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.
Lock, Stock, and Apparel
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.