When I first started working in New York City, one of the first things I noticed was just how windy it was. Under such conditions, it can be slightly tricky to dress in enough layers to keep the wind out and simultaneously stay warm. It’s not uncommon for running brands to organize runs to outfit writers and editors in their latest and greatest gear when something new comes out. One of the first events like this that I attended was a run in Central Park with Sugoi. Back when the brand was making running gear, they had some toasty stuff. The fleece-lined tights were a part of my winter running kit for years — they were just tight enough (most winter tights are seemingly for super skinny runners), the fleece never washed weird and the waistband stayed put after hundreds of miles.
Unfortunately, Sugoi isn’t making as much running gear anymore, but the major point to take from all of this is that fleece-lined tights are non-negotiable when the temperatures drop below 30, even 40. My rule of thumb is to dress for 20 degrees warmer than the real feel (don’t ask where I’ve heard it, it’s runner lore at this point). With that in mind, here are a variety of the top-performing tights that you can pull on before your next outdoor winter run.
Under Armour UA ColdGear Armour Compression
Despite what you may initially think, Under Armour’s HeatGear technology is built to keep you cool and dry, while the ColdGear fabrics work to keep you warm. No matter how many degrees the temperatures drop overnight, you can pull these out of your drawer with confidence. A brushed interior means they’re smooth to the touch and soft once on. The exterior wicks away sweat to dry so you won’t freeze. Throw these on for your long run, then zip over to your kids’ soccer game, throw on some sweats, and you’ll be good to cheer from the sidelines for the entire game.
New Balance Challenge Thermal Tight
Take your long johns, make them fit like a glove and then eliminate any and all seams and you’ve found the Challenge Thermal tight. The elastic waistband is soft and easy to adjust, so you don’t have to worry about constantly pulling on the tights. Again, the brushed interior comes into to play with a few select spots of mesh paneling. We’d recommend you stick with these on the above zero days, especially with the mesh.
Nike Shield Tech Running Tights
For all of January through May (when it started warming up in New York City), I ran in a pair of Nike Shield tights and top weekly. Each piece has recently begun to make a new appearance this year, and I expect to have to update it sometime this winter. Nike’s shield technology features weather-resistant fabric (AKA snow and ice and rain-resistant) with zippers alongside your ankles so you can unzip if you heat up too quickly.
Asics Lite-Show Brushed Knit Tight
In recent years, Asics has upped the visibility in its winter running products, helping to make you seen when you head out after work for a run. These tights feature three stripes across the top of your thighs, knees and ankles to help you be noticed by motorists. A pull-tight waist cord means these will stay up long after they stretch out. You can feel confident when you head out for an early morning or evening run.
The North Face Winter Warm Tights
Highly stretchy tights are a must-have when heading out into sub-zero temperatures. You don’t want something too tight, with seams that rub the wrong way as the chill will exacerbate that problem. These are moisture-wicking as well thanks to FlashDry fibers, so they stay breathable, too. These can also double as a base layer for skiers and snowboarders as well.