Our iconic Timberland Yellow Boot is made from nubuck leather, but we use a variety of different materials to ensure each pair of Timberland boots does its job correctly. Most of our uppers are made of leather, which can be hard-wearing full-grain, stylish suede, or best-of-both nubuck.
At Timberland, we aim to only work with leather sourced from LWG silver or gold-rated tanneries, which follow environmental best practices. With high-quality inners, soles and binding, our boots become the comfortable, dry and stylish footwear that’s popular the world over.
The choice of leather generally depends on whether the boot is intended for leisure, fashion, working or hiking. For example, suede has a luxurious look and feel, but it is not appropriate for a workboot. Heavy full-grain leathers are durable and tough, but would probably be too much for a daily boot to wear in an office.
Our inners contain glove leather – a smoother, softer and more pliable hide – into the lining, as it provides the strength and structure of leather while feeling incredibly soft on the foot and reducing the break-in time that all new shoes need.
Our soles are made of injection-moulded rubber to achieve maximum grip, waterproofing and durability. See “What are Timberland soles made of?” below.
The uppers, inners and soles are sewn together using quadruple-row nylon, which is supremely strong and flexible, but also resistant to rot and mildew, making them perfect for any weather. Stitched together by expert shoemakers on specialist sewing machines, all of our boots receive the same quality treatment.
The soles are permanently bonded to the top of the boots, which is how we can guarantee dryness of your feet in the wettest of conditions. Finally, the eyelets are installed by our artisans before the shoes are sent for lacing, inspection and sale.
Nubuck leather is essentially full grain leather that’s had its outer surface sanded down. Because most of the natural blemishes on a hide appear on this outer layer, sanding it down gives a smooth, consistent finish.
Natural leather is a layered substance. There’s the outer layer with its distinctive shiny texture, and below that are the thicker layers that give the material its strength and flexibility. Full-grain leather uses the whole material (after excess thickness has been removed), and suede is a lower layer with none of the outer surface remaining.
Nubuck takes the best of both layers. Because the outer layer has been removed, what is left is a supple leather with no visible grain, which is also soft to the touch. In many ways, nubuck looks like suede, but squeeze a nubuck shoe and suede one and you’ll instantly feel the difference; nubuck is much sturdier.
The process starts with raw hides arriving at the tannery. They are split to produce the two layers described above and then put in the tanning machine where it’s treated to make it into the durable, supple material we know. After drying, it is then softened, dyed and dried again. The outer layer is gently sanded down and after the final treatment, it is applied, the leather is ready to be made into boots.
The drawback of nubuck’s beautiful velvety surface is that it can be easily scratched and its absorbent surface means stains can soak in and hold. For that reason, it’s important to keep your nubuck boots clean, and to wipe them down should you splash mud onto them. Timberland boots are coated to offer some protection, but you should get into a routine of regularly cleaning them. We recommend our own Renewbuck® Suede and Nubuck Foam Cleaner. Read more about caring for your boots here.
Our lug soles are made from rubber and come in different colours that complement the style of the upper, the most iconic of which is the honey lug on our iconic Yellow Boot™.
Recycling is an important part of our philosophy and we utilise a vast amount of high quality recycled rubber, particularly in our Earthkeepers footwear collection. The outsoles of these shoes contain around 33% recycled vulcanized tyre rubber, which not only ensures they’re more sustainable but also gives the same benefits as it gives to vehicles: strength, durability and grip. Our aim is to extend this commitment to recycling across our entire range, increasing sustainability while never compromising on quality.