Bean Boot Vs. Maine Hunting Shoe Review
When you’re out stalking through the woods of New England on a hunt and want a great pair of boots, you will need to make a decision about which type to get. There are a few on the market, but a couple of the most popular are from L. L. Bean.
1912 L. Bean makes its boots right there in Maine, and it has been making bean boots since 1912. The company stands behind their product and includes a lifetime warranty with your purchase. The company strives hard to ensure your satisfaction.
When the bean boot started to become a popular fashion statement around the 1980s for non-hunters, the originally-named “Maine hunting shoe” had to get a tougher rubber sole for walking around on concrete and asphalt.
This left some hunters upset that they couldn’t feel the land beneath their feet, and they felt they were moving too loudly as they hunted. They wanted a return to the original more moccasin-like feel of the original Maine hunting shoe. L. L. Bean’s answer to that was the new Maine hunting shoe.
Quick Comparison: Bean Boot Vs. Maine
Our Best Pick
|Maine Hunting Shoes|
|Upper||Stiff - flat||Less stiff - tumbled|
|Sole||Less flexible||More flexible|
|Comfort||Depends on preference||Depends on preference|
The original 8-inch L. L. Bean beanboot is tan and has an 8-inch upper that has white stitching and flat leather. The upper on the 10-inch bean boot has the same type of upper.
However, the Maine hunting shoe has a “tumbled” leather upper, making it more flexible. The upper thus appears stiffer on the bean boot than the Maine hunting shoe.
The white stitching can get quite dirty as time goes by as well. The Maine hunting shoe has darker stitching, helping to keep your boots looking cleaner.
The 8-inch bean boot comes in a tan color that may not be good for all hunters. Some may prefer the dark brown color of the 10-inch bean boot or the Maine hunting shoe. The laces are also different. The 8- and 10-inch bean boots have a lighter brown set of shoelaces than the Maine hunting shoe.
The laces of the Maine hunting shoe are a darker brown that matches the color if its upper. Even though all of the uppers, bottoms, and laces are some sort of brown color, the differences are noticeable enough to perhaps help you make the decision about which boot to buy strictly on which color scheme you like better.
The soles of the 8-inch and 10-inch bean boots are less flexible than those of the Maine hunting shoe. This is because L. L. Bean was trying to recreate the original Maine hunting shoe it offered early in the 20th century, one with a more moccasin-like sole.
The soles of the Maine hunting shoe are noticeably more flexible. The soles of the Maine hunting shoe are touted to be new on the L. L. Bean website, as well as being more durable and having better traction than in the past.
All three boots are noted to be comfortable by wearers, but which boot you go with is likely to depend on what you consider comfortable.
The more flexible sole and moccasin—like feel of the Maine hunting shoe may be great for you, but the stiffer, less flexible bean boots may also be great if you prefer a bit more support and structure to your footwear.
The L. L. Bean website states the 10-inch Maine hunting shoes have a “steel shank for superior lateral and arch support,” and that the uppers conform to your leg for a custom fit.
For the 8- and 10-inch bean boots, the site notes that the boots have “[a] uniquely shaped foot form [that] offers comfort and stability, and a steel shank adds support.”
These three boots from L. L. Bean are made by a company well-known for its commitment to quality. No matter which boot you choose, you’re going to come away with a product that will last a long time.
If you’re not happy, you can approach the company in confidence that any problem will be resolve.
All that said, there are some important differences in the boots that you should consider before you buy. The biggest differences are in your preferences about the type of leather you get on the uppers and in the type of sole on the boot.
If you like more structured boots that could offer you more support, the bean boot would probably be the one to buy.
However, if you’re more into the original design of the Maine hunting shoe, you’ll get an upper that molds itself to your calf and ankle more than the bean boot, and you’ll get a sole that more closely resembles the original moccasin-like design.