Massachusetts’ Tracksmith is committed to the running community. In addition to producing a full-line of American-made running gear, they host regular group runs near their Boston headquarters, and through the end of August, they’re offering $250 in store credit to any runner that sets a personal best wearing Tracksmith. At the same time, they realize that running isn’t all runners do, which is why their collection includes a range of dual-use shorts and tops that look just as good off the track as on. I reviewed one pair of their dual-use shorts last September, which were just restocked after being sold our for several months. And this month, I’m reviewing a very different pair of dual-use shorts, plus a shirt that works just as well on the trail as at the farmer’s market.
Tracksmith says their new Run Cannonball Run Shorts are meant for mid-run swims. They’re a refinement of last summer’s Run Swim Run shorts, with smart updates like swapping the button fly for a drawstring, using a lighter-weight fabric, and adding a crotch gusset to reduce chafing from the seam. My size medium pair measures 16” across the waist (with a moderate stretch), 11” front rise, 6” inseam, and 11” across the leg opening. The only immediately apparent branding is the hare logo on the left thigh, although they also have a less conspicuous “T” stitched in red thread on the right hip and Tracksmith’s signature red and white loop on the rear waistband. Both the outer shorts and the interior brief are made with a lightweight nylon / elastane fabric with four-way stretch, and the outer is treated with a water-repelling hydrophobic finish. There’s one zippered pocket on the right hip that has a narrow 3.75” opening, but a relatively roomy 3×6” pocket bag inside.
Unlike some dual-use shorts that do two things adequately and nothing exceptionally, I found the Run Cannonball Runs great for both swimming and running. As promised, they dried quickly, the fabric was stretchy and unrestrictive, and neither the inner brief nor the crotch seam chafed at all. My only complaint was that the zippered pocket was a bit too small for a phone in a waterproof case. Adding slim hip pockets wouldn’t change the performance of the shorts greatly, but would mean I could wear them casually too. With a bit more pocket space, I’d have no trouble calling these the only pair of shorts you need for summer.
Tracksmith also sent me the new Harrier Short-Sleeve Tee, which is made from a lightweight, stretchy merino-blend fabric. Once again, the only visible branding is the hare logo on the left sleeve, the red stitched “T” on the lower right hip, and the red and white tag on the neck (on the back for the short-sleeve Harrier, and the front for the long-sleeve version). After multiple washes (cold water, laid flat to dry), my Harrier tee measures a hair under the size chart on the product page, so shrinkage was minimal. After approximately 10 washes (enough to eliminate any shrinkage that’s likely to happen), a medium measures 19.5” across the chest, 27.25” in length, 16” across the shoulders, 8.5” down the top of the sleeve, and 6.25” across the sleeve opening. I’m always wary of merino performance gear because I’ve had too many pieces shrink to the point of being unwearable, but that’s definitely not a problem here.
The Harrier also performs well on the run. Merino wool is like a magic fabric that wicks sweat from the body quickly, dissipates it well, and stays odor-free. The Harrier tee was a bit too thick for 90-degree afternoon runs, especially when the humidity was high, but I pulled it out over and over again for early morning runs. And with the cooler temps of fall coming, I plan to buy a couple more Harrier tees to put in my drawer. As a bonus, this is a shirt I can throw on with a pair of chino shorts without a second thought. The merino has a rich, textured matte finish and doesn’t look at all like performance fabric.
Overall, I think Tracksmith nailed both the Run Cannonball Run shorts and the Harrier tee, and I’m looking forward to putting more miles into them – on the trails, at the beach, and while I’m buying organic eggplants from a guy in a trucker hat and apron.
Jason Brozek is an ultramarathon runner, lapsed Ironman triathlete, and professor at a small liberal arts college, where he teaches courses on sustainability and international politics.