Light and Comfy
Upgrade Your Running Gear With These Lesser-Known, High-End Brands
Nostalgia should have no bearing on running. Running doesn’t care that your high school cross country team took home a state championship in ’98. Running doesn’t care that you ran your fastest mile in a funny logo tee that you picked up at a thrift store for 50 cents. Running doesn’t even care that the charity emblazoned on the front of your latest free cotton tee actually does a lot of good work for the world (when it’s not spending money on cheap shirts).
The only thing that running does care about is you. Your stride, pace and heart rate, and also the moisture evaporating off your body, the amount of irritation a seam is causing as it rubs against your skin. Clothing is important in running, and comfort should be taken seriously.
Maybe your favorite/lucky/prestigious cotton t-shirt is comfortable enough to run in; if so, that’s great. But know that cotton is almost wholly frowned-upon and that there are better options out there, constructed with performance materials like polyester and merino wool. Don’t expect the typical flash and neon of the last generation’s running apparel either; today, there’s a pack of young brands that are introducing a higher standard for style in athletic gear. This is the new running apparel — it’ll keep you cool, warm, dry, loose and fit. The transition doesn’t have to be an emotional one– that ragged old t-shirt will be at home waiting for when you return from your late afternoon run.
Before Brice Partouche founded Satisfy, he was a skateboarder and a punk rocker. Then he founded a denim brand that morphed into a record label. Running is his latest target, and he’s injecting the sport with his own definition of culture. “If you went into a running store, it was all performance, winning and bravado. I felt there was a need to celebrate the daily ritual of running and that’s how Satisfy was born.” Each new collection brings fashion-forward cuts and bold, printed statements. This year, affirm your status as a runner with the Justice Sprint Shorts or the Mesh Singlet and “LEAVE THEM ALL BEHIND.”
Start with This: Justice Sprint Shorts $166
Tracksmith is based in New England, where it can draw from a wellspring of Ivy League inspiration and running history to create its decidedly retro aesthetic. That, paired with top-tier materials, has helped the brand push running clothing to be simple, clean and stylish instead of loud and hectic. Its latest collection continues this tradition. One notable product from the new line is the 7″ Sessions Short, which is a slightly longer take on one of the company’s most loved pieces. The short is constructed with Italian-made Veloce fabric that emphasizes lightness and stretch.
Start with This: 7″ Session Shorts $64
Mash together performance apparel design with ’80s hair metal aesthetics, and you’ll get something close to DOXA. Its entire line bucks the neon-infused convention typified by the big brands and embraces an alternative version of flash associated with the speed of running. Its latest collection, called Power Generation, features bold optical patterns printed on a lightweight fabric made in Italy.
Start with This: Jevin Jacket $191
Janji’s core mission is a social one; the Boston-based brand donates part of its profits to provide clean drinking water for people in less-developed countries. It also creates design elements drawn from experiences had while running in those places to integrate into each technically-crafted piece. Western Uganda’s Toro Kingdom inspired its latest singlet, which contains micro-perforations that provide supreme levels of wicking capabilities and breathability.
Start with This: Fast Twitch Strata Singlet $48
In the past few years, Outdoor Voices has carefully edged its way into the athleisure space with premium iterations on everyday staples like the basic t-shirt. The brand does so with a casual mentality and a tonal color palette, but the materials it uses in each piece are anything but conventional. OV has recently expanded into activity-specific gear, and its new collection of running apparel is sure to please whether you run in it or not. Expect all-weather stretch, superlight breathability, and ultra-soft tactility. Try the new Cool Runnin’s Tee for mesh that isn’t scratchy and looks good enough to wear on a daily basis.
Start with This: Cool Runnin’s Tee $45
Owning a hat just for running can seem unnecessary, but take to your preferred loop in one specifically designed for active motion, and you’ll soon realize why that’s not true. Montreal-based Ciele makes some of the finest running hats available. They’re constructed from ultra-wicking COOLwick fabric and offer UPF +40 sun protection. Many also feature reflective hits on the front and back to keep you safe when running at night. Available colors tend to range from bright and funky to cool and muted, and the offering changes with the seasons.
Start with This: GoCap $40
The only shoes you’ll want to wear all summer long. Read the Story