Just steps from the prime shopping of Freeport is LL Beans corporate offices and a lab testing their most popular products.
Tom Begley, LL Bean's lead laboratory technician, said "Its going to flex this bean boot for 500,000 cycles or 50 hours straight." This test simulates three years of walking in the company's popular "Bean Boot."
It runs 50 hours straight. Begley said he runs it every three months to make sure the boot's performance is holding up. He added "We stop it in between to check it to make sure no cracking, splitting or the shank is coming through."
It's not the only test. In fact Begley stated there are dozens, from waterproofing, to testing the outerwear, and developing new products.
"5 hours completely submerged in water, anything that has a Gortex membrane we want to make sure no water will penetrate through." said Begley. "We are developing a new boot with insulation one has 200 grams 400 grams and the other 400 grams with the foam in it we already know what these two are doing, we want to see what happens if we bring it up to the next level with the foam across." he addede.
Begley showed the most used tests and how they develop new products. "We want to make sure the piece that we tested in the development process a year ago exactly is the same piece were testing and getting out right now." he said.
One thing LL Bean is constantly testing is the thermal performance of its outerwear. By using this thermal imaging camera they can tell where something may be losing heat and better design a product to minimize that heat loss.
The company said testing is something its founder, Leon Leonwood Bean made a priority, testing every product himself.
Now the company's four full time technicians test the products, along with several thousands of field testers around the globe. Begley said "In the lab we come up with a number, in field testing you come up with an actual experience."
From average weather, to extreme conditions, it's all about how the products stand up to any element or wear, time after time.