I really would like a rugged pair that can last 2 or more years, sound quality is not important as I mostly listen to audiobooks and podcasts. Comfort is number one criteria, followed by ruggedness.
I've had my Westone UM2s for over 5 years. Granted I'm not using them anymore since I upgraded to the Westone 3, they are still working as they should. I sold my neighbor a set of UM1s back in 2006 and she still takes them to the gym every day.
My wife wrote about our son forgetting his UM2 inside his pants' pocket and how they survived a full washing cycle here:
At any rate, for your question, the Westone UM1, UM2 and UM3x are still made in the US. They come with a 1 year warranty out of the box plus 1 extra year when you submit the enclosed warranty card.
That would be my recommendation ;)
er6i. they're short, so they sit far into the ear canal - especially great considering i wear a motorcycle helmet over them. i've used the same pair of er6i for 5 years and use them almost daily on a motorcycle.
I suggest staying with the fairly cheap but good sounding buds/iems. You can lose them, accidentally damage them and it won't hurt to replace them. The Sennheiser cx300's not bad. Traveled with them around Asia and didn't have to worry if they died on me since most shops will have them. Fairly warm sounding with a very slight emphasis on the bass. There's also the V-Moda Vibes.
Do you know how to wrap the cord correctly?
Of course you are not going to lose it on both sides, because when one side goes you will stop using it any longer. One thing is for sure, when you spend the money to get a good set, you will want to take the extra time to care for your stuff. The problem with good warranties is, the products from the companies that offer good warranties seldom need them. That is why they can offer them.