Timberland honours the community that made the brand’s original yellow boot an icon

Timberland is pleased to present the Timberland® Hip Hop Royalty Boot, designed by Chris Dixon, Senior Footwear Designer, Advanced Concepts & Energy team. With this project, the iconic Premium 6-Inch Boot is reimagined with intricate design details that speak to Hip Hop – from a bold purple and gold colourway to a graffiti logo treatment to mini-microphone aglets. 

It’s been fifty years since Timberland’s original yellow boot was first created – a design that cemented the tree logo as a hallmark of innovation, craftsmanship, durability, and purpose. In a stroke of coincidence, 2023 also marks the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop. As part of a year-long series of projects that embody Timberland’s pioneering spirit, the brand is sharing stories of the people who helped build it; a key chapter is the role the Hip Hop community has played, and will continue to play, in driving boot culture.  

The project transcends product to partner with Black-owned small business CNSTNT DVLPMNT (Constant Development)—which was founded in 2018 by Chris Dixon and is operated by Chris, his daughter Jade Dixon, Colour Specialist, and Melvin Melchor, Brand and Education Director—with the aim of bringing product, education, and experiences to expand the creative community. Timberland’s partnership with CNSTNT DVLPMNT will centre on youth mentorship and community activations to advance the representation of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour designers in the footwear industry. 

For his boot design, Dixon delved into the rich culture of Hip Hop. The year of 1973 was the year that Timberland’s original yellow boot was introduced in New Hampshire to give outdoor workers the protection they needed; it was also the year that Hip Hop was born in the Bronx. These two very different worlds collided and melded, influencing each other over the course of the subsequent decades until they have today become inextricably interlinked. 

Every element of the Hip Hop Royalty Boot is imbued with meaning. The purple upper is a nod to the color’s centuries-long association with royalty and power, and a graffiti mural in the Bronx dedicated to Hip Hop’s founder DJ Kool Herc. The gold eyelets and collar, which emulate a crown, bolster the boot’s regal narrative. The gray sole is inspired by New York City’s ‘Concrete Jungle’ moniker and the textured Helcor material that runs up the backstay, by vinyl records. A green label reminiscent of a New York street sign traverses the tongue and is printed with ‘Sedgwick Ave.’ – the street address of the house party where Hip Hop was born. The boot’s laces are modeled on a mic cord aglet and the label on the boot’s hangtag (known by insiders as the “Badoink”) depicts DJ turn tables. Finally, the Timberland® tree logo has been reinterpreted as a purple graffiti tag.  

Together, the signatures of the Hip Hop Royalty Boot incorporate the four elements of Hip Hop: MCing, DJing, break dance, and graffiti. Through these mediums, young Black and Brown people from the Bronx developed a whole new means of self-expression, and now Dixon is celebrating the multifaceted art form that changed music forever. Everything down to the boot’s seam-sealed construction and 400 grams of PrimaLoft® insulation has been considered – retaining the qualities of waterproof protection, warmth, and style that drew the Hip Hop community to the original.  

While the BIPOC community has been instrumental in cultivating footwear culture, just 3% of designers identify as Black or Brown. Dixon plans to change that statistic with CNSTNT DVLPMNT and Timberland is supercharging his mission. The workshops, which aim to nurture students’ creativity and open their eyes to new potential career paths, will start in New York and expand to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Charlotte throughout spring and summer 2023. Timberland designers will make guest appearances; one student design from each workshop will be brought to life at Timberland’s in-house prototyping lab and maker space; and the brand will facilitate a student-led marketing photoshoot with a professional photographer. Chris Dixon, Senior Footwear Designer, Advanced Concepts & Energy for Timberland says: “Having the opportunity to design in celebration of both boot and Hip Hop culture is a huge honor for me. The Hip Hop Royalty Boot project is Timberland’s way of giving Hip Hop its flowers and showing appreciation for what they have done for the brand. I am really happy to partner with Timberland and give young creatives something I did not have as a kid, which is the empowerment of creativity.” 

New Issue

Subscribe to the Viper Newsletter for the latest news, events and offers

Top Stories