Monday, August 21, 2017

Resoling my L.L. Bean Boots

At the moment, I'm wrapping things up at my current job, planning some travel, and getting ready for my new, exciting next job. I hope to write more about all of that later, but today's post will be a very quick one, a follow-up post on how my well-loved and well-used L.L. Bean boots have aged, how to get them resoled, and how much that costs. Edit November 18, 2019: I've now had my Bean boots resoled again, and I wrote an additional post with before and after photos. To the extent that you're interested, please follow this link.

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I recently sent in my L.L. Bean boots with Gore-tex/Thinsulate for resoling. I've had them for two years, and I put them to heavy use throughout almost the entire period from November to March each year On weekdays, I generally spend forty minutes plus walking on city sidewalks as part of my commute and while running errands. That alone isn't inherently hard on shoes, but I always grind down the heels of my boots remarkably fast. I end up resoling my go-to Sam Edelman Petty booties twice a year, for instance. I wore my Bean boots through two winters, and even at the end of the first, the rubber sole was seriously worn down at the heels. By the end of the second, I'd worn through the yellow rubber soles at the heel all the way down to the second layer of gray rubber, which made the shoes more prone to slipping. In short, it was long past time for resoling. 

There isn't a streamlined process for getting L.L. Bean boots resoled. I emailed customer service, and it took a few days to get everything set up. L.L. Bean currently charges $39 to resole the non-insulated boots; $42 to resole the Gore-tex/Thinsulate boots; and $43 to resole the Thinsulate boots. They ask you to mail them in to an address they provide, enclosing a note with your contact information and shipping address, as well as a check or your credit card information. I spent about $12 shipping in my boots with the cheapest USPS option, and they sent my boots back for free. There isn't any kind of confirmation email or tracking info for the return shipment. My boots reappeared approximately five or six weeks after I sent them in. The soles look like new now, and I'm very pleased!

As for how my Bean boots are holding up otherwise, they're doing great, with no serious signs of wear other than at the soles before the repairs. I don't subject them to much except walking around in the sometimes very slushy, salty NYC streets, but that can be pretty hard on some boots. If I had to go back and do it again, I'm not sure if I would still pick the Gore-tex/Thinsulate boots, as they felt rather heavy and stiff when I first got them, more like serious snow boots than I was expecting, and even now, two years later, they still feel that way a bit. It's not something that fully goes away with the shoes being broken in. (At the same time, the non-insulated ones wouldn't suit either, as I've gotten used to having warm feet without needing to get special socks for winter.)

For the other Bean boot lovers out there, how have yours been holding up? Am I just unusually hard on my boots, needing one resole or reheel per season of hard use, generally, or is that the typical experience?

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