Form and Function - Running Gear as Fashion
For many of us, the combination of going for a run and looking good blend about as seamlessly as scrambled eggs and jelly.
The level of fashion forethought consisting mainly of throwing away that trusty running tee only once the levels of ingrained body odour start to taint the neighbouring clothes in your wardrobe when freshly laundered. Then it’s a swift trip to the bargain bucket of Sports Direct for its successor.
However, if we think about it, maybe our running gear should demand a little more respect. If we’re willing to spend decent wedge on a tee to wear to the pub, why not on one meant for training?
For a start, these garms have to work HARD. They have to contend not only with a lot of concentrated movement but also a lot of sweat. So materials and design elements arguably have more necessity than your casual togs.
Then there’s the fact that running can be as much of a social exercise as a night out. Whether it be a run club, a weekly catch up with a mate on the tarmac or on the treadmill alongside your usual crew at the gym, as many people are likely to see your running schmutter as your Sunday best.
Also, who hasn’t ever finished that weekend morning run with a hard earned trip to the coffee shop or bakery? Or had to follow up that afternoon with an immediate trip to pick the kids up from school? Ideally, you don’t want to be doing any of these things looking and smelling like you’ve been pulled out of the lost property bins of your local Fitness First.
Lastly, who could forget how cool Rocky Balboa looked as he ascended those famous Philadelphia steps with all the gusto of a mountain goat after a crate of Redbull? That considered, the multi-layered charcoal tracksuit and Converse high tops look was fire. Surely we all want to look that badass when we run, right?
Well fear not, because fashion brands are putting more focus into the form and function of running attire than ever before and here we take a look at a few of our favourites.
Our Legacy Work Shop x Satisfy Running
Activewear surely doesn’t get any cooler than this.
Our Legacy is a well known Swedish fashion brand famed for it’s luxurious but minimal aesthetic. Work Shop is their “craft and atelier” sub brand which focuses on sustainable practices and wellbeing. Items in the range utilise recycled fabrics and aim to reduce landfill, all whilst being just as achingly hip as their main offering.
Satisfy Running is a Parisian brand formed in 2015 which takes influences from high fashion and skateboarding. It has quickly built up a reputation as a rebellious alternative to the big brands, known for their bold colours and slogans.
Their joint collection features shorts, tights, tops and windbreakers in block colours and camo. The materials are as elevated as the prices and you’ll undoubtedly be the coolest jogger in the block if you decide to push the boat out for any of these pieces.
If you’re in the market for sleek Skandi activewear but can’t quite bring yourself to cash out on the Our Legacy stuff then the Arket Running range is a great option.
The more refined sister brand of global powerhouse H&M, Arket has built up a loyal (and stylish) following for their considered, straightforward clothing which is both well made and well designed.
Their Running line follows the same pattern, with largely unbranded staples such as shorts, tees, tights and vests which manage to be both stylish and accessible.
Many are made with recycled materials too, so you can feel good in more ways than one as you clock up the miles.
Last month Arket’s bigger sibling launched new lifestyle brand “H&M Move” complete with a jazzy ad campaign featuring no other than Queen of the 90’s Fitness VHS, Jane Fonda. Don’t let that put you off, it’s actually really good gear.
Their aim is “to create stylish and functional movewear in a more sustainable way” and each item has a specific feature to aid movement. For example, Drymove items wick sweat and moisture, whilst Softmove is soft and lightweight giving extra freedom of movement.
The look and branding is sleek, some of the materials are top notch and the price tag is very reasonable. A particular highlight are the lightweight running jackets which somehow manage to be wafer thin, water resistant, windproof and stylish for forty quid.
Nikelab is the super brand’s more niche, experimental arm. Gyakusou is a Tokyo-based run club founded by Jun Takahashi, the head honcho of cutting edge, futuristic fashion brand Undercover. It’s a running match made in Heaven.
There have been numerous collaborations between Undercover and Nike, but Gyakusou has been the one that has straddled sports technicality and fashion the best.
From eye catching running shoe re-hashes to bold, heavily branded tees, vests and jackets, there’s everything you need to bring a touch of Japanese cool to your exercise regime.
Born of a vision from university mates Tom Daly (formerly of Acne Studios) and Max Vallot (Saint Laurent), District Vision started out as a luxury eyewear brand aimed at runners.
In recent times they have expanded into high end run wear and apparel which champions movement and wellness.
A collaboration with Salomon a few years back put the brand on the map and since then they’ve gone from strength to strength.
It’s certainly not a cheap option but their collection comes from a high fashion background so you can be sure you’ll look like the don at your run club and the pub after.