The value of design in understanding run-commuting

I have long held an interest in design and the role in can have in understanding and affecting practices. There is a growing interest in the intersection between mobilities and design, and in run-commuting this seems most starkly felt in running with a bag.

This has always been a source of contention for run-commuters, myself included, and featured heavily in my PhD into run-commuting practices in the UK. The relationship between bodies, materials and movement can help facilitate the practice whilst also altering the experiences and rhythms of running. In run-commuting, bags are not background objects but considerations front and centre.

Bag design was often discussed in my research for the considerations it gives to the running body and features that can produce more pleasant running experiences. This has left me with a desire to understand design from the other side and the considerations designers make in developing run-commuting bags.

So I was beyond intrigued when I came across the Intencity CMTR pack range. This has been developed by a team as part of their studies on the Sports Product Management Master’s programme at the University of Oregon. As such, there is a wealth of material they have produced alongside the bag itself, which details the process and shines a light on their considerations of run-commuting in producing this product.

Developing these bags requires intimate, felt knowledges of run-commuting, the embodied experiences of running with a bag, what run-commuters need a bag to do, and how this can all be harmonised through design. All of these considerations are visible in the video and in the other materials produced as part of the project:

They are also vividly brought together in these design sketches, and thanks to Team Intencity, University of Oregon: Sports Product Management Class of 2021 for letting me repost these here (and more can be found here):

This has all been so interesting to explore and made me more intrigued to consider design more centrally in future research. It seems to offer much value in understanding practices.

You can find out more about Intencity CMTR range and the product development journey here:


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