L.L. Bean is rolling out short-run versions of the iconic duck boots the company has been producing in the United States for more than 100 years.
The original, and often backordered, workhorse of a waterproof boot is made with rubber soles and leather uppers (not ducks) and more than 600,000 pairs (up from 100,000 a decade ago) were handmade in Maine last year.
Since first introducing the now-signature boots in 1912, L.L. Bean has cautiously expanded the go-to duck boot line-up to include versions with rugged and sensible additions, such as Gore-Tex linings and Thinsulate insulation.
The new, small-batch menu, however, will introduce features purists may scoff at and fashionistas adore, such as colored soles, flannel and shearling linings, and a version described as a "lounger."
The spring batch, featuring the classic 8-inch duck boot for women with colored uppers in plum, raven blue and red wine uppers and an orange-soled version of the 6-inch boot for both men and women, is available now, although a test order revealed that a fair number of popular sizes and color combinations are already out of stock.
Not ready to jump into the small-batch work boot trend with both feet just yet? Just wait.
L.L. Bean's summer batch will include a stylish, shoelace-less Chelsea Boot. And in November, 2017 the company will roll out a limited run of "Wicked Good" boots, which are being forward-promoted with the tag line "Slippers, meet L.L. Bean boots."