On the heels of the Boston Marathon I stumbled upon a pop-up shop on Newbury Street for the New England-based athletic apparel company Tracksmith.
From the Tracksmith website:
Tracksmith is a premium performance running brand located at the halfway mark of the Boston Marathon. We make the highest quality running clothes and celebrate the amateur spirit of the sport.
Aside from manufacturing running apparel, Tracksmith has done an amazing job creating a culture around their brand; evident by the use of well-curated photography, their sister publication Meter and oft repeated mantra “amateur spirit”. Tracksmith deftly melds Boston race lore and Ivy League prep school nostalgia with the present… if Ralph Lauren designed running shorts, it might look something like this.
Along with running shorts Tracksmith, naturally, has a collection of race singlets–even offering a BQ version specifically for the Boston Marathon. [BQ = Boston Qualifier, it is my understanding that proof of a Boston Qualifying time had to be submitted to purchase.] I do love the diagonal sash which reiterates the prep school vibe of the design. (Spotted around the pop-up shop were the words “earn your sash”. )
By virtue of not being a professional athlete, most of us are amateurs. I personally don’t know any professional athletes and this is why I’ve never love the term amateur in this context. If someone qualifies for Boston (or Kona for that matter), I don’t know if I would call that person an amateur. It feels like the wrong word to me. But maybe the spin here works… “the spirit of the amateur athlete” does conjure a certain ideal of living up to one’s own personal goals.
Tracksmith hires some great photographers. Flipping through their tabloid and quarterly Meter it’s very editorial and very beautiful. At times it verges on becoming a little “Kinfolk” (overly-staged lifestyle publication catering to professional Pinterest users) so I hope TS keeps the destination run camp photoshoots a little more real. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d love to sit in an ice bath over looking the Pacific Ocean.
And finally the clothes. I purchased the men’s Van Cortland track short. I also tried on the women’s. Both have linings and both are made from Swiss 2:09 mesh (I’m not totally clear what this means). The shorts are extremely comfortable and move well. I went with a size small, I only wish that the inseam was a bit shorter–but this is more of a personal preference. The women’s XS version actually fit me best, but at the time of purchase was only available online. (For reference I have a 29″ waist.)
This is the only thing I cannot, cannot comprehend. NO POCKETS. I understand the Tracksmith aesthetic and nod to the past, but the reality is I would never run a full marathon (or even a half) in these shorts simply because of the lack of utility. I try to run with as little as possible on my being, but for any especially demanding run or race I make sure to have a few gels or S-caps handy.
And then there’s the preppy rabbit logo which reminds me a bit of the Lacoste alligator.
I would definitely purchase more Tracksmith apparel in the future–I love what they’re doing and can’t wait to see what comes next. How about a cycling kit? I would definitely rock that!