You’d think finding the right pair of winter running tights would be pretty straightforward, especially in comparison to buying running shoes. But as technical fabrics keep improving and brands get even slicker with their designs, there begins to be a lot more to consider than how pretty they look!
Firstly, there’s temperature control – are they going to keep you warm in sub-zero temperatures and wick away sweat once you warm up? And what about fit – do they have an internal drawcord for a bespoke fit and is the fabric stretchable?
Then there’s practicality – do they have an internal pocket to store your valuables and reflective detailing to ensure you’re seen by traffic in low light? These were the questions we asked when we took some of the latest tights on the market for a test run. These were the seven that came out on top:
ASICS Lite Show Winter Tight
Made from a soft-brushed knit fabric, these tights feel luxuriously soft on the skin and will keep you toasty in frosty conditions. The fabric, however, is technical enough to ensure you don’t overheat and will keep you cool and dry if you begin to overheat.
We loved the reflective detailing on these tights, which enhance visibility well in low light. In terms of fit, these tights came out on top, too – they’re snug around the calves and quads and sit comfortably on the waist, thanks to the thick, deep waistband.
Puma Nightcat Tights
In terms of look and style, these were definitely our favourites. The snazzy abstract print offers a bold look while offering 360-degree reflectivity to ensure you stay safe and seen.
While not quite as luxurious on the skin as the ASICS numbers, these tights do a great job of drawing sweat away from your skin and would be our preferred choice for doing a more intense session, such as speed or threshold work.
For comfort, they also came out on top. Flatlock stitching prevents any skin irritation and the wide waistband feels soft and comfortable on the waist. Given the quality of these tights, we’d say these are a steal at less than £50.
On Running Pants
Love your PJs? Try running in them. Well, don’t – try running in these! Offering a looser fit – and a different look – to most running tights on the market, these tights offer a refreshingly relaxed fit and, thanks to the four-way-stretch Polyester/Elastane fabric, feel super soft on the skin.
The front of the tights are made up of a woven water-repelling fabric, which performed outstandingly when tested out in a downpour. However, while protective, these tights offer excellent ventilation, and can be adjusted at the knee to add extra warmth or breathability, depending on the weather.
While they might be not to everyone’s taste in look (our testers felt they more closely resembled tracksuit bottoms), you couldn’t get much better temperature control from a pair of tights – rain or shine, these tights have you covered.
Salomon Elevate Warm Tight
If you like your tights, er, tight, these are for you. The soft, stretch-knit fabric offers a compression-like fit, offering support on the quads and hamstrings and also good freedom of movement. These tights feel incredibly cosy and absorb and retain heat very well.
That said, the fabric doesn’t have sweat-wicking technology – so probably a better choice for those very chilly morning runs (although they do have zippers at the bottom hem to provide ventilation when needed).
Another feature we would have liked to see more of was the amount of reflective detailing to make them more practical for running in low light, although we absolutely loved the vibrant colour-way.
Howies Rift Run Leggings
Much like the silky-soft feel of On’s relaxed-fit tights, these leggings feel more like pyjamas than running tights – you won’t want to take them off. The soft fabric, made with circular knit technique, feels much like cashmere and the lack of (any) seams is a real treat – you won’t suffer from any skin irratation with these.
The tights feature a ribbed waist with an internal drawcord, offering a bespoke and comfortable fit. In terms of temperature control, they’re probably a safer bet for milder winter days; while the contoured panelling with integrated breathable sections offers brilliant ventilation once you’ve warmed up, you might feel a little chilly at first.
DHB Reflective Run Tight
Perhaps the best value tights on our list, at only £30, these tights are a serious steal. Made from a mid-weight polyester-elastane mix, they have a soft and stretchy feel and non-restrictive fit.
While you don’t have the luxury of soft-brushed knit fabric to keep you cosy – or sweat-wicking fabric properties, they’re perfectly suitable for running in colder temperatures.
What we loved, though, was their excellent reflectivity – they light up at every headlamp so you feel extra safe when going out at night. You also benefit from a rear centre back pocket, ankle zippers and a draw-cord waist.
Helly Hansen Active Flow Pant
Who said winter had to be dreary? These bold aqua-blue tights add a refreshing colour pop to your winter wardrobe and make a real style statement. We loved the soft stretchy fabric, which feels silky against the skin and offers excellent temperature control.
Made from Lifa® Stay Dry technology, these tights quickly and effectively wick moisture away from the skin keeping you brilliantly dry, even during a tough a session.
Designed as a baselayer, you’d definitely need an extra layer on top for warmth in winter and also for the addition of reflective detailing and pocket space.
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