2015 Gift Guide: Gifts that Get Better With Age
The discerning gift giver knows that the best gifts—like good cheese or fine whiskey—get better with age.
We’re talking about items crafted from leather, wool, canvas, and steel—materials that feel better, fit better, and look better the more they’re used. Over time they acquire character, stories, and charm. Not only will these gifts keep giving year-round, they’ll keep giving for years to come.
Red Wing Heritage Boots
Red Wing boots are cut from the finest American leather, triple-stitched on 100-year-old Puritan sewing machines, and made by skilled craftsmen in Red Wing, Minnesota, USA. These are the real deal—you won’t find a more authentic or more American pair of boots.
Fjallraven G-1000 Garments
G-1000 is Fjallraven’s tough-as-nails signature fabric. The cotton/poly blend has a tight weave, robust canvas feel, and is impregnated with Greenland wax for additional weather resistance. Developed and proven in Sweden nearly 50 years ago, G-1000 is arguably one of the best outdoor fabrics on the market.
A Danish original, Glerups are made from 100% natural felted wool with vegetable-tanned calfskin soles. Intended to be worn barefoot, the slippers form to your unique foot shape, become softer with wear, and absorb moisture so your feet always feel dry and warm. Glerups are the ultimate indoor shoe.
Invented by a blacksmith in Savoie, France, in 1890, the Opinel folding knife has been named one of the 100 best-designed objects in the world. Unchanged to this day and still made in Savoie, an Opinel is more than a pocketknife—it’s a design icon.
Frye Logan Billfold Wallet
Frye has been refining its craft since 1863, making it America’s oldest continually operated footwear company. Its leather know-how has been applied to fine accessories like the Logan Billfold Wallet. The tumbled leather already has a worn look and feel, but it will only get better with daily use.
Birkenstock’s roots can be traced back further than most—all the way back to 1774, to be exact. Apart from the distinctive look, the secret to Birkenstock’s success is in the natural cork footbed, made from the purest, most expensive cork in the world. Birkenstocks feel stiff at first, but over time the cork molds to your unique foot shape, creating a custom orthotic that is second to none in terms of comfort and support.
Levi’s Commuter 511 Denim Pant—Men’s
Blue jeans are as ubiquitous and American as cheeseburgers and fries, but only Levi’s can lay claim to producing the world’s first pair. Unlike burgers and fries, which are best consumed fresh, Levi’s become famously better the more you wear them. They bear the tatters and scuffs of your adventures and can become an extension of your being. The 511 Commuters have been tailored for the bike with a touch of stretch and a gusseted crotch—making them some of our favorite Levi’s to date. Everyone should know the joy of owning a well-broken-in pair of Levi’s.
Astis Mittens & Gloves
Inspired by mittens worn by the Cree people (a Native American tribe indigenous to Canada) Astis Mittens combine modern tech with tradition. Hand-stitched in the USA from burly suede leather with stunning beadwork, the mittens are lined with Polartec Thermal Pro High Loft fleece to keep hands warm and dry in the coldest conditions. After a few seasons of hard use, your friends might start to think you inherited them from a mountain man ancestor.
Filson Tin Cloth Apparel
Filson was founded at the turn of the century to outfit men headed north for the Great Klondike Gold Rush. Tin Cloth, a burly canvas treated with wax and oil for water resistance, was essentially the Gore-Tex of the day, and for rough jobs that would shred a modern synthetic jacket, it’s still superior. A Tin Cloth jacket will stand up to years of hard use, and over time it takes on a character that looks more like rawhide than cloth.
Duckworth Fine American Wool
You’ve heard of farm to table, but have you heard of sheep to shelf? That’s the concept behind Duckworth, a new company based in Bozeman, Montana. All Duckworth wool is sourced from a Montana flock of Helle Rambouillet merino sheep—a breed prized for exceptionally fine wool. The textiles are knit and then stitched into garments in the Carolinas. The entire process—from sheep to shelf—takes place in the USA, allowing Duckworth to maintain the highest quality in every step of production. The harsh Montana climate produces a wool fiber with incredible crimp and loft that gives garments natural stretch and elasticity, without the addition of any synthetic materials. And like all fine wool, these pieces will only become softer and more comfortable with wear.
With history stretching well into the 19th century, the Pendleton wool blanket is part of the fabric of American history. Whether you wrap up in it near the campfire or on your living room couch, these blankets are made to be passed down, acquiring stories, and more softness, with every generation.