When I started this blog back in 2009 I bemoaned the state of LL Bean and how it had slipped into a kind of evil catalogue mumsiness perhaps beyond any hope of return. Bean’s PR machine contacted me and told me there was great excitement about a new ‘heritage’ line they were working on.
Well, we all know that turned out to be the fashion mistake that is LL Bean Signature. Full of sentences like ” we took a classic from our 1957 catalogue and then messed with it and made it a one season fashion piece that only fits where it touches”.
Since then I’ve tried to revisit Bean and buy some of their original line and along with friends and readers have been pleasantly surprised by some gems hidden in the back pages (More on this later in the week).
Of course one thing we can rely on still is the venerable LL Bean Boot. I’ve always found them a little tough on the feet when new so I decided this time around to buy the Maine Hunting Shoe (shoe here being a quaint term for a full length boot) which claims to have softer gum soles and softer leather.
Apart from a couple of blisters when wearing them for the first time out shooting street photography, these boots have been incredible out of the box. A Made in USA product that is around $100 is also an incredible bargain, even after evil Postman Pat gets his fingers in the tax man’s revenue stream.
Mrs Weejun decided she wanted the (admittedly nice) ‘on trend’ black leather Signature version so I bought her those too. Ironically despite costing 50% more (you can’t blame old LL for fleecing the fashionistas) the leather is really tough and somewhat inflexible leaving the poor Mrs W with bruised feet although they are finally wearing in.
Out this week in heavy snow in London I was one of the few people able to stride at full tilt without a worry of slipping (Shown above with Levis LVC 1955 and Gant Rugger ‘The Puffer’).
My only regret is that I didn’t buy shearling lined ones too as they can get a little cold.
And there was my friend Ben wryly suggesting that I wouldn’t get much use out of such rustic footwear in the Big Smoke. They do bring some stares it’s true (except at John Simons where Paul Simons was wearing his too on Saturday…)
Buy them here