What happened to Hydro Flask in a world full of Stanley Cups?

Michael Beausoleil
6 min readFeb 16, 2024

By this point, you’ve probably heard of the Stanley Cup trend. People are lining up to get them, kids are teased if they don’t have them, and “WaterTok girlies” rely on them. But it’s not exactly a surprise to see a water bottle reach such levels of popularity.

Before people were fighting to get Stanley tumblers, Hydro Flask was the must-have water bottle. The metal bottles became part of the VSCO girl aesthetic and were built to be durable — so strong that they outlasted the brand’s time in the limelight.

Standard VSCO girl aesthetic, featuring Hydro Flasks, Vans sneakers, and scrunchies.
VSCO girl must-haves. Image via NBC News

Now, the trends have changed and Stanley has become the must-have water bottle, and Hydro Flask’s quality can’t outsell Stanley’s trendiness. But, if it’s true that trends cycle back, will Hydro Flask be able to return to the spotlight? Or was its time as a must-have accessory just a flash in the pan?

Hydro Flask’s popularity geyser

For some people, Hydro Flask’s rise to popularity may seem like it was ages ago — but really, it wasn’t even five years ago. It became an essential item for Gen Z thanks to its prominence on VSCO, and becoming associated with the “VSCO girl” aesthetic. It would also be featured on TikTok, and while the app was popular at the time, it wasn’t the cultural phenomenon it is today.

Three hydro flasks in mint, white, and cobalt grey colors

With such a strong online presence, teens wanted these colorful, eco-friendly bottles. By the time the 2019–2020 school year began, they’d become a bit of a status symbol. After all, Hydro Flasks are comparable in price to a Stanley cup and could easily cost $50, which isn’t trivial for a high school student.

Hydro Flasks definitely resonated with Gen Z because they’re colorful and viral online, but they also appealed to the generation’s preference for sustainability. Not only that but there were legitimate reasons to love the quality. By design, the bottle’s double stainless steel walls help preserve temperature for long periods while preventing condensation.

It was a perfect trifecta. Hydro Flask was practical and durable, but somehow, it also became fashionable. Often, kids…



Michael Beausoleil

User Analytics | Digital & Brand Marketing | Productivity … hoping to explore topics that interest me and find others with similar passions