Perhaps I have mentioned it before: I am prone to good design. I don’t just mean the look: function and quality must be just as good to be really convincing.
By now I have gained experience with so many brands that I really appreciate the advantages of the small, specialized brands. Each one brings its own approach, has its own “philosophy” or simply found its own market niche.
This exclusivity often comes at a price. Of course, it makes a difference whether I have mass-produced goods produced in China or whether I have them produced according to high ecological standards in Europe. Not to mention the fact that sometimes even marketing plays a role.
But the bottom line for me is that it’s these rather small brands that I really enjoy, that I like to pick for every run and that simply work well for me.
Apart from the respective product reviews, I would like to give an overview of what makes each brand so special to me – for comparison and orientation. The order is alphabetical, so not according to personal preference. ;)
The Canadians have specialized in caps and hats for runners. They do not necessarily work much better than those of the competitors, but the design is simply unbeaten. One can choose between several models and design lines and thus has always almost 100 products to choose from.
Material and cut just work for me, so I tend to only wear Ciele caps for running. You get them in Germany, but with a limited choice of models.
Type: Style Standard-Cap: 40 Euro Highlight: GOCap Insight: there are always bargains on Amazon
The Danes appear quite unimpressive at first sight. There are no eye-catchers, no crazy patterns or constantly new trends. Even the product range doesn’t get out of hand: everything is there to help runners get through the year. But not in countless model variations, but perhaps only in the one, well thought out . This will be regularly checked and if necessary improved – if that is still possible.
According to my experience, the fit, function and material of the products are “unexcitedly perfect“. All materials feel very high-quality and soft – and are produced in Europe according to the OekoTex standards. There is also a growing network of dealers in Germany, so that you can buy quite well locally. The prices do not differ from the webshop.
My highlight are the tights with leg pockets. No matter if short, long or in the winter version: this solution is simply ingenious and solves all transport problems for me while running.
Type: Understatement Basic-Shirt: 50 Euro Highlight: C3 Tights with leg pockets Insight: you might want to buy tops one size larger
Saysky is a danish high-flyer, who should be known to most people by now. The triathlon and running wear is remarkable not only for its good function but also for its striking designs: camouflage, tiger patterns or flower prints. Every season there are new slogans, colours and patterns available in (partly) limited quantities.
Material and function of the Saysky collection is good and the price is in any case appropriate. Apart from the design, however, I don’t see too much development or innovation.
Type: Style Basic-Shirt: 50 Euro Highlight: Floral Prints Insight: be fast (limited quantities)
Tim Soar is a fashion designer and runner. Both can be clearly seen in the products from England. There is a continuous improvement process, which is always seeking the even better cut, the optimal material and perfect details. Innovative new products surprise me very positively every year and underline Soar’s claim to be a “running performance” brand.
I am impressed by the tireless search for the perfect solution – from runner for runner. The design is sometimes a bit “British”, but function and quality are always beyond any doubt. Also in terms of price, Soar is more in the upper league, but you won’t find anything comparable among the competitors.
Type: Function Basic-Shirt: 73 Euro Highlight: Ultra Rain Jacket Insight: men’s only
Tracksmith celebrates (in its own words) the “Amateur Spirit” and the community of non-professional but ambitious runners“. The running clothes of the American brand are based on the New England Style of the Ivy League universities from the 50s and 60s: classic and timeless. This leads to a wide range of high quality products, with a clear focus on design and material.
Of course, the function is also quite good, although one should not expect miracles or even innovations here. On the contrary: cotton is still part of the range – matching the classic brand roots. If you add the shipping costs to Europe, prives are in the premier league. Nothing that you buy “just like that”. Rather a “luxury” that you treat yourself to from time to time.
Typ: Luxus Basic-Shirt: 49 Euro (plus Shipping!) Highlight: Van Cortlandt Tee und Singlet Insight: cut is often rather generously (for Europeans)
I have run many kilometres with all brands of the Brand Guide in training and competition, so from my own experience it can really recommend them. Other brands are still new to me, but have already earned a referral from me.
If you (like me) feel comfortable running in merino wool, you should have a look at ashmei. The English company has specialized in this material and also has a skilled hand in design.
I only recently came into contact with the collection of André Kossmann. As a former competitive athlete, he has a good eye for the functionality of his sustainable collection, which is produced in Europe.
Even YMR Track Club is still new to me. Design, function and sustainability are three good reasons to keep an eye on the young Swedish label.
I like to spend some money if it really gives me long-term fun with the equipment. For a reasonable and ultimately inexpensive basic equipment I would always go for Fusion. From time to time I’d add some items of Saysky, if they really appeal to me in terms of design. Add a cap from Ciele and some socks from Incylence and you are really well and properly equipped.
If it’s about special functions in clothing, it’s always worthwhile to browse through Soar’s collection. Especially there are many unique tops that nobody else can offer (Ultra Gilet, All Weather Jacket).
And if you still have money to spent, pick that special piece at Tracksmith.
This is where Thomas Pier writes about running and (much more than just the necessary) equipment. I don't run particularly fast or far. But I like to share my experiences as an ambitious recreational runner, curious early-adopter and as my own trainer.
I am happy about every digital contacting - but even more so about every kilometer run together.