It seems ducks are giving sheep a run for their money this winter, as L.L. Bean’s iconic leather and rubber boots are ranking among one of the season’s must-have cold-weather looks. Often referred to as the duck boot, due to its web-inspired design, they’re being sought after by young trendsetters and others looking for a rugged, weatherproof boot.
Produced exclusively in the company’s Maine factory, demand for the handmade boots has been so great that L.L. Bean’s added a shift in its factory just to keep pace. But even with revved-up production, there remains a backlog of thousands of pairs, according to the company.
For those who can’t wait for the real deal to come off the production line, there are some fun L.L. Bean-inspired alternatives for both men and women that offer style as well as protection.
Among the options are looks from fellow iconic brand Sperry Top-Sider. Known for its classic boat mocs, the brand is paying fashion homage to L.L. Bean with its own takes on the quirky design.
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According to Purvi Patel, marketing specialist in trends, Sperry Top-Sider has a range of styles to throw into the mix this season. “Our most popular Saltwater silhouette is the perfect combination of warmth, style and function to get you through the cold winter months,” he said. “And the trend isn’t just unique to women’s, we’ve seen similar excitement for our men’s Cold Bay collection where we paired neutral colors with water-resistant leathers and Thinsulate lining.”
Outdoor brand Khombu also has a strong offering of duck boot options. In fact, the brand, a licensing partner of the U.S. Ski Team and a footwear provider, said that, due to requests from the team’s female athletes, the company specially designed boots for them to wear during their downtime. According to Brandy McCarty, divisional VP, the company noticed the trend emerging about a year ago and began prepping with product. “This fall, the styles we had began evaporating before any weather hit, and we knew we were on to something.”
However, if it’s the L.L. Bean boot you must have, check out eBay.com, you may be able to snag a pair of vintage looks.