I just got back from a weekend in rural (like…no cell service rural) Western Pennsylvania and, after a few days wearing only my Bean Boots, it felt like I should write an L.L.Bean Maine Hunting Shoe review for all of you wondering if they’re worth the splurge. After a huge surge in popularity among Brooklynite hipsters a few years ago, Bean Boots are getting the decades of attention they deserve — but the Maine Hunting Shoe remains its more stylish and less overdone cousin.
L.L. Bean Maine Hunting Shoe Review
So, fun fact about the Maine Hunting Shoe: it was actually the first product sold by L.L.Bean. These puppies go back over 100 years to 1912 and I imagine that they look much the same as those first boots did over a century ago, but with updates to the comfort and durability they make them a favorite of so many outdoors-people and city dwellers alike.
The Maine Hunting Shoe is a 10″ tall boot that is hand-stitched in L.L.Bean’s iconic Maine factory with a waterproof leather upper and a waterproof rubber gumshoe outsole and chain-tread bottom that keeps your feet warm and dry in mud, snow, and rain. The cozy shoe and sole has a moccasin-like feel that goes back to its original design. And, I’m not quite sure what a steel shank means, but I imagine that’s why these shoes are so incredibly sturdy — I’ve had this pair for about 5-6 years and my Bean Boots for 16 years, if not longer.
I wear these boots all winter long on rainy, snowy, or just gross days. In my opinion, they’re far comfier than wellies and have a bit more of an effortless je ne sais quoi (in that “I might be outdoorsy” way) than a pair of Hunter boots. If I’m going skiing, I pack these. If I’m going to the mountains, I pack these. If I’m running around town and it’s cold and dreary, I’m wearing these. They’re my late-fall through early-spring cruddy weather must-have.
Regarding sizing, I normally wear a 7 or a 7.5, and I opted for a 7 in these shoes. They advise that you may have to go down in size and I’d 100% agree with that. The 7 fits perfectly when I wear super-thick Smart Wool socks, which is totally fine because that’s what I need when I pull these boots out but, if I was to wear them on a warmer day, I’d find them to be a little big. However, on warmer days, I’d rather be in my 6″ Bean Boots, so that’s not an issue.
The Maine Hunting Shoe is a $149 investment that you’ll have for decades, literally, to come.
If you’re looking for something that’s uber-warm without thick socks, check out the Maine Hunting Shoe with Gore-Tex/Thinsulate or the ones that are Shearling-Lined. I also love the Waxed Cotton version of the Maine Hunting Shoe.
…Or Should I Buy the Classic Bean Boot?
Of course, you may be wondering, “Well, should I buy these or the classic Bean Boot?” Honestly, it comes down to two things: function and form (doesn’t everything come down to that?!).
If you live in a warmer climate and you just need something for rainy, soggy days, I’d opt for a shorter 6″ Bean Boot or even a Rubber Moc Gumshoe (aren’t they the cutest?!). You don’t necessarily need the insulation that a tall boot provides or the ability to step into deep snow.
However, if you live in a colder climate and want something for snowy, slushy days, just choose whichever style you like best. There’s no difference between the Maine Hunting Shoe and the 10″ Bean Boot besides for the color and style. They’re literally the same. I went with the Maine Hunting Shoe because I think the dark brown looks cooler and a little different — plus, I already had a shorter pair of Bean Boots to satisfy that timeless brown and dark brown look. Simple as that.
I’ve linked almost all the styles of Bean Boots below but, tell me, do you have a pair of Bean Boots or Maine Hunting Shoes? If so, how long have yours been kicking?