I'm a big fan of the blucher moccasin. In the Spring and Summer, I wear boat shoes six days a week, but between their sailing connotations and the fact that they look silly wit socks, they just don't cut it come September. Enter the blucher moc, a sort of sturdier version of the same shoe, and perfectly suitable with socks. My last pair were USA made Sebago Campsides. I wore them a lot, they came apart and the soles cracked, so be it. It wasn't until the Fall hit that realised how much I needed a new pair, so feeling a bit flush after Top Shelf II, I talked myself into these. Call them the spoils of war.
The L.L.Bean blucher moccasin. Though no longer made in Maine, unlike their more expensive counterparts from Quoddy, it's still a classic, comfortable and good looking shoe. Generally, I'm a fan, but they do have their ups and downs. The leather is soft, if a little plasticy, but the color they call "saddle" is a nice shade of brown just this side of rusty orange. Bean calls them "hand sewn", but that's a little misleading, since it's obvious that the only hand sewn thing about them is the white stitched seam on the toe. Extra points for the cushioned insole. No, it ain't glove leather, but if you're like me and you spend upwards of 97% of your waking life on your feet, it's a welcome innovation.
All in all, a fair value for a scant $69. Quoddys cost $229. I'm fully aware that they're better in almost every way, so let's avoid that argument. But these ain't dress shoes. I take care of my nice shoes, I clean them, I store them with shoe trees in them, I replace the soles as needed. A blucher moc is something I need to wear hard for a few years until they fall apart. I'll get caught in the rain in them, I'll get them muddy, sometimes I'll wear them with a tie. Quoddy or Bean, they'll fall apart eventually. Sometimes, even I gotta buy new, but I also have to assess the value of a thing. I'd love to go Made in USA all the time, but the fact of the matter is that its become prohibitively expensive for the average person Born in the USA to do so. Sometimes you gotta pick your battles, and it's not so bad to have to settle for these Bean shoes. Just sayin...
Perfect with khakis and argyle socks. Thumbs up.
addendum: 29 October 2010, blucher mocs "in the wild"