L.L.Bean has found themselves in a superpreppy pickle once again. After surviving the Great Duck Boots shortage of 2014, it seems that this winter is looking just as bleak and bootless. Bloomberg recently reported that even though the retailer has invested $1 million to expand its manufacturing operation in their two factories, we could see a repeat like last December when there was a back order for 100,000 pairs. "We are doing all that we can to make the boots as quickly as possible without compromising quality and we are constantly looking for ways to do just that," L.L.Bean spokesman Mac McKeever told Bloomberg. "Making these boots takes time."
So why are people so desperate for these very practical and rather unfashionable boots that have been around forever (a.k.a. the early 1900s)? Blame those darn college students. “Heritage chic,” which embraces an old-school preppiness, has been ruling campuses lately (the Official Preppy Handbook describes L.L.Bean as "nothing less than Prep mecca”). It is a return to basics, in this case very practical ones, which are great in winter on muddy campuses. “The past few years, we’ve noticed a huge surge in popularity of the boots amongst highschool and college students, folks living in urban environments, and they’ve garnered favor with the fashion community as well,” a spokesperson for L.L.Bean told Quartz. “They have this wonderful rich history and heritage, they are still hand sewn right here in Maine, as they always have been, they’re tougher than a tire, and will last a long time.”
The duck boots take the weird appeal of Ugg boots but then add an element of rustic outdoorsiness (as no one should actually really wear their Ugg boots outside), therefore giving the wearer a bit of an edge. The L.L.Bean duck boots are Holden Caulfield while Uggs are whatever character Lauren Conrad writes about in her book.
But if you were hoping to nab a pair for this winter, you better hurry up and order.