Could not stand up to the rigours of hiking in the Himalayas.
I purchased a pair of Timberland's Washington Summit Hiker boots from Amazon.com back in Oct-2011. I purchased the boots specifically for my then upcoming 6 month trip to the Himalayas starting Apr-2012.
I was happy with the boots for the initial few weeks of the trip. The boots looked good, comfortable to wear, had adequate grip, waterproof and generally a pleasure to wear while hiking in the mountains. Just what you would expect from a top of the line hiking boot from a reputed company such as Timberland.
The only complaint i had during the initial days was that the boots did not have any sort of toe protection. IMO all good hiking boots should have good toe protection as it can be very painful when you slam your foot on a rock or boulder while hiking. Apart from a couple of painful incidents I was generally happy with the performance of the boots.
But that performance did not last very long. A just after couple of months of hiking, the leather near the toe section of the boots began separating from the sole. The gap became wider as the days went on and right now the gap is around 3-4mm wide. Water began to seep in through the toe section of the boot and my feet were constantly wet even while hiking in a light rain or a light splash of water on my boots while crossing streams.
It became a miserable experience hiking with these boots in wet conditions, but i had no other alternative. You dont find a lot of shoe stores in the mountain wilderness of Ladakh, and after sinking over 160$ on these Timberlands i could not afford to buy another pair of shoes so soon and risk having them fail on me as these boots did. So i stuck out with them for the next few months.
Also one other complaint i had was that the leather upper required constant care inorder to keep it from cracking and keep it waterproof. Which is not ideal, if you are going to be trekking in the mountains for weeks at a time. For my next purchase i would definitely steer away from all leather boots like this and go for more synthentic (Goretex) reinforced fabrics.
Obvious Design flaws and Poor customer service response from Timberland.
On returning back home after the trip, I checked online to see if other users of the Washington Summit Hiker faced similar problems as mine. But the model i purchased was no longer available, instead it was replaced by a newer version which seemed to have been redesigned substantialy to prevent issues like mine from happening again.
As you can see the 2012 version has extra reinforcements around the toe area of the boots. That should prevent the leather upper from separating at the soles. Also the plastic soles seem to be now moulded all the way around the leather upper portion of the boots, making a much tighter bond between them.
The new design, clearly indicated that Timberland was aware of the problems with the original version of the boots and have attempted to correct them in the next version. I contacted Timberland Customer Service (US) to see if they would be graceful enough to accept the problem and fix my boots. Being from India (I purchased the boots from Amazon US and had my friends bring it for me), I was a bit sceptical that they would honour my request, and sure enough they just asked me to contact the Indian customer service arm of Timberland. Not surprisingly the Indian customer service did not respond to my emails. And my further emails to the US customer service also went unanswered.
This left bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I purchase all of my outdoor gear from the US and so do many of my friends. Most of the brands have been very generous in accomodating the repair/replacement requests from us. Just recently one of my friends send a Black Diamond backpack to the US to have its straps replaced by the company. But thats not the case with Timberland.
So in conclusion, I would like to request everyone to keep away from Timberland boots. They do make some good looking boots which are great for city and light back country use. But for extended trips into the mountains i would not recommend them to anyone, especially given their poor customer service response.
Btw, here's a bonus video from Timberland explaining how the Washington Summit is their top of the line hiking boot. If this is the quality of their top of the line hiking boots, i can only imagine how the rest of their boots are like.