Premium vs Basic Timberland Boots (CUT IN HALF)

Are the Premium Timberland Waterproof Boots worth the 80-or-so dollars more than the “Classic,” or usually called “Basic” Timberland Waterproof Boots?

They’re both waterproof and they’re even both insulated, and given those are the features the average customer is buying them for, it might actually be a pretty hard sell to get you to shell out the extra cash.

Then again, those Premium Tims? They’re the company’s bestselling and most iconic product. The ones that have become emblematic of the brand and an icon everywhere from New England farms to just about every hip hop video in the 90s. (Fun fact: sales more than tripled when Tupac and Biggie started wearing them in their music videos.) 

So, Premium or Basic? For today’s article, our pal Weston Kay at Rose Anvil lent us his voice from his video below where he dissects both of them to get past the marketing and into the nitty gritty reality. Let’s get to it.

Light and Functional
Timberland Men's 6 inch Classic Boot

These insulated work boots feature seam-sealed waterproof protection and rubber lug outsoles to grip rugged terrain.

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06/04/2023 10:24 pm GMT
The Waterproof Classic
Timberland Men's 6 inch Premium Waterproof Boot

Waterproof, under $200, and insulated for winter, Tims are an icon of both New England farmers and urban style for good reason.

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06/04/2023 09:24 pm GMT

Premium vs Basic Timberlands: First Impressions

Both have:

  • A similar silhouette
  • The same “wheat” colored nubuck leather
  • An insulating collar
  • A chunky, luggy outsole

A quick rundown on the specs of these boots.

Both are made with the exact same nubuck, a leather that’s often mistaken for suede, but nubuck is thicker and tougher because the hide hasn’t been split down the middle like suede has.

A few differences visible right off the bat is the Premium boot has a different color stitching, it has a leather liner, and the collar is made out of a different material. It’s also 7 ounces heavier, at 1 pound 14 oz.

timberland basic vs premium boots

Premium vs Basic Timbs: A Side-by-Side Comparison

After cutting the boots in half with a bandsaw (some pictures below), let’s see what we find from the analysis.

The Lining and Interior

  • The Premium is partly leather lined and has more structure
  • The Basic has the same insulation liner, but no leather lining

The Premium boot has a much better interior. There’s a lot more rubber to it and a lot more structure to it. After his experience tearing apart the Basic Timberland, Weston was surprised to find he was incapable of tearing the stitches apart on the Premium version, which contains more glue and has a proper leather lining.

The Premium ones have a partial leather liner with the insulation lining, while the Basic ones just have the insulation liner.

The counters are the exact same: a Texon counter which is good for this style of boot.

Note that both boots are waterproof by virtue of the way the leather is treated and a layer of glue-like material painted over the seams. This is in contrast to a boot having, say, a waterproof Gore-Tex sock lining. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t waterproof: Timberland managed to make them so without adding the extra bulk that often accompanies a “waterproof” label, which is good news for those who find waterproof lining a little stuffy.

Premium Timbs VS Basic Timberland Boots collars

The Collar

  • The Premium has a leather collar
  • The Basic has a plastic collar

One of the biggest differences, maybe not structurally but aesthetically is, is the cuff.

The Premium ones have a leather cuff, the Basic ones have a cheap plastic cuff, and that plastic one is going to start cracking with time. The foam interior of the collar is the same on both boots, and it’s intended to improve the insulation and keep heat from escaping the boot’s interior.

timberland pemium vs classic boots
Premium on the left, Basic on the right.

Uppers of the Boot

  • Both boots have the same leather for the upper

And then we go to the uppers of the boot. Both are the same leather, Timberland’s iconic “wheat” colored nubuck. Many mistake it for suede, but nubuck is thicker, with the fuzzy “nap” coming from buffing the leather to the point that a short nap of protein fibers is exposed.

Both are waterproofed the same way: the stitching is waterproofed with some cementing, but the rest of the waterproofness comes from the leather itself. 

Premium Timbs VS Basic Timberland Boots insole
Premium on the bottom, Basic on top

Insole Insert

  • Timberland’s Premium Boot has a much thicker, more shock absorbant insert
  • Timberland’s Basic Boot, while insulated, is thinner and less comfortable

The Premium one is a lot thicker and has a little bit of leather on the heel part. The Basic ones are just a really thin, simple inserts that you’re not going to get a whole lot of comfort out of. But it has insulation on it. 

Weston really prefers the Premium ones as they offer more cushioning, shock absorption, and comfort. 

As for the insole underneath the insert, it’s the same between the two: hard, laminated cardboard near the heel and then it goes to a layer of a Texon fiberboard.  


They both have a metal shank inside of them.  This is a hard piece of material, usually (and in this case) steel that’s inserted under the insole between the heel and midfoot. It offers stability and helps keep the arches from collapsing with time.

Premium Timbs VS Basic Timberland Boots heels

Outsole and Heel Cushioning

  • The Premiums have longer lasting foam and a higher quality outsole

The Premiums have a much higher quality sole with a thicker heel that’s made from a quality urethane, unlike the cheaper rubber on the Basic Tims.

Inside the heel, both have added material for cushioning: Premiums have a recycled, high density foam while the Basics have a lower density foam that won’t last as long.

timberland premium vs basic

Premium vs Basic Timberlands: Which Is Better?

The Premium Timberlands are better than the Basic Timberlands. Big surprise!

We think it’s worth the money.

The Waterproof Classic
Timberland Men's 6 inch Premium Waterproof Boot

Waterproof, under $200, and insulated for winter, Tims are an icon of both New England farmers and urban style for good reason.

Check on Amazon Check on
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
06/04/2023 09:24 pm GMT

“It’s better construction, better materials, better outsole, and — this is probably the thing I was most annoyed about — the Premiums have real leather cuff,” says Weston. “So if I was to make a choice, I would always lean towards the Premium ones. They look way more comfortable and are better constructed.”

Most people that do reviews, they’re doing it based on their own experience with it, and that can vary so much from person to person. But with this style of video, we can tear it apart and have a solid, research-backed opinion on it. 

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Veljko Vesic

Hey there! I'm Veljko Vesic, a wordsmith with a soft spot for boots and durable apparel. I thrive on the thrill of combining my love for fashion with the power of the written word. When I'm not busy crafting engaging content, you'll find me exploring hiking trails, hunting for the perfect pair of boots, or diving into research about long-lasting fashion trends.

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