I've said it many times before, even on this very website, but running has to be up there as one of the most social solo activities on the planet. Whether it's a simple nod from a passing runner or the thousands of running clubs that seem to be popping up all over the place, the idea that running has to be a solo endeavour is simply not the case. Hell, the social aspect of running is exactly why creative director John Hansen decided to start DOXA in the first place.

With a background in fashion design, Hansen was uniquely positioned to put his love of running into a product line that could strike the perfect balance between design and functionality. We were lucky enough to be sent a few items from the brand's latest collection, and we were taken aback by just how breathable everything was - something that's incredibly important with summer just around the corner. From a design-perspective, DOXA make some of the best-looking gear we've ever tested, and it's not even close. Perhaps the biggest compliment we could give them is that the designs feel unique. In terms of the feel and aesthetic, we're team DOXA every time.

To find out more about the brand, we caught up with Hansen to discuss DOXA's origin story, the design process, and future plans.

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How did the company get started?

I started out running when I was 10 years old, had a few years in the sub-elite and today I still love to run – as much as life as a dad allows. I've worked in the fashion industry for more than 18 years and after seeing what happened with running culture in the late '00s, a new personal demand came up. The lonely and a bit nerdy sport of running started being a social cool thing to do and a new subculture was born with all the global social running crews, like our local friends from NBRO in Copenhagen. With all the new runners on the streets, I was missing something in the look of running apparel, which could provide me with the best functional features and still have a personal touch and a cool look.

Personally, I prefer quality over price, so from the beginning it was totally clear that I would like to make a premium running brand, where all fabrics are selected from the best suppliers in Italy, all workmanship is done by factories in Europe, and where all workers are living and working under good conditions.

When I think of running and how I was as a boy was sitting in front of the television during EM, WM and OL watching athletics, one nation always impressed me – the runners from Kenya. So when I decided to bring something else to all the runners in the world and established DOXA, I also decided to support these fantastic runners from Kenya. Through a cooperation with a Swedish NGO Global Relation, I support young running talents in Nairobi with running apparel. At Kenswed Academy in Nairobi, you have students who are chosen from the slum in Nairobi because of their poverty or social problems and are given a paid education together with structured running training plans and coaching.

How does the design process work for you: specifically the balance between functionality and aesthetic?

Design is an ongoing thing, so the process never ever stops. The day when you can’t develop or make your product better I suggest you quit the game. Each new design starts with a demand or a thing I need when I run, so you won’t find any details that haven’t got a function. That’s the difference between fashion design and sports design!

Once I've made my sketch for a design, I start to research which fabric fits this style. During this process, I put a lot of energy and personal taste into my choices of fabric and this is actually where you combine the functionally with the aesthetic. Prints, colours and feel of fabric plays a big role in how the final product is categorized.

Who is the best runner at the company?

The company is only counting me and the guys from the sales agency Rich & Hanc., so I am pretty sure that I still keep the fastest pace at all distances above 5K. But as the company grows, I'm not sure I'll keep this position for so long, but hey – don’t think I will leave this position without a race!

If one album could sum up the brand, what would it be and why?

I am a fan of originals like The Ramones, but as a kid growing up in the '90s, I still love to put on the sound of Back in Black from AC/DC or The Black Album from Metallica. An easy 1-2-3-4, iconic riffs, drums and voices. Music has always been a motivation and an inspiration for me in all I do, so it was obvious to start working with an angle to adapt this to DOXA. That is why you've seen the statement “Metal Health Club” on some items in previous collections and it will be a part of all future collections as well. MHC is now a term for all customers and subscribers of our newsletter, but in the future we will do a lot of add-ons for these people and fans of DOXA.

What piece are you most proud of and why?

I made a running jacket for the AW17 collection called Jayden jacket. This jacket was made with a wind resistant and water repellent fabric, which made all my runs during the winter a real pleasure. Especially with a hard headwind, the tight hoodie did the job and covered my ears and surrounded me with a silence that just made me smoothly fly around in the city. The sleeves also have an extra cuff attached with a detail for the thumbs and this actually saved me to only have a few runs with gloves this winter. You just use pull this extra cuff on it, which is easier to pull off instead of saving a pair of gloves in your tights or pockets.

Lastly, what do you have coming up that you think we should keep an eye out for?

I’m constantly searching for new inspiration for each collection or new collaborations that could bring some interesting vibes tp DOXA. I love working with the talents at Kenswed Academy in Kenya and therefore I decided to add one single piece to the new AW18 collection, where a handmade graphic print is made as a contribution to the runners at the academy. This tee will be given to the students at Kenswed Academy in September and will be available in stores and online at the same time.

You can visit DOXA by heading to doxarun.com.