Pre-2009, L.L. Bean Duck Boots were just useful wet-weather footwear for New Englanders and suburbanites doing yard work.
But now, thanks to a fashion industry revival of "heritage chic," Bean boots are in demand for preppy feet on college campuses and in cities across the country. And L.L. Bean can't keep these clunky rubber boots on the shelf.
If you're late to the trend and looking to buy a pair new to wear this winter, a tip: Knock wood that you're not already too late, and get to shopping right now.
As Bloomberg reported Tuesday, last holiday season landed the Maine-based outdoor retailer with a back-order list 100,000 pairs deep. And despite having amped up the manufacturing operation in their two factories this year, adding a second molding injection machine and 100 new boot makers to an operation of less than 500, L.L. Bean is already well on pace to sell out well before December. In late September, certain sizes and styles are already gone.
L.L. Bean sold 450,000 pairs of these boots last year, and anticipates that this year's total will exceed 500,000. But if you're already struggling to nab a pair, here's something to help you sleep: There are sure to be astronomically-priced resales on eBay.
Of course, if you don't care about the label, a quick web search will get you plenty of versions of the duck boot from other makers, ranging from Sperry to higher-end fashion names like Brooks Brothers and fast-fashion brands like Steve Madden.