There are brands that end up being defined by a particular product or category in their line-up — Therm-a-Rest makes sleep systems but is known for its sleeping pads, Lululemon’s Align leggings are easily the brand’s most popular leggings and it’s hard to mention Benchmade without bringing up the Bugout. In the world of boots, however, when the brand Timberland is brought up, there’s an image that immediately comes to mind:
The light brown Timberland Premium 6-Inch Waterproof Boot, which is popular in the Midwest and Northeast, has come to define the brand. But Timberland has a plethora of boot options beyond that icon — and some of them are stepping out from the shadow of the light brown boot.
Enter: the Greenstride Motion 6.
Initially debuting in the spring of 2023 and updated with waterproofing for the fall, the hiker, which comes in low and mid versions, is a complete departure from its light brown brethren. It looks like a Vasque, or old-school Danner, or even a Keen. Plus, it has the sustainable features and fabrics that are as much a necessity for many customers as a solid outsole and durable upper.
“We first launched the Greenstride Motion 6 hiker in spring of 2023, but wanted to continue to develop the style so it could meet all of our consumers’ needs while keeping its comfort and style,” Chris McGrath, Timberland’s vice-president of product design and development, says of the Greenstride’s evolution. “The new Greenstride Motion 6 waterproof styles with TimberDry waterproof protection … gives consumers the ability to wear their hikers all year long through rain, rivers and streams, or just combating puddles on the street.”
Of course, it’s easy to talk a big game, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating — and the proof of the boot is in the hiking. After testing the new Timberland Greenstride Motion 6 out for a few months, here’s what I think of the boot.
The Greenstride Motion 6: What We Think
The updated Greenstride Motion 6 is a great three-season boot. It feels more lightweight than it is, and it’s comfortable and well-built — but in my opinion, the waterproof membrane traps so much heat that it makes it too warm for a summer boot. Timberland nailed the stylish-yet-capable balance that not every outdoor product can attain, while using an impressive degree of sustainable materials.
I’d compare these to a Vasque Breeze in regards to comfort and performance; they’re soft without being squishy, have a comfortable ankle collar and hold their own in a variety of conditions. The Greenstride Motion 6 is good-looking enough to wear around town, too, although the lugs won’t appreciate being worn down on concrete and pavement.
Timberland’s hiking boot is surprisingly comfortable out of the box
The six in “Greenstride Motion 6” represents the boot being designed for six different varieties of motion, and while I found that a little hard to validate (which six ways are you referring to, Timberland?) I did find that the boots are instantly comfortable. You can wear them straight out of the box and be totally fine.
Although the mids weigh in at 2 pounds 9.6 ounces, they feel much lighter than their actual weight; I was surprised to learn tof their actual weight. The discrepancy in the actual mass versus my perception can be boiled down to the fit and materials: the Greenstride Motion 6 is true to size, and the quality materials create a cushioned, comfortable ride that doesn’t skimp on energy return or support.
Normally, I find the toebox and ankle collar are the areas with the highest probability of hot spots on new boots, and the places that take the longest to break in. With Timberland’s new hiking boots, though, hot spots were of no concern. I hiked for three miles in my pair right after removing them from the box, and was impressed with the level of stability and support, without the rigidity or tightness of a typical brand-new boot.
The Greenstride Motion 6 is too warm for summer hikes
The newest version of the Greenstride Motion 6 inlcudes Timberdry, Timberland’s own waterproof membrane — and while it’s plenty effective at keeping water at bay, it’s not breathable.
Timberdry, paired with the nubuck leather/recycled fabric uppers and a lack of mesh or other breathable materials, creates a very warm environment for the foot. I like these for a spring, fall or winter hike, but if you run hot in the first place, live in a warm environment or plan on taking long hikes in the summer heat, I wouldn’t recommend these. I don’t typically run hot on hikes, but when I wore my Greenstride Motion 6s on a recent summer trek with temperatures in the mid-80-degree-Fahrenheit range, I noticed the lack of breathability right away.
It’s capable, but this hiking boot isn’t super-technical
The Greenstride Motion 6 is a winner in the style department. Each of the colorways has a distinctly vintage vibe to it, and the boot doesn’t read as overly bulky. That being said … the lifestyle look of the boot is indicative of its technical abilities.
The product description of the boot says the tongue is fully gusseted; that isn’t the case in actuality, and because the tongue isn’t gusseted, small rocks and debris found their way into my boots mid-hike. The boot is protected from moisture thanks to the proprietary TimberDry waterproof membrane, but as mentioned, while it certainly keeps water at bay, it’s not breathable, missing the balance other membrane manufacturers have been able to strike. The lugs are grippy, but at less than 3mm, they’re not going to give the hold more technical outsoles will.
This boot is ideal for short-to-medium hikes in temperate weather … but if you’re thru-hiking or prioritize breathability in your boots, I wouldn’t recommend these for you.
The Greenstride 6 makes strides in sustainable materials
Sustainability is a buzzword that evokes a couple reactions: a) you’re sick of hearing about it, b) you didn’t really care that much about the sustainability of your hiking boot in the first place or c) you read labels, check tags and do your homework to make sure an item billed as “sustainable” really is. While Timberland’s newest hiking boot makes great strides in the matter, the reality is that sustainability is a complex — and often dissatisfying — story when it comes to manufacturing goods.
Timberland constructed the upper of the Greenstride Motion 6 with two of its own proprietary fabrics. The first is Timberland’s own leather; the brand is part of the Leather Working Group, which is a “group of brands, retailers, product manufacturers, leather manufacturers, chemical suppliers and technical experts that have worked together to develop a environmental stewardship protocol specifically for the leather manufacturing industry.” But the LWG only audits tanneries; while this is a step in the right direction, LWG certification doesn’t take into account the myriad other components of the leather supply chain.
The second fabric is Timb’s own Rebotl fabric, which is made by taking recycled post-consumer plastic water bottles and turning them into yarns. Rebotl contains at least 50 percent recycled plastic.
The Greenstride sole is made up of 65 percent biobased materials, including sugar cane and responsibly grown rubber. The 55-percent rubber outsole comes from regenerative farms, although Timberland fails to specify individual farms that contribute to its program.
Greenstride Motion 6: Alternatives
Picking the “best” hiking boot is a complex battle: one person’s most comfortable boot is another person’s blister machine. Because of the variability in foot size and shape, there will always be a debate as to which hiking boot can be given the title of “best in show.”
If you like the comfort, sustainability and cool factor of the Greenstride Motion 6, there are a few other options you’ll want to check out before you make your final decision. Vasque’s Breeze is also comfortable straight out of the box, and the newest version boasts more sustainable materials than ever. Salomon’s X Ultra 4 Mid GTX is waterproof but breathable, thanks to its Gore-Tex membrane, and its deep, multi-directional lugs grip wherever you need them to. And The Weekend Boot from Thesus boasts a unique vintage style, a comfortable midsole and plenty of colorways.