Skip to main content

Why This 1.4 Million-Member Community Loves Red Wing and Dr. Martens Boots

The self-proclaimed “front page of the Internet” teamed up with Afterpay’s biggest rival to educate consumers on the sandals, boots, backpacks and duffle bags they should consider buying if they want them to go the distance.

Klarna and Reddit kicked off Earth Week by unveiling a list of the most popular durable goods of 2023, according to subscribers of the popular website’s online community r/BuyItForLife (BIFL).

The BIFL community, or “subreddit,” as Reddit’s individual subgroups are called, has over 1.4 million subscribers and focuses on purchasing high-quality, durable products that will last a long time to help reduce consumption and waste.

“With our growing ecosystem of 150 million global consumers in mind, we’re thrilled to team up with Reddit and the BIFL-community to inspire people to buy products that last longer, saving you money and reducing waste. At Klarna, we’re here to equip you with the information and tools you need to make conscious shopping decisions,” said Salah Said, head of sustainability at Klarna, in a statement.

Using ChatGPT along with manual analysis, Klarna scanned r/BuyItForLife for the most frequently mentioned products in 2022 and filtered the results by positive and neutral sentiment, resulting in The 2023 BIFL List.

Related Stories

The 15 items named on the list include boots from Red Wing and Dr. Martens, and sandal makers Teva and Birkenstock. Accessories including a bag from outerwear brand Filson and a backpack from JanSport filled out the remaining soft goods highlighted in the list.

Red Wing Boots. Courtesy of Red Wing

The remaining items include household items and other staples such as water bottles from Nalgene and Klean Kanteen, an All-Clad kettle, a Le Creuset cookware set, Corelle tableware and a Stanley Thermos. Additional products on the list include the Aeron officer chair from Herman Miller, a hair clipper from Wahl and a water boiler from Zojirushi.

“This list is based on the experience and opinions from the toughest test group out there: the people,” said Yvonne Quinn, head of international business marketing at Reddit in a statement. “We have seen the r/BuyItForLife-community grow and flourish for more than a decade, and are super excited to partner with Klarna to shine a light on the community and share all the great insights gathered by our Reddit users that inspire people to shop more consciously.”

In a joint press release, Klarna and Reddit cited an October 2022 Bain & Company survey which found that product quality was the top purchasing factor for global fashion shoppers. Product durability wound up in fourth in this analysis, coming in behind price and product fit.

According to Klarna’s latest Shopping Pulse, nearly one in four global shoppers (23 percent) actively seek out brands that are ethical and sustainable.

As part of Klarna’s commitment to help consumers “shop smarter,” the company says it plans to update the BIFL list each year.

Dr. Martens gets the nod from shoppers looking for goods that go the distance.

Known primarily in the U.S. for its buy now, pay later (BNPL) platform, Klarna has sought to position itself as something of a thought leader in the sustainability arena. The company has embarked on numerous recent initiatives to provide consumers with more tools and insights to inspire to mindful consumption.

In January, Klarna launched a resell feature, enabling shoppers in Sweden to resell their previous purchases directly through the app. The firm also introduced “Shop Circular” collections, spotlighting brands with circular services to reduce waste and maximize the use of products, and upgraded its CO2e tracker in the app. This tracker now provides users with emissions data at a product level for nearly 60 million items in every step of the product’s lifecycle. Over 324,000 consumers, on average, actively track their carbon footprint through Klarna each month, according to data accessed last December.

Last month, in collaboration with sustainability tech platform Clarity AI, Klarna launched “conscious badges,” a feature where users can access comprehensive metrics about their electronic purchases, including information on brands’ greenhouse gas emissions, energy derived from renewable resources and more. Klarna and Clarity AI first partnered in December to promote environmentally conscious brands to the 150 million shoppers on the payments platform.

The payments company also offers a donations feature as part of its Give One initiative that aims to make it easier for consumers, retailers and partners to come together and contribute to solving climate change concerns. All these sustainability initiatives are built on Klarna’s belief that conscious shopping should be effortless in order to help consumers make better choices.

Klarna has also been setting its own goals in an effort to put its money where its mouth is. By 2025, the BNPL company will ensure that all its locations use 100 percent green electricity. By 2030, it will reduce 50 percent of its carbon-intensity-based emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. And by 2040, Klarna aims to be a net-zero company.