In the Spotlight: Shinola Detroit

Leonard Schoenberger

When you hear the name Shinola, most of you will probably think of watches. But the Detroit based brand has some other products in its lineup that are interesting for fly fishermen.

Detroit, for a long time best known for its auto industry, has seen a resurgance of emerging brands in recent years trying to give new life to a city that has been associated with manufacturing for decades. One of them is Shinola (whose name dates back to a shoe polish factory in Rochester, NY in the 19th century), founded by Tom Kartsotis in 2011. From the early days on, the focus of the company has been on producing high quality watches.

They earned some fame when former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama bought Shinola watches for themselves (Bill) and as a gift for (then) British Prime Minister David Cameron (Barack).

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Products for Fly Fishermen

The 10,000 Mile Bag by Shinola Detroit worn by a fly fisherman
The Shinola Detroit 10,000 Mile Bag in action during some fall fly fishing. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

We recently got our hands on two products from Shinola, the 10,000 Mile Bag and the SHINOLA X BENCHMADE CARBON FIBER HANDLE CROOKED RIVER POCKETKNIFE (photo below). We took the bag and the knife out to fish to get a sense of the quality of Shinola.

Shinola x Bushcraft Knife Review

Design and Style of Shinola Detroit

Shinola Hip Bag while casting
The Shinola 10,000 Mile Bag on the water. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

At first glance, the knife and the hip bag feature a similar design and style. Both are kept in dark colors of black and dark grey and come with some orange accents that give them a fresh and modern look in my eyes. The bag’s Dyneema® material is an innovation derived from fabric used for parachutes that need to be both incredibly strong and lightweight.

Shinola Hip Bag selecting fly
Picking a fly from a streamer box. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Additonally, this fabric also makes the hip bag water resistant which in turn makes it a good choice for fly fishermen. If you want the utmost in waterproofness (or even submersibility) it’s not the right choice obviously. But if you’re looking for something special that still performs well, the 10,000 Mile Bag is certainly worth a look. What I also liked beside the neat fabric, is the slim silhouette of the hip bag. While most fully waterproof and submersible hip bags are a little bulky, the Shinola bag is hardly noticable when worn around your hip.

Shinola Hip Bag pocket
Pulling a fly box from the Shinola Detroit 10,000 Mile Bag. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

The Shinola x Benchmade Carbon Fiber Pocket Knife

There are few items that are more important when heading out for a day on the river than a knife. Does it have to be a knife like the Shinola x Benchmade Carbon Fiber? Surely not – but do you need do drive a nice car to get from A to B, surely not either. You get the point, this knife is not your average fishing knife nor does its razor sharp but not very flexible blade lend itself to be your fillet knife.

But I’m pretty sure you’ll have a hard time finding a cooler looking knife that still serves a purpose since it’s a pocket knife with a secure folding mechanism which makes it a great pick to process a freshly caught trout for a campfire for example. One thing’s for sure: you won’t encounter too many other fishermen on the river using the same knife if you decide to get yourself one of the Shinola X Benchmark blades.

Shinola x Bushcraft Knife Folded on Pier
The Shinola x Benchmark knife is one cool looking fishing knife that’s razor sharp. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Conclusion: High Price, High Quality

Who are Shinola products for? Simply by looking at the price tag of most Shinola Detroit products, you’ll understand that they are not in the game to please the masses. Instead, Shinola’s philosophy is to produce outstanding gear that will last you for years, ideally decades to come. Products such as the 10,000 Mile Bag and the X Benchmark knife only get more beautiful over time when they put on some patina.

Frequently Asked Questions: Shinola Brand Spotlight

Where is Shinola Detroit based?

Shinola is based in Detroit, Michigan, USA. The brand has its roots in the revival of American manufacturing and craftsmanship.

What types of products does Shinola offer?

Shinola Detroit is known for producing a range of high-quality goods, including watches, leather goods, bicycles, and audio equipment. The brand focuses on creating products with a commitment to quality and craftsmanship.

Are Shinola watches made in the USA?

Yes, Shinola watches are assembled in Detroit, Michigan. The brand takes pride in its American-made watches, utilizing both domestic and internationally sourced components.

What is Shinola’s commitment to sustainability?

Shinola Detroit emphasizes sustainability in its manufacturing processes. The brand is dedicated to responsible and ethical practices, and it often incorporates eco-friendly materials in its products. Additionally, Shinola is involved in community initiatives to support a sustainable future.