When you spend time researching an item, combing through the reviews and mulling it over before ultimately adding it to your cart and buying it, you typically do so with the hope that you'll get plenty of use out of your purchase.
But that isn't always the case, and it seems like lately, our clothes need to be replaced more often, our cookware starts to wear down after just a few months and, overall, our purchases are just generally less durable. According to Vox, there are several reasons why this is the case, including shifts in production methods to cut costs and changes in consumer's mindsets.
But still, it is possible to find those rare products that are built to last a long time — if not a lifetime — it just takes some searching. Things like that Dutch oven, which has made appearances at every family gathering throughout the course of your adult life, the shoes that have been passed down from your mom's closet that still are a staple in your wardrobe or my grandparents' Toyota Camry, which held strong for nearly two decades and traveled more than 300,000 miles.
In fact, there's a whole section of Reddit devoted to these types of products. In the "Buy it for life" group, its 1.5 million members share the durable items they've sworn by for years, ranging from kitchen staples to cars. And scrolling through the threads, we were inspired to poll members of our own team to hear about the items that they swear by that have stood the test of time (we're talking decades of use, in some cases).
From the surprisingly affordable umbrella that one editor says has withstood storm after storm to the shoes that our market assistant has had in her closet since middle school, here are some of our favorite products that are built to last. While items on this list might be a little pricier, our team swears that they're worth the investment — and when you're not paying to replace an item every few years, you might actually be saving money in the long run.
Shoes | Clothing and accessories | Travel essentials | Kitchen essentials | Beauty tools
Shoes that are built to last
Chaco Women's Z/1 Classic Sandals
Commerce photo editor Vivian Le says that she has had these Chaco sandals for over five years and they have not worn out. "Every summer I take them out and wear them nonstop."
SEO editorial assistant Sierra Hoeger adds that she's been wearing the brand's sandals since 2016 and has four total in her collection, including the original sandals (which she says are still in great shape, by the way). "I've worn Chacos while paddle boarding, hiking, trips to theme parks, kayaking, to work, summer camp, you name it, I've probably worn them there. Friends of mine have worn them during graduation and even at weddings. You can adjust the straps when you first receive them, and while there's an adjustment period while your foot gets used to the rough sole, once they're broken in, they're some of the most comfortable outdoor sandals you'll own. They're versatile, durable, colorful, comfortable and tied for my favorite sandal to wear once it hits spring and summer."
Birkenstock Arizona Sandals
In my 26 years of life, I've rarely seen my grandma not in a pair of Birkenstocks. She has a few pairs that she continuously rotates through, all of which tend to last her about a decade. She always tried to sell me on the brand's shoes, but it wasn't until I got to college and saw how popular they really were that I decided I needed them. After I apologized to her for not listening sooner, she happily gifted me my first pair. I wore them to class basically every day, all year long (I went to school in Southern California, so I could). From the beach to house parties (yes, really), I sported them practically everywhere. It wasn't until about two years ago — six years after I originally got them — that I started noticing the sole in the back was getting run down and decided it was time to replace them, which I did. Considering how frequently I wore them, I'd consider their lifespan pretty impressive. And the pair I upgraded to are in near-perfect condition still.
Rainbow Women's Sandals
Assistant partnerships editor Lauren Witonsky says she still has the Rainbow sandals she got in high school. All these years later, they're finally starting to break down, "but they're so comfy I'm wearing them until a strap breaks," she says.
Adidas Superstar Shoes
SEO writer Jannely Espinal says that she's had a pair of these Adidas sneakers for about five years now. "The quality and classic design of this pair is unbeatable for the price. I have worn these kicks for work, grad school and vacation, and they still perform well. One of the things I love about my sneakers is that you can easily wipe off any scuffs and dirt with hot soapy water. It's one of those must-have everyday shoes you need year-round."
Dr. Martens 1460 Leather Lace Up Boots
"I've had the same pair of the classic 1460 style Dr. Martens since 7th grade," says market assistant Audrey Ekman. "I still remember how stoked I was to find them on super sale at my little suburban Minnesota TJ Maxx when I was back-to-school shopping! That was 12 years ago. They're definitely a little beat up-looking these days, but still kickin'." While she got them in a colorway that's no longer sold, there are so many other patterns and colors to choose from and "they truly do last if you can break them in," she says.
Clothing and accessories that are built to last
Levi's Women's Melanie Bomber Jacket
Shop TODAY's deputy editorial director Alexandra Deabler has had this bomber jacket for about five years, and unlike others that she's owned, it shows no signs of wear and tear, even after all that time. "I love it so much, I bought this in two colors," she says. "The bomber style is timeless, so you can wear it every year for fall and spring."
Sheertex Classic Sheer Rip-Resist Tights
Out of all the items in our closets, tights typically have one of the shortest lifespans, so they were probably the last thing you'd expect to see on this list. But Ekman says that these ones are the exception. "Sheertex tights deserve a mention in the durable products conversation. I'm still rocking with a classic black pair I purchased in fall 2021 — and no major rips to report, whereas my standard nylons would be unwearable and in the garbage after a couple of wears!"
Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant
There's a reason why Lululemon is a leading brand in the activewear space — not only are their pieces super stylish, but they're high-quality, too. Shop TODAY's editorial director, Adrianna Brach is particularly a fan of the versatile and long-lasting Align Leggings. "They fit me pre-baby, during my entire pregnancy, and postpartum! How? I don't know, but I love them."
Wrangler Women's Cowboy Cut Slim Fit Jeans
"Not only did I get my mom's genes, but I also took her jeans (the ultimate mom jeans, if you ask me)!" says commerce editor Vivien Moon. "In the tradition of shopping from my mom's closet, I recently took a pair of Wrangler jeans that have to be 17 years old yet fit perfectly and are very much in style now. Nobody ever believes me that they're nearly 20 years old because the quality and cut have withstood the test of time and still look good as new."
While Moon isn't sure about the exact style, she says that this option looks like virtually the same pair.
Mr. Boho Dalston Sunglasses
"I got these sunglasses six years ago, and they are my favorite!" says Annie Shigo, social media editorial assistant. "I also never use a sunglasses bag, and they aren't in bad shape. They are kind of pricey, but they are the only glasses that don't give me a headache after wearing them for multiple hours." She adds that they're also great for those with round faces.
Warby Parker Stockton Glasses
"I got a pair of Warby Parker frames in 2015 and despite having tried a bunch of other brands and styles in the eight years since, they're still my favorite — I've replaced the lenses twice as my prescription has changed over the years," Ekman said. "My exact frames are the Stockton style, which is still on their site (and I highly recommend them for narrow faces)! I love that Warby Parker's styles are pretty affordable compared to other frames on the market and that the brand has a 'buy a pair, give a pair' program."
Travel essentials that are built to last
Muji Markable Umbrella
Sick of buying umbrellas only to have them break or collapse after just a few uses? Senior SEO editor Jess Bender says that this surprisingly affordable umbrella hasn't let her down yet. "I stress-bought this at the Times Square Muji out of sheer desperation around five years ago, and it's stayed in relatively good shape ever since. You'd be surprised it's lasted this long at the price I bought it for, but it's remarkably withstood basically every type of weather condition over the years — torrential downpours, wind storms and abrupt snow squalls to start."
Hydro Flask 32-Ounce Water Bottle
"I've owned my 32-ounce Hydroflask since 2019," Hoeger says. "Since then, it has gone camping, hiking, to class, to the office, moved to NYC and traveled back to Iowa again with me. If you scroll through my Snapchat memories, if I'm out in public, or sitting in my living room, this Hydroflask is almost always in view. Since owning this water bottle, I've also gotten the brand's travel coffee tumbler and lunchbox. This is the only water bottle I use because, despite dropping it more times than I can count, it has never deteriorated in quality. Although it's earned a few dents from those drops, my dad calls them 'rites of passage' and I agree! The straw lid makes it easy to hit my daily water intake, and the bottle itself keeps water cold for hours on end."
Fjallraven Kanken Classic Backpack
"I bought this bag in 2016 and she’s still going strong," says associate social media editor Dani Musacchio. "This was my study abroad backpack, my commuter bag, my grocery bag, my hiking backpack, the list goes on. I literally have no idea how it hasn’t fallen apart by now."
Herschel Little America Laptop Backpack
"This was my mom's gift to me when I landed my first job and I love this bag," says SEO Associate Editor Kamari Stewart. "I used it for work for years and only stopped using it recently only because I got new bags. But it's still in perfect condition and I use it as my carry-on every time I travel. It fits everything and then some. I'm not gentle with my bags either and it still looks pretty much brand new."
Patagonia Refugio Daypack
Multiple members of the Shop TODAY team swear by Patagonia's backpacks for travel, work and everything in between. "I bought this three years ago and have yet to find a flaw," Hoeger says. "It travels everywhere with me — office, planes, trains, camping — it's my go-to backpack!"
Shigo also has a similar option from the brand and raves about it. "I still use my Patagonia backpack from high school for everything! Best carry-on, daypack, etc. It has never ripped or broken. I took it with me backpacking this past summer, too."
Rothy's The Essential Tote
While the price of this tote might give you pause at first, multiple members of the Shop TODAY team say that it's worth it. "I'm obsessed with Rothy's tote bags. I have had this one for years and use it for work every day in the spring and summer," says Francesca Cocchi Zabloudil, branded commerce editor. "So sturdy and spacious, and I love that I can toss it in the washing machine when it gets dirty!"
Brach shared similar thoughts. "I gasped at the price when I first got one, but it's been worth every penny. They not only look cute, but they're so durable," she says. Brach adds that it's like "the Swiss Army knife of bags," and even though she's put it through a lot, it still looks brand new.
Away The Carry-On
Luggage may not seem like the most exciting present, but my dad gave me this carry-on suitcase a few years ago, and it's truly one of the best gifts I've ever received. As someone who absolutely despises baggage check lines, I almost always travel exclusively with a carry-on — and this one does the tough job of holding nearly all my essentials, whether I'm traveling for a weekend, a week or more. It's been pulled through airports, across cobblestone streets and even dragged up the stairs of my old fifth floor walkup apartment when I was too lazy to carry it. Given what I've put it through, the wheels and exterior are in surprisingly pretty good condition. Though, on the off chance that something does happen, the brand has a lifetime (yes, lifetime) warranty that covers any functional damage to the shell, wheels, handles, zippers, Away says, so they'll fix or replace it for you.
Lodge Pre-Seasoned Skillet
"The Lodge cast-iron skillet is a serious workhorse in my household and has been for the last decade," says Bender. "I've done nearly every kind of cooking project and recipe testing in it that you can think of — extravagant spinach artichoke dips for a crowd, braised collard greens for Sunday dinner, whole roasted chickens for week-long meal prepping, deep-dish cookies during sad stretches, the list goes on and on and on — and I've yet to be let down by its quality. It distributes heat evenly, it can withstand high temperatures, it's simple to clean (once you get over the minor learning curve of cleaning a cast-iron skillet, at least) and it's fit in every single apartment pantry I've had access to."
Corelle Vitrelle 18-Piece Service for 6 Dinnerware Set
"My 16-piece Corelle set has lasted me since freshman year of college with nary a chip or crack in sight," Bender says. "Beyond their dinnerware being microwave- and dishwasher-safe, I really love that the brand leans into timeless designs and patterns so you can easily take the set with you during any point of your life."
Cuisinart Chef's Classic 7-Quart Red Enameled Cast Iron Round Casserole with Cover
This Cast-Iron Round Casserole is another longtime staple in Bender's kitchen. "I treated myself to this when I turned 21 because I deserved a grown-up birthday present at the time, and it's stayed in relatively mint condition ever since. That's not to say that I don't use it — I probably pull it out at least once a week for more ambitious cooking projects."
Le Creuset Demi Tea Kettle
"Of course I needed a kettle to go with my standout Dutch oven," Bender says. "Enter my Le Creuset Demi Kettle that's lasted me a decade-plus! It doesn't have fancy settings like an electric kettle, but it works with all kinds of cooktops and perfectly boils water for my tea, oatmeal, home improvement projects, etc. It also comes with a generous five-year warranty if you ever need it!"
Ninja Professional Plus Kitchen System with Auto-iQ
Deabler has been singing this blender's praises for a while now — and it doesn't just do the tough job of blending and processing food, it's also built to last. "It comes with a food processor bowl, too, so it's a 2-in-1 (and saves space and money). I got it three years ago for my birthday and I use it every day and I love it. It's a worthy investment for a blender."
Beauty tools that are built to last
Shark Blow Dryer HyperAIR
"This Shark hairdryer dries my hair honestly in seconds and doesn't damage my hair!" Deabler says. "My friends and family have all used it because I refuse to travel without it, and they all can't get over how fast it dries your hair. Plus, it comes with all of these attachments — including a diffuser, which has become my favorite diffuser for when I want to wear my hair wavy or curly. I get compliments all the time. The IQ sensor is really neat because it auto-adjusts depending on what attachment you use, so it'll apply less heat when you diffuse or more heat and pressure when you're straightening."
BabylissPro Nano Titanium Ultra-Thin Hair Straightener
"I use the Babyliss Hair Straightener weekly and used to use it even more back in the day," says editorial assistant shannon Garlin. "I've had it for seven years now and it hasn't lost any heat, and the ceramic plates are still sturdy!"