Monday, November 18, 2019

Resoling my L.L. Bean Boots, Round Two (with Before and After)

via Unsplash

My previous post about getting my L.L. Bean duck boots (I wear the 8'' style with Gore-Tex and Thinsulate lining) resoled currently happens to be my single most popular post of all time. I'm a little surprised that my post performs so well in the Google search results about getting Bean boots resoled, but I suppose it's because relatively few people out there spend that much time thinking about - or, more importantly, writing about - this mundane bit of routine wardrobe maintenance! 

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When last I sent in my beloved L.L. Bean boots for resoling, it was after I had worn them frequently - almost every day of the week from December through March or April - for two years. Strictly speaking, because I grind down the heels of all my boots so quickly, I could have made a case for sending them in at the end of the first year. By the end of the first winter, the textured rubber on the heels of my boots had already been worn down so much that almost half of it along the outer edges - the part that hits the ground most heavily when I'm walking, I assume - was completely smoothed out, enough that my foot could slip and slide a bit on damp tile or marble, or if the sidewalk is icy. Nevertheless, I held on until the end of the second winter, after which the yellow rubber at the heels was completely worn through, and the dark brown rubber under the soles was visible, and also starting to get worn down. In short, it was clearly past time to send them in for resoling. 

Please follow the link below for "before" and "after" photos, and a quick note about the current price for resoling the Gore-Tex/Thinsulate Bean boots:

This time around, I also waited until the end of the second winter before sending my boots in for resoling. Much like last time, the yellow rubber sole was completely worn through at the back of the heels by then. This year, I took a "before" photo before I sent them in:

One reason for the relative popularity of my first post about resoling my boots may be that L.L. Bean's own website doesn't provide much information about the process, instead asking customers to contact their customer service to inquire about the prices and where to send the boots in. Much like in 2017, this didn't make for an especially streamlined process. I started by emailing them to check the current prices for resoling the Thinsulate/Gore-Tex boots and to verify the shipping address. They didn't provide me with a full price list for all the boot varieties this time, just the price for resoling the Thinsulate/Gore-Tex ones, which they said was $42.

I boxed up my boots - including a check to L.L. Bean for the $42 repair fee and a note confirming my return shipping address - and mailed them in. And much like last time, there were no confirmation emails or other updates.

Approximately four weeks later, without having gotten any notification that my boots were on their way back to me, I received a package with my newly resoled boots, and also an invoice for another $3.73. So there may have been a slight discrepancy between what their online customer service department thought the price was and the actual current price. Either way, a total price of $45.73 to get my beloved winter boots back in like-new condition was a small price to pay, compared to the price of a pair of new boots! (Which is currently $209, a bit more than the $189 I originally paid.)

And here's the "after" photo of my newly resoled boots:

Just like last time, I'm completely satisfied with the results. The soles and heels look completely new when they finish, as you can see above. Plus, L.L. Bean sends the newly resoled boots back with a pair of new shoelaces and fresh new insoles. The new insoles were especially appreciated because - after two years of frequent wear, and the attendant close contact with my sweatier-than-average feet and my not-terribly-breathable fleece-lined tights - the old insoles were getting to be... not at all pleasant-smelling (sorry to be gross!).

After all these years, with the help of L.L. Bean's repair services, my Bean boots are still as fully functional as when they were brand new. There's been some signs of wear and tear on the uppers - a small stain or two here, mostly under the laces, and a small scuff there - but it's all superficial blemishes and I don't mind it, nor is it particularly noticeable. As long as L.L. Bean is able to fully resole and reheel my boots whenever I send them in, I expect that I could keep wearing these boots for life. (Unless my shoe size changes dramatically, that is.)

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