If you’ve spent more than 30 seconds on a college campus in the last five years, you’ve probably seen a pair of L.L. Bean Boots.
Those are duck boots (reinforced rubber toe cap, tough gripping sole, waterproofed leather shaft), and they’ve joined the ubiquitous “quad gear” ranks of Patagonia fleeces, Canada Goose Jackets and Herschel backpacks.
Duck boots, though, are no campus-exclusive trend: L.L. Bean’s been cranking ‘em out of their factory in Maine for a century without much alteration. But given their recent modishness — and the fact that every pair is hand-made — the boots have been selling out in recent years, and fast. Assuming you even get off the waiting list, you may not see a pair before the holidays, and there’s a good chance you’ll miss out entirely.
And while we respect L.L. Bean’s commitment to their craft, waiting for a pair of boots like you just pulled a number at a packed deli is for chumps. There are great alternative out there if you know where to look. One of the best? The brand new All-Weather Duckboot from men’s gear emporium Huckberry.
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While Huckberry has collabed on original apparel before (remember this happy mash-up with Danish brewery Mikkeller?) and maintains a pair of in-house brands (Flint and Tinder, Proof) the AWD is their first “Huckberry” branded product. It’s a big deal, and the boot is well worth the distinction. Reaching for familiar emphases of functionality and comfort, the AWD blends a shock-absorbing midsole with a fortress of waterproofery, from the gusseted tongue to the waterproof full-grain leather to the waxed laces. These things are airtight.
The boot is also having an identity crisis in the best way possible: it fits like a snug sneaker but stunts like an out-and-about brogan from afar. Plus, you won’t find a billboard logo slapped anywhere on the tongue or heel panel.
And you can pick up a pair here for $180 today … no waiting list necessary.
In the rare case that the AWDs aren’t your speed, we’ve included some additional options below, all more than up to their puddle-protecting responsibilities.
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Small Batch Bean Boots — $145
Definitely easier to cop than the ever-sold out Bean boot. Plus, that olive outer shell is a breath of fresh autumnal air.
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CHEYANNE II LACE DUCK BOOT — $155
A notch more January than the other options here. Look out the window — if the leaves have already changed, this is your guy.
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Britton Hill Side-Zip Boots — $170
If you have to wear duck boots on a first date … here ya go.
Images from L.L. Bean, Huckberry, Sorel, Timberland
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