Secrets of an Icon: Field Boot
History of the Field Boot
The Timberland Product Team provides a brief history on the success of the Field Boot and how it’s reimagined today.
In an age of constant evolution and what's next culture, it seems that few things can stand the test of time. The Timberland Field Boot is one of them – and for good reason.
Coming off the success of The Original Yellow Boot (10061), the Field Boot was introduced in 1983 as a hybrid of our classic work boot and a modern hiker. The boot was designed to go up against New England’s many faces – ice, mud, grass, asphalt – and was an instant hit with outdoorsmen and hunters thanks to its durability and craftsmanship.
The Field Boots were a standout at that time largely due to its performance and comfort – lovingly referred to as a “sneaker boot” by hunters for its lightweight yet durable construction. As its popularity grew, new colorways were introduced including the much sought after green and brown, better known by fans as “beef and broccoli.”
What originated as a favorite for the great outdoors, soon emerged as a style icon and extended to the city streets. The boot is easy to dress up or down and complements the personalities of those wearing them.
“The Field Boot is durable, fly, and they just feel good in any situation,” explains artist and DJ Jasmine Solano. From DJs and musicians to skateboarders and dirt bikers, the Field Boot continues to have a natural influence on creatives in their field.
So what’s the secret? We sat down with the product team to discuss the Field Boot’s origins, evolution, and what’s new for fall 2016.
The Field Boot has been a Timberland staple for over 30 years. How does a boot like this stay relevant and stand the test of time?
A lot of it has to do with our roots here in New England. The Field Boot was born from quality craftsmanship and utility inspired by the rugged elements found in our own backyard. When it debuted in 1983, outdoorsman and hunters appreciated its lightweight design and minimal break-in time. The silhouette has been a cultural staple ever since, providing off-road utility for the outdoorsman and later became a city essential for its style and functionality.
When we reimagine an icon like the Field Boot, we always focus on its heritage. Whether it is using outdoor and vintage colors found in the original Field Boots or introducing durable modern materials like Helcor leather or Cordura in limited release models. Throughout the entire collection, you’ll find new updates this season that range from innovative comfort technologies and waterproofing to bold colorways and rich leathers.
Going back to the history books for a minute – can you give us a quick lesson on the origin of the Field Boot?
The Field Boots launched in the early 80’s as a lightweight hiker. It all began when Sidney Swartz discovered manufacturing machinery that utilized polyurethane injection molding to make the bottoms of shoes. The resulting material was waterproof and had dual density benefits, with a rough, hardwearing exterior and soft, comfortable interior.
In older product catalogs, we thanked the Norwegian Army for developing the 2-density polyurethane sole material used in the Field Boot. This material allowed the boot to be considerably lighter than what was in the market for hikers at the time. The catalog tagline also stated that people wanted waterproof hikers from a company that knows boots – not a running shoe company. Very tongue-in-cheek, but also true. This heritage and proven track record with quality boots are still one of the main reasons people buy them today.
How does this boot transcend its outdoor roots?
The Field Boot is an iconic silhouette recognizable by all walks of life. With a silhouette that is a cross between a sneaker and boot, it’s no surprise that the Field Boot conquered both the woods and asphalt, becoming a favored choice for hikers, hunters and sneaker connoisseurs alike.
Like the 10061, the Field Boots represent Timberland’s long heritage of waterproofing and durability. It’s versatility, enduring style and modern silhouette make it ready for any adventure, and we continue to build on that with new updates this fall. The boot symbolizes ruggedness, not only in design but also in the state of mind of those wearing them. From artists and DJs to skaters and barbers – the boot is a catalyst for creatives to feel empowered when navigating the world on foot.