Brandon took us all out to dinner during the cold snap a few weeks ago. When we met up at the front door to head out to the car, I glanced down to see each one of us donning a pair of duck boots. We looked like a family plucked straight out of the LL Bean catalog. I smiled.
Duck boots are usually associated with New England. Created in 1911 by Leon Leonwood Bean, they are the shoe that launched the LL Bean brand. The shoes became popular at elite prep schools and Ivy League campuses, turning them into “preppy” staples.
Here in the south, duck boots found their way into the closets of farmers and hunters. My daddy always had a pair of “Maine Hunting Boots” on hand. I have a thousand memories of watching him lace up his boots to go catch nightcrawlers – or sliding them off after hunting trips.
Like me, Brandon has memories of duck boots from his childhood too. Though he doesn’t hunt, he keeps a pair on hand. He gets plenty of use out of them on muddy job sites. Bean boots are about the only shoe you’ll catch him wearing during the winter.
Some people think duck boots are ugly – but I can’t get enough of them. They remind me of so many good things in life: my daddy, Brandon, and the great outdoors. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re comfy – or that they keep my feet warm and dry.
Back in the 2010s, Bean Boots became trendy. Which made me wonder: when were they ever unpopular? Didn’t everyone grow up with duck boots tucked away in the closet?