I'm really tough on them -- I run them through the wash and all so I always get Patriot XT with the rubber case and cap. They are very sturdy and about average speed for the USB 2 or 3 models.
All of the major brands will be reliable. Just be sure you treat it with respect and it'll serve you well. Only put it in the computer when you need it in there to minimize the risk of bumping into it and breaking it.