You aren’t wearing pajamas—they’re just your super-cozy running tights.
Cold weather doesn’t have to send you inside for treadmill workouts. Arm yourself with the right pair of bottoms—you know, the ones with soft, fleece-lined interiors that make you feel like you’re pulling on a pair of pajamas—and run outside virtually all winter long. (Thankfully, performance features like ankle zippers and reflectivity inspire heading out the door for a run instead of climbing back into bed.)
And unlike pajamas or your coziest sweatshirt, the fabrication of running tights and pants lined with fleecy interiors means they’re ready to perform on the run. The soft-against-your-skin interior keeps you warm while also wicking sweat, and works in conjunction with smooth exteriors to regulate your temperature, trapping just enough heat against your body while allowing just enough to breathe. (Read: no sweaty, suffocating legs or behind.)
Pants vs. Tights
Generally speaking, the snug-fitting nature of tights will keep you warmer than loose-fitting pants; tights mitigate cold air from circulating within. Pants give you the option of wearing them on their own or layering over tights, and work well for slipping them back on post-run. That said, temperature ranges vary among tights and pants based on thickness of the material, and whether or not the exterior fabric has any windproofing. Windproof fabric adds warmth, usually at the cost of some breathability.
All tights in this roundup have the basic needs of a solid pair of winter running bottoms. They’re warm (but not too warm), comfortable, wick sweat, have at least one pocket for a key or other necessities, and have reflective details—some more than others. Read on to find the pair of cozy bottoms that are ready to keep you running outside as the temperatures drop.
Asics Lite-Show Brushed Tight
Running through winter requires staying safe in low light, both in darkness and on dreary days. The “Lite-Show” in this tights’ description refers to reflective striping across the front and backside of the legs (also seen from the sides). The tights are snug-fitting, with zippered ankles for easy on-and-off, and a mesh panel at the lower mid-back—a high sweat zone. The polyester/spandex blend is soft and brushed on the interior, and smooth and sleek on the exterior.
Tracksmith Turnover Tight
Constructed with a blend of Italian fabric (this is Tracksmith, after all), the Turnover Tights strike the balance of being form-fitting and skin-hugging without feeling constricting…or, too revealing. The brushed interior is soft and supple, while the smooth exterior face sheds a light rain. The fabric is extremely stretchy while maintaining its shape, and dries quickly. Bonded seams and a flat, elastic waistband increase comfort, and a zippered back pocket fits a phone without bouncing too much.
Kari Traa Women’s Toril Tights
From the women’s-only Norwegian brand, the Toril tights’ softshell fabric blocks wind on the front side of the tights to keep the chill in cold and windy climes at bay, while the backside lets heat escape while remaining warm. The brushed fleece interior (which lines the front and the back) feels great against the skin, as does the flat, wide and high waistband that eliminates the uncomfortable belly pinch. A zippered back pocket keeps keys and other small items secure.
New Balance Heat Tights
A super-wide, flat waistband, and all-around fleecy interior, make these tights extremely comfortable. Performance features include fun reflective detailing around the calves, and on the sides and thigh (the logo is reflective). A smooth exterior helps shed light rain and snow, and a large quick access pocket fits a phone, while a back zippered pocket holds small items securely.
The North Face Women’s Warm Mid-Rise Tight
Simplicity rules with these thick, warm tights, as a lack of ankle zips or giant logos allow them to crossover into around-town cozy bottoms for walking the dog or running an errand. On the run, the fleece-interior and brushed exterior performs by wicking sweat, and a zippered back pocket opens from both sides for ease of access. A high waist adds comfort…and warmth. BestProducts.com agrees, these leggings will keep you warm in subzero temps.
Craft Women’s Urban Run Tights
These fleecy tights have an urban-cool look, with incognito reflectivity—those stripes on the shins become reflective under car headlights. A wide waistband enhances comfort, and also looks cool with its low, dropped seam-line. Zippers at the ankles add functionality, and a hidden zippered pocket stores small essentials.
Salomon Agile Warm Tight
A soft, brushed interior meets a smooth exterior in these warm tights. The fit is snug, but the material stretches for comfort. Zippered ankles allow to fit to remain streamlined, and a zippered back pocket is big enough for a phone. Reflective detailing add safety for road running in low light.
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