27 October 2010

The Spoils

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"

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

They look very nice. I recently bought a pair of Quoddys blucher moccs and I haven't been too happy. The leather quality is buttery soft, and they are handsewn. However, the rubber sole isn't very nice, would have liked a Vibram. Also they got wet early on, and developed some rot on the back. I sure wish I had bought the Bean moccs instead. Yours look much better than mine cosmetically.

Anonymous said...

Love my Bean bluchers. Love them.

Britt Sudduth said...

It just goes to show that classic stuff sticks. I went through several pairs of the Bean variety back in High School and College and they held up great while enduring a tough beating and more than a little beer spillage. When I go into the attic to find my Bean duck boots I might need to come down and find my Bean catalog for a quick mocc purchase. Again, great job G!

Sam said...

Good call on your part G. Very sensible. I have a pair of Sebago Campsides (USA vintage) but find the soles a little slippery even though I have hardly worn them. Did you find this to be the case? If so, is there a sensible solution to prevent me from landing on my backside?

DAM said...

Right there with you brother. I switch out the Sperry's for Bean Camp mocs whit blood knots starting in September 1 through March 30.

notesandbeats said...

It looks like you darkened these, or is that just the light in the photo?

Jerry Grasso said...

A big fan myself. Believe it or not, my pair just came in yesterday. What do I like best - $69 and size 8EE. Wear them out like I do my Sperrys they also can dress up a tad with a beat up blazer and frumpy oxford for a worn in, relaxed weekend look.....

Giuseppe said...

notesandbeats,

no drkening, just a badly lit photo.

Some Assembly Required said...

I'm curious to see how these hold up. I had a pair for a long time back in the 80s/90s, wish I'd held onto them.

I've been tempted to grab a pair of these because they're a good value, but the last three or four pairs of shoes I've bought from Bean have had to go back, either because I can't get the sizing right, or because they caused me pain (never a good thing).

Did you buy them in your regular shoe size?

Abdul Khan said...

I bought my first pair couple of weeks ago and, in fact, I'm wearing them as I type. They're classy looking yet comfortable like a sneaker. I chose the Blucher from L.L. Bean Signature line. It costs the same ($69) but has a modern touch to it. Check it out.

The Glengarry Sporting Club said...

I'm about to get a pair of these. I have the Quoddy boat shoe and I have some older Bean Ranger Mocs or whatever they call them now and this time of year I wear the Beans more. One thing to remember when considering LL Bean products: The famous LL Bean Lifetime Guarantee.

YYG said...

What about your "handmade New England hippie shoes"?

Beefeater said...

Agreed.

Greg said...

In my humble opinion, he LL Bean Signature bluchers are much nicer - they're the same shoe, but with the leather material of the camp moc, which is darker and natural. Plus - it'll run you the same amount of money, so if you're willing to pay $70 MSRP, the Signature's are a steal over the main brand.

Anonymous said...

The Bean Bluchers are indeed lovely and comfortable and soft, but I also have a pair of Gokey Bluchers, acquired in about 2004, that will certainly last three generations. Awesome quality, but they're not even worn in yet.

Fatfriend.

P.S. Did you know that 'Bluchers' are not named after the Prussian General of that name, who famously arrived too late at Waterloo to be of any material help, and are, in fact, a corruption of 'Baluchi', from the tough yak hide shoes of the Baluchistani irregular scouts recruited by the British Army in India in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? My paternal grandfather, at that time a Major in the Royal Artillery's mountain gunners, had several pairs. Unfortunately, because the prevailing fashion was to polish and preserve them with 'ghee' - edible fat - they were all eaten in curries or terrines during the Chindit campaigns of the second World War. They also served...

Anonymous said...

Bean bluchers are still a good value-but i thrifted a pair of Us made vintage bass bluchers-which remind me of Beans blucher offerings in 80s- still i would happily plump for 70 bean bluchers again - mr max

thelast1augh said...

I bought two pairs of these at the L.L. Bean outlet in Nashua when i was up there for work. Got them for $40 each. One pair hasn't left the closet. The other pair get worn almost daily.

Tip: after a year of really hard wear, mine were looking really scuffed, etc. I like patina as much as the next guy, but they were beat. I found a brown liquid shoe polish and gave them a nice layer and they darkened up a tiny, tiny bit, but still look great. Wearing em right now! :)