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Often imitated but never duplicated, L.L. Bean’s iconic Bean Boots have become a New England staple in so many northern wardrobes. Even on days when it isn’t very cold or snowy but there are lots of wet leaves on the ground, I can only rely on my Bean Boots to keep my feet dry and comfortable. However, with so many styles, which one is the best to wear? After all, L.L Bean’s line of Bean Boots doesn’t just include simply boots, there are so many choices! Here’s my list of the best Bean Boots, straight from Maine:

1. My favorite pair and the perfect twist on the iconic classic: Bean Boots 8 inch, Tan/Navy

I won’t argue, the Tan/Brown 8-inch Bean Boot is the classic, traditional Bean Boot. However, I find myself wearing my Navy bottoms more often than any other pair. After all, blue is my favorite color and as a student at the University of Connecticut, I’m always sporting a UConn T-shirt or sweatshirt underneath one of my navy UConn jackets. For me, these match everything from my jeans to my tops and it’s so satisfying! Plus, as fall becomes winter, everything becomes brown and dreary, so blue is a nice pop of color walking around campus and beyond amongst all of the mud and dead leaves on the ground.

These are exclusive to women’s boots only, as the men’s styles do not offer them in blue. Overall, there are three versions of the 8-inch style: Tan/Navy, Tan/Brown, and then Navy/Navy. For me, the Tan/Navy is the perfect balance of the original Bean Boot with a fun, colorful flair that enhances the tradition of incredible, hand-made footwear. I wear these with everything including jeans, leggings, sweatpants, etc. but I prefer leggings with some crew socks and a UConn Huskies T-shirt underneath my UConn jacket! Of course, it is football season so these go perfectly with a New England Patriots jersey, too! 

2. My second go-to pair of boots: Bean Boots 6 inch, Tan/Brown

With the 6-inch boots, this is where the brown bottoms have their moment to shine! I love having these because I do appreciate the classic look of the Tan/Brown combination and the ability to decide what type of fit I want for the day. Although subtle, the 6-inch boot is perfect for when you have a cute pair of socks you want to show off because more of your ankle is exposed. I also find myself wearing these with thicker socks because there’s more room for them to roll over the top as opposed to the 8-inch style.

A lot of what goes into me choosing the 6-inch or 8-inch is my choice of pants for the day. The 6-inch is ideal for flared jeans or a looser fitting pair because the cut of the boot allows for the hemline to not be restricted by the boot, but also you can tuck or roll the cuffs a little depending on the pants you have on. If I’m wearing sweatpants, I usually slip these on because the cuffs can be tucked into the top but still roll over. These boots definitely give the most flexibility in styling because the 6-inch length is just so versatile and they really do go with everything. Along with football, hockey season is here as well! My favorite outfit with this pair of Bean Boots is a Boston Bruins jersey, black leggings, and a warm, fuzzy pair of Bruins socks. 

3. The pair on my wishlist: Rubber Mocs

I’ve admired these from afar for a little while and pretty soon, I may just have to make the investment. These are perfect for not just winter but all four seasons, which will justify buying them! They have the same bottoms as the traditional 6- or 8-inch styles but just aren’t a full boot. With their slip-on design, these are the most accessible shoes and easiest to just throw on and go. I would wear these all year round to bring my dogs outside in the yard or on a walk. Even in the summer, these would be great on a boat with the water-resistant bottom or on the beach to keep sand out if you’re someone who loves the beach but hates the sand. As much as I love the feeling of the sand between my toes, it’s scorching in the summer and the shells can be sharp.

My grandparents actually used to wear the Rubber Mocs when they went quahogging because the shoes are thick enough to keep pinching crabs out! However, for those of us trying to stay dry on land, these can be worn in any season. I can’t wait to wear a pair of mocs with khaki or jean shorts in the warmer months and then keep them in my footwear rotation for longer pants and leggings, even dress pants, when the temperatures drop! I can also see these as perfect to slip on for the morning commute with their slipper-like style when it’s icy out and too slippery for heels. Actually, I think that these are cute enough to leave on all day! 

4. The in-between pair: Gumshoes

My mom has a pair of Gumshoes and I steal them whenever I’m home and need to step outside. She wears them every single day in the winter because they fit like a sneaker but keep her feet dry and warm. The Gumshoes are the perfect in-between of the Rubber Mocs and the Bean Boots. They have more coverage than the Mocs but aren’t as heavy as the Boots. She wears them with jeans and on mornings with fresh snow or ice, she’ll wear them and then bring dress shoes to change into. However, she usually just keeps the Gumshoes on all day because of how comfortable they are! She wears them with thin socks whereas my socks are a little thicker and we both find these shoes to fit great. We both also really like how there is padding around the top of the back. With this, you can wear either low or high socks and not have to worry about blisters, even on your first few wears. The Gumshoes are also pretty versatile in terms of multi-season wear. With a traditional shoe-like fit, they are perfect for gardening in the warmer months and then raking leaves as it gets cooler. Similar to the Bean Boots, the women’s style is only offered in Tan/Navy but the men’s version comes in Tan/Brown to suit your entire wardrobe. 

5. The warmest pair: Bean Boots 8 inCh, Flannel-Lined Insulated

I’ve never had a problem with either pair of my Bean Boots keeping my feet warm so I don’t own this pair, but if winter in New England keeps getting colder, I may have to upgrade! These boots feature everything there is to love about Bean Boots, but with a few extras that justify the $30 difference between the traditional 8-inch and the lined ones. Mainly, the layers of flannel throughout the entire inside of the boot work to keep your toes toasty and provide some more cushioning on the soles of your feet. Still, since Bean Boots run big, there should be plenty of room for thick socks if that’s your style. Speaking of style, I absolutely love the unique, tumbled-leather on the outside. This is such a great style, in both aesthetics and fit. It looks more forgiving and less rigid than the traditional pairs, and probably makes it easier to break these boots in, too. Along with the Tan/Brown color combination, there is also an all-brown option, which reminds me of a high-end leather backpack. If I had one, I would definitely pair the brown-on-brown pair with it. Regardless of the pair, I would still style them the same way as my other Bean Boots, but probably add a few extra layers because it must be freezing!

‘Tis the season!

For everyone who is as passionate about Bean Boots as I am, I hope these reviews help you if you’re looking to indulge yourself in another pair! Or, if you have been considering buying your first pair but not sure which ones you would like, I encourage you to take these styles into consideration. Also be sure to visit L.L. Bean.com to shop all the different options and find a local store. Your best bet is always to visit a store nearby so you can try boots on to make sure they fit how you’d like. If you choose to “Be an Outsider,” stay warm out there!

Taylor is a graduate student in the human rights program at the University of Connecticut. She is a UConn '22 alum and she has a degree in sport media (individualized major) and human rights, alongside a political science minor. She's passionate about her experiences at UConn fueled by her interdisciplinary studies. If she's not at a UConn game, she's in Boston at Fenway Park or TD Garden. A Massachusetts native, she loves everything about the Bay State from the Cape to the South End. Taylor aspires to have a career to combine her love for journalism and sports, and plans to attend law school after UConn.