All eyes have been on Kamala Harris as she treks across the country, on the campaign trail leading up to Election Day. They’ve also inevitably been on her feet, as the vice presidential candidate has eschewed typical dress shoes while out on the road, opting instead for her favorite sneakers, Converse Chuck Taylor All Star low tops.
This week, Harris made a totally new footwear choice. For a visit to one of the sites of California’s wildfires near Fresno on Tuesday, Harris was seen talking with Governor Gavin Newsom wearing a pair of Timberland boots.
Many will instantly recognize them as the brand’s classic 6-Inch, a camel-colored nubuck boot that has long held sway in pop culture. Everyone from J.Lo to Jay-Z has worn them, and the footwear has perhaps become best known as a totem of hip hop fashion and culture.
But we’re guessing that’s not why Harris wore them.
Timberland first introduced its signature boot in 1973 as a waterproof work boot, using a patented seam-sealed technique and injection-molded sole, practical details that even its most fashion-forward wearers appreciate. The brand offers a variety of other technical details on the boot, including a steel toe. That’s certainly not meant to be a fashion play.
In a moment when the move of every candidate is being scrutinized, Harris’s work boots convey an image of one rolling up her sleeves and digging in to the dirty task of cleaning up the various messes across the country — an idea that certainly means different things to different people throughout the U.S. It’s also a near-presidential footwear message that has been done by First Lady Melania Trump, who has worn the boots a handful of times. Both Trump and Harris have proven that their fashion and footwear choices can say a lot more than one might expect, especially when it comes to how women in and near public office are perceived.
Whether voters will buy into this image of a vice presidential candidate remains to be seen, of course. But one things for sure: Harris’s shoe closet is unprecedented for a female politician.