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Timberland Launches Future73

Celebrating Five Decades of Its Iconic Boots with Designer Collaborations

Timberland boots, the rugged workwear essential that has transcended its beginnings as a practical shoe that can withstand even the harshest elements to become a pop culture icon in its own right, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. And what’s a more 2023 way to celebrate than to enlist a group of artists, designers, and other creatives to rethink the 6-inch Premium Boot? Titled Future73 (a nod to 1973, the year the first Timberland boots were created), the project attracted a diverse group of collaborators including A-COLD-WALL’s Samuel Ross, Christopher Raeburn, Humberto Leon, the contemporary artist Nina Chanel Abney, the founder of Knit in MotionSuzanne Oude Hengel, and the actor and CLOT founder Edison Chen. All of them have put their own spin on the beloved footwear, and the latter two also created a collection of ready-to-wear. The shoe will drop throughout the year beginning in March, alongside a series of activations.

Humberto Leon’s take on the classic Timberland 6-inch boot.

For many of the creatives, the collaboration with the brand was tied to feelings of nostalgia and their memories of the role Timberland played in the development of their own identities. “My first experience with the brand was getting my first pair in high school and feeling like the coolest person,” Humberto Leon recalled. “It represented a club I really wanted to be a part of.” Leon’s version keeps the shoe’s instantly recognizable uppers and places them on a tonal, extra chunky, tread sole. They are the 2020s version of the stiletto Timbs of the early aughts.

For A-COLD-WALL’s take, Samuel Ross removed the laces, replaced the uppers with a cool, blonde calfskin, and added clear lugged soles, making them at turns sleek and futuristic. He also shared his memories around the boot. “Culturally, by way of my upbringing, by way of my environment, and spending time between South London and the Caribbean, Timberland has been synonymous with counterculture,” Ross recalled. “It’s always had a layer of aspiration, but I think there’s a real functional prospect to that. This notion of a durable steel-capped boot, which is also a fashion statement, as well as being something you can wear day-to-day, has always been at the heart of my understanding” of the brand.

A sleek and minimal 6-inch boot from Samuel Ross’s A-COLD-WALL.

The artist Nina Chanel Abney recalls a similar experience. “I’m from the South suburbs of Chicago, I came to Timberlands through hip-hop, you know, and I really wanted to have a nod to hip-hop culture, but also thinking about the present and my interest in workwear,” the designer revealed. “During the pandemic, I started to explore the outdoors more, but I’m still maybe not the most outdoorsy person. I thought, if I was to go hiking, what would I want?”

Her resulting design is made from a rich honey-tinged shade of brown and features interchangeable gators that bear the signature geometric motifs in shades of green that often appear in her work. “What I’m excited about is that Timberland was interested in me as a person, and what I’m wearing everyday and I think that really comes through in this shoe,” she explained. “I think because my work is so colorful, my day-to-day is very classic and I don’t necessarily go for anything too trendy unless it’s like an add-on or an accessory—hence the switchable gator. The main boot is always going to be relevant and then you can get more fun depending on your personal style.”

Nina Chanel Abney’s take on the boot features removable panels bearing her signature motifs.


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