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Timberland PRO Valor boot mixes comfort with durability

The company made a name for itself back in the early 1970s by producing durable waterproof work boots

Nowadays the name Timberland elicits images of fashionable outdoor gear more for hikers and less for law officers. However, that's how Timberland made a name for itself back in the early 1970s—by producing durable waterproof work boots.

Timberland returned to that era with its PRO Valor series. Launched in 2008, the series focuses specifically on footwear for police, EMS and other public safety officials. At the beginning of 2010, the line introduced the Timberland McClellan, a boot that replaced Timberland's Yorktown with plenty of features at a low price point.

"It isn't your grandfather's work boot anymore," said Steve Ammon, Design Director for Timberland PRO. "The consumer today has grown up wearing sneakers. We wanted to produce something that was lightweight, out-of-the-box comfort and waterproof — all of the essentials that are required for the first responder."

And Timberland did just that. With 6- and 8-inch versions on the market, the McClellan is a soft-toe boot that's completely metal free, an attribute that's helpful to those entering and exiting security checkpoints. While many boots aren't fully waterproof, this specific style is enveloped in water-repelling membranes almost all the way to the top. Its side zipper has a full gusset that is waterproof as well.

Weight is another major component of Timberland's latest boot. The average work boot weighs around 1,000 to 1,200 grams. Compare that to the 8-inch McClellan, which tips the scale at 674 grams. Ammon compares regular-weight boots to wearing cinderblocks on your feet, especially when up against the lightweight version. The boot also features Pro Valor's patented Dynamic Anti-Fatigue technology, which adds an extra level of comfort.

"Comfort to me is the absence of noticing something," Ammon said. "So, if they don’t notice what their feet feel like then that's a comfortable product."

The boot's Break Support Flex Propel (BSFP) system also adds to the comfort level. Developed about a decade ago, the system focuses on outsole mechanics with a fiberglass, heavy-duty shank to ensure optimal arch support.

Looking ahead, Timberland PRO continues to work with domestic SWAT teams and snipers. One future consideration is broadening its color variation, getting away from its black-only selection. "Tactical is really the way that we see the future," Ammon said. "We're definitely going to see more leaning toward the military style boot."

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