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Tracksmith Eliot Runner: Coming out Swinging
By Senior Contributor Nathan Brown

Tracksmith has grown in popularity over the last few years thanks to their very comfortable, high-performance running apparel. The New England-based company also carries through the New England style with its gear, representing the culture of the company and region. The Eliot Runner is their first foray in the running shoe space, and they are delivering a sleek trainer utilizing some of the best base materials used in modern day running shoes including PEBAX foam. PEBAX, though usually associated with racing shoes, finds a new identity in the Eliot Runner, a daily trainer coming in at a high price point of $198. 

Tracksmith Eliot Runner
Price: $198 at Tracksmith
Weight: 9.2oz, 260g (men's size 9), 8oz, 226g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 33.5mm (heel), 24.5mm (forefoot
Drop: 9mm
Classification: daily trainer


The Tracksmith Eliot Runner is the brand's first crack at a running shoe. It utilizes a PEBAX based midsole, but in a form that makes it feel like a more traditional trainer than the "supershoes" we've come to associate with that type of foam. It's a straight/narrow-fitting, neutral trainer with a nice balance between ground feel and a bit of responsiveness. It comes in at a hefty price point of $198, which in some ways you could expect from a high-end brand like Tracksmith.

SIMILAR SHOESNike Pegasus 39, Brooks Levitate 6, Skechers Razor 4


I actually have two pairs of the Eliot Runner (the white/navy and the black) and they both fit quite differently. The Navy/White pair is quite snug through the mid/forefoot while the Black pair fits much more true to size and has room to spare. In communicating with others who have tried the shoe, sizing reports have been variable. So it is hard to really solidify my thoughts on fit and recommendations. 

Beyond the fit, the feel and structure of the upper is really nice. Consistent with the comfort of their apparel, the upper is soft, hugs the foot well, and limits slippage. However, the heel collar is a bit lower and can feel a bit insecure. Due to how snug the White/Navy pair was, I actually did my first run in them sockless. I had no blistering, no hot spots, and was very comfortable (and my feet are not accustomed to sockless running). The upper is an engineered mesh of moderate thickness which has kept my feet warm through the winter but has not caused any overheating while running on the treadmill. The upper has stretched slightly and therefore I now wear thin socks with my White/Navy pair. There is a moderately firm heel counter which is well-padded and holds the foot secure. Overall, the upper is simply done well and with some sophistication with a signature woven sash on the side.


When you hear Pebax your mind probably jumps to shoes like the Nike Vaporfly, Saucony Endorphin Speed/Pro, and other "super shoes". However, when approaching this shoe, please temper your expectations. Not all Pebax is made the same (expanded upon in the DPT section). The midsole of the Eliot Runner consists of two components. The first is the lower portion of the midsole, a firmer PEBAX compound with a classic geometry free of major sole flaring. It also has a well-constructed heel bevel and a flatter forefoot, providing a more natural running feel with a flexible forefoot versus many of the rockered shoes we've seen recently. The second part of the running platform actually comes in the form of the sock liner, which is a 10mm thick slab of softer PEBAX. In essence, you get a dual-density midsole, but in a modified manner. I personally appreciate slightly firmer shoes that don't operate on a forefoot rocker for daily training, so this construction worked for me personally. The combination of the softer sock liner and firmer midsole results in a nice balance between ground feel and responsive cushioning. The geometry is simple, but the bevel and level of flexibility both work really well together and there were no hitches in transitions from heel to forefoot. 

I took this shoe on recovery runs, daily runs, and a long run with a hill workout embedded. The shoe performed well for me in all situations. For the workout, there was not a propulsive feel, but the midsole is light enough and has just enough responsiveness to keep up with the tempo portions of the run. The ride of the shoe is not anything remarkable compared to what we are seeing on the market, but it is well-executed from front to back. For $198, what you get is simplicity done well -- resulting in a versatile running shoe. Unlike other models in this range for price, don't expect something that attempts to revolutionize the running experience. The price point in some ways does match the materials used (ie PEBAX), the craftsmanship of the components, and the brand name you are buying into. Whether that price point is worth it is up to you. For a daily trainer, I'd be personally looking elsewhere for a lower price point. That said, I'm also glad that a shoe for this price isn't a flop. It's a really enjoyable shoe to run in.


The Eliot Runner is a neutral shoe. The slightly firmer overall platform, full-contact outsole, and thicker rubber give it some structure, but not enough to provide any real guidance (which isn't a bad thing). There are no real sole flaring or side walls, either. What it has going for it is a well-crafted geometry that makes all transitions smooth from back-to-front. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Not all Pebax is Created Equal
By Nathan Brown

Thanks to shoes like the Nike Vaporfly and SauconyEndorphin Pro/Speed, we all have certain expectations when we hear a shoe has PEBAX in the midsole. What we have to remember is that PEBAX is a brand and that PEBA (poly-ethyl-block-amide) is a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE). What does all this mumbo jumbo mean?

PEBA in its pure form is not a foam. It isn't a material that is functional but is a base that can be turned into products used in many different industries. You have to "treat" the material to turn it into foam. How you treat it determines the final properties of the foam and how it will feel underfoot. 

What are the final properties that in part contribute to the feel of the foam underfoot? Two of them are compliance and resilience. Compliance refers to the amount of displacement of the foam under a certain load, while resilience refers to what percentage of the original form the foam returns to. For example, if a foam compressed 10cm under a certain load and only returned to 8cm, the resilience would be 80%. Depending on how the PEBA is "treated," it will have a different level of compliance and resilience. While I don't have numbers, I would venture to guess that the compliance of the PEBAX foam in the Eliot Runner is significantly lower than the compliance found in the Vaporfly. This is why two shoes with PEBAX-based foams can feel so different. They have the same core, but likely very different properties. When compared to other base materials (such as EVA), PEBA has overall stronger characteristics for resilience. This means that even if there are different properties, you're probably still getting a quality product.

It is kind of like flour. Flour on its own is not great. But there are multiple ways to treat flour with water, heat, etc., to create a myriad of lovely baked goods like bread and noodles. Bread and noodles both have flour, but they have very different densities and provide very different eating experiences. Vaporfly is your bread. Eliot Runner is your noodles. 


For many, the Eliot Runner just isn't going to be on the list of shoe options just based on price alone. However, I still think that there are some adjustments to improve this shoe. One is dialing in the sizing. I'd hope to see the toe box opened up slightly and simply more consistent sizing between pairs. Additionally, a slightly higher heel collar may help with some security. 


The Tracksmith Eliot runner is a slightly firmer, smooth-riding, and mildly poppy shoe that can handle slower runs as well as some workouts. For those looking for a versatile trainer with a flexible forefoot and good ground feel, this can fit the bill. The higher price point is a factor for a shoe designed for daily training, but you will get a well-constructed shoe. 


Fit: B- (The variability between pairs is tough, collar a bit low, and toe box snug in one pair)
A- (no hitches throughout, versatile trainer, a bit of pop)
Stability: B [neutral] (no side walls, sole flaring, but full contact and firmer make it true neutral and not unstable)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (Utilizing PEBA in a daily trainer fashion gives lighter weight and good resilience without needing it to be race day)
Personal: A- (Would grade it higher if fit was better with more volume in forefoot)
Overall: B+ 


Shop: $198 at Tracksmith

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Tracksmith for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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