The Origin of the Duck Boot: What are Duck Boots?

by - Monday, December 31, 2018

We can all agree that cold and wet feet are the worst, right? With the winter season upon us, there is no better time to snag a classic pair of duck boots. This iconic footwear style is a great choice to keep your feet warm and fashionable for the winter season. Even better? When you personalize them and opt for monogrammed duck boots from Marleylilly, you’ll rock your boots even more!

As you slip your feet inside your toasty duck boots, though, have you ever wondered who invented them in the first place? What are duck boots? How did they become so popular? 

Well, wonder no more! We’ll explain how duck boots came to be in this blog post and we’ll let you know who you should thank for such a marvelous invention.

What Are Duck Boots: The Invention of the Original Duck Boot

It all began over 100 years ago. The original duck boot was invented right here in the United States by a man named Leon Leonwood Bean (“L.L. Bean”). Why? He was tired of returning home from his Maine hunting and fishing trips with cold, wet feet.

Bean also noticed that most hunters wore quiet and flexible leather boots that did shockingly little to keep out water. Alternately, farmers wore rugged all-rubber boots to keep their feet safe and dry. In 1911, Bean came up with the idea to borrow from the best of both worlds. He created an innovative shoe with a waterproof rubber bottom as well as a flexible and supportive leather top. The result? The ultimate hunting boot.

Working Out a Few Kinks

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

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

First, he added the iconic triple-stitch that attaches the top leather half to the rubber bottom. Bean also created the patented Split Backstay. This is the 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

The L.L. Bean duck boot shortage no longer causes outrage today. That’s because other companies have come out with their own duck boot versions.

While some people still want the original L.L. Bean duck boot, others have moved on to trendy versions of the iconic footwear. Many of today’s duck boot styles on the market now include awesome prints and colors, like leopard print!

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

Although we love the original preppy look of the duck boot (and offer traditional duck boots in our selection of products), we wanted to jazz up its preppy appearance a little. 

We’ve designed our monogrammed duck boots to help express your personal duck boot look with monograms and more awesome styles that keep up with today’s trends. Our monogram boots allow you to be truly unique — without deviating from your timeless, preppy style. Our monogrammed duck boots make your favorite footwear stand out — either in a statement-making boot or in a subtle, classic way. 

Marleylilly makes it easy and fun to add a twist to this footwear by offering an embroidered monogram. In addition to making them truly unique, you’ll also instantly enhance your chic style! Our unique monogram tool lets you preview your creation before you buy it, too, so you can experiment with different monograms and embroidery thread colors. (Bonus: No one will want to steal ‘em because they’re monogrammed!)

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. It all began with L.L. Bean’s desire to make a durable hunting shoe and his entrepreneurial spirit. To him, we say “thanks!”

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  5. The origin of the duck boot is a fascinating tale of innovation and practicality. Created by Leon Leonwood Bean in 1911, this iconic footwear was designed to tackle the wet, muddy conditions of Maine's wilderness. Combining the waterproof rubber sole of a work boot with the leather upper of a casual shoe, Bean's ingenious design provided both durability and comfort. Today, the duck boot remains a timeless symbol of rugged outdoor style and functional fashion, cherished by adventurers and fashion enthusiasts alike. A true testament to American ingenuity!

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