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For years, I’ve seen a cute pair of boots dominate blogs and Instagram.
L.L. Bean’s Bean Boots are an east coast prep favourite -- and they’re so popular that they sell out almost every year.
I was in desperate need of a new pair of snow boots this year (I’ve been wearing my Sorels for 10 years and they were literally falling apart), so when L.L. Bean opened their first Canadian store earlier this year, I picked up a pair of the raved-about Bean Boots.
The duck boot-style leather/rubber boots come in a variety of heights, but I stuck to the original 8” pair. And while the brand now offers a number of insulated options, I decided to stick with the original uninsulated pair.
I picked up the American-made boots in my usual size, a 7, and I can easily wear them with ultra-thick socks (sometimes even two pairs). If you’re looking for a tighter fit or plan to wear lighter socks, I’d suggest sizing down. The boots are ultra-comfortable and unlike many winter boots I’ve had over the years, there wasn’t a breaking in period. They were as comfortable on day one as they are now.
I first tested these out on a day that Toronto had an early season snowstorm, which dropped more than 20 cm of snow on the city in November. I was surprised by how truly waterproof and stain-resistant they were -- any snow seemed to wick off both the leather and the rubber and they stood up extremely well to the salt and dirty slush that hung around for a week post-storm.
One of my only complaints about the boots is how difficult they are to get on. While I mentioned they’re plenty big, I have a hard time getting my foot into them without completely loosening the laces all the way down or pulling extremely hard on the pull tab on the back. Not a dealbreaker by any means, but definitely an annoyance, especially if you’re in a hurry.
Another negative is the laces. They’re very stiff, which not only makes them likely to untie (seriously, double knot them) but it’s actually a bit comical how much they give you a pseudo-rug burn if you try to pull them tightly. Again, not a dealbreaker for me, but in the future I can see myself switching the laces out for softer ones.
Overall, these are a great boot for snow, rain, slush and whatever else a Canadian winter might throw at you -- and hundreds of customers seem to agree. The classic 8” Bean Boots have nearly 1,000 reviews on the brand’s U.S. website, and an impressive 4.5/5-star rating.
“Tried another brand and ended up giving them away before coming back to the best rubber-bottom boots on the planet,” wrote one reviewer. “Can't beat Bean boots made in Maine!”
“Absolutely among the very best boots you can buy!” echoed another.
However, some reviewers did seem to agree with me that they’re a bit tough to get on.
“Wanted these forever and finally got a pair! While they are super comfy on, getting them on is a struggle, and nearly impossible with heavy socks,” cautioned one shopper. “I'm hoping it'll get easier as they wear in.”
If you’re looking to snap up a pair of the Bean Boots for yourself, the 8” unlined model is currently on sale at Sport Chek for $113.97 (they retail for $189.99).
SHOP IT: Sport Chek, $113.97
If you’re interested in other models instead, you can check them out here.