Yale Track & Field alum Matt Taylor started the local apparel startup, Tracksmith, after he was frustrated with most of the apparel in the running industry seemingly looking identical other than the brands’ logos.
To solve this problem, Taylor left his position as head of global marketing for the running and training product line to work for Puma.
“Everything in the industry right now seems so futuristic, and robotic, and fluorescent,” he said.
Taylor created Tracksmith with the desire to sell running apparel with a timeless feel made of the highest quality materials available.
“We just wanted something that was much more conservative and understated from a color palette standpoint and something that you can go for a run in and then go to a coffee shop and not feel out of place,” Taylor said.
With Marathon Monday less than a week away, Tracksmith is gearing up for the big day in a special way.
With over 500,000 spectators expected to cheer on runners during the historic race, the Wellesley-based online retailer of premium running apparel will be launching a “pop up” store on 285 Newbury St. The shop is located just 400 meters from the Boston Marathon finish line and a block away from the marathon expo.
The days leading up to the marathon will feature the store being a gathering point for local runners to meet for a 7 a.m. morning run along the Charles River, led by the Tracksmith team.
In addition, the store will host a revival of Runner’s Digest Radio Show featuring live recordings by legendary broadcaster Toni Reavis and Letsrun.com. Reavis is WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s announcer for the marathon.
Thursday afternoon, the shop will host a Q&A session with Mario Fraioli of Competitor Magazine with some of the best amateur competitors in this year’s race.
On Friday, Tracksmith will launch its women’s collection, and finally on Saturday afternoon, the company will unveil its next issue of Meter Magazine, a quarterly journal that re-establishes a connection between the sporting heritage of running and its current participants and fans.
Tracksmith is also launching a limited edition Boston Marathon “BQ 15” singlet, which is exclusively available to those who qualified and registered for the marathon, paying tribute to the iconic race.
The company will also feature other marathon apparel as well.
“We only sell online—this will be the first time we have a physical presence in a store,” Taylor said. The brand sells T-shirts, shorts, singlets, hats, socks, and apparel bags online. The apparel features Tracksmith’s logo, a gold rabbit complete with moisture wicking.
Tracksmith’s singlets are inspired by Ivy League track teams and features a diagonal sash that is symbolic in collegiate track and field dating back to Cornell’s teams from the late 1880s. The company’s singlets are made from quality lightweight mesh. The garment also includes four safety pins for the runner’s bib.
“We want to carve out a spot that felt differentiated and allowed us to use high quality materials and do domestic manufacturing,” Taylor said. “We found that high school and college kids are still asking for our products for gifts.”
Taylor believes that most of his clients are repeat clients that are spreading the word of the brand. Tracksmith still sells accessories that are more affordable in the fall such as caps, gloves, and hats.
Taylor believes that most apparel companies have abandoned running to focus on health and wellness to capture a larger audience base.
“They have gone away from the sport, culture, and history—what I’d like to see is us continue to tell the story and use the culture references from the sport to tell our product’s story,” he said. Tracksmith, as opposed to major large apparel companies, seeks to capture and celebrate the history rooted in New England’s running culture, while providing runners with the comfort that they need.
Taylor is thrilled with his company’s success since he and co-founder Luke Scheybeler founded Tracksmith in 2012. With more people running marathons than ever, according to Running USA, Taylor eyes an expanding market for his products.
”I think there’s so much room within running and there’s a huge opportunity in front of us to continue growing and really become the unique running lifestyle brand,” he said.
Featured Image Courtesy of Tracksmith