L.L.Bean Boots Buying Guide

L.L.Bean Boots Buying Guide

You've heard me preach about reusing and rewearing your clothing and paying attention to cost-per-wear, well here's a pair of boots that I wear in all four seasons (you can imagine that my cost-per-wear is almost in the pennies at this point!), the famous L.L.Bean Boots. While I do enjoy wearing them splashing in puddles in the spring and hiking in the summer with the dogs, L.L.Bean Boots are most commonly associated with fall...which also means this is when the demand for these iconic shoes goes through the roof! 
It's true, every fall there are news reports of the big "Bean Boot shortage" and it sends people into a tizzy. And you might be asking, how much truth is there to this or is this just a great marketing tactic? I know I wondered that last year before I bought my current pair. I'll admit the alarmist blogs, reviews, and websites I read worried me. I'll be the first to admit that I don't handle disappointment very well and I even considered forgoing the boots entirely to save myself from being displeased. But what won out was how much I loved duck boots as a kid (Canadians know them as duck boots of which my bff from Maine constantly tells me is incorrect :) I had also read reports that the Bean head office added more boot makers as they tried to stay on top of the fall rush which sounded like great, not grim, news.


I am happy to report that I ordered the boots on Sunday October 23, 2016 and they arrived on my doorstep Friday October 28, 2016. I kid you not. And I have one of the most common shoe sizes for ladies in North America (8.5-9) and find that the size I need is usually sold out. Not this time! Those boot makers must have been putting in overtime because I got a common size of boot, delivered from Maine to Ontario in under a week. While I do think backlogs occurred in the past, I think the Bean Team knows what they're doing (I mean, they've been around since 1912) so I wouldn't be worried about missing out on a new pair this year. 

Speaking of which, now that you know you're going to be ok ordering and receiving a pair, which ones do you order? What size, type, colour? It's a lot to consider! Never to fear, I've got the full rundown here for you so you can either order a pair for yourself this fall, or even wait until the first snow fall. No rush.  

bean boots

Height - If you're looking for the short Moc boot, then your work here is done. If you're considering one of the taller versions like the 6" or 8" (which I am wearing above) you've got a little more work to do. For reference, I'm 5'7 and love wearing the 8 inch boots. They keep snow and water at bay, support my ankles and look proportionally correct in photos. The 6 inch boots still keep wetness at bay, but they look just a little too short when you're wearing them. Think of it this way - the 8 inch is the iconic size (you can even buy them as a keychain which, yes I have them) and they are the most photogenic. 

winter boots

Sizing - L.L.Bean Boots run large. On the website, just as you are about to pick your size, there is a popup window that suggests which size to order. For whole sizes order 1 size down, half sizes order 1& 1/2 sizes down. I am a 9 no matter what brand of shoes and I ordered the ladies 8 in medium width (you can order narrow or wide. I would suggest only ordering wide width if you truly require them as these boots are roomy). The size is just perfect for me. I ordered two pairs of the camp socks and they fit comfortably in the boot and prevent any blistering or rubbing. 


Handmade - You read that right, the L.L.Bean boots are handmade in Maine, USA. Leon Leonwood Bean was a Freeport, Maine hunter and outdoorsman. He was tired of his feet getting cold and wet in his boots so he decided to craft his own using the soles from rain boots and added leather uppers. a few months later, in 1912, he formed the L.L.Bean company and began marketing the now famous boots. I think it is very important to support Made in America (or Canada) manufacteurers because they have superior quality, create jobs and for us Canadians, we don't have to pay any extra duty when ordering! Only Canadians will get the pain of ordering something for $30 and having to pay $32 just to pay the customs charge. Well not with the Bean boots! What you pay at checkout is all you'll pay, and that includes Free Shipping to the US and Canada everyday. No minimum, no end date. 

Warmth & Comfort - So now you know what height and size of Bean boots you want, let's talk about the warmth level and comfort of the boots. You can order the boots in Shearling, Thinsulate even flannel lined but I would recommend sticking with the regular, non lined boots. It's true that the boots on their own are not especially warm but they keep you dry and because they are roomie, you can wear thick socks to keep your feet warm. I have worn these on the coldest Canadian days and have never had a problem. If I had ordered one of the lined pairs I would still need to order inserts as the bottoms are not lined and would still probably wear my camp socks. And then what about once you're indoors? I worry that my feet would heat up too quickly and cause sweating which would just be terribly uncomfortable. Plus, I really wanted to be able to wear my boots in all four seasons. If it's really cold, I just double up on socks. 

As for the comfort of them, there is a reason why I have so many pictures of me in them (and you'll see me wearing them on the plane later this week when I leave for Scotland!), they are incredibly comfortable and one of the few pairs of boots/shoes that I own that didn't cause me a blister. I like being able to slip them on and off quickly so I've tied my laces loosely and left the top hole unlaced. I find them comfortable for heading into the office with my heels in a bag, on forest walks with the dogs, or even walking in the mall during the Christmas rush. I even really enjoy driving in them! 

bean boots

They're Guaranteed - The guarantee is legendary. I once heard about someone contacting the company about a broken strap on a 25 year old backpack and they exchanged it for a brand new one. Urban legend? I don't think so based on the wording in Our Guarantee

Our products are guaranteed to give 100% satisfaction in every way. Return anything purchased from us at any time if it proves otherwise. We do not want you to have anything from L.L.Bean that is not completely satisfactory. 

I have exchanged one or two items and had great customer service throughout the process. Knowing that if something wasn't to my liking or the fit was off that I can return it no questions asked, is a huge selling point. I also like knowing that if I even run into any issues with my boots or any Bean item, all I all to do is contact them and they will take care of me. Customer service at it's very best! Which also makes them a worry-free gift to give during the holidays! 

L.L.Bean Boots Buying Guide

Styling - We've got our sizes and we know they're guaranteed. Now we get to the important stuff, styling them! Bean boots are like black flats, they literally go with every outfit imaginable. Seriously. I've seen guys in suits with their Bean boots on top and thought "damn, that's a great outfit!" I wear mine with jeans, jogging pants, leggings, nylons with skirts, you can't go wrong. They especially look best in the fall and winter when you can pair them with as much plaid as you can. Thick socks not only provide comfort but they can be another pop of colour to your outfit! You can even switch up the colour of your Bean boots. I love the classic brown colours as well as the navy bottomed boots and the plum and black ones. 

One last note, while L.L.Bean does offer sales now and again, the Bean boots are excluded from any savings codes. They do still qualify for free shipping and right now they are offering a free $10 gift card with a $50 purchase so you can buy the boots and use the $10 gift card towards your next purchase.

L.L. Bean