Christian Science Monitor - More than a century after their conception as hunting accessories, L.L.Bean’s signature boots are an unlikely item to be among fashion’s most coveted.
For a third year in a row, the rubber-soled – and not quite aesthetically pleasing – “Duck” shoes are now on back order. Even after hiring 200 extra workers and purchasing a $1 million rubber-molding-injection machine, the Freeport, Maine, company is still struggling to keep up with demand with more than 50,000 people currently awaiting their order.
Outside the hunting crowd, the two-toned boots have long had a following on East Coast college campuses for their New England brand and preppy appeal. But sometime in 2012, mainstream fashion joined in its rave. InStyle, Glamour, The New York Times, and Us Weekly, among others, all wrote about the shoe, deeming it a must-have of the season.
L.L.Bean's current list of backorders is steep, but it’s only half of the backlogged demand last year. In fact, after hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts rushed to get their hands on a pair of the boots last winter, the company couldn’t clear the backlog until July.