Tracksmith running clothing: Review

Wednesday, August 2nd 2023
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Tracksmith, the running brand, recently interviewed me and a bunch of others for their magazine. The photos here are from that piece, and if you’d like you can read it here.

It was nice having the excuse to reflect on what running has meant to me. I started young because my Dad was a runner - he ran marathons around the world, and I remember watching him run London. We used to go running together in Richmond Park, close to where I live - a place that’s a privilege to run in. 

However, the article wasn’t as much about running clothing, and I know that’s something readers have regularly asked about. I’ve probably covered cycling clothing more over the years, largely because since I was injured in my twenties (training for the London marathon), cycling has taken up more of my time.

But I am running regularly now and have tried many brands over the years, from the obvious Nike, Adidas etc, to niche start-ups like Iffley Road and Soar, and the start-ups that are now much bigger, like Castore and Tracksmith. 

Although I don’t like all the styles, Tracksmith has become the one I wear the most primarily because of the design. 

I was always ribbed as a cyclist for caring more about the clothes than the bike - although, as a menswear enthusiast, I guess that should have been predictable. Tracksmith is the same - in a sea of black and grey (which does look good on a lot of people but is rather dull), they’re the only brand using colour well. 

And of course it’s often quite classic menswear colour, drawing as it does on old collegiate styles - burgundy and forest green, soft yellow and grey marl. It’s the kind of colours you buy vintage sportswear in; the colour of my Dad’s Harvard sweatshirt. 

Some of Tracksmith’s colours in recent years have varied more - teal, stripes, hot orange. But there’s still a sophistication to the palette, such as the brown and black I’m wearing in these pictures. I guess the way you tell is that they’re colours I’d happily wear in non-running clothing.

I’ve tried perhaps a dozen Tracksmith pieces over the years, and had my ups and downs with them. 

As a classic-menswear enthusiast, the first piece that got me into the brand was the Grayboy T-shirt, a cotton-blend piece that was inspired by a traditional kit of the Georgetown track team (below). It was meant to be a T-shirt you could run in - the comfort of cotton but with some performance from the synthetic. 

I got one when the brand first launched and loved it. I even managed to wear it when I interviewed the founder, Matt Taylor, at their Boston store in 2019 (at that time their only one). That was at the end of the trip where I also visited Horween, Optimo and Frank Clegg.)

When I bought a second Grayboy, however, they’d changed the fabric. It was softer and stretchier, and lost more shape when it was washed. It didn’t feel like something that in their words “wore in, not out” - a way of thinking that of course resonates with high-end workwear too.  

Happily, now there is a store in London (on Chiltern Street) I tried the Grayboy again, and they have returned to something closer to the original - a cotton/rayon mix that is rather stronger and tougher. 

My original Grayboy had ‘Tracksmith’ written on it, but that was back when no one had heard of them. Being the snob I am, I now prefer the plain ones. It’s like the Rapha jerseys with the white armband - you don’t want them when everyone has them. 

I guess at least I’m a self-aware snob. 

The heavier stuff like the Grayboy is great for a casual, easy run, and that’s what I’m doing most of the time these days. It’s also good for doing exercises part-way, or sitting in the cafe at the end. 

But for something a little more serious, you obviously want a lightweight synthetic, like the Twilight Tee I wore for these pictures. To be honest, I’ve never noticed much of a difference between these types of tops from any brand, other than the drier handle you get from the Nike Dri-Fit and similar tops from New Balance (which has great ALD-influenced advertising these days, but that isn’t really reflected in the activewear).

I prefer the silkier feeling of materials like this Tracksmith, and again I like the styling. Though more in plain colours like this than the distinctive sash-stripe of some of the Van Cortlandt tees.  

I’m a little between sizing on the tops, but a medium (shown here) is OK. I could wear a large but a medium is probably closer. 

I’ve found shorts a little trickier with Tracksmith, because the sizing varies a little between styles and the fact I’m in between sizes makes for a difficult trade-off sometimes. In the rain shorts, for example, a medium is too tight on the thighs but the large is a bit loose on the waist. 

The shorts pictured here are the Twilight shorts, and they work well (in medium). The range of shorts seems large, but actually if you find the short-short ones too skimpy (I’m not that good a runner) and don’t want tights or the semi-casual Longfellow, there aren’t that many. 

Among other things I’ve tried, the rain jacket works well and is pleasingly feather-light. The long leggings for winter I found a little thick and tight. The sunglasses are a guilty pleasure but beautifully made - I’ve worn District Vision for a long time. I’m not that much of a fan of a lot of the off-duty clothing (‘Trackhouse’) but then I’d always want my Real McCoy’s or Warehouse sweats there. 

Oh, and I also wear the Harrier long sleeve in winter, a mostly merino top that's really nice. A silk version I had was less successful, but they don't sell that any more.

The Elliot trainers I haven’t worn for that long, but they compare well to all the specialist Nikes, Sauconys and Asics I’ve had in the past. Again, perhaps not for a marathon, but they’re really well made - nicely fitted upper, good multisurface footbed, responsive midsole. And of course classic styling.

Overall I’ve been through enough different phases of Tracksmith, and tried enough of the products, to know it’s the best running brand for me even if some large parts of the range aren’t.

As ever happy to answer any questions on the things I have tried, or any other brands. 

Photography by Milad Abedi

Shot in Circolo Del Tennis, Florence for Tracksmith. Interview online here

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Thanks Simon. I am mainly in te gym weightlifting etc and HIT – do you think Tracksmith is best option here or just stick with Nike?


I primarily do Oly lifting and HIIT and use the 5″ session shorts pretty much exclusively.


Go full slutty and rock the half tights for lifts. Name is escaping me, but the pricier of their options is phenomenal. My go to without a doubt on leg days now.
The cheaper (still not cheap, admittedly) ones (Reggie?) are great too, but not nearly as modest as a single layer.
Go lined, obviously.


Running has never appealed to me. I exercise regularly but unfortunately running is always last on my list. Your Dads Harvard sweater sounds interesting. Is it a nice vintage one?


How interesting, any direct Ivy League insights? Style wise I mean


I mean from your fathers experience at Harvard?


Simon, if you get a chance, I recommend that you check out their Van Cortland Polo if you get the chance. It’s a short sleeved polo shirt but in a technical running fabric. One of my favorite Tracksmith items and maybe one that would appeal to PS readers.
TS’s sweatshirts and sweatpants are also nice. They had them in a nice off-white last winter. They’re great for lounging in.


I’ve worn a lot of Tracksmith over a large number of years. Longfellow. Almost everything Van Cortlandt. Session. Several iterations of their merino lines. Trackhouse and other casual. I run every day and play other sports and do gym work.

At its best it is superb stuff, but I’ve noticed a distinct tendency over the years for quality to drift downwards. They took away about half the sizes from the Longfellow range. Fabric quality on the casual gear is unreliable. Zippers break. The combined swim and run shorts have become a bit meh. And so on.

Because the brand is very (image) design led, they make some very odd choices for a running specific outfit. For example their (lumpy, hard, not removable) logo is often positioned right where a hydration pack strap has to go. Also, in the interests of the look, they put seams into garments when they aren’t needed for function.

My overall feeling is that, like many a company before them, as they tried to grow from a premium niche outfit they lost sight of what it was that made them good in the first place.

Nowadays I tend to look elsewhere first when I’m replacing worn out gear.


Hi coljay,
Would love to hear what you prefer these days.


Running: Soar (but too fragile for other sports) and Reda/Rewoolution. Strength sports: Gramicci, Form&Thread, and, ahem, Marks and Spencer. Court sports: Nike


Agree with this. Found both the quality and fabric to be variable for the price point, although I like the styling. I really like the van cortlandt singlets and have several. However the hoodie, grayboy wore badly. As for shorts, i stick with Nike running – they fit well and are very hard wearing. And although I’m not keen on some elements of Soar’s styling, the all weather jacket is outstanding and handles a wide range of winter/transitional conditions without overheating.


Same experience. A large is really a medium. The running trousers developed a hole in the thigh almost immediately and the merino shirt a hole under the arm. Overpriced and running on the fumes of their early reputation.


I’ve had several Tracksmith items. Like COLJAY says, and Simon, it can be hit or miss. When you find something that works, enjoy it. I do find that there thinner/silky materials wear out rather quickly. To your point about the seems, I also dislike this aspect. When you have a sweaty shirt sticking to you, it’s quite easy to rip the seems pulling the shirt off. I’ve done it to a couple of my shirts.


I struggle with anything other than technical fabrics for running because of how much I sweat, so I’ve kind of given up trying to not look like a day-glo monstrosity. I’ve managed to pick up some running tees from New Balance and APL that are thankfully in more understated colours. Out of curiosity, what running shoes do you favour, Simon?

Peter K

Have you tired light wieght Merino wool tops? They wick sweat well and don’t get stinky as quickly as synthetics.


Get the twilight tshirts from Tracksmith. As a collegiate runner who does 50-70 miles per week, no shirt is as comfortable for as long as the twilight. Long sleeve and short sleeves are amazing. I’m also a fan of the Van Cortlandt shorts, but I’m the “good enough runner” to justify the 4 inch inseams.

Matthew Grant

If you want plain, subtle colours, the Ronhill range has some good colours.


Have you tried Satisfy running clothing?
The quality is outstanding and the colours are more interesting than is typical of running clothing.
I have been using the Patagonia Strider Pro shorts for years, and whilst these are still one of the best on the market, Satisfy shorts are the most comfortable best performing shorts I have used.


I agree Simon that some of the Satisfy products are a little too unusual!
The more conservative designs are worth trying..


I was wondering if Satisfy would come up, as it seems to be one of the more forward-thinking brands out there. I’ve only tried the moth-hole shirt, and while it is a bit gimmicky, I have to confess that it actually works as advertised in terms of providing a surprising amount of ventilation. The fabrics on the rest of their line seem fantastic.

On Tracksmith, I’ve always been impressed with their willingness to try unconventional ideas. I still regret not buying a short-sleeved rain shell they made a number of years ago. While the overall look was more golf than running, the idea seemed so smart because the sleeves of a rain jacket when running tend to build up a lot of condensation anyway, so why not just get rid of them.

As a fellow runner, thanks for the review, Simon!


I agree Devin, the MothTec shirts sound ridiculous but surprisingly perform fantastic. The cotton feels substantial.
The Auralite shirts are silky and cool, perhaps like the Tracksmith Twighlight?
The outstanding product from Satisfy is the Justice tights. These are so far ahead of anything else from any other brand, and I have tried many! They are so light, but it is the fit that steals the show. They come in a simple design, not the trippy stuff that Satisfy seem to favour. Worth seeking for the colder months (August!).

Matt L

An interesting article Simon.
I must admit, going to the gym or for a run is where I’m least concerned about style. It’s an entirely functional activity for me and if I was concerned about looking presentable I wouldn’t be getting myself into a sweaty, panting mess. I also don’t wear my exercise clothes for any other purpose.
Having said that, looking through their website the Terry polo shirt looks nice for everyday wear.

Tommy Mack

I guess I’m halfway between. Other than trainers, I’ve not invested much in my running gear (although I’d thoroughly recommend sculpted socks after my wife bought me a pair made by, of all people, the Jimi Hendrix estate!)

That said, I don’t want to look like a neon goblin and, without really thinking about it much, gravitated towards retro styled running tops and shorts in plain colours with no or v small logos. My own ‘guilty pleasure’ sportswear is a grey Nike x PSG track jacket which would be quite stylish in a 90s casual sort of way (Parklife!) if it didn’t have PARIS ST GERMAIN emblazoned across the back in huge orange letters. Still, by the time anyone sees that, I’m running away from them…

Oh btw, what was “guilty” about the sunglasses? Just a bit showy? I hate the sun in my eyes when I’m running so I keep a pair of cheapish sport sunglasses with plastic lenses for running and cycling (my favourite vintage Wayfarers would be off my face and cracked in the gutter in seconds!)

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Dear Simon, would you consider writing a post about hiking gear, please? Most of the brands mainstream produce very practical and useful, however, by resorting to them, I feel I compromise the aesthetics. Thank you. 


I would also love that. I don’t really know what to wear when I go hiking, it seems brands mostly sell either stuff meant for super-high intensity activity (so super-light full synthetics) more dedicated to running, or stuff meant for surviving on the top of mount Everest under a hurricane and a torrential rain – with little in-between. The only thing I’ve picked up is a merino-blend t-shirts from Norrona.
For the rest (e.g. shorts) I actually often end up wearing old light casual clothing I have lying around rather than buying any specific sports-oriented stuff, since I can’t find anything that seems like a worthwhile upgrade.

Peter Hall

This is a really boring,predictable comment, but ventile is your friend here. My PWVC harrington has been up many a peak.
Chinos,made showerproof with nikwax are fine.
For extremely wet days,I carry a poncho-you look a little like a Vietnam vet,but if it”s biblical,who cares. Merino base layer and a Jack Wolfskin trekking shirt. Arran sweater for the pub.

Avoid bobble hats at all costs.


Yes that’s precisely what I’d hoped. I’d indeed like to wear something in between activewear and workwear.
I do for example have a cotton-linen ripstop safari shirt jacket from (mind you) Abercrombie, which is surprisingly tough if a little rough on the skin. So much so that, while I had originally bought it as spring jacket some years ago (and have since replaced it with something nicer), I’ve actually started bringing it during mild warm weather hikes, for no particular reason other than it looks much nicer than active wear, can withstand it without problem, and not to mention that it feels a very authentic use for a safari jacket.
The huge bottom pockets fit even an A4 itinerary book though, so that has come in handy at times.

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Thank you, that would be great. I did read the article. I was keen to know more about trousers, knitwear and outerwear. Possibly to learn of there ‘s something in functional/technical/semi-technical material, which i also stylish. Out of practicality and convenience, I usually buy what is widely available, but I’m not very happy about the styling nor colours available. They tends to be very “modern sporty”, often in very bright colours and with big logos.


For premium gym wear I’d recommend Reigning Champ; I find the price point reasonable value for money and the style a good balance between something classic without being too heavily vintage styled.


Simon – an observation unrelated to the article. Since last week on various different devices with different connectivity, accessing the PS website is much slower, and there was some sort of validation webpage at one point to access. Are you aware of this? Thought I’d mention as the comments seem to be down on the last couple of articles by quite a lot.


Thanks for the article Simon! I’m a big fan of Tracksmith as well. A while back Taylor Stitch did a collaboration with Tracksmith and I purchased every item in the collection. I still wear each piece often. I wear the casually, running, lifting weights, or playing Pickleball.


Hello Simon,
I just wanted to tell you that there is a typo in the third paragraph:

However, the article wasn’t as muh about running clothing

Paul H

I discovered Tracksmith through initial PS piece and picked up a few items. I’ve been happiest with Twilight and Harrier tees. I wear mostly for squash and they wick well and look nice. They’ve been through many washes and have held up very nicely. I particularly like the Harrier SS as it’s a merino blend and hence helps reduce plastic in my wardrobe. I tried one pair of shorts and they just didn’t work from a fit/comfort perspective. I chalked it up to having an ample seat and thighs. I prefer the more muted colors, though that’s personal preference.


This is a very welcome article for those like us who try to maintain a relatively active lifestyle by running or going to the gym thrice a week. Would you know how much the waist on the Rain shorts (or their other shorts) give? Their size guide says an M measures 29.5” and an L 31.5” at the waist. May I know your waist measurement pls just so I’d know what my size should be? Thank you!

Peter Hall

Have you tried Miler Running ,Simon? New York based, but source top quality material worldwide. Their running shorts are extremely comfortable and tees have low levels of branding.


Have worn a lot of Tracksmith in past few years. Their biggest problem is the sizing. Everything fits so small, so you have to size up or even double size up in some pieces, which is really frustrating.
I have a pair of the Elliot runners, they look nice but lack any real structure in both the heel and toe compared to the ASICS Nimbus or Novablast, for example.
Would definitely avoid if you have any achilles or high arch issues. They’re terrible for me in that sense, as I had to get heel raises after my podiatrist assessed them, and essentially concluded they’re overpriced mediocrity for everyday running shoes.


Maybe the Elliots aren’t the best as a long distance running shoe, but you recommend them for walking around and chasing kids at the playground? Thanks

Sean T. Faussett

I have 2 of their shirts from a few years back – I appreciate the locker loops for hinging them to dry. So true about Rapha – stopped wanting it the moment it became ubiquitous where I live in Los Angeles. Have enjoyed Cafe du Cycliste pieces for that reason as well.


I’d love to see your take on more sneakers that work well with casual wear like chore jackets and knit polos – something that would provide support while traveling and touring museums and cultural sites, etc. without looking too athletic


Like that.


Thank you as ever: I will have to check out the new London store. While I lived in the US, I liked Olivers: I haven’t bought from them since returning to the UK, but in part that is because their kit has lasted so well.

Caleb C.

I can vouch for Tracksmith shorts for weightlifting and yoga. I was drawn to them years ago because they are one of the few brands that make shorts the proper length.
No man should own anything longer than a 4 inch inseam.


I’m surprised that you don’t wear RL PL, given your love of the brand. Is it down to price?


On the subject of activewear I hear Lululemon is quite popular you tried them out ?

Also David Gandy has launched an activewear brand which is quite hi-tech ie infused with infrared fabric and antibacterial fabric you looked into that or similar hi-tech activewear?


I love the styling and would even like the “bolder” items (which aren’t really *that* bold, I mean we are talking about a stripe on a t-shirt, not, say, palm trees prints). Unfortunately when I tried their items I was dead-in-between S and M – S seems to fit like a (quite long) IT46 , M like an IT50, neither fit me well as I’m a 48.


Tracksmith makes pretty catalogues with a distinct aesthetic featuring pretty young models in pretty settings. Take it out of that context, and the clothing is pretty ordinary. I’ve tried all their t-shirts and 5″ shorts and no combination of sizes fits me as well as what I now wear. Two of their shirts that I kept disfigured at the collar like any other shirt after 2–3 years and the crotch seam on one pair of their shorts blew out like some of my other running shorts after a similar amount of time. Their colors look good, again, in the catalogue, but any heavy sweater knows how sloppy light colors get early into a workout. And that stitched-in logo bothers me to no end.

If their fits work for you, that’s great. Beyond fit there’s really nothing that puts any workout gear head and shoulders above any other, esp. as most people on the track are more concerned about the performance/shape of the wearer than what he’s wearing.


Hi Simon,

Apologies if you’ve covered this in a previous article, but what jacket are you wearing in the Tracksmith Spotlight article?


Thank you, Simon. Looking forward to it.


Hi Simon, could you tell us about the jacket you are wearing with the black trousers and off white top in the photos in the Tracksmith interview please.
Thanks Lorenzo


Hi Simon, are those your Meyrowitz California’s? I go to the gym (weightlifting) in my acetate glasses from General Eyewear and I find that sweat leaves white marks on them that are really hard to remove. Almost like the sweat penetrates into the acetate. Do you have any issues like this when running? Your quite brave to go running in sunglasses of this cost!


Thanks Simon, sorry, i missed that. That makes much more sense!

Vanderford Tom

Simon: Have you tried On Clouds? Highly recommended! (Running shoes and shirts)


Simon, any idea what happened to Iffley Road? Their kit was great.


I struggle with track Smith. At first I hated them when I started seeing all the fast runners wear the jersey with the sash and like you said the Harvard feel for me is a total turn off bc it really emulates superiority and exclusivity, which is exactly what tracksmith is all about. They are a snooty high end brand that only cares about elite runners that fit the stereotypical body shape of a runner. Their sizing shows this as well. their websites shows it, my friend shave heard them speak on this and that’s exactly what they are. And they are not for the average runner who maybe is larger than a size Small. Their material/fabric is the best I’ve found yet, but their fit and function are highly lacking. You can rarely find pockets for women that are useful. Their website is god awful. They don’t do a good job of showing the actual product and only picture again XS & S runners so while I have a small amount of pieces from them I don’t think I’ll ever buy from them again.


I have worn Tracksmith for nearly 9 years and know their products very well. I run 30-40 miles per week almost exclusively in TS gear. As far as quality and functionality for running, I have yet to find anything that is superior. I still have my original kit consisting of the Twilight tee and Session shorts and use them regularly.
One aspect I most appreciate is their product consistency. I find the dizzying array offered by larger brands to be overwhelming and a times, confusing.
I can say that if you live in a place with high humidity, the Van Cortlandt range is a great option and, like Simon, I think the Harrier is perfect for cooler weather.

Tommy Mack

Simon, what trainers do you wear for running, out of interest?


I find Brooks as well designed and also well working running clothes and shoes. Some of their clothes have nice vintage aesthetics and colours.

Pete H

Simon, maybe not your sports, but would you consider an article about golf clothing? There has been a huge surge in new brands on both sides of the Atlantic with varying quality levels and most are now becoming as much of a lifestyle choice as a sport purchase. Thanks

Pete H

Hi, Peter Millar has certainly moved into the lifestyle arena. A US brand that I now see in many UK stores. Holderness & Bourne have an excellent quality offering and are progressing into the “green to cocktails” look. Linksoul also has an interesting brand position, although the quality can be a little dubious. On Instagram I seem to come across new brands on a weekly basis

Corey Cavalieri

Hey SImon,

Who is the maker of the sunglasses I’m the article? Many thanks


Do people wear underwear with their sports shorts?


It’s also nice to read something about sportswear. I’ve had my eye on Tracksmith for a long time, but unfortunately it’s difficult or requires extra effort (customs, etc.) to get them in Germany. It’s also difficult to exchange them if the size doesn’t fit. While researching alternatives (similar design & functionality), I came across YMR Trackclub from Sweden. The design is similar and the clothes are produced sustainably. So far I’ve had good luck with all the pieces.


Great article Simon. Which brands do you like for cycling gear these days? Sounds like you have cooled on Rapha somewhat. Thanks.

Sir Cumference

Slightly OT, Simon, but what’s with the fuzzy surface of the tabletop? Seems very impractical to dine on.

Looking forward to future articles on non-synthetic sportswear!

Matthew Grant

Great post. As Simon says, when you get to technical wear it’s all pretty similar in terms of material (although weight varies – Castore is heavier than the Nike ‘miler’ range, for example)
Running wear is so specific to fit and need. Do you want tights or shorts? If shorts, how long? Three, five or seven inch? Do you wear t-shirts or a vest? What about a rain jacket? This is before you get into pockets…. Some ranges form some brands will just fit better, but that seems at times totally random. My own current favourite running outfit is a pair of NB 5 inch seam shorts and thicker (purple) nike tee I bought in NYC. Specialist brand Ronhill to a nice tencel tee, but they won’t any design prizes.

I feel like brands could up their game in terms of design. Tracksmith are great for this, and are priced accordingly. Brooks do a nice jaunty line in rain jackets. Stance are great for socks.

Peter Z

Thanks for showing me Tracksmith. These are the first sneakers I actually liked for how they looked and are very comfortable to wear. New balance / Nike / Adidas is a no go for me. I won’t be training or running in them, that I do in old ASICS.


Good read. Thanks, Simon.
Curious about tennis and general gym wear. I can’t find anything that is plain but still has reasonable performance without any logos. Lulelumon is the closest, but there’s something about them I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps a collaboration between PS & someone like Sunspel is in order!
Either way, would love your take or see one of your contributions on general sports/gym wear, and tennis if someone covers it.


For what it’s worth, Tracksmith’s merino retro tube socks are great. I’m actually considering wearing them with casual, as well as running, clothing.