Timberland’s 6-inch work boots occupy spaces appreciated in contemporary fashion. It gives off an immediate regional and global feel, and it now looks like home on runways as well as construction sites. This is thanks to countless 1990s New York rappers who soon embraced the wheat-colored boot, making it the fabric of influential hip-hop style. (Everyone from Biggie Smalls to Mobb Deep to Jay-Z to Kanye West brought a pair.) The boot has finally made its way into the fashion space, with Luxury designers and brands pay their respects to style.
At this point, the shoes are certainly an icon around the world but are still particularly beloved at the Big Apple. You will see irresistible silhouettes everywhere: downtown, neighborhoods, and in every other corner of the city. It makes perfect sense that Timberland has teamed up with Alife, a popular New York streetwear label since 1999, for a brand new collaboration focused on boots. A little more surprised? In fact Alife has taken the classic Timberland to the next level-literally.
“Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am in Timbs nine months out of the calendar year,” said Rob Cristofaro, Founder and Creative Director of Alife. “The six-inch size is the most iconic silhouette Timberland has.” Needless to say, the importance of this particular boot is not lost on Cristofaro, a native New Yorker. In fact, this isn’t the first time the designer has added his stamp of approval to a boot — way back in 2007, years before frenetic collaborations dominated the fashion space, Alife cooperates with Timberland simply co-branding an iconic boot. This time, Cristofaro knew he wanted to do something bigger.
It started with a tall idea: what if Timberland created a new silhouette that was simply an inch taller than the beloved original? A few years ago, Cristofaro mocked the “new” 7-inch boot, and it’s been in a folder on his computer ever since. Fast forward to 2019, when Cristofaro was introduced by a close friend to a new director at Timberland. He finally came up with the concept. After all the technical facts were ironed flat, the final boot grew a total of an inch and a half from its original height. You’ll also see some nods to another New York-approved Timberland style, super boot, nicknamed the “40 under” for its ability to withstand cold weather. Cristofaro affectionately calls his boot “20 below,” as it separates the difference between a nine-inch Super Boot and a six-inch work boot.
Alife is known for bringing this unexpected, heart-warming aesthetic to projects and this is no exception. (Just watch Crocs sock shoes of the brand). “Growing up as a native New Yorker, having two pairs of shoes represent New York like no other,” explains Cristofaro. “The first is a white Air Force 1 and the other is a 6-inch Wheat Timbs. Period.” Cristofaro sees potential in this shoe beyond a one-time collaboration, but instead, a silhouette that could become a mainstay of Timberland’s offering. Alife has managed to combine two revered boots into an eye-catching design that provides a high-wearing feel, so the idea of that happening isn’t far-fetched. Time will tell whether silhouettes exist in the past of this project. But Alife has been in the tough and messy streetwear game for more than 20 years — Cristofaro and crew have proven an eye for enduring design. And if anyone can design the next iconic Timberland, it’s definitely a sharp-eyed New Yorker with a big idea.