Brand story: Timberland


Timberland's classic product designs are inspired by the company's rich New England heritage. All of Timberlands boots and shoes are designed with the outdoor lifestyle in mind, from urban streets to wooded trails.

On a mission to inspire and equip “adventurous Doers” to step outside, Timberland retains a continuous rich legacy for style with purpose to everything it creates. From the world-recognised iconic yellow classic boot to the ever-growing range of quality, durable and high-performance footwear aimed at would-be explorers. Timberland continues to push its eco-friendly innovation, focusing on natural, regenerative and recycled materials to help reduce the impact on our green environment.

The story of Timberland is an awe-inspiring tale that weaves together tradition, innovation, and sheer tenacity. It's a journey that begins in the early 20th century with a fourth-generation cobbler from Russia, Nathan Swartz, who was drawn to the world of shoe-making like a moth to a flame.

It all began in 1928, as young Swartz embraced an apprenticeship in Boston, Massachusetts. In no time, he became enamored with the craftsmanship and the opportunity to refine his family's age-old profession. As fate would have it, just a handful of miles away, the Abington Shoe Company was founded in South Boston in 1933. Drawn to their commitment to quality, Swartz ambitiously acquired a 50% stake in Abington in 1952 and, by 1955, owned it entirely.

As a fast-growing company in the 1960s, Swartz, armed with curiosity and determination, sought to revolutionize the footwear industry. Chasing a dream of optimizing production without compromising quality, Swartz stumbled upon the groundbreaking technology of injection-moulding. This technique used a unique chemical process to bind the base of the footwear to the uppers. This innovation not only sped up production but also created a line of robust, waterproof boots that outperformed anything else in the market. Thus, in 1973, the iconic Timberland boot was born, catapulting Abington to a whole new level of success.

In the twilight of his career, Nathan handed over the reins to his son, Herman Swartz, in 1968. Under his leadership, the company embraced a broader product line and soon earned international recognition. In a remarkable turn of events, it was the Timberland boot that sparked a fashion revolution, thanks to the Paninari youth movement in Milan. This transformed Timberland into more than a shoe company - it became a lifestyle brand.

Riding the wave of success, the company renamed itself after its best-selling product in 1978, marking the birth of the Timberland Company we know today. After Herman's retirement in 1986, Timberland was purchased by Sidney Swartz, Nathan's other son, who took the company public in 1987. By the turn of the millennium, Timberland had evolved into a billion-dollar global brand, adding clothing and accessories to their repertoire.

The culmination of the Swartz family's journey came in 2011 when Jeffrey Swartz, Sidney's son, and Nathan's grandson, sold Timberland to VF Corporation. The story of Timberland is indeed a testament to the vision of three generations of the Swartz family. Their relentless pursuit of excellence took a modest Boston shoe company and transformed it into an internationally acclaimed fashion brand.

Today, Timberland remains an iconic brand, celebrated globally for its unmatched quality and distinctive style. From the humble streets of South Boston to the high-fashion runways of Milan, the Timberland story continues to be written with every boot, every stitch, and every step. From humble beginnings to a household name, Timberland's rich history is an inspiring saga of innovation, determination, and success that's as durable as the boots themselves.