Temperatures may have stayed mild for longer than usual this year, but there’s an unmistakable chill in the air now, so it’s time to start thinking about how you can wrap up and stay warm while running during the off season.
Alongside running base layers, hats and gloves, winter running tights are a handy weapon to have in your arsenal when fighting the cold. Below, we explain what you need to consider when buying and share some of our top picks.
What to consider when buying?
As you would when making any purchase, you first need to consider your personal circumstances. Do you tend to run hot? If so, you probably won’t need the warmest tights on the market and can make do with a lighter option.
Do you want pockets, or will you have another means of carrying a phone, key or any nutrition? Are you a fan of compression garments? Do you sweat a lot when running? Will you be wearing shorts over the top? Are you looking for something that protects your modesty?
Will you be running in the dark? If so, you’ll want to opt for a garment that helps boost your visibility to other members of the public.
Answer all of these questions and you’ll have a greater idea of what type of garment will suit you best. Then, take a look at our selection of reviews on the best winter running tights below to see which ones we rate and why.
How should running tights fit?
In order to wick moisture away and insulate effectively, most running tights fit close to the body. However, there are outliers. For example, if the tights have a compressive element to them, then they’ll fit much closer.
On the other hand, you’ll also find some that fit a little looser, such as the Inov-8 tights in this test. That’s handy if you’re planning to wear the running tights on their own and don’t want them to be too revealing.
Best men’s running tights
2XU Ignition Shield Compression Tights
If you’re a fan of compression gear then these tights from 2XU might be for you. They’ve been designed to reduce muscle movement and damage, as well as boost blood flow to muscles through graduated compression.
As such, the fit is very close, so this tester faced a bit of a battle getting into them and found they pulled downward somewhat when running.
Otherwise, they’re very comfortable, with the soft brushed inner feeling lovely and warm. The upper leg uses a water-resistant membrane to keep the worst of the weather at bay, while elsewhere a lighter fabric is used to aid breathability.
These tights feel thicker than some others on test and we found them best suited to colder conditions, as they can feel too warm if it’s cool rather than cold. Moisture management was decent, while there’s also a zip pocket and reflective detailing.
Verdict: A great compressive option for when winter’s here.
Trimtex Element Tights
Trimtex tests and develops its gear in Norway, so you’d think the brand’s kit would be well-suited to the cold. Well, you’d be right. The Element Tights are the most comfortable out of the men’s options in this test, feeling luxuriously soft against the skin. The thick waistband feels great and contains a drawstring.
One thing worth noting is that there’s a flacklock seam on the legs that ran over our knees, though it didn’t cause us any issues. In testing we found the tights plenty warm enough in cold conditions, yet they remained breathable in temperatures approaching double digits, too, and moisture management was impressive.
They fit true to size and hug the skin. There’s also a rear zip pocket and zips on the lower leg, though we’d like more reflective detailing than what’s on offer here. Great value for the money.
Verdict: Impressive tights that feel incredibly comfortable.
Soar Dual-Fabric Tights 3.0
These tights from Soar fit true to size, sit particularly close to the skin and have a compressive nature about them, so we were grateful for the calf zips, which helped us get them on!
Like the brand’s top, which is also on test here, there’s plenty to talk about. For a start, features include a zip pocket at the rear for keys, cards or nutrition, a decent amount of reflective detailing and a comfortable waistband with drawstring.
The fabric is lightweight, breathable and does a great job of moisture wicking, yet offered plenty of warmth on our test runs in single-digit and low double-digit temperatures.
That said, in sub-zero conditions the likes of Trimtex and 2XU may deliver greater thermal performance. Comfort was high, however, with bonded seams remaining anonymous and an uninterrupted range of movement.
Verdict: Not the warmest, but well made and versatile.
Inov-8 Winter Tight
Inov-8 is a reliable brand on the trail and fell running scene. This shows in the Winter Tight 3.0, which has been constructed in a hybrid way.
The front of the tights utilise a windproof and water-resistant softshell, which does a fantastic job of keeping the elements at bay. On the rear you’ll find a softer and more breathable brushed fabric, that helps stop you from overheating and delivers reliable moisture management – it’s needed, too, as that front section can become a little sweaty.
Comfort isn’t quite as sky-high as with Trimtex, but it’s still very good. The fit is true to size, though this 6ft2in tester would have liked a little more length in the legs.
While the tights sit close to the body, they’re a little looser further up, so may be ideal for those looking for more modesty.
A small amount of reflective detailing is welcome, as are the zip and elastic pocket on the rear.
Verdict: Best on test for protection against the elements.
New Balance Core Tights
For a cheaper option, you could consider New Balance’s Core Run Tight. The brand says they use fast-drying wicking technology to whip moisture away from your body, while a claimed snug and stretchy fit is said to provide a full range of motion.
They don’t appear to have much in the way of compression, features or weather protection like some of the products we’ve tested above, but consumer reviews suggest they’re comfortable and true to size. They do have zips on the lower leg, though, which should help you get them on and off.