Over 100 years since their creation, L.L. Bean duck boots are still going strong. In fact, they are on track to have record-breaking sales this holiday season.
Like Birkenstocks, duck boots had an established cult following for years as a wet weather staple more functional than fashionable. As someone who was born in the Pacific Northwest, I grew up seeing these boots everywhere. Weatherproof boots are an essential item there, whether you consider yourself outdoorsy or not. My Dad still has the same pair I remember him wearing when I was little. They weren't popular, but they were invaluable.
That is, until about 2011. The outdoorsy aesthetic became fashionable resulting in hipsters and fashion-forward editors adopted the boot skyrocketing its popularity. In the years to come, the boot began selling out every year. Retailers were struggling to keep up with the new-found demand. In an attempt to capitalize upon their newfound popularity, L.L. Bean stepped outside its comfort zone and released a redesign of their sought-after shoe. The result? Loyal fans of the shoe and newcomers alike were scrambling to get their hands on the limited edition, small batch releases. Before, the shoe was offered in a limited range of colors. Now, you can find them in plum, burnt orange, and in a variety of styles and fits making styling the iconic boot easier than ever. L.L. Bean stepped outside its comfort zone and was rewarded with a surge in popularity even greater than before.
Since 2012, L.L. Bean has tripled the number of boots they sell each year. This year, the Maine-based retailer is up to the task, telling the Associated Press that they have increased their production to have enough boots to meet the ever-growing demand. The company projects that they will sell 750,000 pairs this year, a 100,000 increase from last year. "We are working fast and furious to keep up," said company spokesperson Carolyn Beem. "We have been expanding year over year over year." Beem added that the backlog of small batch releases would likely continue.