I’ve been running in LA—and its surrounding mountains and beaches—for the past two years. With as sunny as it is here, sunscreen and a full brimmed hat are necessary for protection, and make a huge difference in your comfort level when you’re out there pounding the pavement.
A few weeks into a particularly grueling training cycle this summer, it became abundantly clear that I needed to invest in a good pair of running sunglasses. (Let’s just say the sun was in my eyes and I couldn’t see a very large crack in the sidewalk and end it at that). I hopped on the computer to scope out my options, and found that every pair was … horrifyingly ugly.
The highlighter-colored frames with brightly colored lenses that most athletes wear are so not my style—I’m more of a fashion minimalist. Black, white, grey, navy. That’s all the color I need in my wardrobe. I abandoned my search and told myself I’d just have to come to terms with the ugliness … Until I stumbled upon District Vision.
“What’s available, the stuff that’s out there for runners—it isn’t as sophisticated as it should be,” co-founders Max Vallot and Tom Daly explained to me. Vallot laughed when I told him my sunglasses horror story: “Most sports eyewear still looks like it belongs in a bad episode of Star Trek!”
And if anyone could make running gear cool and chic (and less Vulcan), it’s these guys—they’ve worked at fashion institutions like Saint Laurent and Acne Studio. The pair met at school in London, where they bonded while running the loop at Regents Park. Eventually, they followed their respective paths in fashion and business and found themselves living in New York City at the same time.
“We pushed as hard as we could in NYC, working crazy hours and then trying to go out and socialize, too. Eventually, we hit a wall and kind of realized it wasn’t really how we wanted to live in the long run,” Daly explains. That meant more weekends spent upstate amongst nature, and less in noisy, boozy nightclubs. As they became more connected and centered, they came to the conclusion that they “weren’t interested in designing more denim and leather jackets.” Instead, they set out to create a toolkit that could benefit runners that didn’t compromise on quality or style. And District Vision was born.
Currently, the line offers three different styles designed under their proprietary Keiichi running sunglass system. Each unit is made in Japan, ultralight, and shatterproof. In true minimalist fashion, they’re not concerned with creating tons of unnecessary products. “It’s not about buying more. It’s about buying fewer items that have a more specific purpose and are more intelligent,” points out Vallot.
We couldn’t agree more. Another thing we love about District Vision? They’re just as into looking good as they are into feeling good. In fact, the company has launched a running and mediation program that’s meant to help bring mindfulness to movers. For those running the New York City Marathon in the next few weeks, you can sign up for a special meditation event they’re hosting to prep athletes to go the distance on race day.
The District Vision dudes gave us their must-have picks for fashionable, minimalist runners. Here’s what they came up with:
District Vision sunglasses
Moon Juice plant-based protein and recovery supplement
Salomon running shoes
Nike x Undercover Gyakusou Speed tights
Falke running socks
Patagonia Houdini pullover