I’m old enough to remember the old LL Bean store in Freeport. I loved how its wooden floors creaked when you walked through the racks and how it smelled of leather, wool, and wood.
Later on in high school, my friends and I all wore Bean boots. My brother wore the 16” hunting boots with all of its 28 lace holes. Too much trouble! I favored the Lounger, a high pull-on boot. The famous footwear styles with their trademark rubber bottoms and tanned leather uppers remain perfect for Maine weather.
The store and the high school fads are gone, but Bean boots are still going strong. The slip-on Rubber Moccasin version gets our vote as the Best Barn Boot.
- The rubber moc is the only boot you can put on without your hands. A minor detail perhaps, but when you’re waking up in the dark for horse chores, trying not to disturb others still asleep, or when have your hands full with barn gear, this feature becomes key.
- The rubber bottoms handle mud season and the routine slop and slog so often part of managing horses. They also beat leather boots when you’re hosing off your horses or washing saddle pads.
- The trademark tread has just enough grip to be meaningful yet does not let you track manure and mud into the house. They clean up better than hiking boots or work boots.
- The gentle heel means in a pinch you can even ride in them. No slipping your foot through the stirrup here.
Made in Maine!
These boots are made at a Brunswick facility, a few miles from where I was born. A woman named Melissa made my pair, according to the card placed in the boot box. You can check out a video of boot making here.
A word about fit:
Beans makes an extra effort to educate wearers on fit. You should know that these boots are meant to be worn with heavy wool socks, like these Darn Tough socks. The extra room allows for proper circulation and insulation. But if you insist on a snug fit and/or wearing thin socks, it might be best to order down a half size.
A word about appropriateness:
Around New England college campuses, you’ll see students traipsing to class in LL Bean’s Wicked Good shearling slippers. Given their comfort, you might be tempted to do the same when heading to the barn. Bad idea! Keep the pajamas on if you must. But as you layer up to toss hay in the early morning darkness, do your slippers a favor and swap them for footwear that was perfectly crafted for the task.