L. L. Bean Heavy Duty Handsewn Blucher Review

jasonpraxis

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Overall: B+
Pros: comfortable, warm, looks durable, affordable
Cons: curved sole, visible logo stamped on tongue

A new acquisition, in "canyon":

M52281_Canyon.jpg


"Canyon" is brown. The website photograph, above, is a shade darker than my pair, so here's a low quality camera phone shot:



(for comparison, that's a navy sock and 4-year old Bean Double L cords in "marsh brown," which is khaki.)

They replaced a pair of italian looking rubber soled Polo bluchers that I'd been wearing for six or seven years as wet weather beaters. I was looking for something with a substantial sole and a conservative upper to replace the falling apart Polos.

I thought about a couple of different Red Wing models, the Doc Martens 8053, and my pre-Polo beaters- the Bean Double L oxfords. I don't really need boots in the city or suburbs, the Docs were overpriced at my local shop, and the Bean oxfords are boring.

The handswen bluchers are heavy shoes with white stitching, a thick, shallowly curved grey/black rubber commando-ish sole, leather half-lined footbed (the other half is some mesh fabric), padded collar, and stout leather laces up the three eyelet front. "L. L. Bean" is stamped on the tongue of each shoe, and molded into the sole. The color of the leather is very nice, rich and deep, and the couple of scratches I've put on it so far makes them look even better. They will age nicely, and may even improve with an occasional light polish.

Out of the box the leather is very stiff. I wore them around the house with medium weight Smartwool hiking socks for a couple of days to break them in, which seems to have done the trick. They are warm, however, and so I wouldn't wear a heavier sock unless I was going to be outside for a few hours.

My only complaint is that the bottom of the sole under the ball of the foot is not flat, but notable for a convex surface. This encouraged a bit of roll when walking on flat terrain initially, but I suppose I've acclimated or learned to ignore it. On my neighborhood's unshoveled snowy idewalks, the roll isn't noticeable at all. On those snowy/icy sidewalks, they actually gripped a little better than my Vasque Sundowners, which is certainly food for thought.

I'm not sure why this roll is there, if it's even supposed to be there (did I get a bad pair of shoes?), and if anyone has suggestions or ideas, however wild, I'd love to hear them.

Overall, I'm very happy with these and expect to see more wear out of them than the Polo shoes they replace. I like the style better, and I can see wearing them camping or knocking around town in the summer. If you're in the market for a new wet weather shoe with solid construction and an affordable price, you should add these to your short list.
 

Reddington

Super Member
Sorry to hear about the curved sole in your shoes. LLB has a terrific return policy. Why not give them a call and ask them if it's normal for that shoe. You may have received a bad pair.

They’re good looking shoes, though.

Cheers.
 

EAP

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Thanks for the review. Unfortunately, after now piquing my interest they appear sold out until Jan. 3 in my size.

Question, are they natural leather or corrected grain?
 

jasonpraxis

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Reddington, thanks for the reminder. I'm heading back east soon, so I'll drop by Bean and see what they think about the sole.

EAP, trolperft is correct. The leather is natural, oiled. I realized after the fact I should have mentioned that, along with sizing information. I bought the shoe in my usual size, 11D. I was half expecting to have to return for a 10.5, my size for a loafer, but the shoes fit true to size.
 

xcubbies

Super Member
Thanks for the review. Unfortunately, after now piquing my interest they appear sold out until Jan. 3 in my size.

Question, are they natural leather or corrected grain?


I read somewhere that they use Corinthian leather, cured in vintage brandy for two weeks, then seasoned with Cambrian olive oil to give them that rustic, yet refined, elegant finish.
 

hbs midwest

Super Member
Overall: B+
Pros: comfortable, warm, looks durable, affordable
Cons: curved sole, visible logo stamped on tongue

A new acquisition, in "canyon":

M52281_Canyon.jpg


"Canyon" is brown. The website photograph, above, is a shade darker than my pair, so here's a low quality camera phone shot:



(for comparison, that's a navy sock and 4-year old Bean Double L cords in "marsh brown," which is khaki.)

They replaced a pair of italian looking rubber soled Polo bluchers that I'd been wearing for six or seven years as wet weather beaters. I was looking for something with a substantial sole and a conservative upper to replace the falling apart Polos.

I thought about a couple of different Red Wing models, the Doc Martens 8053, and my pre-Polo beaters- the Bean Double L oxfords. I don't really need boots in the city or suburbs, the Docs were overpriced at my local shop, and the Bean oxfords are boring.

The handswen bluchers are heavy shoes with white stitching, a thick, shallowly curved grey/black rubber commando-ish sole, leather half-lined footbed (the other half is some mesh fabric), padded collar, and stout leather laces up the three eyelet front. "L. L. Bean" is stamped on the tongue of each shoe, and molded into the sole. The color of the leather is very nice, rich and deep, and the couple of scratches I've put on it so far makes them look even better. They will age nicely, and may even improve with an occasional light polish.

Out of the box the leather is very stiff. I wore them around the house with medium weight Smartwool hiking socks for a couple of days to break them in, which seems to have done the trick. They are warm, however, and so I wouldn't wear a heavier sock unless I was going to be outside for a few hours.

My only complaint is that the bottom of the sole under the ball of the foot is not flat, but notable for a convex surface. This encouraged a bit of roll when walking on flat terrain initially, but I suppose I've acclimated or learned to ignore it. On my neighborhood's unshoveled snowy idewalks, the roll isn't noticeable at all. On those snowy/icy sidewalks, they actually gripped a little better than my Vasque Sundowners, which is certainly food for thought.

I'm not sure why this roll is there, if it's even supposed to be there (did I get a bad pair of shoes?), and if anyone has suggestions or ideas, however wild, I'd love to hear them.

Overall, I'm very happy with these and expect to see more wear out of them than the Polo shoes they replace. I like the style better, and I can see wearing them camping or knocking around town in the summer. If you're in the market for a new wet weather shoe with solid construction and an affordable price, you should add these to your short list.
I have had the boat moc configuration of this item for about 7 years--have gone thru 2 re-sole jobs on the local economy, and they still keep going...I used Sno-seal when they were new; worked well against weather/moisture.

Nice shoes. Would consider them again. :icon_smile:

hbs
 

GWhite

New Member
I returned a pair of these because the padded collar seemed a bit too high and rubbed the side of my foot in an uncomfortable way. A shame they didn't work out for me because they are quite nice shoes.
 
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