Brand On The Run: The Launch Of Ivy-Inspired Tracksmith


This morning a small new collection called Tracksmith launched. It’s the first thing in a long time we’ve felt should be categorized under Ivy Trendwatch. The founder, Matt Taylor, you see, is a Yale grad and the Ivy League is referenced as a style wellspring in the running-wear company’s marketing material. For example:

Tracksmith offers premium performance running apparel rooted in the running culture, sartorial style and timeless values of New England. We create versatile and uncompromising products that fuse Ivy League style, classic American design and high-performance fabrics.

 This top comes with a price tag of $65.


While this short goes for $90:


Its description reads:

Inspired by training runs along the bustling banks of the Charles River, dividing the understated Brahmin sophistication of Boston from the storied academia and innovation of Cambridge, the Longfellow short is equal parts technical and tasteful.

Finally, Tracksmith’s lookbook includes this quote:

Though deeply immersed in the business of running, Matt was frustrated with the slow pace of the industry, its cheaply-made products, and the “everyone gets a medal” mentality that diminished the reverence for elite achievement.

Of course, just as everyone gets a medal these days, every brand gets a mascot. Tracksmith’s is a hare:


… which is certainly savvier for a running brand than a tortoise. Except that the hare lost. — CC

32 Comments on "Brand On The Run: The Launch Of Ivy-Inspired Tracksmith"

  1. A 65 dollar tank top, are you serious? You’re telling me that someone is actually going to pay 65 dollars for a TANK TOP?!


  2. So track uniforms are Ivy?

  3. Ivy schools have Track & Field teams.

    And some regular cotton t-shirts go for $65-100 so I can see someone paying $65 for a tank if it’s made well from light, breathable materials.

    One detail that I enjoyed seeing: the safety pins they include and attached on the lower corner.

  4. Great, now just get JP and BB to make these in sea island cotton with pencil stripes (&etc.) so it can be worn at the office, under that executive herringbone hoodie.

    Then maybe, finally, Armageddon.

  5. I’m getting a serious douche vibe from the owner. I definitely get the vibe he yearns for a time when people took anthropometry seriously.

  6. Yeah, anyone who would approve copy that includes the phrase “understated Brahmin sophistication” is probably a closet eugenicist, with a strong side-interest in phrenology.

  7. From douche to eugencist in just two comments!

  8. As a runner and ivy fan, I’m glad to see an athletic brand that combines style and utility this way, plus it’s all made domestically. I’m definitely sold.

  9. I am with J.D. on this. I think this is a really interesting and fun concept. As a runner and fan of Ivy style, I am generally left wanting when it comes to running gear that isn’t overly teched-out. So many of the schleppers I see on my morning jog are doused in neon colors, with tricked out jackets and shorts, with all sorts of heart rate monitors and iPods strapped on their bodies. Clean, elegant, running clothes with a nod towards classic Ivy? Count me in!

  10. Boston Bean | July 23, 2014 at 2:59 pm |

    I can assure you that Brahmins prefer leisurely strolls.

  11. So fugly and overpriced, that I don’t know what to say.
    Maybe they should design a tux with short sleeves and shorts to match, you know for formal track events!!!

  12. Low rise, long inseam and at least the shorts in “Chariots of Fire” had useable fly. These low rise pant manufacturers need to take an anatomy class.

  13. 65 $ a top???
    Old wasp would be horrified

  14. Have we reached peak Neo-Ivy?

  15. J.I. Rodale | July 23, 2014 at 11:00 pm |

    It’s clear from the photo that if a gentleman were to attempt to wear these shorts at his normal waistline, the height of the crotch would eventually render him procreatively inoperative.

  16. I am a runner. I enjoy the simplicity of the sport. I also keep my workout gear simple. My workout shirt of choice is a Fruit of Loom grey pocket tee.

  17. Ed Appleby | July 24, 2014 at 1:23 pm |

    I like the inspired, agonized pose on the model. Reminiscent of “The Dying Gaul”.

  18. I do like the look of the shorter running short that they offer. Simple design and basic colors.

  19. Brooks Bros. has sold running gear before… they went in a different direction, though:

  20. @ Ed Appleby

    Good eye!

  21. I’d love to pick up some Ivy styled running clothes but then someone may expect me to exercise.

    I can only imagine the luxury of working out in BB. That tracksuit actually looks very nice and, beyond the polo shirt, not at all dated (though I think the safari shirt places the ad in the 70s).

  22. Dutch Uncle | July 25, 2014 at 11:18 am |

    Since when did running (or any form of exercise) have anything whatsoever to do with Ivy lifestyle?

  23. Sport has always been part of the Ivy Lifestyle.

  24. In fact, most traditional Ivy apparel originates from sportswear. To name a few: OCBDs, polo shirts, and even blazers to an extent.

  25. Christian | July 25, 2014 at 1:40 pm |

    Indeed. Sport is probably the single-biggest influence on the Ivy League Look. More on that when we get to a post on Deirdre Clemente’s new book “Dress Casual,” about how college students transformed the way America gets dressed.

  26. At the risk of being in the minority, I think the clothes are smart looking, and the website is beautifully designed. I just ordered a shirt and shorts. The company looks like a promising startup. Dare I say they’ve hit the ground running?

  27. I challenge detractors to provide an example of better looking sports apparel –clothing that doesn’t make one look like they are about to mow the lawn in a shirt from the ’80s.

    Also, I believe it’s safe to say that those who attended the ancient eight during the hey-day aren’t their desired demographic. But don’t let that stop you, ridicule on!

  28. It is not hard to find bland, unobtrusive, functional, and decent quality workout/running apparel for a reasonable price. This brand is a solution in search of a problem.

  29. To touch on the sportswear as casual wear topic, I daresay today’s college students (especially from the upper- and upper-middle-class) are causing an intriguingly parallel trend to that of the 1960s. On a college campus, you’ll see plenty of soccer pants, yoga pants (a trend unfortunately not exclusive to women), and countless athletic shirts worn under Northface jackets and Patagonia fleeces. This generation has turned clothing designed as activewear into day-to-day gear. Unfortunately, I don’t think the polyester armor of today’s youth is nearly as respectable as during the Ivy heyday, but the spirit is quite similar.

  30. The term “sportswear” simply means “casual”.

  31. Okay, then pretend I said “sportswear” or “activewear.”

  32. My order just arrived, and the T-shirt and shorts look terrific. They are obviously well made and have several nice details, including the shorts’ rear center pocket for an iPhone or iPod. If I could post a picture here I would, if only for the sake of the packaging. Both items were wrapped in blue tissue paper dotted with the rabbit logo in gold, all looking very smart.

    The company is clearly a sportswear “boutique” that sells high-end products made in America. This is how the best companies start. Here’s a blog post that explains the phenomenon:

    I discovered Tracksmith through Ivy Style. Despite the negative comments others have posted, I think the company and its clothes are worth a look.

    Two comments on the comments: (1) Thank you to Ed Appleby for the reference to the sculpture “The Dying Gaul.” (2) Marketing copy is often an easy target, but it’s worth pointing out that the reference to “understated Brahmin sophistication” was not to the clothes themselves but to the region that inspired them. This come under the heading “Technical and tasteful.” Not many items of athletic attire can achieve this balance, or even attempt to do so. The company has done good job defining itself, even if some of Ivy Style’s readers aren’t buying it.

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