Here at Gear For Life, we can be pretty patriotic – a sentiment that extends to gear, goods and apparel. That’s why we always prefer to reach for gear made in America.
There’s nothing like holding a boot or knife your hand and just knowing that it was made right here in the good ol’ USA. The quality and craftsmanship is usually far better than their foreign-made counterparts (obvious exceptions aside), and Made In the USA gear almost always lasts a heck of a lot longer, too.
Pick up a pair of handmade Allen Edmonds or Red Wings, for example, and you can literally feel the quality. Grab yourself a leather wallet or belt made from USA leather and it’ll probably last until you’re handing it down to your grandchildren.
That’s always something we can get behind, and we’re always thrilled to share our favorite American-Made brands and gear with you. Here are the 12 best Made in America brands currently gracing gear lovers and stylish patriots everywhere. We hope you have a favorite.
FIlson doesn’t make all its products in the USA, but they are a true American heritage company with over 120 years of American pride. The stuff they do make in the USA is killer. From their top-notch hunting and field jackets to their top-of-the-line dopp kits made from vegetable-tanned American leather, they use the best in craftsmanship and quality materials to create classic American pieces ready to last decades of heavy use. Their duffel bags and weekenders continue to be popular choices, as well, whether made from rugged twill or waterproofed leather. You may spend a bit of money on a Filson bag, but it certainly won’t let you down.
How could we not? Allen Edmonds is practically synonymous with Made In America leather, from their classic dress shoes to their boots and belts. Everything is made in Port Washington, Wisconsin with only the finest European leathers, their shoes are often lined with calfskin, and they generally last decades with proper care and resoling. These are the kind of shoes you invest in once and expect them to last the rest of your working life. Our favorites include the fancy Park Avenue and the understated Higgins Mill.
Hailing from Oakland, California, Edgevale products are 100% American. Inspired by the American sense of adventure and made with true American worksmanship. From their workhorse, workingman-inspired Cast Iron Utility Pants to their casual-but-outdoor-ready Merritt Jacket, they make trusty, durable and comfortable apparel built to take you to some of the country’s most adventurous and rugged places (before heading right back to home for dinner and a beer).
If you’ve got a lot of money to drop on leather goods, look no further than Lotuff as a place to spend it. Lotuff’s base of operations is in Providence, Rhode Island, and they make all their luxurious and guaranteed-for-life gear right at home in New England. Your typical Lotuff briefcase uses full-grain vegetable-tanned leather, soft and supple to the touch. They’re pricey but an investment likely to last the rest of your life.
If you’re looking for American-made clothing without the hefty price tag that tends to accompany most brands, look to the All-American Clothing Company. The passion for American-made goods just drips off this Ohio-based company, and they’ve got all the classic, casual and work-ready jeans, t-shirts and outerwear you could ask for. And yes, they’re dang affordable; $50 for a pair of American-made jeans simply cannot be beat.
Raleigh Denim celebrates the right tradition of American textiles, using the finest denim fabrics from the legendary Cone Mills White Oak, formerly of Greensboro NC. Their jeans are true works of art; durable and premium apparel cut, sewn and finished by hand. The feeling of classic American workmanship is apparent with every pair, and the quality is unparalleled.
Korchmar sits in the same vein as Allen Edmonds and Lotuff Leather – a premium leather goods company making goods right here in the USA (with some being produced in the Dominican Republic). Like Allen Edmonds, they have over 100 years of history, having been founded in 1917 in Cincinnati. And like Lotuff, they use the finest, toughest American Full-Grain leather, selected from just the top 5% of hides (with the price tags to match). They’ve built quite the history and reputation over the past century, and that legacy continues with every piece.
It’s hard to find America-made watches, but they do exist. Vaer is proof. Just a few years old, they handmade stylish and affordable watches in small batches, right at home in Los Angeles. Their take on the classic field watch is modern and refreshing, but still vintage and memorable. And each timepiece comes with two bands of your choice. Grab one or two of these watches, take advantage of the 24-mont warranty if you need it, and hopefully enjoy them on your wrist for years to come.
Brooklyn Boots, believe it or not, aren’t from Brooklyn. They’re from the small-town of Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, where a small team of skilled American workers handcraft each pair of boots using a classic 125-step process. Styles are classic and understated, and leathers premium, with American Bison Leather, Demar Leather Co. and C.F. Stead and Co. all supplying. Our choice would be the Rough Lands 2.0, with its understated style and Goodyear Welt construction.
Trayvax appears a bit like an outlier on this list. Most Made in America brands go for heritage looks and materials while Trayvax prefers a modern approach. Their tactical wallets use materials like aluminum, stainless steel and high-pressure fiberglass, with minimalist, sheerly functional designs that look more Mission Impossible than Indiana Jones. They do make a tactical leather wallet if you’re looking for that. All wallets have a 65-year heirloom warranty.
LL Bean doesn’t make all their goods in America, but we couldn’t not mention them. The original Bean Boots have been manufactured in Maine since 1912, with barely any change in process, styles or material. When we think of American-made footwear, their name is right up there with Allen Edmonds and Red Wing. Full-grain leather and real rubber bottoms mean that – ass they themselves states on their site – chances are you will only ever need one pair.
Benchmade is one of those go-to names for knives, and they make a good chunk of their knives right at home here in the USA. Whether it’s a handy pocketknife for EDC or a hefty fixed blade for outdoors survival, there’s an American-made piece of steel in their collection that will fit your budget and keep you equipped for all the obstacles life throws your way – no matter the price point.
Seriously, there is nothing more classic than one of Buck’s hefty offerings. They’ve been making their knives in the USA since their founding in 1902, and it would be a real shame if they ever shipped the classic Buck 110 (or anything else) overseas. There, quite frankly, may not be a more American knife (though Ka-Bar would definitely give them a run for their money).
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