Products made stronger by method of make and durable material choices.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all metric for durability. It is an exercise in balancing priorities for creators and consumers.

Shelby Steiner, Apparel Designer ll Nike Lab

Thought Starters

 Consider your brief or project aims. What are the abrasion scores, tenacity and tear strength of each component? Which components are most likely to wear out first? Can a worn out component be removed and the product still perform to expectations?

How could the structure of the product increase durability? (use of molded supports, patches, resilient stitch methods, etc.)

How could you more rigorously test your product to withstand wear and tear? (fit model feedback, personally testing prototypes, etc.)

How could safety-impacting components be designed more durably to prolong the life cycle?

How could your silhouettes and color choices remain relevant for multiple seasons?

How could you more clearly explain product care to encourage longer use?

How could you pair versatility with durability to create a product that will adjust and last as the user grows?

Can a consumer easily repair, refurbish or return a durable product that is damaged or broken? If not, would a new business model achieve that aim?

How could blended materials increase durability? (Keep in mind balancing that win with the realities of technology and additional energy required to recycle blended materials.)

How could you design a product people can connect to emotionally and/or find value in for a longer life cycle?

How could the story of material attributes and method of make be given substantial importance in the product narrative?

How could you communicate the value of a worn garment/shoe?

Case Studies

“Everything we make has an impact, so the most important sustainability priority for us is to ensure that our products are durable and can be worn and loved for as long as possible. This means both withstanding the test of time, but also having a timeless design to create the emotional longevity that makes you want to use the garment for years.  The durable G-1000 material, coupled with designing for reparability and providing the Greenland Wax for you to care for and prolong your product’s lifetime, are at the core of our sustainability efforts.”

“Durability is a standard of ours, not a claim. Our Lifetime Guarantee is great for our customers, but to be real, it keeps us accountable. We don’t want to see socks come back. So we scrutinize what is returned to make them even more durable. We believe in the age-old principle of making a legacy product. As a result, we limit the draw we have on finite resources by creating a more durable sock. And we’re thankful for that. It sets a tone and a culture we build on every day.”