Are Timberlands Good for Hiking?
Back in 1973, Sidney Swartz introduced the iconic Original Yellow Boot. Designed for the ”hard, wet, snowbound winters of New Hampshire”, the boot instead became a fashion sensation, all around the world. At the time, there was no such thing as an all-leather waterproof boot, and most people didn’t think it made much sense, but no one could have predicted how popular it became. You might wonder, are Timberlands good for hiking?
46 years ago Timberland Classics were actually optimized for hiking, but now in 2019 hiking boot technology has improved exponentially, and while there are benefits to leaving classic designs unchanged, Timberland Classic boots are no longer the best available for hiking. That being said, Timberland does actually produce a range of specialized hiking boots, and these offer a much better option if you’re looking for a pair of hiking boots from the Timberland brand. We will outline some of your better options for Timberland hiking boots here, as well as explaining some of the features to watch out for in hiking boots, based on your individual needs.
What to look for in a good hiking boot
Before we discuss whether Timberlands are good hiking, we must first decide what the standard is for “good”. When you’re in the market for a new pair of hiking boots, there are a number of things to consider. For hikers and backpackers, boots are the number one most important piece of equipment. If your boots are no good, then they can put your trip in serious jeopardy. We depend on your feet to carry us everywhere, so priority number one has to be housing them in a good pair of hiking boots.
There are a few different types of hiking boots to consider. Light-weight hiking shoes with flexible midsoles make an excellent choice for day hiking. They’re usually light and breathable, making them super comfortable for short trips, but meaning they don’t offer enough support for longer journeys. On the other hand, backpacking boots are designed to carry heavy loads over multi-day trips. They’re high-cut and incredibly supportive, with high durability too- be aware, these ones need some serious breaking in before long trips. In the middle fall day hiking boots. These range from mid- to high-cut models intended for day hikes and short backpacking trips. They flex more easily and require less break-in time, and while offering more protection than hiking shoes, they lack the durability of backpacking boots.
The “upper” part of a hiking boot is everything above the sole, most of the part that covers your foot. Many boots use full-grain leather because it provides excellent water resistance and durability. However, it’s much heavier and less breathable than other alternatives and needs a lot of breaking in before a big trip. On the other end of the scale, boots made of synthetic materials are much lighter and more breathable than leather boots, but they don’t last as long, they’re less hard-wearing. Many boots use materials such as Gore-Tex or e-Vent which provide uppers with are both waterproof and breathable, ideal for hikes on hot days.
The midsole of your boot determines stiffness and cushioning. Although you may think you want your boots to be flexible, hikes on rocky terrain can be painful with a flexible boot, as they allow your feet to wrap around the uneven ground, and this will actually tire you out. Stiffer boot soles provide much more support and make it easier to do long hikes over rough terrain. Midsoles are usually made out of either EVA, which is cushioned, light, and inexpensive, or Polyurethane, which is firmer and more durable. If you’re looking for boots to be used for longer backpacking trips and hikes, Polyurethane is preferred.
When it comes to internal support, hiking boots can have either shanks or plates. Shanks are 3-5mm thick inserts that go between the midsole and outsole of your boot, which adds load-bearing stiffness. Plates are thin and semi-flexible and help protect your feet from getting bruised by rocks you might step on. The outsoles of hiking boots are always made of rubber. Sometimes there are additives such as carbon in the material, to boost the hardness of backpacking or mountaineering boots. Having hard outsoles will increase the durability of your boots, but may feel slick if you go off-trail.
The benefits of Timberland hiking boots
Timberland prides itself on making great-fitting boots. The company puts a lot of effort into making comfortable shoes, with plenty of features just to make it easier for you to stay on your feet all day. Timberland is also praised by many for their true-to-size fit.
The quality of Timberlands products has made them a household name. They’re known for using the highest quality and most durable materials. They also are making efforts to be more environmentally friendly as a company, with their outsoles being made partly with recycled rubber. Although these products are more green, rest assured they retain their great traction and foot support.
Speaking of support, Timberland hiking boots are all equipped with incredibly comfortable and supportive EVA midsoles, which work hard to provide cushioning and absorb shocks. This is an important element, as without hikers will tire out more quickly.
Why Timberland Classics are no good for hiking
Firstly, although being waterproof is a vital feature for hiking boots, the leather upper on Timberland Classics means they are not very breathable. They also are much heavier than your average hiking boot, with a men’s size 9 weighing some 1lb 13oz, meaning 3lb 10oz for the pair. Compared to a typical Merrell style shoe such as the Moab 2, weighing 2lbs 2oz, they’re a significant amount heavier. It may not seem like such a big deal, but every hiker knows that weight is everything when you’re on the trail, and 2 pounds can feel like 10 when you’re 5 miles in.
Timberland Classics are fine for walking around the city, or for a short day hike. However, because the style is unchanged, they’re simply not as good as modern alternatives, and we wouldn’t recommend them for serious hiking trips.
Timberland branded hiking boots
If we forget about Timberland Classics, the brand does actually offer some decent specialized hiking boots. They aren’t the very best out there, but if you really want some Timberland hiking boots then there are a few good options. We would recommend them more for casual hikers than serious enthusiasts, as for them the options are limited. Generally, Timberland boots are more attractive than other hiking shoes, so they make a good choice if you want to walk around both the city and the country.
Timberland White Ledge
If you’re looking for some options for Timberland Hiking boots, the White Ledge boots are a popular choice. They’re made for both men and women, with half sizes available. They also come in an impressive 6 different colors, so there’s enough variety for everyone. One of these pair’s best features is the 100% full-grain leather upper. The benefits of this include being waterproof, so your feet stay dry for your whole trip, and also the leather is very durable.
Its generally much longer-lasting than other materials like rubber or synthetics, so if you want a pair of hiking boots that will carry you for a while, consider White Ledge boots. Leather boots are incredibly comfortable, due to their ability to mold themselves to your feet, but be aware that coming out of the box they will feel very stiff, so make sure you give them plenty of time to break-in. As an added bonus, White Ledge hiking boots are actually seam-sealed, meaning not even a drop of water could permeate them. This makes them a great contender for your next primitive camping excursion, you’ll be able to walk straight through creeks and streams without batting an eyelid.
Timberland has a specially developed B.S.F.P. traction system. This stands for Brake, Support, Flex and Propel. The lugs on the outsole are specifically placed to offer enhanced traction and additional support, which is an important element in hiking boots. Timberland White Ledge boots also come with two pairs of flex grooves, which are horizontal grooves on the shoe’s outsole which supposedly promote flexion of the forefoot. Basically, these boots are designed to bend naturally along with your foot, meaning you’ll feel safe and secure on even the slippiest terrain.
Finally, with these boots, you won’t have to worry about weight. With each shoe weighing just over a pound, they’re pretty lightweight in comparison to most hiking boots. This is really beneficial when picking out a new hiking boot because as mentioned, weight is everything.
- Leather upper
- Rubber sole
- Multi-directional traction system
- 1.2 pounds per shoe
1978 Aerocore Hiker Boots
In 1978 Timberland released their original hiking boots, and now they’re being done up to face modern hiking boot standards. They make a great fashion choice, they’re bound to pull some compliments on the trail, but they also have some pretty great technical features too.
If you’ve ever bought a pair of hiking boots that seem really uncomfortable at first, but as you wear them they get less and less so, you know how annoying it can be. This boot features something called an Ortholite footbed, which is designed to prevent this very thing. This means that this pair should feel as comfortable on their 50th hike as on their first.
Again, one vital element in hiking boots is weight, and Timberlands’ efforts with this shoe make no exception. The 1978 Aerocore Hiker Boots feature Aerocore technology, which both adds midsole cushioning and makes the boots lighter while retaining good traction. Lastly, these shoes feature the wonderful Timber-Dry membrane, which is guaranteed to keep your feet dry throughout your whole day of hiking. This is also a good eco-friendly feature, as the membrane is made with 50% plastic bottles.
- Waterproof leather upper
- Ortholite footbed
- Aerocore midsole
- Timberdry membrane
- 1.3 pounds per shoe
Mt. Maddsen Hiking Boots
Known for being especially comfy and like all Timberland boots, true to size, the Mt. Maddsen hiking boots make a very stylish choice. They’re designed for all terrains, so consider this pair if you need some boots to fit a variety of situations and trips. These hiking boots come equipped with super valuable Anti-Fatigue technology, so you can stay on your feet for hours and hours. They also come with the unique B.S.F.P. outsole system, so you’ll have the best possible traction which you’re scrambling down the mountainside.
Like most Timberlands, the Mt. Maddsens have waterproof leather uppers, making them durable, and keeping your feet dry. However, this pair also has one more unique feature- a TPU shank. A shank is a piece of metal or fiberglass that runs down the middle of the shoe from front to back. Many work boots are equipped with metal shanks, making them more comfortable for those who spend a lot of time climbing ladders.
Shanks make hiking boots more difficult to twist or bend. Usually, when you’re hiking you walk over rocks and tree roots, and your shoes tend to twist all over the place. This can take a heavy toll on the footwear itself, and can also put you at a higher risk of injuries such as sprained ankles. Having a TPU shank greatly increases this hiking boots overall rigidity, offering your feet much more protection.
- Waterproof leather upper
- Rubber sole
- B.S.P.F traction system
- Anti-Fatigue Technology
- TPU Shank
- 1.1 pounds per shoe
Timberland Chocorua Trail
The Timberland Chocorua trail hiking boots are our favorite option if you want a Timberland shoe. They’re appropriate for multiway hiking trips, and plenty of day hikes, however, they’re still not recommended for long-distance hikers. We think this pair is generally reasonably priced for a boot that is equipped with Gore-Tex as well as high-quality leather. From a style perspective, Timberland’s Chocorua Trails have a classic hiking boot look and are available in two brown and green colorways.
Although leather uppers are great to make durable and waterproof hiking boots, it can mean they lack breathability. After a few hours on the trail, your feet can become quite hot, making the boots very uncomfortable. In order to make these boots more comfortable, Timberland has added a Gore-Tex membrane, which allows sweat to pass through the boot without letting in water from the outside, which makes them the best choice on this list for breathability.
Chocorua Trail hiking boots are unfortunately not equipped with Timberlands’ B.S.F.P system, however, they still maintain good traction. They do feature an Anti-Fatigue insole, which makes a great addition for any hiker, making hours on your feet much easier. According to their tagline, these boots provide all-day comfort.
The removable, dual-density EVA footbed is perforated for additional air circulation, and this in combination with the Gore-Tex membrane makes for a blissfully breathable shoe. These two work together well to regulate foot temperature, which is a huge bonus if you’re hiking in a hot climate.
- Leather and mesh uppers
- Rubber Sole
- Anti-Fatigue technology
- 1.6 pounds per shoe
So, are Timberlands good for hiking? When it comes to Timberland classics, they’re just not the best on the market for hiking anymore, especially in comparison to boots that feature modern technologies. If you’re just looking for a pair of boots to take you around the city they’re totally adequate and would do you just fine on the occasional day hike. However, if you’re looking for an actual pair of hiking boots, Timberland classics are not what we recommend.
Timberland offers a selection of specialized hiking boots from their brand, and one of these would serve you much better on the trails. The breathability and style of Timberland Chocorua Trail hiking boots make them our number one recommendation for casual hikers, suitable for most day hikes and short trips. The stylish nature of all Timberland boots makes them a good choice for the fashion-conscious hiker, but for serious hikers planning long backpacking trips, they’re not ideal. In this case, you should look for a boot with more support and sturdier construction, to ensure your feet will be in the best possible shape for your whole trip.
If you’re still not sure which hiking boots you need, ask yourself these questions to establish the features you’re after:
- How much support do my feet need?
- How important is appearance to me when searching for a hiking boot?
- How long are my hiking trips going to be?
- What kind of terrain will I be spending most of my time on? On the trail or off in the wilderness?
- What is my budget?
Once you’ve found your next pair of hiking boots, you’ll need to find an awesome trail for their maiden voyage. The White Mountains in New England offer an excellent terrain to try out your new pair, with the Appalachian Trail passing right nearby!