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20 Things You Didn't Know About the Timberland Company

Almost everyone has heard of Timberland boots. In the apparel industry, they've become an iconic brand that is known for their heavy-duty build, quality of materials and durable construction. Plus they come in a variety of styles and they look good on your feet whether you're young, old, male or female. The boots are still in vogue and sales are good, but here are ten things that you didn't know about the Timberland Company.

1. They're known throughout the world

Timberlands are a brand that is popular in the United States. This is because it's where the factory that produces them is located but the brand was so genuinely worthy that it wasn't long until Canadians were benefiting from them and adopting the new boots as well as countries from all over the world. No matter where you go throughout the entire world, you're likely to see someone wearing a pair of Timberlands.

2. Timberland is technically a young brand

It seems like the brand has been around forever because many of us have grown up wearing them. The truth of the matter is that they were unheard of until the 1970s. This is when the name Timberland became a thing and the now iconic boots were distributed throughout the entire United States and the company had to struggle to keep up with the demand. Prior to this era though, the Timberland company didn't exist.

3. Timberland grew from a different shoe company

In the history of the Timberland shoe company, it had its beginnings in a smaller shoe company that the owner invested in 1952. This was the year that Nathan Swartz bought up half interest in the Abington Shoe Company. The business began by accepting contract work for other manufacturers. When Swartz realized the tremendous potential that the Abington Shoe company possessed, he bought out all the other shareholders and became the full owner in 1955. By 1969, Abington had incorporated the use of injection molding technology in the construction of their footwear. This was an innovation that allowed them to bost virtually waterproof boots, which were received very well by the American public. They took this a step even further by offering variants of the boots that were made ideal for use in cold temperature or in tropical weather conditions. They had covered all seasons and climates in a versatile selection of high-quality waterproof boots that sportsmen flocked to in large numbers. They grew in size and financial viability and moved into larger premises located in Newmarket, New Hampshire in 1969.

4. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the boots we now know as Timberlands took shape

It was an evolutionary process that started back in the early 1950s. Still known as Abington, the company continued to add new innovations to their high-quality waterproof boots. By 1973, Abington Shoe company officially changed its name to the Timberland Company and it established its reputation from this point forward. In fact, it's become an iconic name in boots and sportswear.

5. They added two new lines of footwear

The Timberland Company quickly shot to popularity and fame during the decades of the 1970s through 1990. They became a staple among sportsmen and also with construction workers and anyone else who spent a lot of time out in the elements. They added a variety of different designs, colors, and unique fits so almost everyone could find a pair that fit them as though they were custom made. They maintained their signature sturdy look in all of their new variations and the public ate it up. In 1978-79, Timberland added a line of casual and boat shoes to their collection and these were met with the same warm greeting as the boots. They were covering an increasingly larger segment of the footwear market.

6. They expanded internationally in the 1980s

The Timberland Company experienced a massive growth spurt in the decade of the 1980s. The expansion of the company took place within the borders of the United States and beyond. The company bought a larger factory that was located in Tennessee and they relocated their manufacturing plant to the new location from the original New Hampshire location. They expanded their operations into international markets in 1984 by first supplying Italy with Timberland boot and shoes and within just a few short years, the company had expanded their service area throughout the whole of Europe.

7. Another growth in the 1990s with new product lines

The 1980s had been a great decade for the Timberland Company, but it wasn't done with its substantial expansion. They continued to add to their product lines with watches, kids' footwear, and backpacks. By adding the accessories, they had opened an entirely new market that added complementary accessories to their lines of footwear and fans of the boots and shoes were more than happy to purchase the accessories to go with them.

8. The Timberland Company makes its first foreign acquisition

In 2006, the Timberland Company made the acquisition of Howies, which is a well-known Welsh clothing company located in the United Kingdom. This was a bold step that enabled the Timberland Company to further expand its growing influence in the UK. They incorporated the famous boots into the merchandise of a company that was already well-known and respected in the region in a brilliant business move with some wonderful consequences for the company.

9. Timberland merged with VF Corporation

In 2011, The Timberland Company sat down at the table and formed an agreement for a merger with VF Corporation. The disclosed amount fo the deal was estimated to be around $2 billion. Since this time, the brand has continued to grow and to lead the footwear industry within its particular niche. When asked if Timberland brand shoes and boots are still cool, the answer is a definite yes!

10. Other brands are imitating Timberlands

A company such as Timberland knows that they've reached a pinnacle of success when other popular brands are trying to imitate their style. Although it isn't really cool to imitate another brand's style, it goes to show you how popular the Timbs were and are. Beyonce wore a pair in the Bonnie & Clyde video from 2003 and everyone thought they were Timbs because of the remarkable resemblance, but they were really a pair of Manalo Blanik Timbs which were not even remotely connected with the authentic Timberland brand.

11. Their most popular style was made by accident

The most popular style of Timberland boots is their classic 6 inches. they're also known on the streets as "Butters." When these boots were first designed by Sidney Swarz, they were made out of necessity, not to establish a really cool and useful style that people would find aesthetically pleasing. The real reason that he developed them was that he lived in an area of New England where people were hard workers and they did a lot of their work outside where the temperatures were often wet and extreme. There was no such thing as a waterproof boot at the time that Swartz put his thinking cap on. He created the boots fo fill a need for waterproof footwear for warmth and safety. The fact that they became wildly popular with everyone else was just icing on the cake.

12. Timberlands became more popular than Jordans

This is a fun fact that most people are not aware of and some won't believe, but none the less, it's true. Timbos became more popular than the Nike, Reebok or Adidas outerwear hiking boots. The other brands had designed their versions to compete with the Timberland's classic 6 inches and they thought that they could give Timberland a run for their money, but the other well-known brands were sadly mistaken. None of them even came close to the popularity or the sales that were experienced by Timberland. Oh well, at least they gave it a try and now they know.

13. Timberland was there supporting workers on 9/11

This is a fact that most people are not aware of. When the catastrophe of September 11, 2001, struck the Twin Towers in New York City, the rescue workers and firemen who were putting their lives on the line to try and save as many as possible endured such extreme heat temperatures that their boots were melting as they worked. Timberland pulled out a large supply of their Timberland Premium Waterproof boots right off the shelves in its stores and they delivered them directly to Ground Zero, distributing them to all rescue workers to do what they could to help in the efforts.

14. Timberland made customized boots for Shaquille O'Neal

Now here is a famous NBA former celebrity player who has a tough time finding a pair of boots that fit him well. O'Neal has size 22 to 23 feet but he wanted a pair of Timberlands. The Timberland company was happy to make him a custom made pair of boots and the size turned out to be a 23. Because of the inspiration that this gave the company, they actually made more than one pair of the size 23 version and put them on display in their window.

15. Timberland tested their boots in a toilet

When Timberland gives you their assurance that their boots have been thoroughly tested against water absorption, they're not kidding. They went all the way and they even took their testing regimen so far as to take a pair of their leather boots and place them in a factory toilet. They left the pair to soak in the toilet overnight. Some might think that this is a novel way to test the boots while others find it more on the disgusting side. For better or worse, they passed the test. Don't worry though. This was done in the early 1970s. The Timberland Company has changed its methods for waterproof testing since then and they use standardized machinery that not only submerges the boots, they also flex them and perform a full evaluation of their worthiness.

16. Rappers helped to make Timberland boot sales soar in the 1990s

Here is yet another full and little-known fact about the Timberland Company. During the 1990s, they experienced a period of time where the sale of their boots actually tripled. This coincided with the endorsement of several famous rappers who thought the boots were dope and wanted to express their admiration for the heavy-duty kicks to their fans. The classic-6-inch boots, of course, were the chosen style for most rappers and hip-hop legends. Many of these popular celebrity figures including Das EFX, DMX, Mobb Deep and others donned their Timbos and wore them in several rap videos which gave the boots the ultimate press that drove fans to the stores to deplete the supplies. In Biggie's big hit "Suicidal Thoughts," he even dropped the name of the Timberland brand when he admitted to liking black Timbs, and black hoodies. Notorious B.I.G. and Jay Z were big-time endorsers of the brand.

17. The Timberland was the first company to have a television commercial

Well, they were the first company to sponsor a boot commercial anyway. They kind of made a habit out of making big-time firsts in their industry. They were the first to manufacture a waterproof boot and also the first to put an advertisement out on the television. This type of mass-advertising made the brand name a household word.

18. Timberland boots were sold at Bergdorf Goodman

This was actually quite a feat for the Timberland Company. Bergdorf Goodman was a high-end upscale retailer and they actually sold Timberland classic boots that were made for women in their prestigious venue during the 1980s. The company was so proud of the fact that the upscale shop offered the brand that they actually ran a two-page advertisement in black and white in the New Yorker.

19. Pharrell Williams had an exclusive signature Timberland

Even popular celebrity personality Pharrell Williams had a special pair of Timbos made in 2013. He's the singer that is best known for his hit "Happy." He collaborated with the Timberland brand in the spring of 2013 to create the Bee Line Billionaire Boys Club Classic 6-inch and they were offered in olive as well as other army colors.

20. The Timberland Company sold its millionth pair of boots before the internet became a thing

This is quite a feat. The internet came to be a thing in 1985, but Timberland had already sold over a million pair of boots and shoes by the time that e-commerce became popular. We're not sure of the current count, but since the company is valued in the billions, it's a good guess that they've sold close to a billion pairs.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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