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Lock, Stock, and Apparel

Publisher Partner DownEast Magazine

We periodically publish content from DownEast Magazine, The Magazine of Maine. Dedicated to evoking and illuminating the spirit and culture of Maine at its best.

The laces.
The leather.
The legend.

A short history lesson: What we call the “Bean boot” today traces its lineage to what Leon Leonwood Bean called the “Maine hunting shoe” in 1912, designed to repel water and not weigh a hunter down. Bean designed the shoe with a soft sole, like a moccasin, says company spokesperson Mac McKeever, because “he felt a good hunter needed to feel the earth under his feet.” It wasn’t until 1965 that L.L.Bean spun off a new product called the “Bean boot,” but the original’s popularity has never waned among hunters. This particular specimen dates back to the 1930s — one of the oldest in the museum-like Bean archive. Have an older one kicking around at deer camp? “That would be a huge deal,” says McKeever, “definitely considered a fantastic treasure.”

Excerpted with permission from the November 2014 issue of DownEast magazine.

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