S. claims that the Bean boots are more appropriate for the snow and ice of the East coast. She considers the Bean boot’s leather uppers and thin, chain tread inadequate for wet weather wear in the Northwest (specifically, for use in the heavy, high mud of our public dog parks and backyard). Her preferred boot model is the mid-calf Muck Boot (purchased from local, do-good mercantile, Down to Earth).
Friend Tom, a timber framer and West-to-East-to-West coast transplant, claims that steel toed Muck boots saved his foot (left or right?) from an errant chainsaw.
Despite functional claims in favor of the Muck Boot, I remain an admirer and dedicated user of the original Bean boot. For me, the Bean boot is all about its outward, vintage styling and that wonderful, abrupt transition from rubber bottoms to leather uppers (plus those great metal eyelets!). I admit that Bean boots, at times, can be a bit clammy and that the chain tread provides little in the form of a non-slip grip (in the end, the tread looks penciled on). However, the vintage, out-of-the-past styling of the Bean boots makes up for its functional limitations (Bean boots still keep my feet dry at the dog park). And I have to give a hand to LL Bean for building on the Maine Boot brand. While most of my favorite, affordable US shoe companies have moved production overseas (Sebago and Bass, for instance), Bean continues to manufacturer these boots in Maine.
It would be lovely if every US apparel and footwear company sifted through their backfiles and found one product, like the Bean Maine boot, that they could bring back and offer for sale in its original form (no updating or upgrading or boutiquing permitted). Mandatory: item must be made in the U.S.A. (preferably, near the original site of production).