As a publication that recommends all manner of quality gear, there’s one criterion we’ve come to hold above all others: durability.
Because gear that lasts benefits everyone: You. Your wallet. The environment.
Which is why, ahead of Earth Day, we’re breaking down nine American brands that offer the country’s best in-house repair programs.
But first, a note about the costly mistake of buying the disposable, trendy and tawdry. If you’re the sort of frugal shopper who believes buying cheap is a way to get ahead, you may want to reconsider the long-term strategy. Simply put: Sticker shock notwithstanding, the best deal is quality. Because quality is just another word for longevity.
And it goes without saying that the brands below promote quality above anything else.
Which is not to say you should blow your next paycheck on the most expensive thing you can find. The “buy less, buy better” philosophy must be pursued reasonably, or within your means.
In the end, even the most durable goods can break down. And it’s important to remember that in-house repair programs are only half of the solution. The other half is maintenance — daily care goes a long way.
But first, you’ve gotta own the goods.
Overview: With the largest garment repair facility in North America, Patagonia’s Worn Wear program is split into two divisions: WornWear.com, an e-commerce platform where customers can buy used and vintage Patagonia products or trade in their old gear for store credit, and the WornWear Ironclad Guarantee, the brand’s unwavering commitment to fixing its own goods.
Pricing: Customers can receive up to $100 in store credit for trading in their used Patagonia gear. Repair pricing for normal wear-and-tear is available upon request.
Common Items: Technical jackets, duffel bags
Common Repairs: Broken zippers, tears that need patching
Items Not Accepted: Next-to-skin garments and accessories
Average Turnaround Time: Varies based on time of year, but typically under two weeks
Overview: Celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, Randolph Engineering’s 200-plus-step process of making its glasses is still done mostly by hand. The label’s lifetime frame warranty covers all of its hand-soldered joints.
Pricing: Randolph's tune-up program is under $20, which includes a fit adjustment, full cleaning and nose-pad change.
Common Items: It’s not uncommon to see glasses come in that are 20 to 30 years old
Common Repairs: Normal wear-and-tear would require new nose pads and adjusting loose-fitting temples. New temple tips are also popular to update for a new look.
Items Not Accepted: Other sunglass brands
Average Turnaround Time: One-to-two weeks, but sometimes longer for international shipping
Overview: In addition to the Filson Guarantee, the Seattle-based outdoor brand also operates the Filson Restoration Department, which brings a second life to vintage Filson bags. The one-of-a-kind bags are made in limited quantities and express Filson’s pledge to making sure its goods don’t end up in a landfill.
Pricing: Generally between $350 and $750
Common Items: FRD specializes in restoring Filson Rugged Twill luggage styles, like briefcases, duffels and field bags.
Common Repairs: Patching and darning rips and tears, reconditioning leather
Items Not Accepted: Anything purchased through non-authorized Filson retailers
Average Turnaround Time: Dependent on the condition of the bag
Overview: The American label responsible for the iconic Perfecto motorcycle jacket, Schott NYC backs up its claim as the country’s foremost purveyor of leather jackets with an in-house repair program to match.
Pricing: Depending on the operation, prices start at $25 for replacing snaps, star and buttons, and can range up to $200 for fully relining certain styles of jacket.
Common Items: Leather motorcycle and bomber jackets
Common Repairs: Parts that get the most wear, like pocket linings, zippers, snaps or knit waistbands and cuffs on bomber jackets. Schott also offers alterations like sleeve shortening.
Items Not Accepted: Schott will repair anything made in their factory in New Jersey. Anything more than 20 years old, however, needs special attention. They cannot repair items made by other brands or items that are imported.
Average Turnaround Time: Two-to-three weeks, but expect longer lead times toward the end of the year
Joshu + Vela
Overview: An upstart San Francisco brand that not only offers repairs to its full range of canvas and leather goodies, but also a hand-stitched leather workshop for anyone who might want to go full DIY.
Pricing: Available upon request at a “reasonable” rate
Common Items: Tote bags and backpacks
Common Repairs: Fabric tears or problems with leather handles and trims
Items Not Accepted: All Joshu + Vela goods are available for repair
Average Turnaround Time: One-to-two weeks, but subject to delays depending on time of year
Red Wing Heritage
Overview: A longtime go-to of the trade industry, Red Wing offers a practical warranty that makes it easy for customers to refurbish their boots after years of wear and tear.
Pricing: Red Wing’s Premium Repair Package costs $125 and includes a resole, replacement of welting and laces, reconditioning leather on the uppers, plus a full-size container of leather conditioner. A la carte repair options can be seen here.
Common Items: A high percentage are actual work boots used by tradesmen who need repairs or updates due to the vigorous use of the boots.
Common Repairs: Resoling, which includes resoling due to requests for different outsoles, stitching, and replacement of eyelets or hooks
Items Not Accepted: Boots of the non-Red Wing variety
Average Turnaround Time: Generally completed and returned within two-to-three weeks
Overview: The preferred gear of the hundreds of GoRuck Challenges hosted every year, GoRuck rucksacks and US-made apparel are all covered under the brand’s Scars Warranty Program.
Pricing: Available upon request and dependent on condition of bag
Common Items: By far, GoRuck rucksacks
Common Repairs: Torn or slashed straps, broken stitching and holes in fabric and panels
Items Not Accepted: Anything beyond repair is subject to actually be replaced
Average Turnaround Time: One-to-three weeks, depending on the condition of the bag
Railcar Fine Goods
Overview: Loved by denim aficionados, Railcar Fine Goods’ commitment to quality is best exemplified by its world-class denim repair workshop in Arcadia, California, where they take care of any denim, regardless of brand.
Common Items: Denim, including jeans and jean jackets
Common Repairs: Chain-stitch hemming, denim darning to repair holes, leg tapering and crotch blowouts
Items Not Accepted: Railcar will repair any denim, regardless of brand
Average Turnaround Time: Generally three weeks, sometimes faster
Overview: As a leading name in tactical pocket knives, Benchmade still manufactures all of its goods in Oregon, and offers an unbeatable Lifetime Lifesharp Warranty Service that allows buyers to register their knives for free sharpening and tune-ups.
Pricing: Sharpening and tune-ups are free, anything beyond that is available upon request
Common Items: Knives
Common Repairs: Broken or chipped blades
Items Not Accepted: Other brand knives
Average Turnaround Time: Dependent on condition of knife