Where does Timbs come from?
With a corporate history reaching back into the early 20th century, the Timberland company introduced its Timberland brand-name six-inch work boot in 1973. The success of the footwear inspired the company to change its name to Timberland.
Although originally intended for blue-collar workers, Timberland boots became popular with rappers in the 1990s. Rappers may have been inspired to wear the boots by New York drug dealers who valued the boots’ sturdiness and comfort. Beyond wearing the boots, many rappers name-dropped them in their lyrics, usually shortening Timberland to Timbs. In 1991, Biz Markie rapped that he was “quite slim, but rougher than a pair of timbs.” The late Notorious B.I.G, who is still often associated with the boots, referenced Timbs in several songs including his 1994 “Suicidal Thoughts” and 1997 “Hypnotize.”
Timberland’s sales tripled in the 1990s, but the company’s president suggested that fashion was the “wrong reason” to buy the boots and suggested it was a passing fad in 1993. Nevertheless, Timbs remained popular, appearing in rap lyrics, and on many fans’ feet, well into the 2010s.
Who uses Timbs?
Timbs has spread from hip-hop into mainstream culture at large. Many customer reviews on Timberland’s website refer to the company’s products as Timbs. A Timberland employee even referred to the boots as Timbs in a feature posted on the Timberland site.
Still, Timbs are often associated with New York City, due in part to their popularity with New York-based rappers. For example, a photo of basketball player Derrick Rose in New York was posted on Reddit in 2016, with the caption “Derrick Rose showed up in NY without Timbs. Strike 1.”
Can it be cold again? My timbs and uggs are sad right now 😞
@TrinaRenee6, February, 2018
When I'm locked down I use Timbs as my shower slippers
Wu-Tang Clan, “Six Directions of Boxing” (song), 2012
Despite being from Latvia, Porzingis sure knows how New York city culture works. He famously rocked cornrows in his youth, and his gift of Timbs is just pitch perfect for the city’s culture.
Brad Taningco, ClutchPoints, December, 2017