L.L.Bean opened a store in Minnesota this week a few miles from GearJunkie headquarters. Before motoring to a grand opening party the company’s iconic Bootmobile stopped by our office so we could get an inside peek.
At more than 11 feet tall, and with shoelaces made of mooring rope, the Bootmobile gets no shortage of strange looks. “I am constantly waving,” said Eddie Flaherty, one of the Bootmobile’s drivers.
It’s built of steel and fiberglass over a pickup truck frame. The boot, which is a scaled iteration of the brand’s famous Bean Boot, is a size 708.
Flaherty arrived at GearJunkie with Seth Wescott, an Olympic snowboarder and a design partner with L.L.Bean. Wescott said the driving boot is a fixture in the Northeast and Maine, where the company is based. “You see it at all kinds of events.”
Flaherty noted driving through Times Square and in a parade for the Boston Red Sox. He has piloted the big boot for two years and 40,000 miles.
After a couple pictures, Wescott and Flaherty gave us a tour, and then they turned the ignition on for a ride. I crawled around inside the boot, where a ladder gives access to a roof hatch.
On a drive around Minneapolis, Flaherty’s warning on all the waves was correct — dozens of pedestrians smiled and gestured, many taking out their phones for a photo, as the boot floating through traffic during a busy afternoon.
Learn more about this icon on L.L.Bean’s dedicated page. Here are a few images from the visit to GearJunkie HQ.
—Photos © Ryan Phelan/GearJunkie.com.