Why Is The North Face So Expensive? (& Is it Worth It?)

Why Is The North Face So Expensive

Backpackers love this brand, and so do off-duty models and actors. 

However, the shared appeal of The North Face apparel did not happen in a day. In fact, the brand was first founded in 1966 as a small retail store catering to a niche of mountaineers.

And although this outerwear giant has left its golden age behind in the 1990s, it is far from irrelevant in the 2020s. Especially considering how 50 years after its first humble opening, the brand is still collaborating with luxury fashion houses. 

But the company hardly identifies as a luxury brand. If not, why is The North Face so expensive? 

Is The North Face A High-End Outdoor Brand?

Although The North Face frequently collaborates with the biggest names in the business, it is not a high-end outdoor brand. For those who go on a serious mountaineering expedition, then it would be worth investing in the top brands for quality- these technical sport practitioners, such as Arc’teryx, Patagonia, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, etc.

In its essence, The North Face is still a regular outerwear retailer, but its popularity in pop culture provides it with a fashion pedigree. In fact, the store catalog is a blend of high-end products that can cost thousands and discounted inventory glut at affordable prices. 

That said, its customer base includes plenty of celebrities and clients with the means to patronize luxury brands. And yet, some of the products are staples in regular people’s wardrobes. 

Why Is The North Face So Popular And Expensive?

Pay For The Brand Name

The signature three-wire arched line logo stamped on every The North Face outerwear is now an emblem of fashion-forwardness and street credibility. Some shoppers believe you pay 60% for the brand name and 40% for its quality.

That said, it may not be in your best interest to opt for The North Face products for serious mountaineering expeditions and challenging outdoor activities. However, the overall quality of North Face products is suitable for day hiking, overnight camping, and day-use – regardless of the price point. 

And while TNF products from the lower-cost end tend to veer more towards fashion than performance, it is still a big brand name that works towards maintaining its reputation. So, unlike big-box department stores, such as Columbia, buyers spending their money here can get product repairs and replacements – if they bother to ask. 

Nevertheless, plenty of loyal customers have bought pieces from The North Face that have lasted for almost a decade. In fact, the company successfully wins buyers’ vote of confidence with its celebrated lifetime guarantee. 

Anyhow, the growing shift towards style may not necessarily be a bad thing as this long-time crowd-puller attracts a new and younger target audience.

In fact, tapping into the wave of “street-style fashion” led to the much-anticipated The North Face x Supreme collaboration, which was regarded as an intelligent business move. This further paved the way for the brand to share the stage with designers and luxury brands, thus legitimizing the premium charges – even if for the highly-coveted logo. 

Technology & Innovation

Despite its newfound identity as a fashion label, The North Face has enjoyed a top place among the most reputable global giants for decades as an outdoor brand. In fact, the style craze often overshadows its range of innovative backpacks, camping equipment, and outdoor gear. 

Nevertheless, it is perhaps the selection of TNF jackets that are virtually inescapable – whether you are walking on the street or browsing a celebrity’s social media page. Indeed, The North Face puffer jackets equipped with Goose Down insulation and the trademarked Thermoball jackets are unmistakable. 

These trendy pieces have been devised in partnership with thermal insulation experts and utilize the latest technology for superior comfort and warmth. And competing against world-famous outdoor brands, such as Patagonia and Arc’teryx, it was with these innovative breakthroughs that TNF made its mark in the industry. 

And while their timeless and versatile design plays a significant role in their success, the practicality of the pieces make customers stay – despite what it costs.

Ethical (Environmentally Conscious)

Throughout the years, The North Face has made conscious efforts to reduce the carbon emissions generated from its own operations and supply chains. 

For instance, in a bid to promote sustainable fashion, the brand launched the venture The North Face Renewed, which recycles and sells refurbished store items. These include its classic fleece jackets, which are incidentally sourced from non-mulesed sheep. 

What’s more, the brand does well on the Fashion Transparency Index and is certified by Bluesign. And considering its dedication to protecting stakeholders in its supply chain under its labor policies, the manufacturing costs may significantly add up. 

Is North Face Worth It? 

As with many other brands on the market, any purchase you make from this store can be a hit or a miss. That said, The North Face products may be well worth it, especially if you select an item from the mid to high price range. 

At the same time, this does not mean that the logo or price tag itself guarantees the best quality. So, avoid being a brand slave and only decide after comparing the features, technology, and prices of different TNF products. Or perhaps, you can compare them with products from other brands. 

Additionally, buyers should go through online reviews of the products to get an idea about the fit and quality before grabbing an item from the store. 

Final Thoughts 

Named after Yosemite’s half dome, The North Face became the face of outdoor kits and mountaineering equipment soon after its launch in the 60s. 

Co-opted by “streetwear” fashionistas of the 90s, its signature sportswear style is witnessing a comeback with the return of 90s fashion and the latest athleisure trends of the 2020s. And while world-renowned designers are making The North Face a glamorous and increasingly expensive brand, it remains true to its initial commitment. 

That said, the brand continues to deliver its promise of quality, comfort, and functionality. No wonder its loyal customer base of hiking and backpacking enthusiasts is still determined to face its extravagant price tags.

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Matt Scofield
Matt Scofield

Hi! I’m Matt, an adventure freak who lives and breathes the great outdoors. Spending time under the open sky always appealed to me, even as a kid. Perhaps that’s why I liked camping with my dad so much. The days spent hiking and the nights around the campfire are times I’ll cherish forever.

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