We are currently smack dab in the middle of summer running season, and in most areas of the country (especially here in the Pacific Northwest) it means running in conditions that we are not necessarily always prepared for. I’m sure most of us have multiple sets of running tights, jackets, and other precipitation-protection wear, but our outdoor summer running apparel may be a little limited.
I think at least part of my distaste for running in the heat, is that I don’t necessarily have a ton of great summer options on hand. Obviously, I have a bunch of running tees and shorts to wear, but we all know there are differences and quality, comfort, and usability even amongst those. Not to mention if your summer apparel is multiple years old and perhaps smells a little…less than desirable.
We recently checked out a few new items from Tracksmith‘s new Strata Collection. The material in this collection was actually initially born for the Olympic Marathon trials in Atlanta in 2020 (I remember watching the trials at Portland Running Company surrounded by a bunch of runners and drinking beer – remember when that was a thing?). Due to how well the tops and bottoms were received there, and how well they did and the unique weather elements of the south, the line is now available for the general public.
“When it comes to running in hot, humid conditions, the technical details matter. We obsessed down to the yarn level to develop this feather-light nylon blend differentiated by a unique grid structure that moves moisture away from the skin and up to the surface of the fabric. The Bluesign-certified material has an Ultraviolet Protection Factor of 30+ and is treated with coldblack to reduce heat absorption and an active>silver finish to reduce odors.”
The Strata tops and bottoms, are seriously well-made. It’s evident when you first pull it out of the bag – which is nothing new for Tracksmith. In testing out both sets of the kit, it’s really crazy how light these pieces are. That’s what makes them an ideal investment for this summer – and summers beyond. It also has buttery soft feel on the skin – thanks to a unique grid structure – and attempts to quickly transfer sweat away from the body and prevent clinging. I don’t know about you, but when I am day running in the summer, I sometimes spend more time adjusting my shirt and shorts from a gross amount of increased sweat production, then I do getting into the zone and just running. I can get pretty frustrating. I have put these items through a few runs now, and this is much less of an issue that I have experienced before.
The Strata shorts have the same outer technology, but also come with a brief liner, made from a swimwear fabric, that is also light. That same fabric also is rooted in moisture- wicking technology obviously, so it’s really a “barely there” experience. These are definitely thigh-showcasing shorts, with only a 3 inch inseam in the men’s and 2.5 inch in the women’s version. There are three internal pockets in each, so they’re not exactly solely usable for short runs or racing. Each pocket can hold up to two energy gels, making it able to utilize on longer training runs as well.
As far as looks go, because items are classic Tracksmith. If you’re not overly familiar with the company, I feel they have a distinctive upscale retro vibe to them, with items often derivative of historical and classical track running in the US Northeast. They don’t generally bombard you with a plethora of colors and styles, instead putting more intentional focus on the design and quality then on color schemes. The Strata Tank (as well as their Tee and Singlet) simply comes in one color schemes – navy and ivory. That’s it. There are a couple of options with a single stripe across the chest and body, but other than that it’s really straightforward. The sole two options in the Strata Shorts are a solid navy and a solid red. On the women’s side, the Strata Tank and Long Sleeve come in a Berry (i.e. darker purple) and with the tank adding slate gray as well.
Daytime runs may not be ideal for another few months here in Oregon, but now I am a little more ready to tackle those lunchtime runs again.
Thank you to Tracksmith for providing us with samples. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.