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Guess which shoe is getting the most play on street style blogs, overpopulating pinboards and being spotted on some of the wealthiest heiresses in the US: Chloé Gladiators? Prabal Gurung Booties? Céline fur-lined sport sandals?
Nope. It's something your Midwestern grandpa has had in his closet since before you were born: L.L. Bean all-weather Bean Boots—and they're responsible for Forbes naming its maker as the hottest fashion brand today (not to mention a wait list 100,000-people deep, as of December).
At first glance, it's easy to blame the proponents of the somehow-still thriving urban lumberjack look—or style bloggers, who post pics of themselves wearing the practical kicks with skinnies and luxe leather bags—for the shoe's revival.
But when you think about other highly-coveted items that currently generate crazy wait lists (like Everlane's slim and slouchy pants, for which 12,000 requests have queued), the trend seems to move past a want for hipster wear and into a hunger for something bigger—items that retain simplicity, craftsmanship and a homegrown quality. While the Everlane's separates don't yield dramatic design, the way in which they're made—with transparency and quality—remain a big calling card for the company.
Similarly, L.L. Bean's $109 boots, which were originally created in the early 1900s for mud-tromping hunters, are still made by hand in Freeport, Maine (instead of some questionable factory abroad). And like with the fabled Hermès Birkin bag (which is known for both its quality and wait list), the boots' construction process is rigorous, compared with similar soles being made; each pair takes about an hour's time and eight people to make, Forbes reports.
With celebs like Lizzy CaplanandChristina Aguilera getting in on the look, as it turns out, tens of thousands of dollars and a high-powered PR person aren't required to get the hottest in leather goods around. Now, if you've got $100 to spare (or a grandpa in Milwaukee), you can get your hands on some of the most coveted shoes of the year.