We couldn’t go on our hunting adventures without a good pair of boots. If you’ve ever been out in the woods unprepared with shoes that aren’t warm and supportive enough, then you know that same feeling.
Out of all the hunting boots you can buy, the best is usually a toss-up of the Maine hunting shoe vs bean boot. Here’s the bottom line on these two footwear must-haves for hunters everywhere.
What Are Maine Hunting Shoes?
Maine hunting shoes are made by L.L.Bean, an American shoemaker trusted by outdoor enthusiasts for over a century. If you have old shoes and boots tucked away in the closet, chances are you have at least one pair from L.L.Bean.
Maine hunting shoes were first introduced in 1912 and have received many enhancements since then. Modern Maine hunting shoes have a moccasin-like feel with a flexible sole for the durable traction you need on long hunts in the woods.
What Are Bean Boots?
While Maine hunting shoes have been the classic choice for American hunters for over 100 years, there’s another style to consider from L.L.Bean.
Bean boots are a newer version of the brand’s original hunting shoes, with a slightly shorter fit and nice tan color. Bean boots are often worn for light hikes or walks in the rain and snow.
They are versatile and popular for both men and women, whether hunting or just spending time outside.
Which Is Better: Maine Hunting Shoes or Bean Boots?
At the end of the day, only you can decide which hunting boots are better for you. Out of all the hunting boot brands, L.L.Bean is a trusted favorite.
Personally, I tend to lean toward the good old-fashioned Maine hunting shoes when I head out into the field, but the Bean boots are a close second.
Here are the key differences to keep in mind when shopping for new hunting boots from L.L.Bean.
- Sole. Maine hunting shoes have a more flexible sole compared to the solid structure of Bean boots.
- Upper. The original Maine boots are less stiff with a loose, tumbled fit, while Bean boots have a flat upper fit.
- Color. Maine hunting shoes are dark brown all over and Bean boots are mainly tan with a brown bottom.
These duck boots don’t vary much in price, but usually, you can get Bean boots for slightly less than Maine hunting shoes.
Are Maine Hunting Shoes and Bean Boots Good For Hunting?
I’ve worn both of these bird hunting boots, and they definitely get our seal of approval for long days of bird hunting. Let’s take a closer look at these options and what they bring to the field.
There’s no denying that both waterproof boots offer supportive soles, although the 8-inch and 10-inch Bean boots have less flexible soles compared to Maine hunting shoes.
Originally, L.L.Bean boots had a moccasin-style sole to help them feel the ground, and the Maine hunting shoes sold today have adopted this feature.
Those who like a softer cushion and flexibility may prefer the Maine design, while others who want a strong hunting shoe that can be worn during daily life too may opt for Bean boots. The durable soles are great for running errands in bad weather as well as outdoor adventures.
At first glance, there isn’t much of a visual difference to these L.L.Bean hunting boots, but keep in mind that the Bean boots are usually shorter around 8 inches, although there is a 10-inch option as well.
The tumbled leather upper of the Maine hunting shoe means it’s looser with a relaxed fit, while Bean boots have flat leather that fits snugly around the legs.
The darker stitching on Maine hunting shoes stays cleaner and lasts longer while Bean boots have white stitching that can become quite dirty, especially after back-to-back hunts.
Every hunter wants to blend in with their surroundings as much as possible. That’s why the color of the footwear matters, with both the Maine hunting shoe and Bean boot offering a good choice for wilderness hunting journeys.
The 8-inch bean boot is available in tan, which many people wear for daily activities as well as out hunting. Then there’s a taller dark brown Bean boot measuring 10 inches, as well as the distinctive dark brown of the Maine hunting shoe.
A closer look at the laces on both of these boots reveals another color difference: Bean boots have light brown shoelaces while Maine hunting shoes are dark brown to match the upper.
When in doubt about which duck hunting boots will feel better for your feet in the long run, just try them both on. You can see the difference between the relaxed, flexible Maine boots and the Bean boots with extra support.
Maine shoes offer a custom fit with the uppers that easily conform to the leg, plus a steel shank of superior support for strong performance even on the longest days outside.
That’s not to say the Bean boots don’t offer support too. This footwear also has a steel shank, with a unique foot shape that promotes stability and comfort that even the most experienced hunters can embrace.
A lot of times, what it all comes down to is how much you like to feel the ground beneath your feet and how much room you like to have between your ankle/calf and the boot.
The Maine hunting shoe still provides a snug fit, although there is slightly more wiggle room. If you prefer to wear several layers of thick socks and let your legs breathe as much as possible, then Maine boots from L.L.Bean may feel better for you. Plus, the softer sole means you make less noise when you walk.
On the other hand, if you like your bird hunting boots to fit firmly against your leg with a hard, supportive sole, then Bean boots are a worthwhile option.
Bean boots are also more popular for city and suburban residents who want the traction and protection of high-quality boots that blend in well with general outdoor gear.
Two of the bestselling hunting boots come from L.L.Bean. Maine hunting shoes go way back, with a traditional taller fit and dark brown color, although there is less structure overall.
The newer Bean boots offer additional support with great traction and a slightly shorter design that makes them easy to slip on and off.
Whichever boots you end up buying, you can rest assured the quality of L.L.Bean hunting footwear has been tried and tested by many fellow outdoorsmen and women, ourselves included!