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Last Updated on September 30, 2021
So, let me guess… It was late. You were shopping online. And right there before you stood out a wicked pair of Timberland boots. They were just what you were looking for and would look great with all of your favorite clothes.
You were all set to buy them, so you looked them up, and it showed you the two most iconic models Timberland has to offer: the 6-inch Basic and Premium boots.
But, oh my! Which one should you buy?
A quick check of their reviews was simply not enough since these babies are an investment that will last for many years…
Chances are you went googling for answers and found this review! Well, let me be upfront about this, you are so lucky to have found it. Do you want to know why you should, or shouldn’t, buy one of these boots? Continue to find out!
Why trust me?
Allow me to introduce myself. I’m a retro fashion aficionado, and a Timberland footwear freak. Yep, I own over 7 pairs of Timberlands! I guess I have a problem but it’s not one that I care to fix.
In fact of a retro footwear fanatic. I tend to choose classic models of brands like Vans and Converse. What can I say? I am a 90s kid through and through. Maybe it’s the grunge roots in me that pull me towards rugged styles and outdoor gear in general!
Also, I would never go out on a limb reviewing a brand that I cannot get behind. In the case of Timberland, I like how they uphold eco values and are honest about the origin of their materials (like using silver or gold-rated tanneries and so on). There is nothing that I hate more than a review that is praise disguised as criticism. That is just not me.
I have walked on sand, stones, and cement to be able to write this piece and I will not play nice. Let me be clear about this too: this review was not endorsed by the brand, nor was I gifted the models!
So, out of a gazillion reviews out there you can count on two things when reading this one. First, I will tell you the truth as a Timberland user and second, I will be comparing and contrasting these boots to other competitors that I have owned and currently have in my closet (like Merrell, CAT, Columbia, etc.) with no favoritism whatsoever.
Is this the right review for you?
If you are here, you want answers and I am not one to be wasting your time. So, will you find answers here? Is this the right review for you? I’d say anybody who likes outdoor gear brands or a rugged lumberjack style will find this piece of writing useful.
I have to warn you, I am not a professional hiker nor a sports person in general so don’t expect me to subject my boots to extreme wear. However, I do like outdoor activities and using outdoor gear daily, mainly because it tends to be warmer and of better quality than other fashionable choices. So you can expect ample tryouts and a variety of terrains involved.
How did I test my Timberland boots?
I’ve worn them to the woods and I’ve tried them in the city. I’ve also tested their mettle rain or shine, on snow and over mud, day and night. They have stood both the test of time and the occasional paw abrasion courtesy of my cats.
And while I have confessed to my lack of sportsmanship, I’m not a stranger to camping or cottage vacationing, and while on both I have worn my boots both for chopping wood and walking by the coast. So, they have covered abundant and varied terrain while being subjected to all kinds of activities.
But first, Timberland the brand
Since 1973, Timberland has been steadily producing outdoor clothing as a global outdoor lifestyle brand. They’re located in Stratham, New Hampshire but have offices in Switzerland and Hong Kong. They are renowned for their original yellow nubuck boot designed for the harsh New England weather and terrain but they now offer a wide range of apparel, accessories, and footwear.
Their natural competitors are brands like Columbia, Merrell, Doc Martens, Uggs, Hi-Tec, Hunter, Muck Boots, Keen, Sorel, Vasque, Oboz, Maelstrom, Justin, Bogs, or Nike. I would argue that out of all of them, Timberland and Doc Martens are the most easily recognized for one particular model of footwear. Well, and maybe Hunter, because it’s hard to compete with Her Majesties wellies!
Timbs are generally rugged, have a sturdy feel about themselves and although they are not overly warm, they certainly provide ample protection and have an instantly recognizable style. I would say they are all about purposeful style and their customers generally share in the brand’s passion for enjoying and protecting nature. At least, I know I do!
The 6-inch Basic Timberland Boot
This is the most basic Timberland Boot you can find and one of the more budget-oriented. Get it out on Amazon from sizes 7 – 15. They’re 100% leather, as should be expected from Timberland and they have a rubber sole with excellent grip.
The shaft measures 7.25” from the arch, covering your whole ankle comfortably. It will also hit just below the edge of your socks if they are standard length. They are a super classic rugged work boot that is both waterproof and abrasion-resistant.
The 6-inch Premium Timberland Boot
When you think of Timberland boots, this is the style that most commonly comes to mind. It has a padded collar on top of a 7.25” shaft and a 1.25” heel under a platform of about 0.75”. It is also made from 100% leather sourced from a sustainable tannery and it comes in a wide variety of colors. They’re waterproof and feature PrimaLoft® ECO insulation for extra toasty feet.
You can buy it on Amazon depending on size. It has a rubber sole, as expected, and features yellow stitching in rows of fours on the back (same as the Basic model). Are they pretty similar? Damn right they are! The difference is all in the details and the different materials and technologies used in each one.
Read: Men’s Style Guide: What to Wear with Timberlands
The Looks (Stitching, Eyelets, Soles, Shape, etc.)
Timberland’s most classic models have an easily recognizable aesthetic and overall shape. It is a mixture of key features like the tree logo, the double strands of stitching, the rugged sole with a slightly high heel, and the 7 eyelets on a softly curved shaft. Original Timberlands feature yellow stitching and classic models are made in wheat color nubuck that feels soft to the touch.
Both styles have all of these key features, and as far as the eye can see the most notorious difference in looks comes from the padded collar in the Premium model. Although less noticeable, the difference in color between the thin platform and the rest of the sole that comprises the heel is easily recognizable as well.
The Fit (length & ankle support)
Both of their lengths are quite perfect as far as I am concerned. They hit my socks just below the border and don’t chew them in.
The ankle support is much better on the Premium boots with their padded leather collar so I rather prefer them for difficult terrain or places with lots of rocks where they might make all the difference between a bad ankle sprain that can ruin your outing or just a little slip that doesn’t amount to much discomfort. That extra level of protection is so worth it!
The heel height on both boots is great for muddy terrain in both models. Having a little distance from the floor allows a comfortable margin for those pesky times when your feet sink in the mud. I hate having to remove dry mud from the upper part of my footwear. I also tuck my pants in to avoid them dragging for the same reason.
Although Timberland boots are advertised as fitting true to size, I usually go half a size up to give my toes some extra width and general space to allow for thick wool socks during winter. Otherwise, I find them a little stifling. I have always used medium sizes, not wide, so that might be something to try in the future!
The Comfort Scale
Premium boots are top of the line when it comes to comfort, mainly due to Timberland’s amazing proprietary technology for footwear and high-quality materials. Although the Basic boots are very similar ergonomically and have amazing designs, they are just not on par with their premium cousins.
Speaking of the Premium boots, they each weigh about 1 pound and 13 ounces. They do feel a bit heavy at first, but you acclimate pretty soon, so don’t worry about that. I wouldn’t consider either a lightweight boot, but the Basic model is a bit lighter.
Technology and Materials
Here is when the techy materials make all the difference in the Premium boot! I would go as far as condemning the Basic to mild spring and autumn weather because I hate having cold feet.
I don’t know about you, but once my feet lose their warmth, they are as gone as a white walker in Game of Thrones. Truly and utterly dead, and they won’t get their warmth back unless I put them near a fire or source of heat.
Primaloft® Eco Insulation
So, on the one hand, the Primaloft® Eco Insulation makes sure to retain as much warmth as possible, even when your feet are wet. It is crafted from synthetic fibers (50% PET that comes from recycled plastic bottles) and forms an insulating structure made of compression-resistant fabrics around your feet. Each pair has as much as 400 grams of Primaloft® Eco Insulation.
And on the other, the waterproofing manages to keep your feet dry by incorporating top-of-the-line treatments, processes, and materials that are kept secret from us mere mortals! Just kidding, waterproof leathers are sealed during the tanning process and the footwear is seam-sealed, sometimes using an internal waterproof breathable membrane that also helps to keep your feet dry.
All in all, it is mighty difficult to get your feet wet inside a pair of waterproof Timberlands. You can be buried in snow and go unscathed! Trust me, I tried it! Had to clean the whole front yard after a particularly heavy snow and I got back in with my feet as toasty as I came out of the house. They got my seal of approval after that!
Anti fatigue technology
Oh, I almost forgot. They have an anti-fatigue technology that might sound like complete bollocks but it works! After you have gone and walked your fair share when out exploring you will appreciate the shock-absorbing, geometrical technology that helps to absorb the energy back to the foot and softens each step adding to your overall support and comfort.
I know, when you hear it like that it sounds fishy. But it really works and you can feel the difference when wearing a pair of shoes that don’t have it. Particularly so if your feet are already tired or were just inside a comfy pair of Premium 6-inch boots. The leather insole adds even more cushioning.
Environmentally friendly leather
Timberland sources their leathers (for all of their shoes!) from tanneries that are rated either Silver or Gold for environmental responsibility. The Leather Working Group, an auditioning group, is in charge of rating these tanneries with the utmost care to protect our environment. Not all of us can go planting wild corals to conserve the Natural Reefs of Australia, but we can certainly take a little care in what we buy and from whom. So, do your research and chose wisely!
Ah, last but not least… The boot laces are also engineered to stay tied. How? No idea, but they actually stay tied on both the Basic and Premium 6-inch boots!
Flexibility (Sole Bending Test)
They are both quite bendy, actually. Considering that this is a rubber lug outsole made from 10% plant-based materials, it is almost surprisingly so. The second midsole layer that adds additional support doesn’t impede its flexibility either. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they are bendy, but considering the type of boot, they are surprisingly comfortable in that regard.
Timberlands are done with a premium leather upper and rubber lug outsole. They are quite durable and can take a lot of damage. Their hardware is also rust-proof so a little water won’t shorten your boots’ lifespan. However, the nubuck leather that is typical for both the Basic and Premium 6-inch boots is not the easiest type of leather to maintain.
Effort to Upkeep & Ease of Cleaning
Nubuck requires a of of upkeep to continue looking smooth and unworn. It should be foam cleansed and dry cleaned with the Timberland specialized kit with certain regularity. Balm proofer should also be reapplied to avoid water stain and to repel water from entering the material.
Colors can also heavily influence the durability of your boots. Darker colors tend to look new the longer because small stains, scratches, and burns are mostly hidden by the darker hues of the leather. There are a bunch of different colored Timberland boots to choose from.
The wheat nubuck is your usual yellow boot, the rust nubuck is what is usually referred to as a tan boot, there is also a medium brown, a blue/grey nubuck, a navy waterbuck, a light grey, and a black model. The light grey is combined with grey to create the only Premium model that has two colors.
Basic boots have only two colors available. I’m pretty sure that Premium boots are one of the most popular models and one of the longer-standing ones too.
The Head Turn Counter
By head-turning power, we mean how many people turned their heads to look at the shoes within 30 minutes of walking down a busy pedestrian city street. Although Timberlands are not the sexiest boots out there, they can certainly turn a head or two on the streets. Particularly the yellow, most classic model that absolutely everyone recognizes.
I counted 22 people out of several hundred for the premium and 15 people for the basics. For what it’s worth, they both turned some heads but the premiums pipped it. Both pairs earn points for being a key item in achieving a rugged cottagecore or gorpcore look. And even more so for a lumberjack look when combined with a plaid red flannel shirt. I dig that look, and it is totally trending right now so you just have to make the most of it and take your Timbs out for a walk while they are hot!
By style versatility, we mean how easy they are to combine and how hard it is for them to accommodate different occasions and styles. In the case of the Basic 9-inch boots, they are a casual shoe that goes great with jeans, corduroy pants, or sweatpants. They tend to look quite relaxed, particularly with laces half open and pants tucked inside. They can also pass undetected if you pull your pants over them, so they are ideal if you are going for a normcore style.
Premium boots on the other hand have a more outdoorsy feel about them that instantly upgrades an ensemble and gives it a lumberjack feel. I don’t mean this in a bad way but even a classic and very city-like bomber jacket with denim pants will feel somewhat outdoorsy with a pair of Premium Timberlands.
They are not very versatile in the sense that they look kind of weird with shorts and not at all okay with formal pants. So usability is limited in that aspect. However, they are a great option to travel, since they accommodate a lot of difficult terrains.
Are you ready to shop for some Timberlands? They can both be great workwear since they protect your toes and both offer some insulation.
But…Premium boots are definitely the better shoe since they have top-notch insulation and top-of-the-line waterproofing. If you’re looking for a trail-ready, high-performance pair of shoes, these are your boots. I can guarantee you will love them to pieces! (Quite literally, you won’t stop using them until they are completely worn out!)
One of the main differences between the Basic and the Premium boots is their ankle cushioning that offers better support. This small feature on the Timberlands Premium boot improves the overall safety these boots provide by avoiding simple accidents. They are also much better when it comes to comfort since they have extra insole cushioning and anti-fatigue tech. Basic boots are better for milder temperatures or seasons like spring and fall, whereas Premium boots are ideal for winter and can take the coldest temperatures like a champ.
If I had to choose one as the best, there is no doubt in mind that I would choose the Premium model. They are the ultimate classic and a purchase that will last you a long time, making them an ideal investment for your closet. The best part about them being so iconic is that they will never be out of style!