Behold, the best running tank you’ll ever wear

Runners are creatures of habit. When we find something like, we tend to stick with it, which is why we’ll buy the same model of running shoe until it’s significantly changed and own multiple pairs of one style of running shorts. It’s why I, personally, have hung onto and continue to run in a pair of basic black tights — they aren’t even running tights, they’re nylon and spandex dance leggings — since 1996.  It’s a lot about comfort and, for some, maybe a little about superstition. When something works, it works. Why mess with that?

So when I find something new that works, I want to shout it from the roof tops. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how much I’ve been loving rabbit’s Bunny Hop tank, but it’s actually one of two tanks I’ve fallen in love with this summer. Behold, Tracksmith’s Brighton Tank:

Tracksmith, a small New England-based running brand established in 2014, marries function with aesthetic. It has a traditional, old school vibe that will be familiar to anybody who grew up running cross country or track and field prior to whenever shorts-that-look-like-underwear became something people wore in competition. (When I was a senior in high school, in 1997, some schools did have those. My school’s inability to afford new uniforms spared me the indignity of having to compete in glorified underwear.) My Tracksmith shorts are a much nicer, kind of luxurious version of the blue and white school-issued uniform shorts I wore back in high school, and every time I pull them on I’m filled with nostalgia for those days when “race day” meant getting out of class early as opposed to a 5 a.m. (or earlier) wakeup call.

Earlier this summer, I placed my first Tracksmith order for a pair of Van Cordlandt shorts and the aforementioned Brighton Tank. The shorts are great, but it’s the tank that really impressed me. The super light, wicking top is made from a blend of 52% merino wool, 28% nylon, and 20% polyester.

Did you just read “wool” and think about cranking up the air conditioner? Don’t. Per Tracksmith’s own product description, merino wool “wicks moisture and regulates temperature.” I wouldn’t be able to recommend it after a summer of running in Fresno (seriously, we just came off of something like three weeks where the overnight low barely dipped below 80 degrees) if it didn’t.

So, why did this tank immediately become the one I’m most likely to reach for?

  • It’s really, really light. I don’t want to feel weighed down on any run, but heavy clothes are especially unpleasant during the summer.
  • It’s flattering. It looks similar to Lululemon’s Swiftly Tech Racerback, which is similarly lightweight, but it doesn’t cling to me in weird ways or ride up over the course of a run. Which is my biggest complaint about Lulu’s Swiftly line.
  • It really does an excellent job of wicking away moisture. I wore it for a day of hiking in Yosemite, where the mist trail left me pretty wet, and it dried within maybe 20 minutes? It was definitely dry before we turned around and went back through that section of trail.
  • Here is the most magical thing about this top: It doesn’t stink. I noticed this after that day in Yosemite so I decided to see how many times I could wear it before I absolutely had to wash it. In this thoroughly unscientific experiment, I wore it for a long run of 11 miles and a shorter run before I could detect even a hint of odor. In general I don’t recommend wearing running clothes multiple times before washing them, but at least I can wear this shirt to grab coffee after a run without worrying I’m offending everyone in Starbucks.
  • The fabric just feels really soft and nice.

Fit-wise, this tank seems to run a bit large. I tend to wear a small or medium in tops, depending on the brand or style, so I initially ordered a medium. It ended up being way too long and baggy so I exchanged it for a small, which fits me well.

Why review a tank top now, at the (supposed) end of summer? Because summer isn’t over in Fresno until November at least, so you’ve still got time to rock this thing this year. And also because Tracksmith just unveiled its fall collection, which includes a Brighton Base Layer made from the same material. At $85 the price is, admittedly, a bit steep. But if you’re like me, and still regularly pull out running tights you wore to high school track practice, it might be a worthwhile investment — especially if it’s as soft and flattering as its tank top counterpart, which I can foresee wearing for years to come.

Get it

You can order Tracksmith gear directly from the company’s website, where you can also view the rest of the fall collection or pre-order a BQ 18 singlet. The Brighton tank is available in two colors, a muted teal and navy blue. The base layer comes in five colors, including the very fall-appropriate wine and charcoal. Dudes, you haven’t been left out. The tank is only available in a women’s cut, but Tracksmith’s men’s line includes both the Brighton Base Layer and a Brighton Base Layer Tee. (And you guys have the option of getting them in yellow!)

Tracksmith Brighton Tank (for women), $48

Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer, (for women) $85

Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer Tee (for men), $80

Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer (for men), $85

(Photos provided by Tracksmith and used with permission.)

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