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Tuesday, March 19, 2013


This morning I looked at my calendar.  Tomorrow will be the Vernal Equinox which is the first day of spring, and a week and a half later we will celebrate Easter.  Yes Easter, that harbinger of spring, is less than two weeks away, but you would never know it here in Minnesota.

I’m mentioning this because yesterday we are got another blast of snow.  In fact we’ve been getting one or two days a of new snow each week for the past month.  Between snowfalls, the weather warms up just enough to melt and refreeze the snow or we get freezing rain that forms patches of ice under any new snow that falls.  Either way this makes for very slick conditions, and makes my walk to the bus stop especially treacherous some days.  Yes, Old Man Winter is trying to hold on for as long as he can.

Spring may arrive tomorrow, but this is the scene outside my front door now.

In the midst of all of this snow, I am really grateful for my LL Bean Maine Hunting Shoes - more commonly known as “Bean Boots”.  They are my faithful winter companions on these snow filled days.

I first discovered these boots about twenty-five years ago and they have been a core piece of my winter wardrobe ever since.  I love how well they are made.  I have seen many “knock-off” styles over  the years (some from major brands) but none can compare to or match the quality of these boots from LL Bean.

The “Bean Boot” is the product that launched their whole company, and its history and the story of its invention over 100 years ago are truly legendary.

Mailer for the original Maine Hunting Shoe (from LL Bean website).

The story goes that one night after returning home from a day of hunting, Bean complained that his feet were, once again, wet and cold.  He was never one to leave a problem unsolved and so he began to work out a solution.  Combining the waterproof bottoms of galoshes with the leather uppers from boots soon became the perfect answer, and thus the idea for the “Bean Boot” was born.

In 1912 Bean produced his first batch of 100 pairs of boots, which he sold under the L.L. Bean Company name.  There were, however, problems with these early boots.  The rubber bottoms weren’t sturdy enough, and the leather uppers tore away from them.  In fact ninety pairs of those original boots were returned.

True to his satisfaction guaranteed policy (that still exists to this day), full refunds were given on the retuned boots, and Bean set out to improve them.  Once he hired U.S. Rubber in Boston to make the bottoms, the problem was solved.

The Maine Hunting Shoe soon became hugely popular, and the rest, as they, is history.

My Bean Boots stand ready to tackle the snow.

Here in Minnesota we never know what kind of weather March will hand us.  Will it be warm and sunny with the energy of spring or will it be another round of blizzard conditions.  While I have to admit that I much prefer the warmer temperatures of spring, on those snowy days I'm grateful for my trusty pair of LL Bean boots.  Even on the worst days of winter they never let me down.  They are truly my faithful winter footwear of choice.

Leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite winter footwear is.

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