Raleigh running store pays tribute to Boylan Avenue with new shorts

Runologie’s $69.99 Boylan Short, named after Raleigh’s Boylan Avenue, is getting its own party.
Runologie’s $69.99 Boylan Short, named after Raleigh’s Boylan Avenue, is getting its own party. Runologie

Raleigh’s Boylan Heights is apparently a brand. Thirty years after local band The Connells put the neighborhood’s name on an album, it’s now on a T-shirt and an annual art walk. What’s next? The Boylan Short, which is being described by its creators as a “signature lifestyle short.”

Runologie, the running shoe and apparel company that makes it home on Hillsborough Street, not far from Boylan Avenue, is “releasing” The Boylan Short at a party and fashion show at its store at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

“We try to be the craft beer of running shoes and focus on small brands,” Runologie co-owner Brent Francese said about the store.

“Most of our customers live and work downtown,” Francese said. “The short is something you can run in, go to the bar in or bike in. … They’re not just for runners.”

Francese and Runologie’s other co-owners, Alex Warren and David Meeker, spent almost a year designing The Boylan Short, which costs $69.99. The shorts are made of four-way stretch fabric from Schoeller, a Swiss textile company. Runologie manufactured 80 shorts, and customers have pre-ordered about 25.

The three men, who opened Runologie in 2014, designed The Boylan Short with their Thursday night run club in mind. Boylan Avenue is an essential part of their route. The runners typically end the night going out for a beer.

“They’re the perfect shorts for a casual run and not feeling awkward that you’re in short shorts at a bar,” Warren said.

Runologie is promoting The Boylan Short with the help of N.C. State University’s Entrepreneurship Clinic. Students consulted with the small business about search engine optimization, marketing and more, Francese said. In addition to the party and fashion show, the shorts have a promotional video that shows them being worn while running, drinking and playing with a dog at various Raleigh sites near Boylan Heights.

The shorts are Runologie’s first in-house design and are made about 30 miles from Raleigh, in Middlesex. But the guys say they plan on adding shorts for women and a top for men to their in-house designs.

N.C. State graduate Olivia Enright is working with Runologie to design one of those next items, a men’s singlet (basically a tank top). Enright, a Cary native, ran track and cross country at N.C. State and studied in State’s College of Textiles. She visited the store a few times and reached out to Runologie about freelancing in April. (She starts a design internship with Adidas in mid-June.)

“I love being able to put on a crisp uniform before I race, and I want to share that with others,” she said. “I have run road races in Raleigh, and the running community blows me away. They’re so welcoming.”