As the colder weather sets in, runners are starting to think about what to wear to stay warm while running outside. For trail runners and those training for spring marathons in the Northern Hemisphere, the reality is a lot of the training falls in the winter months. So it is important to make sure you are wearing the proper clothing while you train.
Wearing tights in the winter is a great way to stay warm while running outside. The tights are designed to trap your core heat, keeping you warm and toasty during runs in cold temperatures.
In this article, we review the very best running leggings, covering the best tights for trail running, winter running, 3 4 short running tights, and compression tights.
Best men’s running tights for cold weather
Rockay Performance Running Tights:
The Rockay Performance Running tights, are made from premium recycled materials and offer a great fit that aids performance. This is a legging that you will love for its comfort and support.
The tights are designed with high-performance microfibers, which make them moisture-wicking and breathable. The compression aids in muscle recovery as well as performance. They also have open crotch technology to prevent chafing and irritation during your runs.
The convenient pocket at the rear of the tights allows you to store a key, credit card, or gel. When you are wearing these leggings you will look and feel great!
Best lightweight women’s tights for cold weather
Inov-8 Women’s FLITE Tight:
If you’re looking for lightweight warmth, then Inov-8 has your best option. The FLITE Tight provides you with warmth, without weighing you down.
They are made from soft but durable polyester fabric to provide you with the perfect amount of stretch for running. I’m sure that these leggings will become an essential part of your cold-weather running kit.
Best women’s compression tight for cold weather
Tuff Girl Running Compression Tight:
If you are looking for the best compression tights to keep your muscles warm during cold weather running, then look no further than the Tuff Girl compression leggings.
These tights are designed with compression technology which helps reduce muscle fatigue so you can run longer and stronger. They have moisture-wicking technology to keep you dry and a pocket on the rear of the waistband. This is perfect for storing your key or money as you run, without having to carry them in your hand or stuffing them down your sports bra – this saves embarrassing moments!. They have been designed specifically for women, so they have added panels so they are not too tight on the hips. Best of all they have a fantastic price point, so you can try out these great tights without breaking the bank!
Best 3/4 men’s short running tights for cold weather
Under Armour Men’s Coldgear Infrared Tactical Tight:
The Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Infrared Tactical Short are the perfect option if you’re looking for a pair of running tights that will provide warmth without being bulky.
They have been designed with ColdGear Infrared technology that traps your heat to keep you warm while you are on your run. They have a secure key pocket at the rear which allows you to store your house key, credit card, or phone while you are running without having to carry it. They also have convenient adjustable drawcords on the waistband that allow you to manage how tightly they fit.
These tights are great for long runs as they keep you warm and comfortable. You can even wear them under your jeans or pants for extra warmth when it is cold outside.
Best trail running tights
Columbia Minx Mid III Omni-Heat Running Tight:
The Columbia Minx Mid III Omni-Heat Running Tights provide warmth and convenience. They have a built in Omni-heat technology that reflects your body heat back to you, keeping you warmer for longer on those long cold runs.
These tights are perfect for running in the cold, wet weather as they have been waterproof tested to protect you from the elements. They are made from lightweight fabric with Omni-tech that makes them water-resistant and windproof.
These tights also have mid-thigh venting zips which provide added ventilation when you need it most – so your legs stay cool
Best compression running tights
Under Armour Men‘s UA Rush Gym Running Tights with Compression Fit
The Under Armour Men‘s UA Rush Gym Running Tights provide a compression fit that holds your muscles in place while you are running.
They have been designed with HeatGear technology which keeps you dry and cool during exercise, so these tights will keep you comfortable during long runs even when it is cold outside. In addition, the tights also have anti-odor technology which ensures that the toughest of tests won’t stop you from your run.
They have a secure key pocket at the rear which allows you to store your house key, credit card, or phone while you are on your run without having to carry it.
When To Wear Tights
Tights are a great option as a replacement for shorts, or for wearing under your pants, especially if you have a lot of long runs during the winter months. The lycra fabric is soft and comfortable against your skin but will keep you warm and help insulate you from the cold air. Whilst most running tights are not waterproof, they will also help repel some of the rain and drizzle which you might encounter on your run.
Types of Running Tights
There are two common types of running tights: compression tights and non-compression tights. For both these options, there is a high-quality breathable fabric option available for cold weather conditions.
Compression tights are designed to help muscles to remain warm, which in turn helps with blood flow and improve performance, or so the science tells us. Studies on compression are pretty mixed, but some runners swear by the effectiveness of compression, so go with what works for you. If it feels right, don’t change it.
The compression technology of these tights helps increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to your muscles – this allows you to push yourself further than before, and run further and faster
The extra compression also prevents your muscles from over-extending, as they will naturally grip the muscle next to them. This helps you avoid injury during those long runs!
Non-compression tights are just that, regular exercise leggings made from lycra or nylon stretchy fabric. They are not designed to fit as tightly as compression tights but should be sufficiently body-hugging so they don’t get in the way on your run. Of course, the non-compression running tights also offer more warmth than shorts or leggings but offer less compression.
How to Choose the Right Tights for Cold Weather
If you are running in freezing conditions, tights with an extra layer of insulation will be your best bet
Tights made from fleece are a great option as this is one of the most effective ways to insulate yourself from the cold. However, if you are running in a wet climate, fleece will also absorb moisture and become heavy when wet.
In comparison, tights made from spandex or polyester have a smooth outer layer so they repel some of the water and offer better insulation when dry.
What To Look For In Running Tights
There are several things you should look for when choosing the right pair of tights for running.
Running Tights Fit:
First, make sure they fit well and can move with you as you run. Be sure they don’t bunch up. You want to make sure they fit snugly against your legs, without being too tight. If they are too tight, they will be hard to move in and uncomfortable during your run. If they are loose, especially around the waistband, they can get in the way or feel uncomfortable against your skin.
I prefer tights with an adjustable waistband. I find an elastic waistband on its own, is not enough to keep the leggings up comfortably, particularly if you carry a phone and keys in the secure zipped pocket.
Running Tights Comfort:
The fabric should feel comfortable against your skin. Ideally, you want a breathable, sweat-wicking, quick-drying fabric that draws moisture and prevents rubbing that can become sore on longer runs.
Running tights come in several different fabrics, including lycra, spandex, bamboo, and more recently recycled polyester. Each type has its pros, cons, and eco-credentials, so choose one that suits your needs.
Running Tights Warmth:
If you are running in freezing conditions, tights with an extra layer of insulation or dry-fit / waterproof tights are your best bet.
I prefer fleece-lined tights with a brushed fabric inner because they are warm even when wet. But if you plan to run in a colder climate (and do not plan on getting wet) then spandex or polyester tights are also a great option.
Running Tights Style:
Most running tights are black (it’s a fact), but if black is not your thing, you can find a great range of colours including some garish and high visibility leggings.
Since I do most of my running at night, I tend to wear bright high-visibility running gear. Tights with reflective details on the ankle and back of the leg come in handy if you are running in the dark. The idea of reflective wear is that it helps to increase the visibility of the runner during hours of low light, so drivers have more time to react if they see you coming
Running Tights Phone Pocket:
Whilst comfort is the number 1 priority, a secure pocket is a must-have feature for storing your phone, keys, or energy gels.
I prefer running tights that come with a zip pocket on the back of the waistband that you can slip into to store your essentials. Ideally, this pocket stretches to match the size of the phone. Some tights have tight hip pockets that may also store a phone. These may suit some runners, but I find on longer runs, they can become uncomfortable and cause chafing.
It’s worth checking out higher-end models because they tend to have larger pockets which are more comfortable and higher quality zips.
Running Tights Grip:
The bottom hem of your leggings should be thick enough to stay put and not ride up your lower leg as you run.
How to Care for Your Running Tights
The best running tights last longer when you look after them properly. To prolong the life of your new compression leggings, ensure they are machine washable and follow the care label to give them a longer life.
It is also important to rinse your running tights in cool water before you machine wash them in warm water. This rinses the garment free of excess dye. If you do not pre-rinse, then expect some colour transfer when you take your tights off post-run.
Most compression leggings and high-wicking fabrics can be dried in a tumble dryer. If you’re wondering whether your pair of running tights will survive the machine, read the tags and look for washing instructions that avoid heat and chlorine.
These steps will lower your risk of shrinkage and help to maintain the elasticity of the fabric.
Cold Weather Care for Running Tights
Once you run, remove your tights immediately after finishing your workout and put them in the wash as soon as possible to make sure they don’t smell! If not washed regularly, bacteria can build up which will lead to unwanted smells.
FAQs About Running Tights:
Are running tights necessary?
They are not essential, but they can help enhance comfort and in some instances even improve performance.
Are yoga pants as good as running tights?
Yoga pants do not have as much elasticity as tights, so can be looser and more prone to moving around during running.
Should I wear anything under running tights?
I wear ‘Runderwear’ underwear under my tights. For me, they tick all the boxes. They offer the necessary support and are seamless and breathable which helps keep me dry and offers a comfy fit. I know some people prefer not to wear anything under their tights, but I find it too uncomfortable to run without underwear.
Do tights slow you down?
Nope! The style of tights does not impact speed or performance.
Are compression tights good for running?
Yes, wearing compression tights can help support the muscles and boost performance. I always wear a pair under my leggings before a race as they help to reduce any muscle soreness post-run which helps me perform better the next time
Do running tights cause chafing?
Yes, tights are more likely to cause chafing due to the fabric being close to your skin for an extended period. I recommend wearing appropriate underwear underneath tights as this can help prevent any rubbing.
Is it better to run in tights or shorts?
It’s a personal preference. Many runners prefer tights as they offer support for the muscles and can help reduce running injuries, but some people find them uncomfortable or feel restricted by the fabric.
Do running Leggings make you more visible at night?
Yes, if it is a reflective belt/trim of any kind you will be more visible
I hope you enjoyed this article on the best running tights for cold weather! It was written to be informative and also entertaining. Good Luck in your next run!