The culture of modern running is disparate and tribal with multiple niches that cater to every interest. It could be true to say that all we have is difference. Turn up at an ultra? Different crowd (mostly) to that which you would find at a cross country grand prix. Within these tribes, further delineation can be drawn through brand choice. What we choose to wear on our feet, and bodies, which vest/pack system we use, which lights or GPS we choose is a highly individual and personal choice, impacted on by a number of factors The bigger brands compete for our patronage with slick engagement and marketing across different platforms, which is totally fine. It’s how the modern world works.
The purpose of this article isn’t rail against big brand x or y..but to highlight that there are some really cool smaller brands out there with great products and amazing marketing that you may not have heard of. Let’s face it, we all love geeking out on gear, right?
Describing itself as a “Champion for the Running Class” New England’s Tracksmith burst out the blocks in 2014. With an understated, collegiate style which celebrates that cross country and track aesthetic. Tracksmith bring it like it’s 1982, proudly branding it’s training T’s with the word “Amatuer” and stating that real runners sweat in cotton (yes...Cotton).
Coming out of Seattle 2007, Oiselle (pronounced Wa-zelle) is a company that provides women specific running gear. Oiselle believe strongly in what they do, So much so that they published A seven point manifesto, or flight manual. Oiselle focuses on inclusivity for women in the sport and actively gives back to communities with various charities that it supports such as Every Mother Counts or Girls Gotta Run.
British company Iffley Road state clearly that “Running should be Free, Uncomplicated and Beautiful”. The brand was started by a husband and wife, both lifelong runners who became disillusioned with “tight, shiny and gaudy” running kit that flooded the market. Understated and classic in it’s styling, Iffley Road draws parallels to Rapha, the British cycling brand, with it’s focus on premium products.
Keeping with the British theme, London’s Soar continue with the understated themes with a more contemporary style which reflects being born out of a major cosmopolitan centre. Fancy a running playlist? Head to the website for their various playlists selected by Soar athletes and other guests.
If you are going to go, go big..French brand Satisfy proclaim that 'Short Shorts are Made for Runnin' (They SO are). Satisfy proclaim that they make the best running shorts in the world. Sitting firmly in the “premium” price range, Satisfy aren’t for the faint hearted, but if you’re going to spend money on clothes, why not running wear?
Running isn’t exactly edgy is it? Thankfully Denmark’s Saysky bring an edge, and humour to running brands which is seldom seen. Stating proudly that “We care, but don’t give a f*ck”, Saysky focus on community, affiliated with several grassroots running clubs around europe. Saysky also strive for “unbounded running camaraderie” with their virtual run club if strava is your thing