These six products only get better with age

Your smartphone will be worthless in a few years, but these buys improve as they get older.

future hand me downs
Future hand-me-downs. Brian Klutch

Technology doesn’t age gracefully. Bricked phones and crapped-out hard drives retire to your junk drawer only a few years after emerging from their shrink wrap. A precious few of our worldly wants, however, do improve with time and use. Objects like the ones here satisfy the Japanese tenet of wabi-sabi, which values well-worn imperfection over what’s shiny and new. They’ll only work better as you drag them along the rough road of life.

1. Jeans

Levi’s suggests you buy the 1976 501 jeans two sizes larger than normal. Getting them to the right fit is your job. Wet ’em down, and the cotton will shrink as it dries around you.

2. Ukeleles

The vibrations caused by strumming wood instruments, such as the Fender Zuma Concert Uke, make the timber resonate better. The more you practice, the longer the notes ring.

3. Boots

The Wolverine Original 1000 Mile boots will mold to your feet as you break them in, and a strip of leather between the kicks’ upper and outsole facilitates swapping worn-out treads.

4. Headphones

Grado says the Mylar diaphragm (the part that vibrates to make music) on its SR225e headphones rocks best after 50 to 100 hours of listening, so be patient for optimal sound.

5. Pans

Thinner and lighter than cast iron, the Lodge carbon-steel skillet still gets just as seasoned. With each use, fatty acids in cooking oil bind together to build up a slippery surface.

6. Teapots

Craftsmen don’t glaze the Adagio Dalian teapot. That way, its purple ­Chinese clay can soak up the oils, and thus the ­flavors, ​from the leaves of your favorite brews.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 Life/Death issue of Popular Science.

Stan Horaczek
Stan Horaczek

is the senior gear editor at Popular Science and Popular Photography. His past bylines include Rolling Stone, Engadget, Men's Journal, GQ, and just about any other publication that has ever written about gadgets. For a short time, he even wrote the gadget page for Every Day With Rachel Ray magazine. He collects vintage cameras, eats pizza, and hopes you won't go looking at his Tweets even though the link is down there.