Running has always been a great way to get your heart rate up, work on your endurance and stay healthy. With many gyms and fitness centers now closing their doors amidst the ongoing global pandemic, running represents a safe form of exercise that can be done at home on a treadmill or outdoors (don’t forget your mask!). Running has minimal barriers to entry. You need a sidewalk or path to run on, a pair of quality shoes and running tights that will keep you comfortable, feel supportive and stay where they are supposed to whether you are running 20 miles or jogging around the block.
Running shorts have been the norm for decades, but running tights are gaining more traction among runners thanks to their lack of traction in practice. Running tights typically have some level of compression which reduces the amount of wind resistance and drag when running. Compression clothing can also help to reduce fatigue, increase muscle efficiency, and speed up recovery time. Circulation can be improved from the use of compression running tights, which are also able to remove metabolic waste from muscles. Some running tights are also designed with elastic panels that help to provide support around the core.
Running tights are made for all temperatures but are especially useful in cool weather since cold muscles can increase the chance of muscle strain. Their streamlined design makes them much more conducive to running than sweatpants and keeping the legs covered on sunny days also protects the skin from the elements, including sun damage.
To find a pair of running tights that you can put on and forget about means putting some thought into them before you tie up your laces. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best running tights that feature pockets, no pockets, zippers, no zippers and everything else in between.
1. New Balance Reflective Impact Run Heat Tights
When your preferred place to run is outdoors, there are two crucial features that are required for running tights. They need to be highly reflective to make you visible to vehicles and they need to have ample pocket space to keep your personal items secure. The New Balance Reflective Impact Run Heat Tights have all these features and more. The fitted running tights stay close to the body and keep runners comfortable thanks to the New Balance Heat fleece spandex technology that keeps warm air inside the pants and wicks away moisture. A large reflective print makes runners highly visible even when running in low light. For runners who like to keep their phone, a key, a card and other small personal items on them while they run, the New Balance tights have two large zippered side pockets that fit most smartphones and a rear gusset pocket. We also like that the tights have an ankle zipper to make it easy to pull them on and off without removing your shoes.
2. Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Compression Leggings
Want a tight that supports you during your runs but doesn’t make it obvious you just completed a new personal best? Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Compression Leggings are sweat-wicking, fast drying and have anti-odor technology that helps stop the odor and keeps your tights smelling fresh. Made with four-way stretch, the tights are designed to move with you and have a stretch mesh gusset and inseam to provide ventilation where you need it the most. Ideal for cold weather, the dual-layer tights have an inner brushed fabric that keeps legs warm and helps protect against injury. We also like Under Armour’s sizing, which goes up to 4XL and has tall options.
3. NIKE Men’s Base Layer Training Tights
BEST FOR PAIRING WITH SHORTS
If you want the benefits of compression running tights but aren’t quite ready to strut proudly around the track in a pair of form-fitting tights, we like the NIKE Men’s Base Layer Training Tights. The tights can be worn on their own, but their body-hugging silhouette also makes them a great option for users who would prefer to wear shorts over top. The tights are designed to be ‘distraction-free’ and make good on their promises. Flat seams that reduce chafing, an elastic waistband for a secure fit, and a body-hugging finish with no pockets make these tights feel more like a second layer of skin than a pair of pants. The compression tights are made with Dri-FIT material that quickly wicks away sweat to keep the user cool and dry. The Base Layer tights are available in eight color options and have one of the best size ranges, going from small to 4XL.
4. Adidas Men’s Alphaskin Tights
BEST FOR TALL RUNNERS
For runners who need a little extra length in the legs, we like the Adidas Men’s Alphaskin Tights. The formfitting tights hug the runner’s body and the compression fit helps to speed up recovery and keep muscles warm and less prone to injury. The moisture-absorbing Aeroready fabric makes these ideal for use in warm weather. We also like that the tights are available in regular and tall sizes to help users find the perfect fit.
5. CW-X Men’s Stabilyx Joint Support Compression Sports Tights
For runners who want to feel support while they are logging miles, we recommend the CW-X Men’s Stabilyx Joint Support Compression Sports Tights. Made from 80% polyester and 20% spandex, the breathable and moisture-wicking fabric keeps runners dry and cool while acting as a second skin. The ultra-supportive compression tights have an abdominal panel for the core which supports the abs, lower back and hips. A two-way stretch panel also provides extra support around the knee joints and hips to help reduce impact and speed up recovery. Designed to be worn year-round, the tights feature UPF 50+ UVA/UVB protection.
6. Tracksmith Turnover Tights
For running tights that make it bearable to get up for your early morning jog in the middle of winter, we like the Tracksmith Turnover Tights. The soft-brushed back provides a barrier between the runner and the Italian Inverno micro-nylon and elastane blend knit that keeps cold air out and quickly wicks away moisture. The form-fitting, ultra-comfortable tights have elongated, contoured zippers above the heel that won’t rub the skin and make it easy to pull the tights on and off while still wearing shoes. Bonded seams reduce the chance of chafing and a zippered rear welt pocket is placed to ensure that personal items stay secure without bouncing while running.
7. Patagonia Peak Mission Tights
For tights that can keep up with you even when the temperatures begin to dip, we like the Patagonia Peak Mission Tights. The cold weather tights fit close to the body and the brushed-terry back keep runners warm while still wicking away moisture to ensure a chill doesn’t set in when it’s time for your post-run stretch. The flat elastic waistband includes a drawstring for an added contour fit, which helps keep the wind out. Ideal for running outdoors, the back waist has a zippered pocket for personal items and a reflective logo keeps runners visible even in low light. We also like that Patagonia uses Polygiene permanent odor control to keep your pants smelling good even after a sweaty run.
8. Arc’teryx Trino SL Tights
Windy conditions can end your run prematurely, but with the Arc’teryx Trino SL Tights, you’ll be able to go the distance even in inclement weather. Arc’teryx uses windproof GORE-TEX INFINIUM fabric that keeps the runner warm and makes for tights that will last for several seasons. Designed to be worn year-round, the tights also include Permeable Teslin panels that keep the calves ventilated for added comfort. A gusseted crotch panel and critically taped seams create a pair of tights that offer unparalleled mobility and won’t chafe or rub. We also like that the tights have a drawcord for a more customized fit and include two hip pockets for added convenience.
9. New Balance Men’s Q Speed Run Pant
FOR RUNNERS WHO WANT MORE COVERAGE
For those who aren’t quite ready to take on tights or want something that can be used on the track and for running errands, there is the New Balance Men’s Q Speed Run Pant, a great bridge to help make the transition from sweatpants to tights. The 100 percent poly-knit pants use New Balance’s fast-drying technology to pull moisture away from the body and keep wearer’s dry and warm. The athletic fit is snug to the body while still offering room in the hips and thighs for unrestricted movement. The triple-knit construction is breathable and ideal for cooler temperatures. The running pants also offer ample pocket space for personal items, including woven side zip pockets and drop-in hand pockets.
10. Warmup Legging by Outdoor Voices
BEST FOR WOMEN
Outdoor Voices have developed a devoted following thanks to their bold colors and workout clothes that stay put even through the sweatiest activities. The company has several leggings and tights that are ideal for running thanks to light compression and sculpt fit, including the Warmup Legging. Available in a 3/4 or 7/8 length, the leggings are made with the company’s poly-spandex blend that is moisture-wicking, breathable and appropriate for warm and cool weather. The Warmup Legging doesn’t have any side pockets, so runners may want a pack for their personal items.