You pay a premium for its good looks, but the Tracksmith Eliot Runner backs up its style with substance. It’s a great daily trainer that can handle a range of runs. Just try not to get it dirty.
- Stylish design
- Comfortable, versatile ride
- Grips well
- Cheaper options available
- White/ivory option gets dirty quickly
- Sizing is confusing
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I expected Tracksmith’s first running shoe to look good, but I was less sure about how it would perform on a run. Those concerns were unfounded. The Eliot Runner is a great daily trainer and that performance plus its stylish design adds up to one of the best running shoes.
The caveat is the price because you can get better all-round shoes for a lot less. You’re paying the extra for its design, so only you can make the call on how much that’s worth to you. You also need to think about how quickly it’s going to get dirty!
Tracksmith Eliot Runner Review: Price And Availability
The Tracksmith Eliot Runner launched in January 2023 and costs $198 in the US and £198 in the UK.
Design And Fit
Design is clearly a strong point with the Eliot Runner, but fit isn’t. I used a size 8 UK shoe, which fitted well despite the fact that I’m normally a UK 9, though I know from women who have tested the shoe that it runs small for them. Look carefully at Tracksmith’s European, US and UK sizes because they don’t always convert in the same way as with other brands. Based on my experience I’d go at least half a size down.
Once you have the right fit, the Eliot Runner has a comfortable upper that holds the foot well, with padding around the collar. The upper is an engineered mesh, with suede on the collar and eyestays (material that holds the eyelets in place) for that extra touch of class.
There are two layers of super-critical (gas-injected) PEBAX cushioning in the shoe. The first is the insole, which is thicker than you’ll find on most shoes and made from a softer foam than the midsole. This is designed to create a dual-density effect, where you get the softness from the insole on landing and then hit the firmer, bouncier PEBAX midsole to bounce you on your way.
The Eliot Runner has a 33.5mm stack at the heel and a 24.5mm stack at the forefoot for a 9mm drop, and it weighs 8.95oz/254g in a UK 8. That’s light for a well-cushioned shoe that also has a thick rubber outsole that covers most of the bottom of the shoe.
Just one note: Those who are horrified at the idea of how quickly a white (officially ivory) running shoe will get dirty, which is very quickly in my experience, will be pleased to know there are also black and navy versions of the Eliot Runner.
How I Tested This Shoe
I’ve run 37 miles/60km in the Tracksmith Eliot Runner, covering a range of training runs. These have included easy efforts, a 10 mile/17km run with speedy intervals, and a couple of progression runs.
It’s not easy to make great running shoes, which is why even established brands sometimes turn out duds, so I wasn’t anticipating anything too impressive from Tracksmith on its first attempt at a shoe.
The Eliot Runner surprised me from the start, however, providing an enjoyably bouncy ride that felt great at a range of paces. My first run was 17km, where I moved between easy and steady paces throughout, averaging 3min 55sec/km, and the shoe felt light and speedy, as well as comfortable when I did slow down.
It has a traditional ride, in that it is not highly rockered, so the transition from heel to toe is more snappy than smooth when running at pace. I’d like more cushioning under the forefoot myself for extra comfort on longer runs, especially at faster paces, but the Eliot Runner is comfortable for easy efforts.
For speed sessions a plated training shoe like the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 will give you more pop, but the Eliot Runner is light and responsive enough for intervals and tempo runs.
It fits the daily trainer mould perfectly. You can use it for everything, or build a rotation around it with a plated shoe for speedwork and a max-cushioned shoe for more comfort on long runs.
Is The Tracksmith Eliot Runner Worth It?
On performance alone you can get a much cheaper shoe that matches or improves on the Eliot Runner, like the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3, the Hoka Mach 5 or even the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, a nylon-plated trainer that handles every kind of run well.
However, if you love the design of the Eliot Runner you can buy it and be confident that it’s a terrific running shoe you’ll enjoy doing your training in, rather than just a looker you’ll have to save for casual use.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.