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Why must running gear be so ugly?

As someone who obsesses over clothing and runs three miles daily, it’s a question I used to ask myself. While the rest of my wardrobe is chosen with exacting care, my running clothes were a mismatch of ratty freebie tees and neon technical apparel plucked from the sales rack.

And then I saw the sash. It’s one of Tracksmith’s calling cards, appearing on the brand’s Van Cortland line of singlets and tees. With that beautiful diagonal slash, the Boston-based brand seemed to announce that the aesthetics of running gear could not only be refined but even aspirational. Pulling on a Van Cortland tee made me feel like Sir Roger Bannister—never mind that I was running an eight-minute mile, not four.

Tracksmith 'Harrier' long-sleeve tee ($82). Right, 'Van Cortlandt' singlet ($65) and shorts ($60).

Tracksmith ‘Harrier’ long-sleeve tee ($82). Right, ‘Van Cortlandt’ singlet ($65) and shorts ($60). 

Tracksmith

While it was the looks that won me over, Tracksmith is, first and foremost, designed to perform. The Van Cortland line is made from a proprietary “2:09 Mesh” that’s highly breathable and equipped with an anti-microbial finish, which allows me to get four-to-five runs out of the tee before the funk necessitated a wash.

Elsewhere, Tracksmith makes use of merino wool’s natural odor-fighting and moisture-wicking abilities in gear like the Harrier long-sleeve tee. Made from a lightweight merino-nylon blend that seems impervious to overheating, it’s become my solution to those maddening mid-autumn days when running too cold or too warm feel like the only options. As a professional clotheshorse, I also appreciate that its heathered colorways—forest, plum, midnight, etc—are rich but subdued, and that it is logo-free save for a tastefully embroidered hare at the sleeve.

Tailored to work on and off the track: Tracksmith 'Run-Commute' jacket ($198) and pants ($198).

Tailored to work on and off the track: Tracksmith ‘Run Commute’ jacket ($198) and pants ($198). 

Tracksmith

Tracksmith has even convinced me to shed my long-standing aversion to half-tights, thanks to their Reggie model. Its nylon-elastane Inverno blend fabric is lightweight but substantial, providing an answer to those days when I’m deciding between running pants or shorts. And in a safe, solid navy, they won’t clash with anything I’m wearing above—because even on a run, such a thing still matters.

Yes, I realize that I’m quite fussy. But luckily, I’ve got Tracksmith as my relay partner.

Tracksmith 'Van Cortlandt' tee ($70) and 'Reggie' lined half tights ($72).

Technical wear, elevated: Tracksmith ‘Van Cortlandt’ tee ($70) and ‘Reggie’ lined half tights ($72). 

Tracksmith

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