I'm in the market for some rain/snow boots. I live in North central Indiana, where the weather is very similar to Chicago. I'm leaning towards 8" Bean boots. Any suggestions? If I do get Bean boots, would you advise me to get the ones with a lining or not? If so which one (thinsulate, shearling, wool)?
Two weeks ago, I purchased my first pair of L.L. Bean Boots. If you’re thinking about buying a pair in the future, but are unsure of how these boots fit because of their odd sizing, then I have a few tips to help you out.
It goes without saying that if you have the opportunity, then you should stop by one of L.L. Bean’s stores and try these on to get the best fit. While I was able to stop by their South Barrington, Ill., store, I realize that not everyone has this option available to them and if you’re buying online there are a few things you definitely need to know.
There are three basic Bean Boot types: The basic rain boot, the boot with Thinsulate lining and the boot with Thinsulate/Gore-Tex lining. I was only able to try on the boot without lining and the Thinsulate/Gore-Tex lining.
L.L. Bean recommends that you size down one full size from your typical shoe size. However, if you’re like me and wear a half size (me: 10.5) then it gets more tricky.
Also, you have to factor in whether you’ll be wearing thick socks with the boot. And finally, you have to decide if you want to also get a boot with an insulated lining.
When I was trying on boots, I was wearing a regular, thin pair of dress socks that I typically wear with all my other shoes. I did this because I plan on using these boots all year and wanted to know how they would fit with a thinner sock.
After trying on the size 9 in both unlined and lined versions, the unlined version definitely fit the best. It felt as if I was going barefoot in a pair of Sperry Topsiders (for reference, I wear a size 11 in those), but not uncomfortable and definitely room for wearing thick winter socks.
When I tried on the boots with lining, it was really tight on my toes while wearing thin socks. There was no way thick winter socks could be worn with this pair.
In the end, I opted to go for the unlined boots. I figured they’ll be cooler to wear during warmer months when it rains and they fit perfectly with thick socks. After wearing them now for a week and a half straight in the Chicago snow, I haven’t had any issues or felt regretful for not getting a lined pair of boots.
So, in summary:
- Unlined + thin socks = size down one (10.5 to 9)
- Unlined + thick socks = size down one (10.5 to 9)
- Lined + thin socks = regular size (10.5 to 10)
- Lined + thick socks = regular size (10.5 to 10)
Obviously, your feet may be different than mine. Just be aware that the lining seems to fill up the boot about half a size, which seems to throw off L.L. Bean’s suggestion of sizing down one.
On a side note: I’ve liked the boots quite a bit. It took a few wears to break the upper leather in a bit around my ankles, but no complaints. I keep a pair of shoes at work and use the boots for commuting (I think they look kind of odd paired with dress trousers).