SHOE REVIEW: Tracksmith’s Eliot Runner
An inside look and full review of Tracksmith's first running shoePhoto by: Tracksmith
As a bit of a running nerd and sneakerhead, when I heard Tracksmith was releasing their first shoe the “Eliot Runner” back in September, I was immediately excited to give this shoe a few whirls around Toronto’s concrete jungle.
If you are unfamiliar with Tracksmith, they have always prided themselves on being the upper echelon of running gear, creating well-designed, high-quality products with a prep-school vibe. But while many of the world’s running brands dip into the shoe game first before expanding to clothing, Tracksmith has done the opposite.
The brand’s inspiration behind the creation of the Eliot Runner was to provide runners with a soft, resilient and responsive ride across a variety of terrain. The Eliot Runner fits Tracksmith’s traditional esthetic to a T, with a suave and simple design, in which you would feel equally at home in at your private tennis club, as for your everyday runs.
Men’s: 260 g (9.2 oz.)
Women’s: 226 g (8 oz.)
Drop: 9 mm
Stack height: 33.5 mm (heel), 24.5 mm (forefoot)
Fit: True to size
MSRP: CAD $291
One of the first things I noticed when trying it on was its simple throwback sneaker fit. Signature details, from the navy sash on the side, to the red racing stripe on the rear, to the woven label on the tongue strongly represent the brand’s aesthetic. The upper and lacing styles are something you would see from running brands in the 90s. But in today’s generation, the vintage look has become cool and stylish.
Although the upper is a bit narrow from the midfoot to the forefoot, I found its design quite simple and comfortable for easy runs. The tongue is a tad on the cumbersome side during fartleks or quick pickups, but all in all, the upper is the most upscale feature.
The midsole is arguably the most critical aspect in creating a great everyday running shoe, and Tracksmith took a unique approach when designing the midsole on the Eliot Runner. The sock liner is triple the thickness of a standard sock liner and is made of Pebax, an ultra-lightweight, high-performance foam curated to meet high standards of cushioning and performance. This soft foam sits on top of a firmer midsole.
On easy runs, I noticed the shoe’s firmness on each stride. It’s advertised as having high cushion and propulsion across all terrain, but, running on pavement, I did not feel a lot of cushioning. I did not notice the propulsion until I started using it for faster efforts. The lightweight Pebax foam in combination with the shoe’s stiff midsole helps it perform well during tempo runs and interval training.
At only 260 grams for a men’s size 9, the Eliot Runner positions itself as a lightweight and versatile training shoe.
The outsole might be the Eliot Runner’s most underrated feature. The shoe handles all conditions well with its non-marking, grippy and rubberized outsole designed to handle anything the New England climate throws at it.
Rain or shine, the shoe grips the roads, tracks and trails with authority. I never once had to worry about footing.
After years of work on the design and creation of the Eliot Runner, the shoe was not a home run, but I would say Tracksmith reached base safely. One thing I thought they nailed was the physical esthetic of the shoe—it’s simple, it’s stunning and sheds light on the brand’s Boston beginnings. Every time I pulled these out for a run, I had someone asking where I got them. I feel the upper of the Eliot Runner also makes it look practical and versatile for more than just running. Another aspect they effortlessly nailed was the grippy, sneaker-inspired rubberized outsole.
In my opinion, the firm midsole detracts from the shoe’s comfort for the long haul, but it would be great for a casual runner looking for a stylish pair to run a fast 5K or 10K in. Two models I would say are comparable to the Eliot Runner are the Nike Zoom Fly and the Brooks Levitate; both styles have comfortable uppers with lightweight midsoles to tackle short runs and speedwork.
Tracksmith is willing to bet that most people who try the Eliot Runner will love it, so they are offering a 30-day or 100-mile guarantee. Check out more about it here.