A month or so back, I got an email from a Tennesseean up here who lives up this way in New Hampshire. He'd bought a couple of prints from us, and had them hanging up in the Granite State. And this is what he said about them:
Well, heck yes I'd like a new pair of shoes. I'm a shoe guy. I love shoes. And free shoes? Just because I sent him a print he bought? Well, course. Picked em, the Counterpane Spectator Oxford, they were sent down.
“ The prints have been many topics of conversation during cocktail parties at my home. Come to find out, many New Englanders, especially here on the seacoast, do not have a clue about what makes us who we are. Our culture, our values, sweet tea, and our firm belief in bourbon - neat. Just wanted to say Thank You for helping me share that with some new friends.
So, to the point. I work for Timberland and would like to send you a pair of shoes or two. Check out Timberlandbootcompany.com. This collection harkens back to the days of yesteryear. Hand tacked wooden outsoles. All are hand sewn, some in Maine. ”
Now, I'm also a guy who places fashion and fit over comfort. I'd prefer narrower arm holes even if that means my seersucker is going to scrape off my top layer of dermis. I want to look good, and I can personally deal with the discomfort. Small tradeoff to look dapper, I must say.
I've worn these shoes over the past month twice a week. And they came, out of the box, just as comfortable as a pair can come. I've had no complaints there. But I've also not been asked to put them to the test. But last night, as I got the train station, I found out I'd missed my bus (next one not for half an hour) and my wife was tied up at a meeting. I realized I was going to have to walk. Home. 2.5 miles. Up past Spy Pond and headed towards the Heights.
I was fully expecting that this hike was going to expose these shoes for what they were: a pretty face with shoe tacks and little substance otherwise. Supple leathered liars. Hardly fit to be called Spectator.
Blown away I was.
Got home after a healthy 49 minute sunset tramp through the flats to find that I was sweaty, hungry and I hadn't had to think about my shoes once.
Timberland sure is doing something right up the road. Maybe if we could all look back into the past, we could be making things here in America. Quality things. Beautiful things. Things to get us from here to there, looking good, and feeling good all the while.