Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, LL Bean continues to this day to make their legendary ‘Bean Boot’ and ‘Maine Hunting Shoes’ in Brunswick, Maine. Like many of the factories across the country, you get decades of experience from each worker. The factory is a centerpiece of the community, not just in Brunswick, but all of Maine. It’s the loyalty, years of service and experience that gives these legendary boots their unmatched craftsmanship.
Today we are reviewing the Bean Boot. Living in Wisconsin it’s crucial to have some serious winter gear, and I don’t mean the scarves, loose knit beanies and Uggs that are worn out in California. The most critical article of winter gear for enduring any length of cold weather outdoors is footwear. If your feet are cold and wet, you are miserable. It doesn’t take much to find a great warm jacket or beanie, but warm footwear is a bit more elusive. I’ve had my Bean Boots for two years now without any signs of wear and most important no real qualms with their performance.
The boots are comfortable, provide great support and are warm in reasonable situations. They stay dry inside after walking through snow and water. They have been tested in climates below zero for short periods of times (1-2 hours to shovel snow), as well as at football games, outdoors, for 4+ hours in temperatures that range form the teens to the 20s. Those long football games had the added benefit of foot-warmers being tossed in the boots, since I’m not convinced anything has been made to endure those temperatures while standing on frozen concrete and not moving around.
The boots look like a winter boot should, utilitarian, yet they are not bulky at all; they are flexible enough to drive in and still feel the gas pedal. The soles of the shoes are thick with ‘off-road’ traction, which is noticeable on ice compared to a standard shoe. However on super slick ice don’t expect them to hold without delicate and deliberate steps.
The workmanship on my pair (and my wife’s) is flawless. The logo badges, boot panels and sole inserts are still in tact without a thread out of place. My wife thought something was wrong with the sole inserts at one point, only to find out it was folded over on itself from the process of taking the boot on and off. She pulled it out, straightened the insert back to normal and voila. That has been the extent of our Bean Boot drama. LL Bean’s customer service is second to none. Any issues, send the boot back. Wrong size? Send the boot back. If you order online or over the phone, your boots arrive in just a few days. There has not been anything about the buying experience that would make me think twice about going back.
Overall the Bean Boot is winner. There’s a reason it has become so iconic and a staple in the LL Bean collection. The true value of the boot is in the price. I’d be hard pressed to find a cheap knock-off boot that could match the price. For $99 they are an absolute steal. They are made in the USA of quality materials, and that will never get old. I would say that I would buy them again, but I have a feeling this pair will outlast me.