is by identifying what makes boots good for hiking in the first place

  • Agility– Agility is a top priority on hiking footwear, you don’t want boots that will restrict your movements and drag you down, and that is the exact reason is why many people prefer trail runners over hiking boots, well that is a whole new topic that requires quite a discussion– however, timberlands are made from quite thick materials which makes them very sturdy and stiff, and so they lose point here.
  • Weight– when you are looking to buy certain hiking boots your first question should be “how much do they weigh ”especially on long hikes every ounce is going to count, and when it comes to timberland they can be heavy, some models weigh 5 pounds per single boot.
  • Comfort– comfort is important on any footwear that is not a mystery, but everyone defines comfort differently so I just can’t judge a whole brand but generally, timberlands are considered a comfortable shoe.
  • Stability– stability is important on rough trails and terrains, timberlands are considered to be one of the most stable boots and I can vouch for that
  • Traction– stability without traction is like a rim without a tire, it is pretty much useless. if we are talking about the classic timberland yellow boots they don’t have the best traction on wet rocks which means they can be very dangerous
  • Water resistance– water resistance is another big thing on hiking footwear. Timberlands are in fact waterproof but they can lose the waterproof layer over time that is when you can apply a waterproof layer I will come to that later on this article
  • Breathability– Water resistance and breathability go hand to hand and both of them are pretty much useless without the other. timberlands are somewhat breathable.
  • Ankle support– Ankle support is a controversial thing, some people say there is no such thing as ankle support. Make timberland boots have laces to go up to the ankles they might provide a little support
  • Durability– Timberlands are known for their durability they can last for years with proper care– however, durability alone cant make or break a hiking shoe but it is a bonus point to have them

Cons of using timberlands for hiking

Now that I have mentioned what makes a hiking boots great let us try to dive deeper to timberlands and try to identify where they come short

  • The Leather creases can cause blisters– This is probably the biggest drawback of timberlands, as you may already know timberlands are made from pretty thick leather, which can crease over time and can cause blisters.
  • Heavy Weight– Timberlands have a very pretty thick sole which makes them weigh more than a hiking shoe should
  • Lacks agility and flexibility– Agility and flexibility are other important aspects of hiking boots that is why many people like me prefer to hike in trail runners instead of hiking boots. timberlands lack the agility a hiking boot has and it can even be compared to a trail runner.
  • Breathability– Although leather is somewhat breathable, Gore-Tex is what is used in hiking boots because it is far more superior when it comes to both breathability and water resistance.

Which model of timberland is the best for hiking

Choosing the right model is crucial because there are models of timberlands that are better than others when it comes to hiking compatibility, not to forget there are timberlands that are specifically made for hiking

  • The original 6-inch yellow boots– These boots are what come to my mind when someone says the word timberland and they are what took off timberland as shoe manufacture, when it comes to hiking they are the least comfortable on this list because they are heavy and haven’t evolved for decades
  • White Ledge Ankle Boot– These boots are quite surprisingly the most sold hiking boots on Amazon and many online stores, are they the best hiking boots? Even though the white ledge timberlands have received many positive reviews from customers worldwide, there are better hiking boots on the market for the same price or less.
  • Chocorua Trail Hiking Boots– As the name suggest these are boots that are specifically made for hiking although i haven’t tried them thousands of many experienced hikers love them
  • Timberland Mt Maddsen– Probably the most water-resistant boot from timberland is the Timberland Mt Maddsen, I have tried these boots I am not crazy about it but it is decent.

How make your Timberland more comfortable for hiking trips

So if you already own timberland and you are determined to hike with it you can do some things to make it more comfortable.

  • Break in your Timberlands before going on a hike– If the timberland is new you should take the time to break in well so that they get accustomed to your feet. The most forward way to break in your boots would be through wearing them with thick socks. It’s the best way to do so since it allows your shoes to be shaped to the specific pattern of your feet, if you have no time for that you can also use a boot stretcher.
  • Waterproof your Timberlands Timberland offers great waterproof options that come with a waterproof seal. But this doesn’t mean this seal won’t get compromised over time, for instance due to continuous exposure to high pressure water. In most common scenarios you will probably need to waterproof your Timberlands anywhere from every couple of months to once a year.
    • Clean and dry your boots beforehand.
    • Choose a cream, wax they tend to be better on leather or you can also use spray waterproofing products, but never use homemade waterproofing alternatives you see on youtube videos.
    • Find a well ventilated room or go outside to apply the waterproofing product.
    • Rub in or spray liberally on the hiking boot.
    • Wipe off or rub in any excess with a clean rag.
    • Let it dry
  • Buy the right socks– A good pair of hiking socks can be the difference between a blister-filled hiking trip and a fantastic outing. socks made of merino wool, which provide lots of breathability and wicking prowess (preventing sweaty feet). If you happen to be hiking in hot weather conditions, wear liner socks under your normal hiking socks, so as to move sweat away from your feet and onto the outer sock, so as to keep your feet dry. And if you happen to be hiking in a wet area wear a pair of neoprene socks, so as to prevent water from seeping through your socks and prevent blisters.
  • Opt for switching the insoles of your Timberlands– I am not a big fan of the timberland insoles so i change them right off you don’t have to do that however if you have been using you timberlands for some time it would be best to switch out the insoles for ones with arch-support or shock-absorption that can seem a small difference but it can make a pretty good overall change

different models of timberlands and hiking compatibility

The Timberland boots were created by Herman Swartz, in 1973 in New Hampshire, New England; using tanned leather and rubber bottoms bonded using his father’s innovative injection-molding technology. This technique utilized a new binding process to chemically mold and attach the base of footwear to the uppers; allowing the manufacture of fully waterproof boots. 

In the beginning the public considered Timberlands to be only for “people who worked in factories or construction”, since they’re the client base the company chose to market to. But soon the boots began to catch the eye of outdoor enthusiasts, since stepping outside in any kind of weather was a problem Timberland boots were born to solve. so it’s no surprise that people want to know whether or not timberlands can be used for hiking

By the late 1970s, nearly 80% of all the products sold by the company were Timberland boots. So, in 1978 the company changed its name from “Abington Shoe” to “Timberland”. Following the immense success of the original Timberlands, the company kept on innovating in the following years, expanding into formal wear, hiking shoes, and even sneakers. 

Over the next two decades Timberlands began being viewed in a new light, as a fashion-stable. So much so that by the late ’80s, the boots’ popularity was surging internationally to the point where teens in Milan were robbing people for their Timberlands. This high demand for the boots convinced the company to open stores internationally. And by the mid-90s, with the popularization of hip hop Timberlands’ popularity only grew, eventually becoming synonymous with “cool” in big part thanks to rappers like Notorious BIG and Nas.

Even today Timberlands have not lost their prestige, satisfying the needs of the working-class man as well as the fashion conscious. These truly unique boots are the chameleons of the footwear industry blending in seamlessly and serving the purpose demanded of them.

Closing Thoughts

Even though timberland is an iconic name in the industry they do not make the best hiking boots, so if you are planning to buy hiking boots there are far better options, or if you are someone who is planning to hike with their timberland the trail must be short or you might end up in excruciating pain