Making tracks - Issue 84 - Magazine | Monocle

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“I’ve been a runner my entire life and have worked in the industry for a long time,” says Matt Taylor, ceo of running-wear label Tracksmith, established in 2014. “It was clear that there was an opportunity to do something different.”

Taylor and his co-founder Luke Scheybeler (who has since left the company) were frustrated with the existing offerings and wanted to bring running gear back to its roots. “We make high-quality products and champion the amateur spirit upon which the sport was founded,” he says.

Aptly headquartered on the Boston Marathon route in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Tracksmith fuses collegiate athletic attire and Ivy League style with advanced materials; more casual than aerodynamic. “We approach all of our products from a conceptual standpoint, not an aesthetic one. At the core of each piece is a story of why that product exists,” says Taylor.

In line with Tracksmith’s efforts to reverse mainstream trends in the industry, it is determined to keep as much of its production as possible in New England, a region historically known for its textile and garment trade. From its head office, the company ships its varsity T-shirts and lightweight shorts – available in its online shop – out into the world. “The natural starting point was to establish the brand online so we could control how our products are presented,” says Taylor, noting that New York and Boston are its top markets, closely followed by San Francisco, Austin, Miami and Chicago.

Even though it is early days, Tracksmith has hit the ground running. The brand not only offers a distinct line of fashion for men and women but also publishes its own title, Meter Magazine. It celebrates amateur runners and encourages enthusiasts of the sport with its No Days Off calendar, inspired by icons such as Ron Hill and Mark Wetmore.

Beyond this, Taylor has big plans for the business. “We’re so new that our main aim is to keep building the brand in the right way; we have a clear vision of what we want Tracksmith to be. Our main goal this year is to continue building the foundation of the brand by making great products and telling relevant stories.”

Doing the legwork: Matt Taylor's top picks

Best running route in Massachusetts
“I’d probably say running around Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Not only is it beautiful and historic but I only run there with friends. So there’s a social aspect that’s part of the run – the banter, the coffee and muffins afterwards – that I enjoy. I love those mornings.”

Ultimate running outfit
“In the winter I’ve been living in our Bislett trousers. Of course I’m biased but they’re the best running trousers on the market hands down. Now that the weather is starting to turn in New England I’m wearing our Longfellow shorts and a Grayboy T-shirt most days. For longer, harder runs I prefer a Tech T-shirt. And we’ve got a new shell jacket that I’ve been wearing on rainy, windy days. I can’t wait for that product to launch.”

Number-one recovery tip:
“After a hard interval session I lay on my back with my legs elevated straight up against a wall, creating a right angle with my body. It’s the only recovery technique I use religiously; it’s something we all did in college and I’ve kept it going.”

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