A walking stereotype
December 9, 2019 12:07 PM   Subscribe

My husband lives in his LL Bean Boat shoes in chocolate. He keeps a new pair for weddings and fancy stuff, a moderately used pair for daily use and a grungy pair for work. He gets a new pair every Christmas and the cycle continues. BUT I've contacted LL Bean and they have stopped stocking this color and have no information on if they will restock. Can you help me find a replacement?

He likes a boat shoes that is all leather with a white sole (rubber?) and dark brown foot. They are also really well made, his feet are constantly exposed to salt water and any replacement needs to hold up.

Thanks in advance !
posted by pintapicasso to Shopping (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
That link does not seem to go anywhere for me.
posted by seasparrow at 12:15 PM on December 9, 2019 [4 favorites]

What's your price range? I have a pair from Quoddy which are excellent, and they have a bunch of different styles (which you can also customize to your liking). They're made in Maine if that matters to you. Definitely not cheap, but Chromexcel leather is very hardy and they will refurbish old pairs (new soles, laces, and hardware) for a reasonable price.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:29 PM on December 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Are the shoes these ones?
posted by mce at 12:31 PM on December 9, 2019

Best answer: Ok, I am a fool. I thought, "Oh, I'll just check the LL Bean page for Boat Shoes and find what the asker is looking for. I was wrong, but here's what I found.

The "Casco Bay Boat Mocs" are currently available in "Chocolate."

The "Comfort Boat Shoe" has only one size left in "Brown."

The "Handsewn Camp Moccasins" don't really look like a boat shoe to me, and are only available in two colors, neither listed is "Chocolate."

The "Campdie Blucher Moc" seems entirely too casual to go from serious to casua (the white sole is what makes me think that).

The Venetian Casco Bay Boat Mocs are listed as available in one color and seem to have the level of formality that is suggested by the question. They don't really read as a boat shoe to me either though.

Perhaps the asker can clarify if there is some other style they mean, or if one of these is what they are trying to approximate.
posted by bilabial at 12:33 PM on December 9, 2019

Best answer: GH Bass.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:33 PM on December 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Quoddy and Sebago are the higher-end standards, and Sperry is the mass-market option. If you have a GH Bass outlet near you (Kittery?), I've worn their boat shoes before and they're fine. The brown/white colorway is pretty standard for boat shoes; nearly everyone who makes boat shoes should offer one.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:34 PM on December 9, 2019

Call LL Bean. A customer rep will help you find anything they may have. Srsly, have worked there ages ago, and they will try to find a solution.
posted by theora55 at 12:42 PM on December 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have you called the outlet store in Freeport?
Or what about ordering in a different color? He might prefer to get the look and comfort of the style even if the color is wrong rather than starting over with a different brand.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:38 PM on December 9, 2019

I wear boat shoes to work nearly everyday and have gone through several different brands over the years. My Bass boat shoes are the finest I have worn, much better than Sperry and Sebago, and very reasonably priced. Check their outlet website for possible deals.
posted by gnutron at 2:19 PM on December 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Rancourt, or Oak Street Bootmakers, are fairly similar to Quoddy.

Sebago is good quality for the price, but they're not a high-end standard.

Mass-market lux companies like Allen-Edmonds and Cole Haan are both above Sebago (the former more than the latter), but they're not at Quoddy's level either.

(I mostly wear sneakers and Birkenstocks, but I am not completely unaware of the heirarchy of preppy menswear brands.)
posted by box at 3:02 PM on December 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm so sorry to you guys who took the time to answer this, I posted it and went right to work and haven't checked my phone to see the link wasn't working. these are the shoes.

Lots of great suggestions upthread, thanks so much!

(I emailed customer service but good idea I think I will give them a call. Also I was planning on heading to the outlet tomorrow so fingers crossed.)
posted by pintapicasso at 3:21 PM on December 9, 2019

Mod note: I've added the working link to the question too
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:55 PM on December 9, 2019

Response by poster: I am sorry to threadsit, I don't know much about higher-end shoes, can anyone speak to the quality of the quoddy or rancourt shoes? What makes them $200 more for what looks to be a similar shoe to the LL Bean ones? The bass ones looks fine but i am worried to cheap out too much because what's great about the llbean ones is that even though they get dingy with fish stuff and salt they hold up until a hole is worn through the leather.
posted by pintapicasso at 3:56 PM on December 9, 2019

Quoddys are recraftable, so when they break in and get perfectly comfy but the sole wears, you send them back with $99 on sale and they resole, replace the sock liner and laces, and condition the leather. It’s like a new pair but better, because it’s your old pair.
posted by a halcyon day at 7:27 PM on December 9, 2019

Sperry Topsiders
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:38 AM on December 10, 2019

If the color you end up with isn't as dark as you'd like, leather conditioners often darken leather. It darkens by a shade or so, not enough to take a blond leather to chocolate, but enough to darken a medium brown to something richer. I use Huberd's Shoe Grease and my brown leather boots did initially darken a little when I first cleaned and conditioned them. Obenauf's is another good brand.

(Also, as someone with custom-made boots that are completely repairable, I 100% endorse buying shoes that can be resoled and repaired, though I don't have any experience with Quoddy in particular.)
posted by carrioncomfort at 6:40 AM on December 10, 2019

Quoddy is a darling of the trad men's fashion world precisely because they make shoes like LLBean *used to*.

Yes, they're expensive. But they'll last, and can be repaired -- neither of which is true of LL Bean or Sperry at this point. :(
posted by uberchet at 10:29 AM on December 10, 2019

I tried some Rancourt women's loafers this year, hoping to acquire a pair I could keep for the rest of my life. They were the most beautifully made shoes I think I've ever seen, but their lasts were a poor match for my particular feet and they went back.
posted by jocelmeow at 10:44 AM on December 10, 2019

But they'll last, and can be repaired -- neither of which is true of LL Bean or Sperry

I can't speak for Sperry, but I am wearing a re-soled pair of LL Bean Allagash Bison Handsewns, and the company I used to resole them didn't even blink. So some models are definitely repairable/resoleable still. I'm not sure about the Boat Shoes, but wouldn't write them off without checking first.

Anyway, to the OP's question, the LL Bean shoes in lighter leather can be made darker through oiling. There are "darkening oils" specifically for this purpose, I believe its intended purpose is to help match old and new leather riding tack, but I'd see no reason why it wouldn't work well on shoes. You can get it on Amazon, although it's probably more than a lifetime's supply and you might do better locally.

I have found that some leather oils which don't specifically call themselves "darkening" will actually darken the leather as they are applied, too. Obenauf's Leather Oil is frequently recommended (I've used it but haven't used enough others to really say that it's better/worse). I put it on an older pair of boots and it definitely took them from a light reddish-brown to a dark medium brown with several applications, and it has stayed that way for months afterwards.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:37 AM on December 10, 2019

Response by poster: After considering the options I bought the bass ones and they will be perfect for what he needs. Thank you !!!
posted by pintapicasso at 7:10 AM on December 22, 2019

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