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100 years later and these boots are still kicking

L.L.Bean celebrates with bootmobile tour, campaign to get children back outside

Created date

May 22nd, 2012

Just over 100 years ago, a gentleman by the name of Leon Leonwood Bean returned home from a hunting trip with cold wet feet and a vision for a boot design that he believed would keep outdoorsmen like himself warm and dry. Bean s vision combined the protection of a rubber boot with the comfort of a leather one. Leon produced and sold 100 pairs of boots and he was so confident that his revolutionary new design would keep hunters feet warm and dry, he declared, they were guaranteed to last. Before long, however, 92 of the first 100 pairs of boots came back to him. They were defective. Honoring his promise, Bean refunded his customers money and returned to the drawing board. In time, he got it right and his customers were so impressed with his commitment to their satisfaction, they were willing to give his new improved boots a try. Those boots launched one of the most successful family-run companies in history, and 100 years later, Bean Boots continue to be the most popular product sold at L.L.Bean.

A nation of insiders

Back in Leon Leonwood Bean s day, children spent most of their time playing outdoors, but a recent survey by L.L.Bean and the National Park Foundation found that today American children spend less than an hour a day outside. As for their parents, 59% report that busy schedules often make it a challenge to get outside. Our founder Leon Leonwood believed that spending time outdoors was fundamental to happiness in life, says L.L.Bean CEO Chris McCormick. Through the decades, we have received many letters and stories from people sharing their passion for nature and outdoor recreation. In the world we live in today, we have the ability to share and influence the conversation in a way we hope will re-ignite America s love affair with the great outdoors and help families pass that passion on to the next generation.

On a mission

As part of its anniversary commemoration, L.L.Bean launched the Million Moment Mission, a year-long campaign that asks consumers to share their outdoor moments with L.L.Bean through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Foursquare,, and in-person activities. For each moment shared, L.L.Bean will donate $1 to the National Park Foundation. What better way to raise awareness about the Million Moment Mission campaign and the benefits of being outdoors than with a coast-to-coast bootmobile tour? The brand new bootmobile, a larger-than-life embodiment of L.L.Bean s most iconic product, will be traveling the country in 2012. The 13-foot-high and 20-foot-long vehicle is more than 20 times larger than the boots sold in stores. (Just in case you re wondering, it would be a size 747.) The bootmobile will be on the road throughout 2012, so don t be surprised if you happen to notice a giant boot passing you on the highway. L.L.Bean s Outdoor Discovery Schools guides will accompany the bootmobile, providing free advice and outdoor recreation instruction. For every person who attends these events, $1 will be donated to the National Park Foundation. There is no better way to safeguard our nation s treasures and inspire new generations of outdoor enthusiasts than by introducing a young person to our national parks, says President and CEO of the National Park Foundation Neil Mulholland. We re passing on a legacy to the next generation and we hope individuals will get outdoors, show their support for the national parks, and help L.L.Bean reach their Million Moment Mission. Consumers can visit L.L.Bean s blog, Trail Mix (, to contribute their own outdoor stories to the Million Moment Mission and for up-to-date information about the bootmobile tour.