When you’re obsessed with footwear that means that you look at ALL footwear and while there are a bunch of shoe companies out there, one that caught my attention in 1987 is Timberland.
I was introduced to Timberland boots by cats in Brooklyn and there was something ‘special’ about the way that they wore them; untied with the tongue flapped over and the ever-present tree stamped on the heel.
It was Christmas time and I was able to visit family in NYC and leave the warm temps of the Virgin Islands behind for a bit.
While it was cold in NYC, it was far from cold in the Virgin Islands and I wanted a pair of Timbs, but there was no way that I was going to play myself and wear a pair of 6-inch wheats in the Caribbean!
It was 1987, and at the time there 2 camps when it came to music for me: (1) Def beats with messages of empowerment and that made me think about what it meant to be a Black male, and (2) songs that made me want to dance, have fun and look fly.
With songs like “I Need Love” by LL Cool J, “Head To Toe” by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, “I Ain’t No Joke” by Eric B & Rakim and “Top Billin’” by Audio Two, ’87 was a great year for music!
But, let me get back to the Timberland boots.
I wanted a pair of Timbs, but I didn’t want boots so as I visited the Albee Square Mall, in downtown Brooklyn, and looking at a lot of people’s feet to survey what they wore, I noticed a few cats that wore a maroon pair of shoes that had lug soles. They looked similar to a pair of boat shoes, but more rugged and raw than traditional boat shoes. I had to have a pair!
After looking for a pair in what seemed like every store up and down Fulton Street and crapping out, I hit Triangle Sports (only old-school Brooklyn folks will remember Triangle and their bins with deadstock sneakers that were zipped-tied together) and found them, but they didn’t have them in my size.
So, what does a person back in ’87 do to find a pair of shoes prior to the internet? You grab the Yellow Pages (read: A telephone book) and let your fingers do the walking and flip to “Shoes” and look for sporting goods stores and make some calls.
I called a few places in Manhattan and found a spot near Wall Street that them in stock and in my size. Needless to say, I broke out like Heavy D & The Boyz and made my way to the store.
Once I got to the store, I realized that it was a rarity for the owner to have teenagers in his store and probably even more rare to sell a pair of these shoes to someone that wanted to wear them as everyday shoes and not for hiking.
I secured a pair of the 3-eyelet, oxblood-colored, beautifully crafted shoes and I was amped!
Oh, and how could I forget the sweet smell of the leather when I opened the box? The premium leather had a distinct smell that to this day I can remember.
So, without further ado, I introduce you to the Timberland 50009.
The Timberland shoes are made with premium, full-grain, oiled leather for comfort, durability and abrasion resistance. The hand sewn construction is not only to improve the quality of these Heritage shoes, but to add an attractive hand-crafted look and feel. Additionally, the 360 degree rawhide lacing system allows for a custom fit.