Tracksmith Off Roads Fall 2021 Apparel Review
ALEX: Tracksmith makes beautifully designed, high-quality running gear that is made to support every aspect of a runner’s lifestyle, from racing to training to resting. Almost everything Tracksmith makes transitions effortlessly from trails to Zoom meetings and back to the trails.
The Tracksmith Off Roads Collection is a thoughtfully curated line that introduces new designs and innovative materials that enhance and build on some of my current favorites. Consistent with all things bearing the Tracksmith logo, the pieces deliver on their promise to wear in, not out.
The following is a shameless outpouring of my love and admiration of the Tracksmith Off Roads Collection.
TAYLOR: If you want the commoner’s view of Tracksmith as a brand, here it is: Quality and comfort with a bit of snootery. All of that is fair. I mean, if the only items under $50 on your site are socks, gloves, and a hat, there is at least a little bit of boasting of what you’re selling.
Now, if you’re able to get your buns in a pair of Tracksmith Off Roads shorts or slide your torso into one of their tops, you’ll quickly realize that the outcome justifies the price tag. It’s the exact argument we’ve had with runners over the Speedland SL:PDX.
Tracksmith’s Off Roads collection is no different. Quality oozes from the fibers. Each of these pieces looks just as good as they perform. They are trail-centric with a New England track vibe central to Tracksmith’s identity. Let it be understood from the top, if you have the means to purchase these garments, you won’t be disappointed.
BRANDON: When Tracksmith released the Off Roads collections I was in awe. The subtle earth tones and heavy, yet durable merino fabric made this collection beautiful to admire and versatile enough to use in any condition. Top this collection off with the Off Roads Ciele GO Cap, and you’re ready to conquer the mountains and trails. Sure I could sit here and ramble about price and story, but at the end of the day, there’s only one question I have to concern myself with. Is it any good?
ALEX: The Off Roads Crew was the most exciting piece in my lineup. I have put Tracksmith’s Merino layers to the test in the harshest conditions, and they consistently outperform their competitors. Their warmth-to-weight ratio, wicking properties, and effective odor-resistance keep me reaching for these pieces year-round. My go-to layers are the Brighton Base Layer, Harrier Long Sleeve, and Downeaster Half Zip. Various combinations of these layers keep me comfortable well down into the single digits.
The Crew features a 60% Merino Wool, 40% polypropylene blend. In addition to the thermoregulating properties of Merino wool, polypropylene adds insulating and wicking properties. I have thrown this layer over my Brighton Base Layer and Harrier Long Sleeve on separate occasions, and as long as it’s not excessively windy or wet, it’s the perfect, no-fuss outer layer.
Speaking of perfection, it’s also great for morning meetings and lazy afternoons spent binge-watching Dexter: New Blood. Just kidding. They made it impossible to binge-watch this season. However, the suspense of each episode does make me sweaty. And the Crew’s hydrophobic polypropylene really performs in these moments.
TAYLOR: As a mountain runner, my ears perk up a little anytime wool or merino wool is part of the equation. The performance benefits are numerous from a trail runner’s perspective — moisture-wicking, anti-stank, and temperature regulating are just a few.
The Off Roads Crew is a merino/polypropylene (60/40%) blend. Adding polypropylene to the mixture adds benefits like higher wicking properties and creates more flex in the fabric. The sum of these fabrics creates a pretty obvious super fabric for various conditions.
I think of this top as a glorified long sleeve. It’s not exactly the crew neck sweatshirt that you’re used to wearing casually. It’s also not the typical weight of a running shirt. It meets in the middle and performs best in cool to cold conditions as a single layer. It would be a great layer underneath a waterproof or wind layer in extreme cold.
At the same time, wearing it casually post-run or as a casual layer alone is perfectly acceptable. For testing purposes, I wore the shirt on an hour-long trail run, took it off to take a shower, threw it back on before heading to my day job as a teacher. Not only did the garment perform wonderfully on the trail, but it also was dry within a handful of minutes, and not one of my students complained that I smelled — and they can smell coffee through a mask from halfway across the classroom. That’s how versatile the Off Roads Crew is. That’s all I need to know.
ROBBE: I thought nothing in the Tracksmith family tree could trump my love for the Brighton Base Layer and Turnover Tights, but the Offroads Crew will now inherit my fortune… or the other way around. Or something.
Alex and Taylor have already sold the magical properties of merino, so I don’t need to sing its praises anymore. It’s all true and it all comes together to create quite possibly the most comfortable shirt I’ve ever owned. I threw this over a running tee in the low 40F range and it was the perfect complement. Maybe a little warm, but it’s not a tight-fitting garment so it had enough airflow inside to keep cool. Since it is slightly loose-fitting, it allows for great layering capabilities for the Brighton Base Layer in colder temps, as Alex noted above.
And the comfort, oh, the comfort. If I didn’t have to do YouTube videos and photos for Believe in the Run where people would notice me wearing the same thing every day, I would, in fact, wear this every day. In fact, that’s basically what I’ve been doing on the weekend. One outfit, two and a half days. I will rarely justify the price of a garment that costs this much, but if you’re looking for something special that you may only buy once a year, let this be it. You won’t be let down.
PRICE: $138Shop Off Roads Crew – Men Shop Off Roads Crew – Women
ALEX: This Merino wool tee is similar to the Harrier Tee. The main difference is that the Merino and Tencel tight-knit blend of this one makes the Off Roads version warmer and heavier weight. It’s a great tee on its own or layered up.
TAYLOR: Dang! Both the Off Roads Tee and Long Sleeve look and feel so good. The Off Roads Tee is a merino wool blend shirt like the Crew. The tee, though, also has Tencel. What is that? I had to look it up too, and after I found out, it makes sense. Tencel is typically used in clothing because it is super soft! Many of your uber soft t-shirts as of late probably have Tencel in them. This blend of mostly merino and some Tencel is glorious.
Again, it’s a heavier-laden material, but it doesn’t feel heavy while running. It’s a comforting heavy rather than a weighing-down heavy. I wore the long sleeve version A LOT over the last year. It’s still as comfortable to wear and hasn’t lost any wicking or temperature regulating properties. Quality quality quality!
BRANDON: When it comes to great threads and high quality running apparel, Tracksmith always hits the mark. This shirt is designed for the exact specifications of any enthusiastic trail runner. The heavier merino blend allows for maximum protection in the trails while keeping the core of your body warm.
PRICE: $88 (SS), $98 (LS)Shop Off Roads Tee – Men Shop Off Roads Tee – Women
ALEX: At first glance, these shorts seemed a bit much. They felt heavy, and the combination of the liner and shell looked bulky. However, once I put them on, I regretted anything terrible I ever thought about them.
The fit was comfortable, and the material felt great. The buttery soft, lightweight liner has two side pockets large enough to securely carry a large phone or a large number of gels. The built-in waist belt prevents the shorts from sagging or feeling weighed down when the pockets are at max capacity.
The relaxed-fit, UV-resistant shell is made of an Italian stretch knit that is quick-drying and moisture-wicking. The shorts have a 4″ inseam which provides just the right coverage for long days out on the trail.
I am becoming a big fan of well-designed 2-in-1 shorts as I have experienced some horrendous shorts chafing in the past year.
The only complaint I have about these is that the belt gets lost in the waistband, so hold onto it when taking them on and off.
TAYLOR: If you looked into last year’s Tracksmith Off Roads Shorts, these are almost identical. From a comfort and performance standpoint, that’s fantastic! The only real change is trading an elastic waistband for one with less stretch. It’s a worthy swap.
These shorts opened my world to how delightful an integrated brief can be. It is a thinner brief that moved well with my body and stayed put around my legs. No chafing. Just comfort. The outer layer is a little heavier, protects from UV, and has some grit. This knit weave is incredibly stretchy and durable and adds to the whole package.
I try not to be a downer with these shorts because they are very quality and comfortable. However, the practicality of the pockets is almost zero. Part of that perspective comes from experience with a handful of other trail shorts who have incredible pocket systems that are secure and zero bounce.
The outer rear pockets on the Tracksmith Off Roads shorts are neither of those. They do not close or are not tight enough to hold items down while moving. As for the integrated pockets in the lateral sides of the briefs, they are a lot more secure for smaller items, but I struggled to keep my phone in place.
Overall, if you have $98 to spend on incredibly well-performing shorts, go for it! If you’re looking at them for their integrated carrying capabilities, you might want to look elsewhere.
ROBBE: Interesting to hear Taylor’s thoughts, because I loved the shorts for the exact reason he didn’t like them– the three envelope-style mesh pockets on the outside of the rear waistband. Finally, a short pocket that actually holds a modern-day cell phone. I don’t know why this is so hard for companies to get, but we keep getting shorts that don’t fit anything more than a couple gels. Do you understand what year it is, people?
The thing about the Off Roads back pockets is you can fit larger items in there, which you really can’t do with most shorts. For instance, I could fit my sunglasses back there, or a bunch of gels. Not sure how Taylor’s phone didn’t stay put back there, I had no issues.
I also appreciate the built-in liner which was like a second skin, and the integrated pockets are always a nice touch. I will say that I agree with Alex– the belt situation needs to be figured out. Don’t get me wrong, I like the security and durability of it, but it’s very easy to slip back into the waistband (I learned this the hard way after I washed them), so be careful or you’ll spend five minutes fishing it out.
PRICE: $98Shop Off Roads Shorts – Men Shop Off Roads Shorts – Women
ALEX: I have been hooked on these since first trying out the Ciele GOCap three years ago. It is the only hat I run in. It is lightweight and packable and never lacks bold new colors and designs. The Off Roads version is lighter, with recycled woven polyester and highly breathable mesh side panels.
TAYLOR: Where could anyone go wrong with a Ciele hat or a Tracksmith garment? Merge the two in a sweet earth tone 5-panel hat, and you won’t want to be taking this off. It’s unique, beautifully simple, rests easily on the head, and performs wonderfully as a running cap. I hate even to say it, but I might be reaching for this over my BITR cap.
BRANDON: Just when you thought Ciele hats couldn’t get any better, they team up with Tracksmith for one of the best collaborations of the year. The Ciele GOCap is warm, light, and breathable and provides beautifully subtle colors that match perfectly with the Off Roads collection. A crushable upper and sturdy brim allows for maximum protection from the sun. Sometimes something simple and smart looking does the trick.
PRICE: $55Shop Off Roads GOCap
ALEX: The Merino wool layers not only provide the best thermoregulation possible, but the naturally antimicrobial lanolin in this material helps to resist bacteria-causing odors meaning more training and less washing. I let these layers air-dry overnight, and they are as good as new the next day.
The Off Roads Collection is everything I hoped it would be and more. The natural colorways are great and go with everything, and I have been thoroughly impressed with the comfort and performance of every piece in this lineup.
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In addition to his photo and video skills, Brandon is also a producer for The Drop podcast and founder of the Believe Run Club in Baltimore. He is a tried and true product of the running system, competing in cross country and track and field at the Division 1 collegiate level.
All-time favorite shoes: NIKE Alphafly NEXT%, ASICS Novablast 3, Saucony Endorphin Speed 2.More from Brandon
Taylor Bodin is a trail and ultra runner living in Estes Park, Colo., with his wife and daughters. Trail running is pretty much the only hobby he can manage right now and loves it. Every so often, he will pop off a race or FKT attempt because competition is pure and the original motivator for him getting into running anyways. When not running, Taylor is a 1st grade teacher, running coach (track & field, Cross Country, and Trail/Ultra athletes), and volunteers at his church.
All-time favorite shoes: Hoka Tecton X, Speedland SL:PDX, Merrell MTL Long Sky 2.More from Taylor
Alex is a trail and ultra runner from the upper midwest who loves Minnesota’s long winters and logging miles on the rooty, rocky, steep trails of Lake Superior’s North Shore. She was the first female to set a supported FKT on the 310 mile Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) and enjoys multi-day events and races, especially if they involve snow and -20 degree temps.
All-time favorite shoes: Hoka Speedgoat Evo, Hoka Tecton X, Altra Timp.More from Alex