The Origin of the Duck Boot

Monday, December 31, 2018


We can all agree that cold, wet feet are the worst. With the winter season upon us, there is no better time to snag a classic pair of duck boots to keep your feet warm and fashionable for the winter season.

But as you slip your feet inside your toasty duck boots, have you ever wondered who invented them in the first place or how they became so popular?

Well, wonder no more! In this post, we’ll explain how duck boots came to be and who you should be thanking for such a marvelous invention.


The Invention of the Original Duck Boot

The original duck boot was invented right here in the United States more than 100 years ago. A man named Leon Leonwood Bean (“L.L. Bean”) was tired of returning home from his Maine hunting and fishing trips with cold, wet feet.

Bean noticed that most hunters wore quiet and flexible leather boots which did little to keep out water, while farmers wore all-rubber boots to keep their feet safe and dry. In 1911, Bean came up with the idea to take the best of both worlds and create a shoe with a waterproof rubber bottom and flexible and supportive leather top for the ultimate hunting boot.

Working Out a Few Kinks

L.L. Bean had 100 boots made and rounded up a list of hunters from out-of-state who had hunting licenses in Maine. He then sent them a brochure that proudly claimed if they didn’t love their hunting boot, they could get a 100% refund on their purchase.

Although Bean successfully sold all 100 pairs of duck boots, 90 of them were sent back. He refunded everyone’s money and made some serious improvements to his duck boots.

First, he added the iconic triple-stitch which attaches the top leather half to the rubber bottom. Bean also created the patented Split Backstay, which is a seam that splits to avoid going directly down the Achilles heel.

Other improvements to the boot included a tiny rubber lip to keep out sticks while tramping through the woods and a five-line design on the top rubber part of the boot to help dispel water. In short, everything about the duck boot was originally designed with a practical purpose.

L.L. Bean Store and the Iconic Duck Boot

After working out some of the kinks in his duck boots, L.L. Bean opened his store in 1912 and began selling “the Bean Boot,” also known as “the Maine Hunting Shoe.” It became a reputable boot in Maine and earned widespread recognition.

However, the duck boot was still mostly utilitarian at this point. In 2010, the duck boot experienced a significant surge in popularity once more as elite prep school students began sporting them. Soon, others would be clamoring for a pair of duck boots and cause L.L. Bean to have a continuous shortage of their most iconic product.

The Modern Duck Boot

Today, a shortage at L.L. Bean no longer causes outrage. That’s because other companies have come out with their own versions of the duck boot.

While some still want the original L.L. Bean duck boot, others have moved on to trendy versions of the iconic footwear. In fact, there are some crazy styles of duck boots on the market, including some with leopard-print leather top parts and fur-lined duck boots with zipper sides.

Keeping the Prep-Vibe Strong with Marleylilly’s Duck Boots

At Marleylilly, we enjoy the originally preppy look of the duck boot. But we wanted to take its preppy appearance a step further.

That’s why we offer monogrammed duck boots so that you can be truly unique without deviating from your timeless, preppy style. Monogrammed duck boots make your favorite footwear stand out in a subtle way—plus, no one will want to steal them because they’re monogrammed. ;)


Of course, there are other ways to switch things up with your duck boots. We also have monogrammed tall duck boots that are higher than your typical duck boot. These fit like a riding boot and are the perfect footwear when battling the rain and cold!


Embrace the Winter Season with Personalized Duck Boots!

What’s not to love about duck boots? Not only do they keep your feet warm and dry throughout the wet season, they’re also iconic footwear that everyone wants to get their hands (feet?) on!

You can put your own twist on the duck boot this year by stamping your initials on them. In addition to making them truly unique, you’ll also instantly enhance your preppy-chic style!

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