There was a time when Tracksmith was a small, “boutique” running apparel company – with a small yet loyal following. They made New England-inspired items that seemed to bridge the gap between historical time periods of running with a modernized feel and performance-forward
In fact, their name itself even showcases this:
“TRACK” is a symbol of commitment to training and racing, while “SMITH” represents dedication to a specialized craft – an obsession with quality and function.
Over the years, Tracksmith remains committed to their unique style, but they aren’t so little anymore. Mary Cain and Nick Willis are now working with the brand and their gear is more sought after nationwide than it has been before. They have also started up an amateur support program which is aimed to take the runners of today and support them as they become the household names of tomorrow. Those Olympic Trials in Eugene 2021 should showcase some of these athletes. So, if you haven’t heard of Tracksmith, it’s time to get familiar.
They recently released their 2021 Fall Collection and we are here for it – yet again. It is a collection that just screams Autumn – a concoction of browns, maroons, mustard yellows, and a little blue and green to keep things vibrant. Their main items are geared for those cooler temperatures, with mostly a variety of baselayers, pants, and long-sleeved tops to keep you putting in the miles even when the weather outside is trying to keep you away.
The Fells Waffle Layer is made from 100% Merino Wool – a fabric most of us runners know and love for it’s quick-drying, anti-microbial, and odor-resistant qualities. The look is so fancy it looks like it could (and often did – in our case) double as a day-to-day casual option. I have never really thought of a ribbed/waffle sweater as a running option, but it really does the trick. I can attest that the construction has kept my body much warmer by capturing the excess and holding it against me. That’s not to say it isn’t breathable though, as the Merino and waffle patter allow for that. It’s probably not ideal for running in the rain, but I feel much better tackling those cold dry runs with this on my body that most of what I have available to me right now. Such a nice layer for the Fall.
In New England, “Downeast” is defined, casually, as the “never-never land always east of where you are.” They are apparently referencing a region that stretches from Maine into the NE Canadian provinces that no one can remember. A Run Oregon Road Trip may be in order as I have heard that some amazing trails grace this area. However, even without ever being there, just thinking about the farrrrrrr NE US states has me remembering that winters there are…not comfortable. So I would imagine that if you are there in the offseason, you need some serious layering and cold-weather gear. That’s just what the Downeaster Pants aim to do – combine the running-positive qualities of Merino wool with a functional and attractive body (the pants’ body – not mine!).
A lot of thought went into the construction of these pants. You can see the material listed at the end of this post, but I learned this from the previously unknown “polypropylene”.
Not only does polypropylene have the lowest thermal conductivity of any fiber, which means it holds onto heat the longest, it’s also hydrophobic, quickly pulling moisture (i.e. sweat) to the surface where it can evaporate, rather than be absorbed into the Merino. The end result is a warm and comfortable pant that you’ll hate to take off.
Really cool stuff there. And I will be honest, these pants are comfy. Like I just want to sit in front a fireplace with a glass of wine comfy. They are a more relaxed fit and feature hand pockets, as well as small hidden zip pocket for standard items on the back hip.
I don’t think I have worn a pair of track pants since I was about 11 years old. Though, in my sad memories of this, it was not a style or function choice by any means – more from a comfort perspective of a pre-pubescent youth. If I had Tracksmith’s Turnover Track Pants back then, I think I may never have started wearing jeans! These pants are a really comfortable pair that fit more on the relaxed side. That credit can be given to their Italian Inverno Blend that provides strength and comfort and also is able to keep away light precipitation (probably not a consistent Oregon rainstorm however).
When I run in the cold, I typically do layering with tights and shorts (or just shorts if I’m feeling brave and/or lazy). The ability to wear these during an actual run was an added plus. They have that soft quality but the fit and stretch to be able to handle runs as well.
They have side pockets, as well as a small zipped pocket on the backside at the right hip. On the balso have zips around the ankles that are hidden well, making it so that you can take them off and on without removing your shoes. This is ideal for pre- and post-race warming up.
We feel like we are often overly positive with Tracksmith, but we really can’t help it – we really vibe with their items. As always, the cost is relatively high in comparison to a lot out there, but the quality and function never disappoints. I am pretty sure I still own, and utilize, every Tracksmith item we have ever reviewed over the years. No landfill mess here! And isn’t that what you want out of your clothes anyways?
- Fells Waffle Layer ($188)
- 100% Merino Wool Waffle Knit Base Layer
- Downeaster Pants ($148)
- 60% merino / 40% polypropylene
- Turnover Track Pants ($138)
- 80% Polyamide Micro / 20% Elastane
Thank you to Tracksmith for providing us with samples. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.