Out of everything the technical winter hiking and mountaineering shoes I have used, I have become a big fan of Bean Boot from LLBean. They have been a good city boot for wading through New York’s slushy snowdrifts and boys’ meadows, and they are also great for working in the garden or improvised day trips. In other words, they are a great versatile boot – and they have half of it right now.
LLBean sells a few versions of Bean Boots. These are a limited edition, and they are the warmest available, with puffy PrimaLoft synthetic insulation and a waterproof Gore-Tex lining – 2 inches taller and slightly heavier than standard unlined, non-insulated boots (see here).
They are also called duck boots, which indicates that they have rubber soles and leather from the ankle up. Duck boots are less dense than variants of rubber and fit more snugly, because they have laces you can tighten. I also have not found LLBean̵
LLBean still makes Bean Boots by hand in Maine, as it has done since 1911, and you can send them back for repair or solution when they show wear.
If you get a pair, be sure to resize according to LLBean’s size information. (Click to open it on the order page.) In my experience, it helps to choose a full size up, because you probably want thick socks inside these.
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A few extra
I recommend a tube with Gear Aid Seam Sealer from REI or Amazon to run around the seam between the rubber socks and the leather uppers. Duck boots are not particularly nice as far as winter boots go, but it’s always worth it to make them completely, completely waterproof when you bring a new pair home. It is not an LLBean-specific thing or a mark against quality. Even on high-end, high-end technical boots, tents and backpacks, it always helps to go over seams with a nail sealer when it’s new.
If you do not own any good socks, you can get a pair or two thick merino wool Darn Tough socks from REI, Backcountry or Amazon. They have a lifetime warranty and last a long time. They have been my favorite brand of wool socks for the past seven years. We also have a complete overview of fantastic high-tech socks.
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