Out of everything the technical winter hiking and mountaineering boots I wore, I became a huge fan of LLBean’s Bean Boot. They’ve been a great street shoe for wading through the slush mounds and gutter lagoons of New York City, and they’re also great for yard work or on impromptu hikes. In other words, it’s a great all-rounder boot – and they’re half-broken right now.
LLBean sells a few versions of their Bean boots. This is a limited edition, and these are the warmest available, with PrimaLoft puffy synthetic insulation and waterproof Gore-Tex liner – 2 inches taller and a bit heavier than standard unlined and unlined boots. isolated (seen here).
They are also referred to as duck boots which indicates that they have rubber stockings and leather from the ankle up. Duck boots are less stuffy than the all-rubber varieties and fit more snugly because they have laces that you can tighten. Nor did I find LLBean’s boots particularly slippery on the ice; at least, not more than other bare boots without spikes.
LLBean still makes Bean Boots by hand in Maine, as has been done since 1911, and you can return them for repair or repair when they are worn out.
If you get a pair, please make sure the size according to LLBean’s size information. (Click to open it on the order page.) In my experience, choosing a full size helps because you will likely be wearing thick socks on the inside.
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A couple extras
I recommend a tube of REI Gear Aid Seam Sealer or Amazon to run around the seam between the rubber stockings and the leather upper. Duck boots aren’t particularly leaky, when it comes to winter boots, but it’s always worth making them absolutely, completely waterproof when you bring a new pair home. It is not an LLBean specific thing or a mark against their quality. Even on high-end, high-end tech boots, tents, and backpacks, it still helps to go over the seams with a seam sealer when new.
If you don’t own great socks, get a pair or two of heavy merino wool REI Darn Tough Socks, Countryside, or Amazon. They have a lifetime warranty and last a long time. This has been my favorite brand of wool socks for the past seven years. We also have a complete overview of great high-tech socks.
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