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For two brands separated by nearly 11,000 miles, Aussie bootmakers Blundstone and Americana anchors L.L. Bean have a fair bit in common. Both were born as bootmakers to meet the demand for better outdoor products in harsh coastal conditions. Both claim over 100 years of successful, family-owned retail history. Both make durable, rugged gear designed for people on the move. And both are among the most respected purveyors of craftsmanship not presently identified as luxury goods (a classification we might protest, given their duo’s well-known and elite standards for products and service).
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But more than shared roots and values, Blundstone and L.L. Bean are united by a particularly unique factor: incomparable versatility. As executive Tim Engel, VP of Sales at Blundstone, is keen to point out, you’re as likely to see a Blundstone boot on a middle-America cattle farm as you are on the L train out to Williamsburg, just as L.L. Bean apparel is the unofficial uniform of Connecticut’s Yale and New Hampshire’s open season alike. They’re both brands that have expanded beyond a niche to a place of ubiquity; their only concrete signifiers are ones of good taste and an appreciation for quality.
It tracks, then, that the limited-edition Blundstone x L.L.Bean 500 Chelsea Boot, Blundstone’s first-ever U.S. collaboration, is a boot anyone can get behind. Tapping into the Original 500 Chelsea silo — the one you might recognize from, we don’t know, everywhere — the collaboration marries both brand’s devotion to heritage and love for the great outdoors into one tidy, trail-busting package.
“With similar histories and a shared mission to create long-lasting products that are both comfortable and versatile, there was no hesitation to partner with L.L. Bean for Blundstone’s first-ever U.S. product collaboration,” said Kate Shevack, Head of U.S. Marketing for Blundstone, in a release from the brand. “Our limited-edition boot is as utilitarian and no-nonsense as it gets. It’s a modern reflection of what our consumers have come to know and love about our brands over 264 combined years of delivering products built to last.”
A love letter to Maine — Bean’s fabeled flagship store, which remains open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is located in Freeport, ME — the 2.5mm premium leather boot itself borrows the iconic Stout Brown Blundstone colorway, the original hue for the 500, affixed with L.L.Bean’s similarly recognizable red-checked buffalo plaid gore paneling. It’s akin to something you might see in the heyday of Bean’s fall catalogs, modeled on a crunchy trail or next to a roaring campfire.
Pull tab — integral for the boot’s slip-on design — detailing and a custom insole each display co-branding, and the Chelsea Boot is similarly finished with both the Blundstone sole stamp and an embossed L.L.Bean logo on the heel. Beyond the subtle detailing, the limited-edition comes with all the tech — shock absorption, double stitching and an easy-on fit — that have cemented Blundstone as our Chelsea boots of choice.
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We’ve already taken the boots for a spin — to serious compliments, as you can imagine — and will be living in them through fall. (A word to the wise: head Blundstone’s website warnings and size down if you want a classically snug fit.) You can secure your own pair, too: the Blundstone x L.L.Bean Chelsea Boot is available for purchase now, below, and at both retailer’s webstores…this is, of course, while supplies last. Real beanheads will also have a shoot to purchase the limited-edition boot through L.L.Bean’s iconic print catalog.
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