I didn’t experience a real winter until college. Before that, I lived in a California suburb where it hasn’t snowed in over a hundred years, and a forecast of 50 degrees Fahrenheit is considered freezing. So I was in for a rude awakening when I moved to Philadelphia, which isn’t particularly snowy or cold, but felt to me like an Arctic tundra.
Because none of my California friends had experienced a real winter either, I based my entire freshman year wardrobe off social media trends and outfits I saw on Gossip Girl. The classic L.L.Bean Bean Boots were popular on Pinterest at the time, so I decided I had to have them—and boy, did that turn out to be a smart investment.
I didn’t know it back then, but those L.L. Bean duck boots would last me through all four years of college, plus my first winter in New York. They would withstand countless days of rain, sleet, and hail and get me through some of the most powerful Mid-Atlantic snowstorms on record. While I ended up abandoning most of the colorful tights, patterned headbands, and lace dresses I bought to emulate Blair Waldorf, I held on tight to those well-worn duck boots—and they’re still going strong six years later.
Designed in Maine in 1912, the signature Bean boots are popular on college campuses across the country and are passed down from one generation to the next. Both my mom and my grandma grew up wearing L.L.Bean boots, and when my brother moved to New York, my grandparents happily gifted him a pair for braving the Manhattan slush.
The reason these duck boots have such a great reputation is that they’re exceptionally well-crafted. Each pair is hand-sewn and triple-stitched, with rubber chain-tread soles and a full-grain leather upper. They’re also waterproof and built to last (and I mean really last, which is how I’ve been wearing mine for six years and counting).
The boots are sturdy, waterproof, and easy to throw on with jeans or leggings. I consistently clock 10,000 steps a day in them, that’s how comfortable they are. The soles provide plenty of traction and have saved me from slipping in snow banks on many occasions. And since the boots come in whole sizes, I made sure to size up so I could wear fuzzy socks under them.
In addition to earning my whole family’s approval, the boots have hundreds of glowing Nordstrom reviews praising their durability and quality. Several shoppers have been wearing the L.L.Bean boots for more than 20 years without needing a replacement pair.
“Just wanted to say that I got these boots before I left for college at Appalachian State University. That was 29 years ago, in 1989! And they still look just as good now as they did then,” a five-star reviewer wrote.
“I have been lusting over these boots for years now, and I finally received them as a Christmas gift this year,” another reviewer added. “I immediately put them on and pretty much haven’t taken them off for two weeks straight. I live in Ireland, where it’s always damp, and these boots keep my feet completely dry in all the drizzle. They are perfect, and if I could give them seven out of five stars, I would.”
I’ve bought countless pairs of shoes throughout the years, but none of them have served me as well as my trusty Bean boots. Shop the $139 L.L.Bean Bean Boots below if you’re looking for boots that’ll stand the test of time—and that you might still be wearing decades from now.
To buy: $139; nordstrom.com