As part of Detroit-based manufacturer Shinola’s Makers Monday initiative—which encourages purchasing American-made products to help create and keep jobs in the United States—Cool Hunting is highlighting and looking back on our favorite brands that make quality products in our very own backyard. First up, it’s rugged, functional and long-lasting gear for those with an adventurous spirit and desire to get outside and into the wilderness.
A tour of Danner’s Portland facility with pattern engineer Casey Rakoczy meant CH got an inside look at the heritage brand’s processes. The company’s manufacturing standards remain as they have for nearly a century, with each boot upholding Danner’s commitment to rigorous testing standards, materials sourced in the US and meticulous handmade construction in their factory outside Portland—standards so high that the company is also called upon to make footwear for not only loggers and fashion enthusiasts, but also hikers, hunters and the United States Marine Corps. It takes three to four days to make each boot, with nearly every step done by hand—from selecting and cutting each piece of leather, to sewing and molding each one of Danner’s custom lasts.
When newlyweds Mac and Katherine McMillan started Pierrepont Hicks in 2009, their mission was to make the perfect tie. Having achieved achieved that goal some time ago, the duo has expanded their line bit by bit to include shoes and outerwear for men and women. With heavy duty, rugged and durable apparel just made for adventuring, the label has come a long way in four short years. And, while named for a leafy corner in Brooklyn, New York, Pierrepont Hicks is for those who aren’t afraid to get some dirt on their boots and explore the wilds beyond the city limits.
When launching their new factory and global headquarters last year—the first move for the brand in 80 years—Filson invited us in for a first look at their new space. CH got a unique peek behind the scenes and learned how this classic luggage and outdoor clothing company manages concepts, sales and production all under one roof. Originally outfitting pioneers for the Alaskan wilderness, Filson has maintained their heritage elements as they expand the function and fit of their products for the modern world.
Running in the same American Heritage circles as Danner and Filson, Wolverine (founded back in 1883) is known for providing true lovers of the outdoors with dependable, no-nonsense products. We are still loving the made-in-USA Rowan by Wolverine 1000 Mile and Filson, which offers a vintage aesthetic executed with proven materials and trusted techniques. The company is truly heritage and, for 130 years, has maintained its dedication to authenticity and providing active people with comfortable and functional boots and shoes.
Danner factory image by Adrienne So, all others courtesy of respective brands