Trail running and fashion: the meeting of two worlds


  • The worlds of trail running and fashion have met: collaborations between fashion brands and trail running brands have taken hold.
  • Fashion interest in trail running has grown due to the increase in outdoor activities and awareness of the importance of the environment and sustainability.
  • The contamination between these two worlds raises questions about the future: will the authentic values of trail running remain intact or be influenced by fashion? Will trail runners follow trends or maintain their functional identity?


Twoparallel lines never meet. So goes the axiom of Euclidean geometry that more or less we will all remember from our school days, to the delight of our geometry teachers. This is the rule. But for every rule there is always an exception.

It so happens that the world of trail running meets the world of fashion. Two worlds placed at the antipodes, which apparently would have nothing to do with each other. On the one hand, the declination of running in a natural, pristine environment that aims to reconnect the individual with the reality around him or her. On the other hand, a social phenomenon consisting of the establishment of aesthetic and behavioral patterns closely linked to a given historical moment and a given geographical and cultural area.

Until not so long ago, the worlds of trail running and fashion have traveled on parallel tracks, never meeting. Then unpredictably something changed. Following the boom in outdoor activities and trail running, probably due in part to the merger of the Ironman group with UTMB and the resulting greater investment made in event communications, fashion brands began to take an interest in that universe whose models don’t parade down catwalks in fancy dresses but run on sweaty, muddy dirt trails.

Thus it is that, one after another, we have witnessed the succession of collaborations between major brands representing the two worlds: The North Face boasts collections made with Gucci, Supreme and Timberland for example, Salomon with Palace, Dover Street Market and Hidden NY. Another collaboration that has been a topic of discussion for quite some time has been the one made by Zegna with the Canadian brand Norda.

Fashion interest in the outdoor world has increased exponentially in this recent period when issues related to the environment and sustainability are increasingly felt and debated. Trail running represents one of the most authentic voices in this field, precisely because of the values on which the discipline is based: love and respect for nature, the protagonist of the adventures of countless enthusiasts. What better way to gain credibility and authenticity than by exploiting that of those who can already boast of it?

It is inevitable to wonder where this contamination between two such different worlds will take us in the near future. Will the values underpinning the discipline of trail running be strong enough to remain unchanged and not succumb to the dynamics of fashion? How will trail runners react? Will they adapt to what will be sanctioned to be fashionable season after season, or will they continue on their way (or, rather, their path) ignoring all the surroundings? Will they manage not to distort their appearance, which pays as little attention to aesthetics as to the functionality of garments and color choice? Will the trail runner look more and more like his pussified runner cousin who runs through the streets of city metropolises?

We are very curious to find out.


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