They're also called duck boots, indicating they have rubber lowers and leather from the ankle up. Duck boots are less stuffy than all-rubber varieties and fit more snugly too, because they have laces you can tighten. I haven't found L.L.Bean's boots particularly slippery on ice, either; at least, not any more than other naked boots without crampons.L.L.Bean still makes Bean Boots by hand in Maine, as it's been doing since 1911, and you can send them back for repairs or resoling when they show wear.
If you get a pair, be sure to size up according to L.L.Bean's sizing info. (Click to open it on the order page.) In my experience, it helps to choose one full size up, because you'll likely wear thick socks inside these.The PrimaLoft/Gore-Tex Bean Boot costs $129 ($140 off). It comes in women's and men's sizes.
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A Couple ExtrasI recommend a tube of Gear Aid Seam Sealer from REI or Amazon to run around the seam between the rubber lowers and leather uppers. Duck boots aren't particularly leaky, as far as winter boots go, but it's always worth it to make them absolutely, completely watertight when you bring a new pair home. It's not an L.L.Bean-specific thing or a mark against their quality. Even on cutting-edge, high-end technical boots, tents, and backpacks, it always helps to go over seams with seam sealer when new.
If you don't own some great socks, get a pair or two of thick merino wool Darn Tough socks from REI, Backcountry, or Amazon. They have a lifetime guarantee and last a long time. They've been my favorite wool sock brand for the past seven years. We also have a full roundup of awesome high-tech socks .Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off) . This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you'd like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.
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