If you want to stand out at your next running event — without sacrificing comfort or performance — these are the most stylish, trendy boutique brands you should shop.
Line up at any road or trail race, and odds are you’ll find the same clothing brands on all the runners. Any sense of style or unique flair seems lost in the masses.
If you’re tired of the same boring, mass-produced, formulaic apparel options for runners, there’s an alternative to the big-name brands: boutique running brands.
Boutique running brands are on the rise. Fed up with the status quo of today’s running apparel, the founders of these small companies wanted to create brands that reflect their individual style and vision. Many have ties to the fashion industry, meaning they have a meticulous eye for detail and use the highest-quality fabrics.
Boutique brands appeal to those with an interest in fashion and an appreciation for craftsmanship who are willing to pay a premium price for it.
Budget-Friendly Running Gear
Spending as much as $200 on running shorts and a singlet is a tall ask for many — and rightfully so when the most running gear is a quarter of that price. While most will balk at these prices, hear me out. I liken the difference between mainstream running apparel and boutique brands to that of Gap and Gucci.
Sure, Gap works. It’s priced right, functions great, and gets the job done. However, there’s a marked difference in quality and artisanship between Gucci and the Gap. With Gucci, everything from the fit to the fabric is carefully crafted, not to mention it lasts longer. The same goes for these running brands.
For example, I’ve gotten more compliments about my SOAR running shorts and vest than any other piece of running apparel. And as a gear tester, that says a lot.
Those shorts are still going strong after 3 years of heavy use. So stop blending in with every other runner and treat yourself to some high-quality running apparel from these hot boutique running brands.
Boutique Running Brands to Check Out
If ever there were a brand that could take an average runner and turn them into an elite-looking runner, it’s SOAR. This London-based running apparel brand was founded in 2015 by Tim Soar. Its high-performance line of running apparel is clean and elegant, using only the finest, most comfortable fabrics.
Much of SOAR’s clothing is meant to be worn as a kit with matching colors and styling. The fabric, cut, and aesthetics of these kits are second to none. The Elite Race Vest 4.0 is one of the lightest, best-looking singlets I’ve found.
I’ve received more compliments at the starting line of races wearing it than I have in any other article of clothing.
After quitting his draining day job, Territory Run Co. founder Brett Farrell set out on a road trip to explore the U.S. During a brief stop in Salt Lake City, Farrell experienced the freedom and sense of satisfaction “of seeing a mountain you want to run up, finding a trail, and going for it.”
This laid the foundation for Territory Run Co. The brand’s T-shirts, shorts, and hats are nature-inspired with attractive graphics any trail runner will appreciate.
When Brice Partouche, founder of Satisfy Running, came into running at the age of 35, he became obsessed. Immersed in skateboard culture as a kid, Partouche struggled to relate to what big brands like Nike and adidas made for the running space.
Fed up with running apparel, Partouche used his fashion background to create a running brand that incorporated his expertise in style, music, and art. The result was an edgy, high-fashion brand called Satisfy.
Designed in Paris and manufactured using the highest-quality fabrics developed in France, Switzerland, Italy, and Japan, Satisfy’s style is reminiscent of the punk rock culture of the early ’80s.
Designed in the harsh Scandinavian climate of Denmark, DOXA Run apparel merges “high-end fashion with technical running apparel into an urban, functional design.”
Its founder, John Hansen, is a competitive runner with professional experience in the fashion industry. DOXA’s lightweight, earth-tone apparel uses premium fabric and displays slogans like “miles are souvenirs,” “for runners, by runners,” and “metal health club.”
Together, these slogans exemplify DOXA’s take on how music and running can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
Born and bred in New England, Tracksmith styling goes back to a simpler time when solid colors and stripe patterns were the highlights of apparel, not large logos and cheesy phrases.
Its high-performance apparel features fabrics like merino wool and a signature 2:09 mesh polyester that resembles a mix of 1950s Roger Banister and prep school fashion.
According to Tracksmith, it pays homage to the “running class — the non-professional, yet competitive runners dedicated to the pursuit of personal excellence.”