There are some collaborations that make so much sense you have to wonder if the partnership wasn’t always a thing or are you just late to the party. Timberland linking up with Desus Nice and The Kid Mero for a limited-edition boot is one of those “Yeah, that works” kind of collabs.
Known for its simplicity and durability, Timbs have long been a staple within New York culture. During their ascent from online to Showtime, Desus & Mero have represented the Big Apple in a similar way. More than just two late-night talking heads, The Bronx natives have woven themselves seamlessly into the fabric of NYC the same way Timberland has.
When it came time to design their individual boots, the Bodega Boys drew inspiration from their teenage years growing up in the BX. "We've low key been working on this deal since kindergarten," Desus says. His six-inch premium waterproof boot mimics the marble notebook in which he penned his thoughts and jokes in as a youth. Featuring a flawless black leather with white stitching, his Timbs also includes salt and pepper gray upper with red pull tabs that help bring the look and feel of a classic composition book to life.
Echoing the “beef and broccoli” colorway of the ’hood famous Timberland Field Boot, Mero’s six-inch boot comes in waterproof brown nubuck and features the traditional Timberland outsole with a bold yellow midsole, padded collar, and rustproof hardware. Mero’s personal style shows up in the custom graffiti on the quarter panel—a nod to when he used to spray paint his way around the concrete jungle—and his personal moniker “East Tremont Stevie B” on the tongue.
Ahead of the November 13th release, Desus & Mero spoke with Complex about their personal connection to Timberland, how it feels to have their own signature boot, and the way New Yorker’s test the durability of a pair of Timbs.
Yeah, the brand is strong, but this collaboration takes the Bodega Boys to a whole new level.
Do you remember how old you were when you purchased your first pair of Timbs with your own money?
Desus Nice: I think I was like 14 because my family used to drive upstate to a Timberland factory outlet in Woodbury Commons, where you'd be able to get Timberlands for a lesser price than you pay retail. So I remember buying my own Timbs and feeling like I was a New York adult. But the problem with those Timbs, they were factory rejects or something so the actual tree was on the inside of one of the boots and it caused a lot of harassment at school, but that was my first pair.
Oh, wow. Mero, how about you?
The Kid Mero: I remember it was summertime, junior high, and I wanted desperately to wear jean shorts with Timbs. That was going to be my look all summer and I went to Fordham Road in the Bronx where there's this little sneaker shop or whatever. I went in there and I got my first pair and it was like getting your learner's permit, you know what I mean?
Yeah, because growing up in New York I always saw men and women in a pair of Timbs. They were necessary to get through New York winters, but also fashionable. Why do you think Timbs have made such a cultural imprint within hip-hop and the Black community?
The Kid Mero: It's just a metaphor for New York. It's stylish, but it's durable, and it's tough. Anytime hip-hop touches something it becomes something else. You have Boot Camp Clik and a lot of the rappers that we grew up listening to, like Mobb Deep, etc., were in Timbs. It was like, “Yo, these are the dudes that we look up to,” and life imitates art and art imitates life. It was the same thing because everybody in the ’hood had Timbs.
How did this collaboration come about and what was it like going through the process of designing your own pair of Timbs?
The Kid Mero: We've always worn Timbs. It's been part of our clothing rotation throughout our lives. When we started to appear on TV and do other media we would wear Timbs or have Timbs in the background. In one iteration of our show, we had a bear and he was dressed in a pair of Timbs. So that relationship has always been organic. We've always kind of flirted with each other, but now it's actually come to fruition.
How does it feel to be two regular dudes from The Bronx to now having your own boot, especially a Timberland?
The Kid Mero: It's wild, man. It’s like getting your signature shoe. It's like being a basketball player coming out, going into the league, and you get approached by a footwear company and they're like, “Yo, we want to give you your signature model.” This is the Bodega Boys’ signature model. For me, the design process encapsulated a moment.
For me, the boot was always so versatile and durable. The fact that I could go from running around in subway tunnels and climbing chain link fences to do graffiti then just kind of boop, boop, dust them off and go right to China Club and get in. Also, when you're broke you need a shoe to be a little more dynamic, you know what I mean? You can't run around in penny loafers playing basketball.
I'm glad that you brought up running. Have you ever ran in a pair of Timbs? And if so, how far did you get?
Desus Nice: There have been times when you have to run in Timbs and you can get pretty far in them, but as a real New Yorker, the real test is playing basketball in Timbs because if you can do that, you're built differently. You know how people do strength training? If you’ve played basketball in Timbs it's the exact same thing as wearing 10-pound ankle weights and working out.
The Kid Mero: And to make it official, you have to be shirtless when you do it.
How many pairs of Timbs do you think you’ve owned in your lifetimes?
Desus Nice: Easily over a hundred. I think right now I have a stack of like 10 pairs of Timbs on one side of my sneaker room.
Why do you have 10 pairs of Timbs?
Desus Nice: You know what? They're not all yellow. There's SpongeBob Timbs, the NBA Timbs. There's a special Christmas red print Timbs, you have the Off-White Timbs, I have the regular white Timbs, there's just so many different variations of Timberlands. I'm ready for any baby shower in the Bronx, so I'm good to go.
Any plans to double down and do another Timberland boot after this limited run is done?
Desus Nice: I’m doing the Birdman hand rub right now. You know what? I think the streets will answer that question for us.
The Desus & Mero Timberland collection is available now exclusively at Foot Locker, Champs, Footaction, Eastbay, and online at Timberland.com.