Fall is here (kind of), which means our favorite kind of running gear is coming in. Long sleeves for cool runs, jackets for pre- or post-workout– it all goes together like pumpkin and spice (or whiskey and rocks). Last fall we covered some Tracksmith cool-weather gear and it stuck with us for the next six months. I personally wore only two long sleeves the entire winter: the Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer and– when I was feeling classy– the Iffley Road Bodmin Merino Roll Neck. You know what both of those things had in common? Wool. Merino wool, to be exact.
Long-known for its natural properties, merino is a magical fabric– it regulates body temperature uncannily well, dries quickly, and doesn’t smell. I can say I’ve gone a couple weeks without washing my Brighton Base Layer. Maybe I’m just a disgusting human being (don’t poll my friends/family on this).
In any case, that’s the cornerstone upon which Tracksmith laid the foundation for its current collection– the Run Commute. In partnership with Woolmark, the collection is designed for what it says– those looking for running apparel to optimize commutes around town, from work to home, from the coffee shop to the subway (do those still exist?). In the items we reviewed below, you’ll find wool attributes and apparel designed to be different from your everyday run wear.
For better or for worse, Tracksmith has always been willing to go a bit outside the box in seeing how far they can crossover into lifestyle apparel while still making running gear. They definitely took some risks on this (um… pleated running pants anyone?). Let’s see if they pulled it off.
(Disclaimer: it’s still hot as sh*t in Baltimore, so while some of us do regularly run commuting to the grocery store, office, etc., it hasn’t gotten below 70 degrees yet (i.e. singlet weather), so we weren’t able to fully test the pants and jacket.)
Run Commute Jacket (Men’s and Women’s)
ROBBE: Let me talk about pockets. I love ’em and too often they’re ignored or placed weirdly or not at all. I appreciate good pocketry (real word alert), so I was pleasantly surprised by the hidden third pocket on the front stripe of the jacket. Great place for cards or keys, because it’s a top zip– if you open it and sit down, everything won’t fall out.
I also dig the design. Straightforward, block color, except for minor accents on the rear collar and sleeves. The classic Tracksmith stripe is there, but it’s not. It looks like a track jacket, but also looks like you could wear it out to dinner in a pinch. The cut is also on point. Great range of movement throughout. The fact that it’s water-resistant is also a nice touch. A downpour will do you in, but a light sprinkle is manageable.
Here’s what I don’t love about the jacket and the pants: the polyester. I’m all-in on Merino as I stated above. I’m totally fine with some nylon and spandex for breathability and stretch. I’m not ready for polyester to make a comeback. Maybe it’s a sourcing thing, because we recently reviewed the Skechers GOrun Max Road 4+ Hyper which also had polyester. I realize the polyester gives the whole outfit some structure and durability, which are things you want while run commuting. I’m just not feeling the actual feel, because– to the touch– it feels like those vintage track jackets from the ’70s/’80s, the kind I used to hunt down at thrift stores and flip on eBay in high school. At first, I thought it was the wool, but it didn’t make sense since Merino is super soft. Then I checked the specs and realized it’s polyester. I don’t love it.
I’m sure it performs fine on cold mornings, because of the majority Merino in it. All Tracksmith gear performs great for what its meant to. Unfortunately, I couldn’t put in any true tests because it’s still a low of 70 degrees in Maryland, also known as singlet weather.
THOMAS: As with all Tracksmith products there is a sense of nostalgia sewn into the design. The Run Commute Jacket has a seventies vibe. I can envision Sean Connery getting out of the silver Aston Martin with his white sneakers, tube socks, 3″ white tennis shorts, and this Jacket. Like Double-O Seven’s gadgets, the Run Commute Jacket has some stealthy features, like the tonal reflective sash on the back of the collar, a vented back panel, heavy-duty zipper, adjustable elastic drawcord at the waist, and of course subtle markings that let everyone know that it is a Tracksmith jacket.
As Robbe mentioned there are real pockets on the jacket. What makes them special is how they blend into the silhouette of the design. Zipped and closed you may not even know the jacket has pockets.
The Run Commute Jacket is lighter weight than the Sessions Jacket and the NDO Jacket from Tracksmith. I use those jackets when the temps really start to drop. The Run Commute Jacket is fitted, but you have enough room to layer a thin short sleeve and a long-sleeve base layer. It wouldn’t be ideal, but the jacket could be stripped off and carried in hand if the temps were to rise during the run.
MEAGHAN: Per usual, Tracksmith nailed the aesthetics and managed to incorporate performance properties into their latest line of Run Commute apparel. The Run Commute jacket is a Merino wool blend that’s not only stretchy, but water-resistant. I know what you’re thinking — it doesn’t sound very breathable. But, it turns out wool is naturally breathable and odor resistant, so it can handle all the miles without causing overheating or smelling bad. In fact, the mesh-lined back has a vent to ensure airflow and keep you cool. I wore it while walking the dog on a rainy 70-degree evening, and I never got too warm.
The jacket’s overall design is simple but sneakily resourceful. There are two zippered hand pockets and an invisible pocket set in the stash. There’s also a small reflective sash on the back of the collar and the cuffs are thread with a reflective property. Basically, you get 360-degrees of reflectivity without looking like a firework. Pretty great.
PRICE: $198Shop Tracksmith Run Commute
Run Commute Pants (Men’s and Women’s)
ROBBE: The pants, paired with the jacket, essentially complete the Run Commute uniform. Like the jacket, they’re also solid block with minor accents.
Also, like the jacket, the cut is on point. They walk that often-impossible line of a running pant that doesn’t look like your dad’s Wal-Mart workout pants but also aren’t Spiderman tight around your junk for all the world to see. I’m very down with the fit. It’s relaxed, but with tapered legs that slim at the ankles. I’m even kind of okay with the pleats. Yes, pleats. I will buy into it, even though I hate that pleats are coming back into style. It’s a bold move for a running company, no doubt, and most runners will probably think it’s insane. But it’s oddly okay (FYI Lulu also does this).
Range of motion is great, with enough room and stretch to feel good on the run. Like the jacket, the pants also have reflective threads woven into the cuffs for visibility. The material is the same as the jacket, which is really my only big hang-up. Well, and the price is steep, not gonna lie. Almost $200 for a pair of pants that aren’t jeans is going to be tough for a lot of budgets.
THOMAS: What do you get when you cross wool slacks with Lululemon’s ABC pant and casual joggers? You end up with the Tracksmith Run Commute Pant. The pants fit well, and when the temps drop into the low 40’s I am going to make Robbe go on a head-to-toe Run Commute Suit run with me. I’ll make sure we take pictures and share them on Instagram, cause we’ll obviously look quite posh. We’ll probably also stop for a cappuccino.
PRICE: $198Shop Tracksmith Run Commute
Run Commute Shorts (Women’s)
MEAGHAN: We’ve all got a jacket to throw on when it rains, but what about shorts? This is the first water-resistant pair that I own and I am pretty stoked about it. The shorts are designed with the same breathable, odor-resistant, thermoregulating wool as the jacket and come with a 3” inseam which is my favorite length. The fit is very relaxed (honestly, they’re bordering on being too large – but I’ve convinced myself I can pull it off) with a quick-drying liner so you’re not soaked walking into the (home) office or coffee shop.
ADRIENNE: Hyberbole aside, this short blew my mind. Let me explain: I am a sweat monster– always have been, always unfortunately will be– and split shorts are either great or a sticky disaster during warm weather runs. The first day I tested them it just happened to be a dew point of 79, and when I returned from a 7-miler, these bad girls were not soaked through. This never happens. My apologies if I grossed anyone out with this illustration.
What makes these shorts so impressive? Again it’s the Merino Wool; lovely water-resistant, stretch-woven, deep-pocketed wool. Okay, there’s other things in the blend, such as nylon, spandex, and polyester, but the combination all works very well. My women’s small fit near perfect, and the short comes with a 3-inch inseam, which works well for me as anything longer looks silly on my 5’4″ frame. Unlike the Van Cortlandt or Twilight shorts, Tracksmith added two fairly large zippered hand pockets. I am able to fit both my phone and keys in each, and maybe a credit card or two and hand sanitizer, because, you know, 2020. I will use these shorts for all kinds of runs, and see these as a good long-run option. While these shorts are not the cheapest option, they are worth the investment because of quality and durability.
PRICE: $98Shop Tracksmith Run Commute
Brighton Base Layer Tank (Women’s)
MEAGHAN: Tracksmith turned my favorite long-sleeve base layer into a tank top, so yeah, I’m a fan. This top is made from a Merino wool blend that’s soft, comfortable, and reduces chafing. Hopefully you’re familiar with wool’s performance properties at this point in the review, so I won’t divulge too much into that. The tank top fits true to size, although not super fitted. I would probably wear it every day if it was clean– it’s in a constant cycle of run-laundry-drying rack. I’m not sure it ever makes it into the drawer.
ADRIENNE: The Brighton Collection is one of Tracksmith’s highest-end (if there is such a thing with this brand). This tank is composed of a Merino Wool blend (52% Wool, 28% Nylon, 20% Polyester) that is designed for warmer weather use or light layering; as opposed to other pieces of the Brighton collection designed for more winter running. Don’t let the word ‘wool’ fool you for a second. This tank is lightweight, highly breathable and designed to replicate a mesh top. If you look closely, you will see the signature sash woven in across the front of the tank. My women’s size small fit me surprisingly well, as I tend to swing back and forth between small and medium across various running brands. This top is impossibly soft and performs as good as it looks.
PRICE: $78Shop Tracksmith Run Commute
Run Commute Boxer Briefs/Briefs (Men’s)
ROBBE: Honestly, this was probably my favorite part of the Run Commute pack. The Boxer Brief was super soft (again, made of Merino wool), quite luxurious, and will no doubt work wonders in the colder weather. The bespoke touches make me feel classy, despite the fact that no one will see or care. Oh, but I know. There’s also kind of a cut-out-area for your junk that a) provides more room for it, and b) makes your junk look bigger. Again, no one will see or care (at least in this case). But I know.
THOMAS: I am with Robbe here. I love these Briefs. I got the Briefs, not the Boxer Brief. I have asked Meaghan if I could run in just the brief, she said no, but I think I could start a new trend. They fit perfectly and feel luxurious. I typically only wear boxer briefs, these have me thinking I might need to make a change. #freethethighs
PRICE: $50/$48Shop Tracksmith Run Commute
Robbe is the Senior Editor/Review Manager for BITR. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and two sons and runs with the Faster Bastards when he’s not MAF training. His favorite race distance is the marathon and his favorite beer is anything but Blue Moon.