The Timberland Flyroam Go Knit Oxford shoe is not exactly what springs to mind when you hear the word “Timberland.” More likely, you’ll picture tan high-top leathers in the brand’s signature monocoque style and aggressive sole. The construction boot has been around so long it actually gave its name to the company.
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Regardless, this is not that boot. Instead, Timberland treads into fashion-sneaker territory with a decidedly modern look and material choice. Knit mesh above the toe, soft rubber and wavy curves may have puzzled me at first. Like, what are these supposed to be?
That question gets answered immediately once on your feet: Free from the expectation of repelling snow and protecting toes from power tools, Timberland has made one of the better fitting shoes around.
The slightly higher and tighter ankle cuff creates a great hold on your foot. This makes you feel more like you’re wearing, unsurprisingly, a well-laced boot than a light-duty trainer. The sole has a couple of different compounds and a tread pattern that seems more show than function but it saves itself by including a little toe cap. What that toe cap is protecting is a very breathable and easily-dirtied upper. The knit is admittedly quite durable and rugged, offering layers and textures depending on ventilation or support areas. The toe box is amongst the better ventilated I have seen on a shoe I would consider wearing with a blazer.
The shoe lends itself to crisp looks in crisp weather and, apart from the leather nod to its manufacturer on the heel counter, is pretty stealthy branding-wise. With an interesting lacing pattern and materials to be visually interesting counterbalanced the discreet colourways, this shoe has proven to be quite versatile.
Incorporating very compliant materials with very stiff ones, modern styling alongside nods to traditional Timberland ruggedness is a difficult balance to achieve. This is a shoe that toes that line.