11 Pieces of Beautiful, Retro-Inspired Gear
Some designs endure. And for good reason.
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Here at Outside, we tend to geek out over the latest, greatest gear. But there are some classic products that will always have a place in our sheds. These designs range from the stunningly beautiful to the plain utilitarian, and they don't need updating. Here’s a list of our favorite gear with history.
Brooks Equinox Fusion Shoes ($115, shown above)
Before Christopher McDougal torpedoed the traditional running shoe design with Born to Run, silhouettes like the Fusion (chunky soles, air or gel in the heel) were the industry standard. Nowadays, the design lives on as a lifestyle shoe that we wear all day for comfy feet at work.
Kletterwerks Flip Backpack ($200)
Kletterwerks, founded by legendary pack maker Dana Gleason in 1975, was revived as a wing of Gleason's new company, Mystery Ranch. It now produces classic bags with some clever modern updates. Our favorite: The iconic Flip, which was built as a climbing pack but now pulls double duty as an urban commuter. It’s made from bomber 1000-denier Cordura (because why not?) with retro zipper pulls and a slick laptop sleeve.
Vuarnet 03 Sunglasses (From $215)
This French eyewear maker (established in 1957) was wildly popular in the U.S. back in the 1980s. Everyone from Miles Davis to Mick Jagger sported their shades. But then they lost U.S. distribution and mostly disappeared from the country, minus a brief cameo in the The Big Lebowski. Thankfully, they’re back in the U.S, and gaining traction quickly. We like the 03s because of their chunky, aviator-style frame with its removable bridge piece.
Timex Ironman Sleek 50 Full-Size Watch ($80)
Timex has plenty of modern watches, but we still love its simple Ironman Sleek 50. You can’t track your route on this timepiece, but you can time your splits and the battery lasts forever. To celebrate the Ironman's 30-year anniversary, the company just released a new colors collection with several new designs that pop.
United by Blue Hektor Vest ($130)
There’s nothing special about this classic two-tone vest. And that’s why we like it. United By Blue’s version has a recycled polyester shell, organic cotton chambray lining, and PrimaLoft Eco Recycled Fiber Fill insulation that's made from recycled plastic bottles.
Master & Dynamic MH40 Over-Ear Headphones ($400)
The brushed steel and light brown leather take us back to the 1960s and shag carpets, but the sound of these headphones is totally 21st century. Large 45-millimeter neodymium drivers make vinyl or iTunes sound a lot better than your normal earbuds, and the lambskin-and-memory foam pads are comfy for hours at a time.
Nalgene Silo Water Bottle ($12)
Remember when Nalgenes first came on the scene? Fast forward to 2016, and the brand now has lots of competitors, but we still love these classic bottles for their clear plastic, wide-mouth design. And they still look great covered in stickers.
Blowfish Designs Hats (From $28)
Blowfish takes the trucker hat and ball cap back to the days when you could actually find unique, boutique designs. It orders blank caps from China, then hand-stitches swaths of fabrics onto the crowns. There’s about a billion patterns to choose from, so give yourself some time to browse the company's site.
Miir Payette Bicycle ($500)
The Payette is no carbon-fiber thingamajig. It's just a simple, old-school bike. The steel frame, single-speed flip-flop hub, and faux-leather saddle will get you to and from work, and as a modern add-on, Miir gives a bike to someone in need every time a customer hits buy.
Superdry Retro Chevron Hooded Puffer Jacket ($135)
If you’re going for that old-school, hot-doggin' ski look, you can either dig through thrift-store bins or get a jacket from Japan's Superdry. The company makes lots of high-performance ski jackets, but it's also carved out a niche for the nostalgic with its vintage pieces. We dig the Retro Chevron, with its classic color blocking paired with now-common modern features like pit zips, a snow skirt, and lift-pass pocket.
Chubbies Gulfstreams Shorts ($60)
You don’t need to own a yacht to sport these shorts, but it wouldn’t hurt. We pair them with a lightweight button-down top and would proudly wear them beachside or just out moving the lawn. Is it summer yet?