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Tracksmith Review: Can You Go Fast in Style?

Disclosure: We received courtesy product from Tracksmith in exchange for our honest review only. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Matt Gulielmi
Expertise:

Style, Jewelry, Watches, Skincare, Brand Activations

Matt is a NYC-based merchandise planner in the luxury space and moonlights as a retail documentarian through his TikTok blog @retailecology. His fashion career has waltzed through styling for Michigan State's VIM Magazine, translating brand copy into Spanish for cosmetic startups, to managing inventory for some of the biggest retailers in the US. Read full bio.


Last Updated: Feb 16, 2024
15 min read
Tracksmith Review Model Tying Shoelaces while wearing the Eliot Runner

You’re looking to upgrade from basic running clothes, but the elite technical gear you’re seeing looks strictly for the Olympic track. Functionality always costs more, but it’s hard to justify if the clothes don’t look good enough to wear casually.

In this feature, I’ve taken Tracksmith’s top-selling pieces for a spin in the gym and out on the town to see if they elevate both my performance and style game.

Pricey but lives up
The Adult Man Image/Icon Image source: Tracksmith
Tracksmith

Bottom line: Tracksmith’s activewear is an investment. But after wearing it for a few weeks, I think you get your money’s worth based on its comfort, beautiful details, and superior fabrics. If you like natural fibers and favor clothing that's suitable for workouts yet blends effortlessly with casual wear, I recommend giving Tracksmith a run.

Ratings: The Adult Man Image/Icon  Design The Adult Man Image/Icon  Quality of Materials The Adult Man Image/Icon  Value for Money The Adult Man Image/Icon  Craftsmanship The Adult Man Image/Icon  Customer Service
Pros:
  • A tasteful aesthetic that isn’t obviously athletic apparel
  • Many of their pieces use natural materials like wool which is great for cold weather
  • Features like odor control, stretch, and breathable mesh cater to runners' needs
Cons:
  • Tops seem to run small
  • Session Short lacks ample pocket storage

Throughout my running journey, I’ve hit the pavement in gear from nearly every notable brand out there.

But amid the ocean of modernistic neon apparel, Tracksmith emerged like a beacon with its east-coast charm.

Few brands can claim such a balance. Having run some miles in their gear in the past, I wanted to test their current bestsellers to see how they compare. I was curious to see if I’d been viewing Tracksmith through rose-tinted glasses or if they could truly keep up with the pace.

What Is Tracksmith?

The Adult Man Tracksmith Eliot Runner Cover Image

Tracksmith’s baby steps began in the running Mecca: Boston, Massachusetts.

Lifelong runner Matt Taylor founded Tracksmith in 2014 in response to an activewear epidemic. Sportswear just looked too weird, so Taylor saw a need for high-quality, functional products that were understated but still stylish.

Despite the brand catering to the amateur runner, they’ve become a cult favorite among dashers of all skill levels thanks to their niche identity and refined quality.

Tracksmith’s three flagships, dubbed “Trackhouses” are located in Boston, Brooklyn, and London, and serve as a meeting place for local runners who can participate in weekly group runs hosted by the brand.

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Perhaps they’re not so niche anymore, because I’ve been spotting their iconic rabbit logo on plenty of people here in NYC. Sounds like Tracksmith is onto something, right? I laced up and explored further.

Things to Consider Before Buying

The Adult Man Tracksmith Eliot Runner Navy Outfit

If you do a lot of nighttime running, then their styles might not be what you’re looking for. Tracksmith’s designs are relatively neutral, so if bright colors and reflective materials give you peace of mind during nightly jogs, their gear might be too muted for your needs.

Tracksmith also doesn’t spare any expense in making their product the best. Even though they’re geared towards amateurs, it’s still a premium brand.

If you’re finally ready to invest in gear that will make you feel and look better, I think Tracksmith is the best place to start. While you may have sticker shock initially, your performance will thank you for the extra comfort and quality. 

Tracksmith

Tracksmith’s activewear is an investment, but beautiful details, and superior fabrics mean that these pieces can be worn casually, as well as out on your runs. If you’re looking to upgrade from basic running clothes, but the elite technical gear you’re seeing looks strictly for the Olympic track, then Tracksmith could be for you.

Shop Tracksmith

My Hands-On Review

Eliot Runner

The Adult Man Tracksmith Eliot Runner White

Tracksmith makes one pair of shoes: the Eliot Runner.

For a running company, this surprised me, so I was eager to see what made these special enough to be their only footwear offering.

The heel is lifted with 33.5mm of support and tapers to a 24.5mm toe for a 9mm drop. More material in the heel than other all-around trainers like the Nike Pegasus 40, but less than race-day beasts with 40mm of heel cushioning.

I’m a 190-pound heel striker, so I’m no stranger to shin splints. The Pebax® insole was surprisingly forgiving, coming from a guy who runs in thicker soles.

The Adult Man Tracksmith Eliot Runner Sole

If your feet are pronated like mine, these might not be your long-haul runners. Sadly, I require edge support to compensate for my leaning ankles on my longest runs. If you need special accommodations in a runner, the Eliot would likely be too universal for your feet.

Luckily, Tracksmith generously allows free returns on the Eliot within 100 miles of use or 30 days from purchase. Plus the same 30-day returns policy applies to other unworn products if they don’t work out, which is great for peace of mind.

I picked up an 11.5 and Tracksmith states that a men’s size 9 weighs ~9.2oz, which is pretty light for a running shoe.

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My other trainers weigh closer to 12oz, and I noticed the reduced weight when my legs get heavy as the miles increased.

A stiff upper is a dilemma I’ve faced with other running shoes. Durability is a must, but running in what feel like wooden clogs tends to break my stride.

My feet swell after a few miles, and the flexible material on the Eliot allows for solid breathability. I’ve had to return other shoes that develop an irritating crease above my toes, but these move with my feet even during hilly routes.

The upper comes with some tradeoffs, however. Since it’s lightweight and porous, these aren’t the shoes to keep you dry on a muddy trail run. Despite this, the material takes a cleaning like a champ. I’ve washed mine several times.

The Adult Man Tracksmith Session Shorts In Sun

Technical features aside, running shoes need to look good if you’re paying almost $200 for them.

Instead of looking like a spaceship, the Eliot embraces a classic, old-school look that makes them ideal for casual wear. I like the style so much that I’ve had two pairs in the past few months.

I’d never see the inside of a club wearing typical lime green runners with jeans, but I wouldn’t hesitate to dress down a blazer and chinos with my Eliots.

Even if my crooked feet keep me from doing half-marathons in the Eliot, the low weight and comfortable sole makes them my standard training runners. With their timeless appearance, mine have seen many miles on and off the path.

Tracksmith Eliot Runner

Tracksmith makes one pair of shoes: the Eliot Runner. So they do only one thing, but they do that thing well. My feet swell after a few miles, and the flexible material on the Eliot allows for solid breathability. Plus, the aesthetic is unmatched - the Eliot embraces a classic, old-school look that makes them ideal for casual wear. I like the style so much that I’ve had two pairs in the past few months.

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Session Shorts

Friction is a runner’s arch nemesis.

If my running shorts feel like they’re exfoliating my inner thighs, it’s grounds for dishonorable discharge from my wardrobe.

The Adult Man Tracksmith Session Shorts Close Up

Tracksmith’s Veloce fabric gets along with my sensitive regions. I hate lined running shorts, but the Session Shorts have a silky texture that doesn’t announce the liner’s presence.

I ran my last 5-miler dressed in full Tracksmith, and it was a wet one. Because these are 100% synthetic, they naturally repel water better than Tracksmith’s wool pieces.

The Session Shorts are designed to be UV protective, which is a nice touch if you burn even with the lights too bright. I grabbed the 5-inch inseam, so I’ll still apply sunblock on clear days.

Quality-wise, I’d say the Session Shorts are Boston Marathon worthy. My vigilant eyes couldn’t find a single defect across everything I tested, and there’s something about their product that just feels right.

The Adult Man Tracksmith Session Shorts Front and Back

This is my second pair of Tracksmith shorts after the Van Cortlandt Grand Shorts, but the pocket situation isn’t great.

Tracksmith claims the Session Shorts have a rear pocket big enough for a cell phone, which might be true for a 2002 Nokia. It can fit my Airpod case and a house key, but running without my phone is a deal-breaker.

The Adult Man Tracksmith Session Shorts Back Pocket

I don’t hesitate when it comes to forking over dough for elevated products, but spending almost $70 for shorts that can’t hold my phone is a major drag.

The Session Shorts pack everything an athlete needs, unless that includes anything larger than a wallet. I need my music, so I’ll be saving them for phone-free enrichment like yoga, tennis, and lounging.

Tracksmith Session Shorts

Quality-wise, I’d say the Session Shorts are Boston Marathon worthy! They're designed to be UV protective, and have a silky texture that doesn’t announce the liner’s presence. There’s something about these shorts that just feels right!

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Brighton Base Layer

The Adult Man Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer Close Up

When I think of performance athletic gear, materials like polyester, elastane, and nylon come to mind. Unless we’re talking about socks, wool sounds like sweaty, itchy punishment.

The Brighton Base Layer is made from 52% wool, 28% nylon, and 20% polyester.

When I first tried it on, I didn’t think there were any synthetics in the fabric whatsoever. Besides the stretchiness, the running top has a distinct, natural feeling that doesn’t cling to my skin.

I normally order a large for tops, but I picked up an XL because Tracksmith has an athletic fit. Designed to be fitted in the arms but roomy in the torso, the XL was the right choice.

The Adult Man Tracksmith Session Shorts Wet

I want to show off my Tracksmith, not my love handles.

Wool’s thermal benefits are obvious. But when woven into a mesh, it lets enough heat escape even when I work up a sweat indoors.

I even wore mine for two workouts in a row. The wool definitely keeps the stink down compared to full synthetic tops.

The Adult Man Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer Garment Info

Tracksmith is playing 4D chess with their garment info. Instead of a flimsy hang tag rubbing the back of your neck, the product info is woven into the bottom hem.

For less than $100, a running top that packs premium, natural materials with running-centric features is more than fair.

The Adult Man Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer Lifting

Sure, you could save $20 and downgrade to a fully synthetic long sleeve that’s poorly made and smells like a barn after one lap, but it’ll lack comfort and Tracksmith’s distinguished swagger.

I was skeptical about a wool athletic shirt being a heat trap, but the Brighton base layer pivoted my beliefs. Stretchy, soft, and breathable, I don’t know if I’ll be sporting anything else during breezy fall cardio.

Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer

The Brighton Base Layer is made from 52% wool, 28% nylon, and 20% polyester. Wool’s thermal benefits are obvious. But when woven into a mesh, it lets enough heat escape even when I work up a sweat indoors, making the Brighton Base a win in my book. Plus, for less than $100, a running top that packs premium, natural materials with running-centric features is more than fair.

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Downeaster

Tracksmith Downeaster quarterzip zipper

Time-consuming sessions on a treadmill drive me crazy. Running with a change of scenery is the way to go, but fall and winter can force your training indoors.

As temps drop in the northeast, I picked up the Downeaster to see if it could prolong my picturesque runs exploring the city.

Like the Brighton, the Downeaster is made of a Merino wool and synthetic blend. If you prefer the organic texture of wool or cotton, the Downeaster delivers.

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I ran with the Downeaster in temperatures between 50°F and 65°F. On the 50°F day, I paired it with the Brighton Base Layer. The double-whammy of wool was perfect, and undoing the quarter-zip helped cool me off once I was gassed out.

Before running in the Downeaster, check your weather app. A surprise rain cloud hijacked my last run, making me look like I had fallen into the Hudson River by the end.

Wool has its strengths, but staying dry isn’t one of them.

Tracksmith Downeaster quarterzip logo

If simplicity calls your name, the care instructions, unfortunately, aren’t a walk in the park.

My preppy style gravitated towards the navy, which I would normally wash in cold water with my darks. However, the Downeaster calls for a warm wash.

To be honest, I’ve tossed it with the rest of my clothes and haven’t noticed any issues. But if you don’t want to risk warping a top that costs almost $150, I’d suggest following their instructions.

Like the Eliot Runner, the Downeaster has range. Whether it’s keeping you warm on a run or dressed over an oxford at work, it doesn’t look out of place.

My other second-layer running tops are made of waterproof nylon that looks like a traffic cop’s windbreaker.

The Downeaster works best for my runs on chillier days, but its running-oriented features are concealed by a familiar silhouette that blends into any outfit.

Tracksmith Downeaster

Downeaster is made of a Merino wool and synthetic blend. If you prefer the organic texture of wool or cotton, the Downeaster delivers. And it has range, too, whether it’s keeping you warm on a run or dressed over an oxford at work, it doesn’t look out of place. It works best for my runs on chillier days, but its running-oriented features are concealed by a familiar silhouette that blends into any outfit.

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Grayboy Tee

Tracksmith Grayboy tag

Enhancing a simple T-shirt isn’t easy, so I wanted to see how Tracksmith beefs up a closet staple to fit in with the rest of their upscale softgoods.

Right out the gate, I could tell the Grayboy Tee wasn’t like Tracksmith’s athletic shirts. Unlike the Brighton Base Layer, the Grayboy feels sturdier with less stretch, but not enough to keep me from exercising in it.

My affinity for natural fibers isn’t a secret at this point, and the Grayboy Tee’s 100% open-end cotton jersey fabric has won my heart. It was smoother than butter on my first wear, and after a couple of wash cycles, it still continues to break in wonderfully.

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If Tracksmith does one thing well, it’s cohesive branding.

The neck opening felt a bit wide for my preferences, but given that it’s a shirt that adapts between leisure and training, the extra room provides breathability the fabric lacks.

Tracksmith Grayboy back

It might not be the most high-octane shirt for exercising, but I wouldn’t blink spending almost $70 on a shirt like this. Tracksmith’s superb detailing is par for the course, and considering it’s made in Massachusetts, I can’t argue with USA-made quality.

Tracksmith Grayboy Tee

Grayboy feels sturdy, but not so much to keep me from exercising in it; the Grayboy Tee’s 100% open-end cotton jersey fabric has won my heart. It was smoother than butter on my first wear, and after a couple of wash cycles, it still continues to break in wonderfully.

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What Do Other Reviewers Say?

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For a brand that was founded less than a decade ago, Tracksmith get a lot of love.

I’ve noticed the skill level and habits of the customer influence their review. People who’ve put out 120+ miles in their Eliots say that they’ve flattened or that they simply aren’t suited for moist terrain.

Negative reviews are few and far between, though. Overall, customers are thrilled to find Tracksmith’s products so versatile. It doesn’t take long to find someone raving about their breathable yet warm fabrics.

Tracksmith Alternatives

rabbit Running

Rabbit Running Gear surf n turf shorts

Don’t let their logos fool you. Tracksmith and rabbit Running are in their own lanes.

If you like the benefits of running gear made of mostly synthetic fabrics, rabbit Running lays it on thick with breathable, stretchy polyester and spandex.

Tracksmith certainly has a clean, varsity-esque aesthetic. So, if you want to add a pop to your afternoons on the track, rabbit Running’s style often uses bright colors and captivating prints. Nothing wrong with being easily spotted during night runs, after all.

rabbit

What impresses me most about rabbit is the brand’s commitment to the sport of running. It’s what they live and breathe, and the way they’ve crafted their products reflects that.

Shop rabbit Read Our Review

Nike

Male model wearing Nike Pegasus 39 with sweatpants

In case you’ve been stranded on a deserted island for the past 40 years, I’m here to tell you that Nike and running are synonymous.

Nike is ideal if you’re just getting into the sport and you want to stick with a brand as you hit your PRs.

Whether they’re shoes, shirts, thermals, or gloves, they have it all, depending on your budget and experience.

It helps that they have more than one model of shoe, too. Nike’s assortment of runners can suit your preferences for many features like sole softness, drop, ankle support, and upper material.

Nike Pegasus 39

The Nike Pegasus 39 is a supportive daily trainer reliable for steady and consistent runs, gym days, and casual walking around. An improved mesh upper makes for a breathable ride in any season.

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Ten Thousand

Ten Thousand blue t shirt front view

If Tracksmith were a Porsche, Ten Thousand would be a military-issue Hummer.

Demanding physical activity requires gear with tactile features, and Ten Thousand’s athletic wear comes fitted with waterproof fabrics, ample storage, and extra durable materials.

If you find yourself near water or rocky inclines during strenuous workouts, Ten Thousand’s apparel takes it all to the chin.

Ten Thousand

Ten Thousand’s durable materials and convenient features justify the premium they charge. Their useful pocket arrangement is one of a kind and their shirts’ anti-odor treatment is surprisingly effective. You might find their shirts to run slightly large, however.

Shop Ten Thousand Read Our Review

My Thoughts Overall

What I Like

  • Premium, natural fibers like wool and cotton are used heavily in their gear.
  • Branded details such as jock tags, embroidered patches, and woven garment info add to the perceived value.
  • Pebax® sole on the Eliot Runner makes it one of the comfiest shoes I own.
  • Classic, laid-back styling makes it easy to wear Tracksmith casually.
  • The odor control provided by cotton and wool is noticeably effective.

What I Don’t Like

  • Minimal pocket space on the Session Short lacks valuable functionality.
  • The one-size-fits-all nature of the Eliot isn’t optimal for my foot support needs.

Who Is Tracksmith For?

Tracksmith doesn’t aim to be everyone’s running brand, but that’s part of their nuanced appeal.

If you’re fatigued by the fluorescent color palette invading modern run culture, Tracksmith keeps the quality and features that runners want, but with a sophisticated edge.

Softness, anti-stink fabric, and lasting quality are important to any skill level. For gents who aren’t ready to embrace running gear that looks like a Power Rangers costume, Tracksmith offers a classic, but equally competent alternative.

The Verdict

I already owned a couple of pieces from Tracksmith. After trying five more, it confirmed what I already knew: They give me the best of both worlds.

The Session Shorts won’t get as much wear as the tops, but they’re still handy for days when I’m not carrying much.

The Grayboy Tee, while simple, is a great all-around shirt that puts my love for the brand on full display.

I’m most stoked to wear the Downeaster. Whether I’m at work, running along the Hudson, or going through TSA, you’ll probably see me in it.

I might buy another Brighton Base Layer this winter as a snowboarding thermal, and not just a running top.

I’m still burning through my old pair of Eliots, but for a shoe that goes with anything, my navy pair broadens my fit options.

Make a purchase from Tracksmith, and I’m sure you’ll get why I’m swooning over them.

I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Tracksmith

Tracksmith’s activewear is an investment, but beautiful details, and superior fabrics mean that these pieces can be worn casually, as well as out on your runs. If you’re looking to upgrade from basic running clothes, but the elite technical gear you’re seeing looks strictly for the Olympic track, then Tracksmith could be for you.

Shop Tracksmith

FAQs

Is Tracksmith a good company?

Tracksmith’s attention to detail, build quality, and runner-centric design makes them a good company for athletes whose current running apparel doesn’t align with their personal style.

Are Tracksmith shorts good?

Tracksmith shorts provide an excellent range of motion and great comfort. Not all of their shorts have traditional pockets, however, so I recommend browsing their selection if storage is important to you.

Does Tracksmith fit true-to-size?

Tracksmith’s shorts and shoes fit true-to-size, but their tops have an athletic fit. If you have a broad chest or stockier build in general, consider sizing up in Tracksmith tops.

Where is Tracksmith made?

Tracksmith makes their product in different countries depending on the item. The Grayboy Tee is made in their home state of Massachusetts, but other styles are made in Europe or Asia.