Reviewers recommend the L.L.Bean Trail Model Hikers II light boots for day hikes or ultralight backpacking, saying they provide enough support for loads up to about 30 pounds. Owners say these boots are quite comfortable (though you may have to go up a size). However, the Trail Model II is not waterproof. If you hike in wet or cold conditions, you may prefer the L.L.Bean Waterproof Trail Model Hikers (*Est. $100), or the best-reviewed Hi-Tec Altitude IV (*Est. $90).
We found comparison tests of this budget hiking boot at Backpacker magazine, where the waterproof version is tested, and at Good Housekeeping, which tests the non-waterproof model. Boys' Life also runs a very brief review that covers both models, and owners provide more detailed comments at LLBean.com.
1. Backpacker Magazine
Based on extensive field tests, editors recommend the more expensive waterproof version of the L.L.Bean Trail Model Hikers II Mid as the best value among light hikers. The two boots share most features (aside from the waterproof membrane). Editors like its cushioning and fit, saying it provides good support and protection for loads up to about 30 pounds.
Review: 2010 Gear Guide: Gear Review: L.L.Bean Trail Model Hiker II Tek2.5 Hiking Boot, Berne Broudy, April 2010
2. Good Housekeeping
Comparison tests of the women's model find it the most supportive of eight hiking shoes tested, and a good budget choice. Testers find the L.L.Bean Trail Model Hikers II to be very comfortable, but not as cool or breathable as you'd expect for a non-waterproof model.
Review: GHRI-Tested Hiking Boots, Editors of Good Housekeeping
3. Boys' Life
In this brief overview of eight "great boots that won't break the bank," the author praises both the waterproof and non-waterproof version of the L.L.Bean Trail Model Hikers II for their generously high cut and ankle support.
Review: Hiking Boot Buying Guide, Mark Anders, May 2011
The L.L.Bean Trail Model Hikers II Mid has drawn hundreds of user reviews from both men and women, and average ratings of 4 stars or better. Quite a few say that these boots run small, especially in the toes, but note that once you get the correct size they're very comfortable and provide plenty of support.
Review: Trail Model Hikers II, Mid-Cut, Contributors to LLBean.com