Timberland Shoes

Timberland Shoes

At Timberland, things are different from other companies. At our corporate headquarters, employees work hard to make some of the world's most innovative products, then use paid time-off to make a difference in the community.

History of Timberland

Children play in our in-house day care center. The committed young people of City Year New Hampshire, a national youth corps that recently set up shop within Timberland's walls, are hard at work. And throughout the entire company, it's evident that doing well and doing good are inextricably linked.

Our story began in 1918, in a small Boston, Massachusetts shoe company where Timberland founder, Nathan Swartz, began his bootmaking career as an apprentice stitcher. With his own hands, he cut leather, stitched seams, attached soles and learned how to craft fine leather boots. In 1952, he bought half an interest in The Abington Shoe Company. Three years later, he bought the remaining interest and welcomed his sons into the company. Together, they made shoes for leading manufacturers for nearly 10 years. In the '60s, waterproof leather boots as we know them didn't really exist. The Swartz family helped change all that by introducing injection-molding technology to the footwear industry. This technology fused soles to leather uppers without stitching, producing one of the first truly waterproof boots.

In 1973, the Timberland name was born. "Timberland" started as the brand name for our original waterproof leather boot. Then, because the boot was so popular, the company name was officially changed to The Timberland Company. In 1978 and 1979, Timberland added casual and boat shoes to its line to become more than just a boot company. In the 1980s, the company expanded into an international lifestyle brand. Sidney Swartz took the reigns and under his leadership Timberland was launched in Italy, our first entry into the international market (today we're represented all over the world). Then we introduced Timberland® clothing and women's footwear. In 1989, Timberland became a founding sponsor of City Year, the Boston-based "urban Peace Corps" that brings together young people from diverse backgrounds for a year of full-time community service. Today our relationship with City Year is more powerful than ever.

During the '90s, bold ideas like the Path of Service™ program began. It gives Timberland employees 40 hours of paid time-off to serve in their communities. We also came up with more great products and introduced them to the world - watches, socks, backpacks, kids' footwear and other gear. In 1998, we launched the Timberland PRO™ series of "Workboots for the Professional™." And, Jeffrey Swartz, stepped up to grow the company his grandfather started and the brand his father built, by turning Timberland into a twenty-first century example for socially responsible corporations around the world.


Timberland realizes that manufacturing our products and managing our business have an impact on the environment. We're committed to doing something about this. After listening to feedback from peer organizations, stakeholders and the very farmers who provide cotton for our apparel, we've focused our efforts on three areas that reflect today's biggest environmental challenges:


From stitching boots to lighting stores, our industry uses energy. We need energy to harvest the raw materials for our products, to transport goods and to finish fabrics, leathers and plastics. Then in factories, corporate offices and stores, we use more energy to create a productive work environment.

At Timberland, we like to head out and enjoy the outdoors, so energy efficiency gets personal. We're committed to preserving the Earth's climate by making a difference in how we consume energy. The greatest cause of climate change is burning fossil fuels to create electricity. We're getting more efficient, from raw materials to our showroom floors. We're finding more renewable and sustainable sources of energy and taking a hard look at how we transport products. We aim to reduce our impact and help others to do the same.

The big picture's important, so we partner with other organizations that share our goals. Our work with Clean Air Cool Planet helps us reduce our contribution to climate change.

Sometimes we have to be creative in seeking out better, cleaner sustainable energy sources. We heat our Netherlands distribution center with waste steam from a nearby power station, and get electricity from 100% renewable wind and hydroelectric sources. Working with Clean Air Cool Planet, we've pursued innovative products like "forward green tags" to fight climate change. Green tags are a tradable commodity that represents a fixed-quantity reduction in emissions. Since local utilities offer a limited number of renewable energy options, green tags are an important green power instrument that anyone can use to make a difference. In 2002, these tags allowed us to reduce our CO2 emissions by 2,500 tons.


Many chemicals used in the footwear industry are toxic—both to us and to our environment. We've found that we often use such chemicals deep within in our supply chain, like in vendors' suppliers' facilities. These facilities might be a few degrees removed from our design centers, but we're as committed to making a difference there as we are within our own four walls.

We've started to eliminate chemicals by minimizing the solvents we use to assemble our footwear. So far, so good: our suppliers reduced solvent use by 60% for some styles by using water-based adhesives. In some cases, these new adhesives have actually improved product performance, allowing us to increase our stringent standards for bond strength between the soles and uppers of our shoes.

We're also always looking for ways to use organic cotton in our products. Farmers use chemical pesticides and fertilizers to grow conventional cotton, and our apparel relies heavily on their cotton production. So we've started to incorporate organic cotton—grown without harmful chemicals—into our apparel line. In 2002, we converted about 50,000 T-shirts used for promotional events to 100% organic. In 2003, we introduced a line of 100% organic cotton T-shirts. Moving forward, we'll be adding a 100% organic collection in Fall 2003 and blending 6% organic into additional items in 2004.

This isn't about us, but we're happy to help shoulder the responsibility. We think it's important to help grow the market more broadly for others in our industry. Working in partnership with other retailers, we're raising awareness and improving how the organic market works. Timberland was a founding member of the Organic Exchange, an organization devoted to achieving these goals.


Natural resources like rubber, cotton and leather are fundamental to our product. Wood is fundamental to our operations—from packaging and paper to buildings and stores. We believe sustainable use of these resources is fundamental to our lives together on this planet.

We remember the old adage "reduce, reuse, recycle" when we package Timberland® products. By gluing together our boxes instead of folding them, Timberland uses 15% less material. The resulting box is also stronger. To close the loop, we purchase only 100% post-consumer recycled content cardboard to make our footwear boxes.

Below is a small selection of pictures showcasing the numerous different styles the Timberland brand offers to its customers.


Asphalt Trail FTK


Chocorua Trail


Earthkeepers Bethel Chelsea


Euro Sprint