L.L. Bean Wellies Tall - Women's Review
Cons: Stiff rubber, baggy feeling, Heavy
Manufacturer: L.L. Bean
Our Analysis and Test Results
Crafted with vulcanized rubber, these tall, slip-on L.L. Bean Wellies performed well in the weather protection and style metrics and were above average in traction and warmth. One of the most significant setbacks was the stiffness of the rubber and the overall comfort. Features included an EVA-foam footbed, woven jersey-knit liner, and a stretch gore panel on the back of the shaft for a slightly more flexible circumference. Additionally, there were pull loops on the sides to help don the boot and an adjustable rubber "instep strap"; they were the most difficult to pull off without hands, as compared to the other slip on boots we reviewed. This particular model comes in five different styles: black, signature plaid, mariner blue/beechnut camo, brown houndstooth, and dark green.
Measuring approximately 15.63 inches from the ground, this contender was the second tallest of the bunch, beat by the Hunter Original Back Adjustable. Right beneath the knee, the height offered excellent weather protection against sideways rain or puddle splash. However, the circumference does leave a gap between you and the boot, so there is a likelihood of rain or snow collecting, but not so much to be a concern. Along with two other contenders, the Wellies Tall earned the highest score in the fleet - a 9 out of 10.
The Wellies are a heavy pair of boots, weighing in at 3.92 lbs for the size 8 we tested. Couple that with fairly stiff rubber and they felt quite cumbersome. Mobility was diminished since the shaft did not flex easily with our legs, pressing into the top of our shins. Being so tall they also hit the back of our knees when sitting, which became abrasive after a while. Comfort was the biggest drawback of these boots, unfortunately yielding a very robotic fit for us. But besides these points, the foot box was very roomy. The Wellies Tall earned the lowest score in the fleet when it came to comfort.
These boots looked much like a horseback riding boot with their loops, buckles, and elongated profile. With very pronounced molding, the Wellies come in five different color schemes: mariner blue/beechnut camo, black, signature plaid, brown houndstooth, and dark green. We purchased the black, which also added to the equestrian look. The inner lining was a striped army green, and tan graphic and the molded outsoles had a prominent heel. When walking, the shaft folds in a somewhat unflattering way. While they aren't the most colorful of the bunch, they are incredibly appealing. For something more elegant, we like the UGG Shaye or the Sperry Saltwater.
The tread design was not as deep or lugged as the Kamik Heidi, but they were above average during our testing. In the snow, a slimy river environment, and across wet grass, the traction instilled confidence with every step. When it came to inclines, they weren't as sturdy, but they still outperformed the rather slippery Joules Wellibob or Helly Hansen Veierland 2 in the snow.
Because of their stiff and thick rubber, we wonder if it aided in their ability to insulate. To our surprise, they performed above average in the warmth category. Another theory is that the airspace in the roomy footbox acted as an insulate. The tall height also helped keep our feet and lower legs toasty in cold temperatures. In the snow and the river, they didn't lose heat as fast the leaner Hunter or the Kamik Heidi but were not as warm as the insulated Bogs North Hampton or the Sperry Saltwater Duck Boot.
With whole sizes from 6-11, it was recommended on their website to size up if you are in between sizes. Sentiments, in retrospect, are that they run very large and we found that sizing up was not the best choice for our lead tester, who is a size 7.5. The 8 felt very baggy, with significant heel slippage, even with thicker socks. The circumference measured at 15 inches, which was found to be quite standard. While the footbox was roomy and ideal for those with wide or high-volume feet, the overall fit ended up being uncomfortable and cumbersome for all-day wear.
Ideal for mild-weather and temperate locales ranging between 45-75F, the Wellies make for a great rain boot around town or at home in the garden. Despite their stiffness, they still offer style and ample traction.
Based in Maine and manufactured in China, these Wellies have a fairly affordable price tag of $99. Cheaper than the Hunter Original and the Xtratuf Legacy, they are a fair value. But if you're looking for a true deal, the high-performing Kamik Heidi only costs $50.
A versatile boot when it comes to climate and style, these L.L. Bean Wellies offer sufficient traction and outstanding weather protection. A huge setback lies in their fit, weight, and comfort, but otherwise, they are a reliable rain boot.
— Sara Aranda