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Secrets of an Icon: Waxed Jackets

Fashion meets function

If you want a jacket material that can handle harsh weather, then a good place to start is probably something that takes a regular beating at the hands of the elements.

What is regularly battered by the elements, but needs to be strong and weather ready against the wettest storms? A ship’s sails.

We turned to the sea and saw how durable ship’s sails were – leading us to the fabric our waxed canvas jackets are derived from. Sailors would sew scraps of used cotton sails together and rub them with linseed oil to create waterproof ponchos. By the 1930s, paraffin wax coated cotton had arrived, but the Scottish mills that created it were too conservative to try it in their native market and sent it to wet and humid New Zealand for rigorous waterproof testing.

Wax-covered cotton was a huge success and the material soon became the norm for sailors, motorcyclists, outdoorsmen and farmers throughout Britain and America.

These days, waxed jackets are iconic for their heritage as countryside staples and for good reason. The wax is naturally water resistant and creates a textured feel that is unique for every jacket. As a protective layer over boots and jackets, wax also makes an ideal texture to be worn on adventures in the outdoors.

At Timberland, waxed canvas has long been a part of our heritage, and this season we’ve updated a few of our classics. Take our Mount Davis Timeless Waxed Jacket. With its durable waxed texture, simple silhouette and neutral palette, it’s an ideal layering piece for spring.

We sat down with Timberland designer Nick Barber and materials expert Dina Mehta about why waxed jackets are great for the outdoors and how to take care of them. 



The Mt. Davis Waxed Canvas Jacket

Waxed jackets are iconic for their heritage as countryside staples and for good reason. Waxed canvas is naturally water resistant, originally sourced from ship’s sails and creates a textured feel that is unique. Canvas has long been a part of our history, and this season we’ve reimagined one of our classics, updating it to make a perfect staple for all year.


What exactly is waxed canvas?


Nick Barber: Waxed canvas is a hardwearing and versatile material. As it’s naturally water-resistant, it’s a proven classic which is adaptable to a variety of weather conditions.

Dina Mehta: Our waxed canvas is a 100 percent cotton canvas construction, lightly brushed and applied with a dry wax.





Why does Timberland make jackets and boots with waxed canvas?


Dina Mehta: Not only does it look rugged, but it feels nice to touch, giving it that special Timberland worn-in feel. Waxed fabrics change according to use and make and we’ve designed this for a customer that likes a customized look on their garment.

Nick Barber: Waxed canvas is one of the oldest existing outdoor fabrics. It’s part of our heritage too and this heritage influence brings a certain authenticity to the product.


What makes our waxed jackets unique?


Nick Barber: Waxed canvas fabric will rub or mark naturally and take on a unique patina through wear, much like leather and raw denim does. We like that the wearer will be able to shape the appearance that’s unique to their own jacket.


How do you take care of them?


Dina Mehta: No special products are needed for upkeep. We recommend to just brush off the affected area and wipe clean with cold water. If for some reason you feel you have to wash it, the fabric is washable – just be careful to not wash it in too-hot water, otherwise this will remove the wax.



The Britton Hill Boot | Waxed Canvas and Leather

Waxed canvas is naturally water resistant, originally sourced from ship's sails and creates a textured feel that is unique. We took one of our fall favorites: The Britton Hill, and refreshed it for spring. The Britton Hill features all-day comfort, using our SensorFlex technology. Canvas has long been a part of our history, and this season we’ve reimagined one of our classics, updating it to make a perfect staple for spring and summer.


Be sure to check out our waxed canvas boots, like our 6-inch Premium Canvas Boot for women and our Timberland Authentics Chukka Boots for men. The waxed finish makes for protective boots with a soft sheen.


Whichever style you go for, join history and invest in waxed canvas. We’re confident you’ll like the cut of our jib…


Now you’ve got the boots, what about the jacket? We’ve got you covered - see it in action.