There’s something about becoming a runner that gets you excited about brands you’d never heard of before you started running. I never cared about running shoes, GPS running watches, the best kind of running socks, or any of that until I started becoming consistent with my running for the first time.
Then, all of a sudden, I started caring about that stuff. I would spend hours googling the best running shoes, looked up how much running watches cost, started noticing that my feet got blisters from my normal cotton socks, etc. I even started to care about what I was eating so that I could feel better on my runs (if you’re new to running, you know what I mean!).
Becoming a runner introduces you to a whole new world. And it’s so fun. Finding running shoes that actually fit your foot properly AND look cool is a major win. Same with a running watch. And socks (now I’m obsessed with hot pink running socks).
So today I’m going to share my favorite running brands that have cool, fashionable stuff that’s also functional and made for performance. I’m sticking to mostly non-mainstream brands today, since everyone knows of brands like Nike and Lululemon.
Let’s dive in.
Cool Running Brands
Tracksmith was founded in 2013 and they’re located in Boston. I’ve visited the store and it’s VERY cool. Almost like a cozy bookstore/coffee shop vibe that sells running clothes. (When I was there, they actually were selling Linden x Two coffee upstairs, but I’m not sure it’s that’s still the case.) And, they make really cool running clothes. The items they sell are a bit retro, and similar to college track athletes run in. I love the tanks and short sleeve tops. I find their items run small compared to other brands I wear, so you may want to size up.
Rabbit is a female-founded company that started in California. They have fun patterns and graphics. The cut of many of their items is similar to Lululemon, but the patterns are much more funky. It’s a little overly-aggressive with the rabbit branding for my taste, but that’s the whole point of their brand, of course. So if you like it, go for it! That’s just my personal preference.
Oiselle is one of my all-time favorite brands. The Oiselle Pocket Joggers are my go-to shorts right now since they prevent chafing but don’t ride up (they’re great shorts for a marathon). Their Roga shorts are VERY popular and they have lots of different versions now with different lengths. I wore the Flyout tank for the Boston Marathon and the Flyte tank is what I lived in while running during pregnancy. My mom also loves this brand. She runs and does Crossfit in her 70s, so she puts her gear through the ringer! She wears the long Roga shorts, the Light Lux tanks, and the Simple Stripe tank. Oiselle is also a running brand that’s by women started in 2007 based in Seattle, which I love!
On Running makes my favorite casual white sneakers. I have tried running in On Clouds, but didn’t love them. However, I LOVE these Ons for casual wear. They just came out with really pretty minimalistic designs for their tops which I also love, but their clothing is on the pricier side. Fun fact: On sponsors the Zap Endurance professional running team, which is based in Boone, North Carolina (where my husband is from and where we have a second home). I also attended a Zap Adult Running camp a few years ago, which is where I first tired out On shoes! One of their athletes has written a few posts for me as well!
My favorite running sunglasses EVER are Goodr. I have 5 pairs, no joke. They stay on better than anything I’ve tried, no matter how sweaty I get or how humid it is outside. I think they flatter every face shape too and they’re only $25! I wore them for both the 2018 and 2019 Boston Marathons.
Zella is Nordstrom’s in-house activewear brand. Rumor has it that originally someone who used to work at Lululemon helped them come up with the designs. I like everything I’ve tried from Zella, but I think Lululemon makes better quality leggings. My favorite items from Zella are the Work For It tank and the Restore Soft Pocket joggers (my favorite pants for my just-home-from-the-hospital postpartum phase).
Iffley Road is a men’s running apparel company based out of England. They have really cool old-school designs but great quality fabric. I like the retro designs!
Outdoor Voices is an athletic brand, but not running specific. They’re based in Austin, TX and known for making athletic clothes for the everyday exerciser. Their clothes aren’t extremely high performance, but they’re VERY cute for training or athleisure.
Another great by-women-for-women company! Senita is extremely affordable but their gear holds up well. I even ran the 2019 Boston Marathon in the Senita Rio shorts! I find it runs large, so size down.
I haven’t tried Fleo personally, but I’d love to try their spandex shorts, which is what they’re known for. Technically they are all made for strength training, but I think the shorts would work well for running too.
While I haven’t tried their running shorts yet, Vuori makes the coziest joggers EVER. I wore them for weeks on end after having Thomas and still do. This is my favorite brand for loungewear AND you can find it at Nordstrom.
Another activewear brand that Nordstrom carries is Sweaty Betty. I want to try the running tanks, which look flowy and flattering. And the sports bras are cute and supportive – I love the wide band underneath. Their non-performance athleisure looks cute too!
Lots of people know the brand Smartwool for their boot socks but I happen to love their running socks! They use Merino wool in their socks, which isn’t hot like you may expect. It’s actually very sweat wicking and high quality. My mom, who has run for 40+ years, swears by their running socks.
While I know Adidas could technically be called mainstream, it’s worth noting their Boston Marathon apparel. Adidas makes the official Boston Marathon gear, and I love seeing the new colors and designs they come out with every year. I find Adidas running clothes run small, so I size up.
Not only does Janji make cute running gear, I am also a huge supporter of their mission. They provide clean water to the countries that inspire their seasonal collections by giving 2% from every purchase to these projects.
Soar is a London based company specializing in modernist running clothes. Tim Soar is the designer and I love how passionate he is about making clothes that WORK. Soar is a men’s apparel company and the designs are minimalistic, which I find Tommy always prefers.
This brand has a cult following. It’s more edgy than my style, but lots of others love it. They have a shirt called “Moth Eaten T-Shirt” and it has cool running graphics on it. It would make a cool gift for your favorite runner!
District Vision is made in Japan and they specialize in running sunglasses. They are VERY pricey, but have cool designs. They also make other running apparel.
Heartbreak Hill Running Company
This is another Boston based company that I love. They carry lots of non-mainstream running brands so it’s a great place to shop if you’re in town for the marathon or just visiting. They have an online shop too!
What else needs to be on the list? Let me know in the comments!
Shop the Post