Timberland’s Yellow Boot celebrates half a century with Tom Gould’s documentary

Celebrating five decades, Timberland's Yellow Boot shines in Tom Gould's documentary, revealing the rich heritage, cultural connections and undying appeal that marks its journey from workwear to iconic fashion staple.
November 1, 2023
Timberland's Yellow Boot celebrates half a century with Tom Gould's documentary
©Photo: Timberland
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Timberland’s Yellow Boot stands tall and proud, marking its impressive journey through 50 years of fashion, function and cultural significance. Originally created in 1973 as a rugged leather work boot to withstand the harsh and unpredictable New England weather, it quickly transcended its utilitarian roots to become a beloved icon in the 1980s. Various cultural movements and communities around the world embraced the honey-colored boot with its rounded toe, yellow laces and rugged rubber outsole, and Timberland became legendary.

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This half-century journey and cultural phenomenon of the Timberland Yellow Boot is meticulously documented by New Zealand filmmaker Tom Gould. In his 47-minute documentary, ”This is Not a Boot: The Story of an Icon,” Gould masterfully weaves together a tapestry of extraordinary archival footage and revealing interviews with high-profile figures who have played a part in the epic story of this iconic shoe.

Timberland's Yellow Boot celebrates half a century with Tom Gould's documentary
©Photo: Timberland

From affectionately known as Yellow Boots, Tims, Construct, ’61s, to Butters, the Timberland boot has earned numerous nicknames, each of which tells its own story. Gould’s documentary serves as a heartfelt tribute to this footwear marvel. With a distinctive style that blends ultra-creative, modern and energetic visuals, the director traces the boot’s humble beginnings to its surprising popularity among New York hip-hop artists, British rave enthusiasts and Japanese streetwear aficionados.

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Gould invites viewers into exclusive interviews with iconic figures in urban culture. The list includes designers Jeff Staple and Takayuki Ohashi; radio personality Angie Martinez, aka “The Voice of New York“; entrepreneur Ronnie Fieg; rappers ASAP Ferg, Rakim, Fat Joe, and J-Ax; legendary DJ Goldie; current star stylist Veneda Carter; and Paninaro phenomenon expert Bircide, among others. These interviews are enhanced by never-before-seen archival footage of the son and grandson of Timberland’s founder, Nathan Swartz.

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Susie Mulder, Timberland’s Global President, shares her excitement and pride in the unique legacy of the Yellow Boot: “We always knew the Yellow Boot was special. This documentary serves as a global reminder of its remarkable history, from its revolutionary innovation to the cultural connections that have made it the icon it is today. It is indeed much more than just a boot, and Tom Gould has captured its essence beautifully in this film. I look forward to seeing how this model evolves over the next 50 years.”

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Tom Gould, expressing his lifelong admiration for Timberland and the privilege of directing the film, adds, “I’ve been a die-hard Timberland fan since I was a kid, so being asked to create this film celebrating the brand’s 50th anniversary was completely surreal! Meeting all these incredible cultural figures, each with a very personal and emotional connection to the boot, was the most rewarding part. Sharing their unique stories and tracing the journey of the Yellow Boot from its inception to the present day was an exciting challenge. The film’s title, ‘This is Not a Boot: The Story of an Icon,’ couldn’t be more apt.”

Today, the legacy of the Timberland boot continues, marked by innovative designs and creative collaborations. The Timberland saga is far from over, as the final chapter of Gould’s documentary highlights the brand’s commitment to sustainable development and its future endeavors. This story is a testament to the timeless appeal and lasting impact of the Timberland Yellow Boot, a footwear icon that has left an indelible mark on fashion and culture for the past 50 years.

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Timberland's Yellow Boot celebrates half a century with Tom Gould's documentary
©Photo: Timberland
Timberland's Yellow Boot celebrates half a century with Tom Gould's documentary
©Photo: Timberland