The Best Running Brands (You Might Not Have Heard Of) - Outdoors Magic

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The Best Running Brands (You Might Not Have Heard Of)

New boutique brands worth knowing about and some old classics that might not have made it onto your radar yet

Running is a sport with incredibly low barriers to entry. All you really need is a pair of running shoes, some running shorts and a t-shirt and that’s enough to get you going. As you start to progress in your running journey however, you might want to start picking up some gear that’ll keep up with your ambitions – tops that’ll keep you cool, running socks to wick your sweat away, trail running shoes to take your adventures off-road and insulation to keep you out all year-round.

There are a heck of a lot of brands to choose from to help you once at this stage. You’ve got the obvious global players, your Nikes, Pumas, Under Armour, Adidas and so on, who’ve been around dominating the scene for decades now. Then you’ve got the newer boutique running brands that have been popping up since around 2015 – probably with the arrival of the ‘athleisure’ trend. A few of these have come onto our radar recently and we’ve been liking what we’ve been seeing; gone are the days when runners were offered only sporty-looking gym kit and tracksuits. Now, running gear has got cool.

Here are some of the brands that have stood out to us. We’ve selected a mix of new boutique running companies and older ones that you might’ve been waiting until now to discover.


From: Montreal, Canada
Hero product: Ciele Go Cap

“We started at the top,” say Ciele. But they’re not being boastful, they’re talking about their hats. Rather than jumping into the market and trying to offer everything, instead they focussed on just making cool hats; hats with vibrant colours and a bold logo that catches the eye.

Pictured right: The Ciele GO Cap C Plus Box

Since its foundation in Montreal, Canada back in 2014, the company is now booming. Glance around at a parkrun and you’ll be sure to see a Ciele hat. But they’re branching into new areas these days with tops, shorts and more. They’ve even collaborated with the likes of Salomon and Puma on some smart looking footwear.




From: London, UK
Hero product: Soar Trail Shorts

Soar has dived in at the deep end, positioning themselves at the premium end of the scale – with premium prices to match. A humble pair of shorts from them will, for instance, set you back £145.

Pictured right: The Soar Long Sleeve Hot Weather

The brand was established by runner and designer Tim Soar back in 2015 and the company now has a big team of runners, a store in east London and even a podcast aimed at “runners looking for new insights, ideas and perspectives”.



From: Boston, U.S.A
Hero product: Janji x La Sportiva shorts

Founded in Boston in 2012, this running brand takes a socially conscious approach to business, primarily by supporting non-profits that help people access clean water throughout the world. Janji, by the way, is Indonesian for “promise”.

Pictured right: The Janji Thermalrunner Reversible Vest

Their gear tends to come with eye-catching designs and that’s because for each collection they release they collaborate with different artists within the communities they support.




From: Paris, France
Hero product: Satisfy Merino Tube Socks

“Since launching in 2015, Satisfy develops technical equipment that reduce distractions to help runners unlock the High.” That’s the tagline from this running brand that originated in Paris. Their kit is certainly noticeably faff-free with minimal branding and apparent bells and whistles but they also do have a bit of innovation going on behind the scenes.

Pictured right: The Satisfy Justice Cordura 5L

Get this: they’ve developed something called MothTech which is essentially where they make a t-shirt look like it’s been eaten by moths by adding in loads of little holes. The resulting look is deliberately tatty, but the holes actually create a whole load of ventilation throughout the shirt. Genius.



District Vision

From: Los Angeles, U.S.A
Hero product: District Vision Janya Racer

The funny thing about the running eyewear brand is that they don’t actually look like they have anything do with running. Go on their website and on their social media and you’ll see lots of art, lots of people looking all serious, and just a little bit of running here and there.

Pictured right: The District Vision Koharu Green Singlelens

The reality, however, is that their products really are fine tuned for athletic performance. Take for instance their Junya Racer glasses. They wrap close to the head to keep out any direct light, they have an adjustable nose pad, temple tips and a technology in the lens that is scientifically tuned to fully relax the eye muscles. It’s high-tech and very smart-looking stuff.


From: Boston, U.S.A
Hero Product:
Tracksmith Nor’Easter Jacket

Forbes labelled Tracksmith as “America’s cult running brand” in 2022, praising the brand for its unorthodox ‘no pro’ approach to sponsorship and describing its style as “distinctively retro collegiate”.

Pictured right: The Tracksmith Van Cortlandt Singlet

The company was established in 2014 in Boston and today it reaches around the globe, not just by selling running shorts, vests, t-shirts etc but also sharing stories through its magazine, an online journal, podcasts and films. In the UK, Iffley Road were doing very similar stuff before they sadly folded in recent months.




From: Lancaster, UK
Hero product: OMM Kamleika Jacket

There’ll be some people reading this who’ll be very familiar with the OMM, and will have been for decades now, but while the brand might have a loyal following in the UK, it doesn’t have too much of a reach elsewhere.

Pictured right: The OMM Halo Jacket

So, if you don’t know OMM, here’s a top line on them. They’re from the north of England and their name refers to the Original Mountain Marathon, a series of very challenging events that combine mountain running, camping and orienteering. They make lightweight and highly functional gear that’s specifically designed for these events – everything from 30-litre running packs and ultralight sleeping bags through to running tights, t-shirts and breathable rain shells.



From: Derby, UK
Hero Product: Harrier Exmoor Jacket

Harrier is a very young brand that popped up just a few years ago in Derby, England. All of their kit is designed specifically for trail running. Expect lightweight vest packs, running poles and even first aid kits designed for trail-based events.

Pictured right: The Harrier Lomond Jacket

They take a very everyman (and woman) community-led approach to things, aiming to appeal to beginners and amateur runners and shunning the ultra performance approach that brands can often tend to take. Our top pick from them is their Exmoor Jacket and the brand new Lomond Jacket looks decent. Both come at very reasonably prices.




From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Hero product: Saysky Pace Anorak

Saysky was established in Copenhagen in 2013 with the self-described mission to “create high performance running wear with an urban and casual attitude.”

Pictured right: The Saysky Logo Pace T-Shirt

If you like the kit by the now well-known Swiss running brand On then you should dig this stuff too. The aesthetics are clean and the colour palette has an earthiness to it while all of the gear is made for function. In fact, as Saysky put it, it’s “made to go fast”.




From: Cheshire, UK
Hero Product: Ronhill Mercurial Jacket

Like OMM, Ronhill are, you could say, part of British running heritage. The company was founded by a Dr Ron Hill MBE all the way back in September 1970, five months after becoming the first Briton to win the Boston Marathon in a record time of 2:10:30.

Pictured right: The Ronhill Tech Gore-tex Windstopper

After gaining a PhD in textile chemistry, Dr Hill started dabbling in product design – and he was pretty good at it. You know those running shorts with the splits down the sides? You guessed it, that was Dr Hill’s idea, and to many people over a certain age in the UK, running legging aren’t running legging, they’re Ronhills.

These days, Ronhill make top spec running gear covering all the bases from socks (which are branded as Hilly) to Gore-tex jackets. Expect a retro vibe with lots of luminescent colours and shiny details.


Enjoyed this article? You might also like our round up of the best outdoor brands from the UK.

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