The mainstream fashion world might just now be getting hip to the allure of Timberland boots, but construction workers, hiking enthusiasts, and anyone who actually paid attention to hip-hop fashion over the past 25-plus years can tell you — they ain’t nothing new. In 2014, Elle found itself amid a bit of a controversy after declaring Timberland boots as an on-the-verge-type accessory that was “about to explode” because North West, Rita Ora, and a few celebrity “cool girls” had been photographed in them. But for many of us, Timberlands are a beloved staple — especially if you’re a New Yorker.
A quick glance at the hashtag #newyorkersbelike on Instagram and you’ll find a sprinkling of memes poking fun at the city’s residents for their ardent, sometimes impractical love of the shoe. The less-than-PC hashtag #newyorkniggas yields even more Timb-related results, like one showing a pair of white Timberland boots with the caption “Before entering heaven, anybody from New York gets a pair of these.”
“I’d be mad at all this NY slander on the Internet, but dude next to me on [the] train looked at my screen & asked how much these go for, then I realized this is straight facts!” poster @jhoodcomedy captioned the hilarious photo.
And I can’t lie — New Yorkers have a very special relationship with their Timberlands, and the love runs deep. And the weather doesn’t matter — New Yorkers will rock their Timbs like it’s minus-2 degrees and “brick” outside, even if we’re in the middle of a carnival parade in the Caribbean. Director, designer, and DJ Vashtie Kola wore a pair of powder blue ones to her first carnival in Trinidad last month. Heavy-duty boots in the middle of scorching-hot tropical weather might make little sense to some people, but for New Yorkers, it’s as natural as dozing off on the subway and waking up just as the train doors open at your stop.
Here, six New Yorkers explain what the obsession is all about.