On the hunt for L.L. Bean 'duck' boots? Here are a few alternatives

Who knew that a 102-year-old could be so hip? The classic "bean boot" was invented in 1902 by Leon Leonwood Bean himself. The boot even inspired him to launch L.L. Bean in the first place, according to L.L. Bean senior public affairs manager Carolyn Beem. The boot's design hasn't changed much since then, but the its popularity certainly has. 

With a spike in sales in recent years, the company is faced with nearly 100,000 back orders to date. To answer the high demand, Beem said that L.L. Bean has hired 100 new employees and invested nearly $1 million in additional manufacturing equipment, which they hope to install in the new year. Even so, production of the handmade boots take time. Beem said that employee training alone takes a full 26 weeks. 

The original! The L.L. Bean "bean boots" have a backlog of 100,000 orders.

"We hate disappointing our customers, but we think they're worth the wait," Beem said, mentioning the company's pride in a well-made product. 

So, what caused the sudden surge in sales for a hunting and fishing boot? It might be the recently trending "lumberjack" look, or maybe even a return to winter practicality. Either way, Beem said L.L. Bean is hoping that customers will be patient for their original, handmade product. But if you really can't wait for the so-called "duck" boots (a customer-given name), here are a few similar options.


J.Crew Unisex Lacrosse Duck Boots, $125


Cabela's Insulated Lace-Up Boots, on sale for $67.49


Sorel 1964 Premium T CVS Boot (available in men's and women's), $140


Sperry Top-Sider Cold Bay Boot, $150