Over the last couple of years, I’ve become a huge fan of Tracksmith’s running tops. They are always the first I reach for, and I’ve logged hundreds of miles in them. They recently reworked their brighton line, their seamless styles rendered in merino wool. I bought the long sleeve version to help ease me into cold weather runs. So far I’ve only worn it on its own, but as temperatures continue dropping, I’ll layer it under jackets and vests. I might even wear it skiing. Here’s everything you need to know about the brighton long sleeve base layer.
In general, Tracksmith’s tops tend to run about a half or even a full size small. I wear a size XXS in Athleta and a 2 in lululemon, but in Tracksmith, I wear a XS across the board, which is what I’m wearing here. Most runners prefer a loose fit through the body to avoid tops that ride up. As a result, the brighton is fitted through the shoulders, chest, and arms, then is more relaxed through the waist. If you are between sizes, I recommend sizing up.
The seamless knit is ultra soft and stretchy. It’s insanely comfortable and feels great to wear. It’s only about 52% merino, the rest of the fabrication is a blend of polyester and nylon. The fabric is very lightweight and breathable, good for mild shoulder season days when worn on its own. I have Tracksmith’s brighton tanks from a couple years ago, and it seems like they’ve improved the fabric since then.
Despite the knit appearing quite delicate, I can run in this with my Osprey pack and have not had any issues with pilling thus far. As you can see, the knit is textured with a mesh effect. I love how the knit patterning creates Tracksmith’s signature sash motif across the front for extra style points.
The only thing this top has in common with other seamless styles, like lululemon’s swiftly tees, is just the fact that they’re seamless. The fabric feels quite different–Tracksmith’s brighton is much softer and more comfortable to wear compared to my swiftly long sleeves. One complaint I have about swiftlies is that the sleeves are very long (I am 5’3″), and the material is difficult to pull back. The cuffs end up in my way a lot. Tracksmith’s sleeves are a little shorter, and the stretchier material means I can easily slide the sleeves up my forearms to cool off. This is especially useful for layering, since the cuffs won’t create a mess of fabric around my wrists. Petite people, you know what I’m talking about.
Merino is a fabulous performance fabric, especially for winter, because it’s naturally insulating and anti-stink. When it comes to sweaters for casual wear, I find wool to be horribly itchy and miserable to wear. But for whatever reason, I can wear Tracksmith’s merino performance tops with zero itch factor. If you’re skeptical of merino, as I was, I’d encourage you to give it a shot–returns are free! I was very surprised at how much I like it. I’m a total convert, and now I run in merino regularly.
The only thing that’s missing on this top is thumbholes. I’m a little sad to see Tracksmith has steered away from thumbholes in many of their long sleeve tops, because I would use them if they were there. That said, it’s not a deal breaker, and I’m still happy with this top without them.
If you prefer a thicker, warmer, more solid merino top (89% or more), go with the harrier long sleeve instead. If you want lightweight, but you want thumbholes and a cheaper price point, go with the twilight long sleeve. I have all 3 and I love each of them for different reasons.
At $88, the brighton is a very expensive running tee, but the quality is clear. It’s about the same as lululemon’s swiftly tees, but I think Tracksmith’s offering is superior. If you’re willing to spend the money, it’s an excellent addition to any runner’s repertoire.