For five decades, The Original Timberland® Boot has proven to be a timeless staple of style and culture, built to embrace and empower communities from construction to creativity, from hip-hop to homebuilding, from fashion to fine art. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Timberland tells the story of The Original Timberland® Boot through the lens and voices of the diverse communities and generations that have made it a global icon.​

Directed by New Zealand filmmaker Tom Gould, This is Not a Boot: The Story of an Icon recounts stories of the boot’s humble beginnings as a waterproof leatherwork boot—unheard of in 1973—to its bold adoption across the hip-hop scene in New York City and global movements spanning Milan, London, and Tokyo. Woven throughout are the collaborations, evolutions, innovations, and responsible design ethos that are shaping the Timberland of today and tomorrow.

The short film features interviews from cultural icons such as Jeff Staple, Angie Martinez, Ronnie Fieg, ASAP Ferg, Rakim, Fat Joe, Goldie, Takayuki Ohashi, Veneda Carter, Bircide, J-Ax, and many others, in what could be called a love letter to the boot’s rich history and impact.​ It also features rare archival footage of founder Nathan Swartz’s son and grandson talking about the original Yellow Boot and the brand and community it inspired. 

“We’ve always known the Yellow Boot was special,” said Susie Mulder, Global Brand President for Timberland. “But this film reminds me, and now the world, of its bold and remarkable 50-year journey—from its breakthrough innovation to the deep cultural connections that made it the icon it is today. This is clearly more than a boot, and Tom Gould has captured that beautifully in this film through the voices of the communities that made it their own. I’m excited to see how this beloved boot will continue to evolve over the next 50 years.”

Humble, Rugged Beginnings

Before it became an icon, before it became a brand, The Original Timberland® Boot was merely a response to the harsh New England climate. Innovation, craftsmanship, and hard work set the stage for a journey the brand never could have expected. With focus on the early days of the ‘70s, from the Swartz family creating truly waterproof boots for workers using injection molding technology, to the first instances of resellers in NYC, the film starts with the origin story of the Yellow Boot.​

The Global Adoption

Far beyond its original purpose as a waterproof work boot, in the 1980s, The Original Timberland® Boot took on a life of its own. The global expansion and impact of the yellow boot across the fashion, music, and pop culture scenes made it an icon, specifically with its explosive adoption in the New York hip-hop scene, the Italian Paninaro movement, the UK rave scene, and Japanese streetwear.

Energy, Expansion, Longevity and Beyond

The legacy of the iconic Timberland® boot continues. With its reach across Japan & China, and energy-driven collaborations and innovations, the final chapter of the documentary proclaims the Timberland story to be far from over. Including highlights of the brand’s commitment to sustainability, hopes for the future, and a creative and inspiring sign-off from some brand fans. 

“I’ve been obsessed with Timberland from a young age, so being asked to direct this film celebrating 50 years of the brand was truly surreal,” said Tom Gould, director. “For me, the most rewarding part was being able to connect with all these amazing cultural icons, each with a very personal and emotional connection to the boot. Weaving their unique stories into a cohesive narrative that shows the Yellow Boot’s journey from its earliest days to the present was a rewarding challenge. In the end, the title could not be more apt: This is far more than a boot.”

This is Not a Boot: The Story of an Icon debuts in October with screenings in New York, London, Milan, and Shanghai, followed by a widespread global digital launch.

The film was directed by New Zealand filmmaker Tom Gould, with Elisabeth Stone and Klaudia Podsiadlo as executive producers and Francesco Raffo as producer.