Since graduating from Yale University as a competitive Ivy League runner, Matt Taylor has spent most of his career in the running industry and working with world-class runners at top brands. Though deeply immersed in the business of running, Matt was frustrated with the slow pace of the industry, its cheaply-made products, and the “everyone gets a medal” mentality that diminished the reverence for elite achievement.
An admirer of UK cycling brand Rapha, Matt connected with its co-founder and creative architect, Luke Scheybeler. Luke’s work at Rapha has transformed and reinvigorated the cycling category, combining performance, style and a deep affection for the culture of the sport.
The two joined forces to create Tracksmith: a collection of premium performance running apparel that celebrates the grace, style and tradition of the world’s oldest sport.
1. What is Tracksmith?
Tracksmith is a collection of premium performance running apparel that celebrates the grace, style and tradition of the world’s oldest sport.
2. Why Tracksmith? Did you feel there was a need or gap in the market for old school style influenced apparel?
I was frustrated with the slow pace of the industry and the assumption that everyone wants to look the same when they run. The current product offering is very one-dimensional. And as product goes through the design and development process, all the details get stripped out. We obsess over the functional details and cultural references, and the result is the highest quality running product on the market.
3. At the moment you are selling only men’s gear. Is this part of the Tracksmith concept or will you be catering for women in the future as well?
Yes, we do have plans to expand our retail category beyond men’s in the future.
No, I don’t think so. There are obviously some similarities between the brands, but also many differences. Cycling and running are very different categories.
5. What does running mean to you personally?
Eat an apple and go for a run
I’ve been running my entire life and I think it’s one of the most important things someone can do every day. Eat an apple and go for a run.
6. What makes a run a good run?
That’s a tough question, because you never really know until you’re out there. I guess what makes a good run is that it’s not a bad run.
7. What’s your favorite time of the year to going running in and why?
If you push in the heat you can achieve a runner’s high more easily
I have two favorite times – dead of summer and early fall. I love running in the heat. In my experience, if you push in the heat you can achieve a runner’s high more easily. And the fall in New England is just perfect. There’s a smell and color palette that’s unique to this area, but it only lasts for a month or so.
8. What made you decide to start Meter magazine?
We created Meter Magazine to tell great stories and celebrate the competitive spirit of the sport. The large-format photography captures the intensity and beauty of running at its finest, and the stories pay respect to its fabled heritage. Issue #00 is available in gorgeous, heavyweight newsprint or as a pdf.
9. Where will we see Tracksmith in five years from now?
We eventually want to build something as enduring as the sport of running and create a brand that represents the runner’s entire lifestyle. We want to be top-of-mind when it comes to performance running gear and inspire and motivate runner’s to get out the door every day. We want to reignite people’s passion with the sport.
10. Any memorable running anecdotes you’d like to share?
I’ve been fortunate to be around some of the best runners in the world, and at both ends of the speed and endurance spectrums. I’ve spent time in Iten, Kenya with some of the best marathoners in the world and I’ve spent time traveling the circuit with Usain Bolt. Very different experiences, as you can imagine, but all memorable nonetheless.
11. If Tracksmith had an anthem song, what song/track would that be?
Oh man, I’m terrible with music. I honestly don’t have an answer to that one.