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A nearly century old hunting boot is catching on with a younger generation that sees the utilitarian footwear as hip. Another reason is new styles, including something Leon Leonwood Bean surely never envisioned in 1912: bright blue and pink leather, new for spring.

At Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, Zina Huxley Reicher, of New York, wears her dark brown, shearling lined boots nearly every day, with a skirt or jeans. She has only one pair, but some classmates have several.

“They are very practical, but they’ve also become a fashion trend,” she said. “They’re simple and kind of have that rugged look that has been adopted as a fashionable thing.”

Defying a trend toward offshore production, the outdoors retailer is adding 125 full time employees to its Maine based manufacturing operation to keep pace with orders.

The well known boot appears to be benefiting from a retro trend, whether it’s penny loafers or the Gap’s 1969 series blue jeans, said Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail in New York.

“It’s sort of like the Coca Cola bottle or the sleek silver lines of Apple. It’s iconic. And when you have that kind of icon, you leverage it,
lace up ugg boots Boot gets a kick from retro trend
” Corlett said. Bean’s icon from decades ago is striking an emotional chord with people who are yearning for the good old days.”

Another factor that could be helping Bean: There’s been little that’s new and exciting in footwear in recent years beyond UGG boots and Crocs, said Alexander Geyman, editor of Focus on Fashion Retail, outside Los Angeles. Trendy UGG boots and the Timberland brand outstrip Bean’s in sales, he said. Bean. It’s become something of an unofficial symbol of Maine, like the rocky coast and lobsters. Bean boot outside the 24 hour retail store, near the company’s headquarters in Freeport. Tourists regularly snap photos. Bean featured one of its factory workers in a national television advertising campaign.

The boots carry the “Made in the USA” label, something that’s hard to find these days in footwear. Labor Department. In Maine, shoe manufacturing jobs peaked at more than 25,000 in the 1960s, and last year there were 1,300 jobs, according to the Maine Department of Labor.

“We’ve made a commitment since it’s our signature product, and because of our heritage, that they’ll always be made in Maine,” spokeswoman Carolyn Beem said.

The hunting version has a softer rubber compound that allows a hunter to tread lightly, while the “Bean Boot” has a steel shank and tougher rubber compound that holds up better on asphalt.
lace up ugg boots Boot gets a kick from retro trend