You might remember reports over the past couple of holiday shopping seasons that LL Bean could barely meet demand for its famous rubber boots. Well the kids are still wearing them and the company is predicting sales of one million units by 2018, up from the current 600,000. Ten years ago it was a mere 100,000 per year. Check out this Fox News report on the phenomenon. — CC
25 Comments on "Rubber Souls: No End In Sight For Millennial Bean Boot Demand"
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That’s great to see. The bean boot is a terrific product that is made in the USA. More boots=more American jobs. Great news all around. I’m sure the Muffy Aldrich’s of the world will call it “unauthentic” for some high school student in Florida to be wearing a pair, but who cares.
Bean still makes some of the best hunting gear around. I wear their 12″ Maine Hunting shoe while hunting. They are is a terrific and piratical item that is reasonably priced (~$140 for a pair of high quality hunting boots is a good deal).
Good for Bean.
Broke out my 12″ Maine Hunting shoe for shoveling the snow dump we received over the weekend. I ended up wearing them all day as they were so comfortable. Best with heavy Merino wool socks. Put on a Harris Tweed jacket and headed to the coffee shop to read and relax after the work was done. Versatile footwear.
Such great boots, much nicer than those Timberland worker boots. At least Bean’s are well made in the USA.
Anyone have experience with the Bass version of these?
@JoelVau Not great, stick with the originals
Like the commenters above, I’m glad to hear it. The classic Bean boot has been popular in these parts for as long as I can remember, and is a staple both in town where I work and out in the countryside where I live. Snow is on the way here for the weekend, and my pair will get their first outing of the year, along with the LLB Merino rag socks and a Harris tweed jacket, as Mostly Trad suggests above. Maybe a Shetland sweater as well. It is supposed to be in the teens on Friday morning.
Sperry and a few others also make a Bean boot-type shoe. What’s funny is they’re often more expensive and of lower quality. Stick to the originals and support American made goods.
Even a better value when your girlfriend works for LL Bean 😉
I opted for the 10″ Maine Hunting Shoe myself – supposedly it is more solidly constructed. Simply the perfect boot for wading through deep snow. That said, they perform best on flatter terrain. Wear thick socks if you choose the uninsulated version.
Yep – love the boots, still love the company, and as a 50-something who has loved them since the days of high school in the 70s and 80s, it’s nice to know I’m cool again.
I am so glad they are still making them in Maine. Not sure the quality is quite what it once was but my current pair of 8″ unlined seem to be holding up. I always coat them with Obenauf’s which helps a bit. Remember, they run large so follow LL Bean’s sizing advice!
I may have shared this before, but two thoughts: first, I have a sister-in-law who, while we’ll-loved by all, is tragically trendy beyond her 40-something years, so when I saw her in a pair of Bean Boots last year, I knew they (the boots) were having their latest popular ‘moment’; second, like Seve, I actually re-proof my 14″ers each year & wear them hunting. They do, however, have their limitations: they are not good for long walks; the rubber lower doesn’t mold to your foot the way leather does, and it also doesn’t breathe, so feet can get clammy. But I’m not tracking elk or sheep out West; I’m only chasing the local gobblers & whitetails, so they fit the bill nicely.
It seems that you really didn’t get Muffy Aldrich’s message.
Far from calling it unauthentic for a student in Florida to be wearing the boots, she would have been pleased by the spread of New England culture to the wilds of Florida.
I presently own four pairs: moccasin, 6″ boot, the 12″ Maine Hunting Shoe, and (lucky me) one of the last remaining pairs of the Lounger in tumbled maple. They’re terrific.
So we can count on massive layoffs by 2019 and possible bankruptcy by 2020?
Not to sour the mood with cynicism (I also own and love BBs), but this can easily have negative long-term consequences.
In ramping up production (and their general footprint as a whole), will Bean offshore the boot? Don’t rule it out as a strong possibility.
What percentage of these sales are to women versus men? Women’s clothing is a cruel world where trends don’t taper off but rather die a quick and unceremonious death. If Bean is delusional enough to think that this will be a sustained pattern with sustainable sales they are sorely, perhaps fatally, mistaken.
FLW: tell you what – I’ll report how often I see my trendy sister-in-law wears her recently-acquired Bean Boots, versus when she wears her also recently-acquired ‘Hunter’ wellingtons, and we can use that as a bellwether for company health. I’ve learned, in the 15 years I’ve known her, if she’s no longer wearing something, the bloom is off-the-rose, as they say.
Paul: Sounds like a deal. Probably should cc Bean’s marketing department as well!
FLW: for a fee, naturally.
I haven’t read Muffy’s site in years. Think I’ll visit her blog.
I said something very similar when they released their plan to triple their retail stores. I hope we are both wrong.
Such an awesome, iconic product. I have three pairs, presently. There are a couple of more that I’ll add in the next year or two. I don’t care if they’re trendy now or not–I’ve been wearing them for 25+ years, and I’m not stopping now!
To quote Squeeze:
“Muffy Aldrich upholds a great New England heritage against the barbarians at the gate.”
Most of my clothes and shoes are from LL Bean and have been for about forty years. However, their Main Hunting Boots are for one particular purpose and they do not serve well outside of that. LL himself invented the boots for down east deer hunting in marshy lowland areas. They were not intended to be used for everyday wear or for snow or for rocky terrain, etc. Anyone who has ever worn them on pavement or gravel on a wet day knows that you can break an ankle pretty easily, not to mention injure your back and hit your head when falling because those boots are quite slippery on wet surfaces other than the marshy wooded lowlands where they were invented to be worn.
I own a pair of Bean boots and I like them. But be warned: These are fine when worn in weather 30+ Fahrenheit. Chicago winters = Bean boots fail as snow boots. The rubber will quickly freeze your toes even with wool socks on, so either get the lined ones (probably still won’t make much of a difference) or purchase something like Sorels anything below 30 and dipping into freezing. Remember what they were originally made for.
“Anyone who has ever worn them on pavement or gravel on a wet day knows that you can break an ankle pretty easily, not to mention injure your back and hit your head when falling because those boots are quite slippery on wet surfaces…”
Complete nonsense. I’ve worn mine for snow boots in NJ, PA, VA, IA, NE, SD, and GA and have had no problems for over 30 years. Ironically, wouldn’t think of wearing them for hunting, when I want a stouter sole, more insulation, and better ankle support – far more slippery on a farm terrace, walking at an angle, while hunting pheasant, than on a suburban sidewalk.