TOP 15 Best Winter Running Tights for Men and Women Reviewed 2018

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Staying warm is probably at the forefront of most runners’ minds in the depths of winter when the thermometer is reading sub-freezing temperatures.

What you wear on your lower half can go a long way towards helping you stay warm.

After all, it’s our leg muscles doing most of the work, so it’s essential that we keep those babies warm and protected.

Thankfully, there is a huge range of running attire to choose from these days, including plenty of tights and pants with varying degrees of insulation and weather-proofing.

A good pair of winter tights in combination with some winter running shoes can set you up for even the worst weather forecast.

But with all the options on the market these days, how do we know what to look for?

No worries folks!

That’s what I’m here for!

Read on to find out how to choose the best winter running tights.

runner at cold snowy weather

Characteristics of the Best Winter Running Tights and Pants

You could argue that it’s what you’re wearing on your top half that is going play more of a role in keeping you warm when running.

After all, a huge amount of heat is lost from the head alone.

So, the warmest winter leggings aren’t necessarily what we’re going for here. But, some insulation on the legs is really important.

Keeping your legs warm, and if possible dry can help to keep you feeling comfortable and your muscles safely warm and supple.

Tights vs Pants

This is a personal preference more than anything. But both do come with their own set of pros and cons.

  • Tights can provide a little a compression which can be helpful for your muscles. If you’d like to read more on this, check out our article on the best compression tights. Tights can also be a little warmer if they are thick and wind resistant, as they won’t allow drafts the way loose pants might.
  • Pants won’t provide any compression. But they can be warmer if they are windproof, with elasticated cuffs to prevent drafts. They also have the added bonus of allowing you to wear an extra base layer underneath in really cold conditions.

Some people are more comfortable in looser fitting clothes while others prefer form-fitting clothing.

I fluctuate throughout the month depending on how I’m feeling!

couple jogging outside in winter

Insulation

Insulation is important for leggings. Non-insulated leggings really won’t help to keep you much warmer than bare skin if they’re not trapping any warm air.

It’s best if the leggings have a windproof outer and a brushed, insulating inner layer.

Where pants are concerned, insulation is slightly less important if they are windproof, as they should trap a layer of air between your skin and the pants (provided they’re not letting in any drafts).

However, in extra cold weather, a layer of fleecy insulation will not go amiss in pants as well as tights!

Breathability

Legs sweat, yes they do.

Not as much as your pits, but still enough to make you feel uncomfortably damp if your tights aren’t breathable.

This makes it really important that the material used in winter tights and pants is breathable to let moisture escape.

Water and Wind Resistance

Water resistance, oddly enough, isn’t a deal breaker.

Most tights are designed so that they will still help keep you warm even when they’re wet. But if you live in a really wet climate, water resistance is definitely a plus.

Wind resistance, on the other hand, is a must if you want your tights or pants to do anything significant in the warming department.

Non-windproof tights or pants will be warmer than wearing shorts, but not by much when the weather gets really bad.

The cold wind will blow right through the material and take your body heat with it.

Wind resistance is arguably even more important than insulation, as wind resistance can be enough by itself, but insulation isn’t much good without wind resistance.

trail runner training in winter

Comfort and Ease of Movement

The best winter running pants and leggings should be, above all, comfortable and easy to move in!

The material should be soft, stretchy and not restrict your stride in any way.

If you’re wearing pants, they should have some extra material around the knees so that you’re not fighting against them when you bend your knees.

Tights should also be cut in a way that allows easy stretching over the knee so that you’re not using up energy each time you contract those hammys.

Zips, Draw Strings and Pockets

These things are also personal preference, but they can be deal breakers for some people.

So, to make sure you don’t realize that you’d really love a pocket for your phone once you’re half way down the road in your new tights, have a think about whether these features are important to you or not.

A small zippered pocket can be super useful to carry keys and other small items. Zippered lower legs can also make taking tights on and off a lot easier, especially if they have tight ankles.

Some tights come with drawstring waists as well as the elastic waistband which can be really useful if you’re prone to tights sliding down when you run.

To summarize, the best cold weather running tights will consist of a wind resistant outer and a cozy insulating inner.

They will also be breathable, comfortable, easy to move in, and have the right combination of zips, draw strings and pockets to suit your requirements.

Now that you’ve got the know-how, here is a selection of the best winter tights and pants on the market right now:

TOP 15 Best Winter Running Tights Reviewed 2018

New Balance Men’s Windblocker Tights

Review: These fleecy leggings with wind blocking panels are guaranteed to keep you warm in the iciest of winds.

Stretchy and comfortable with all the necessary zips and reflective details, there’s not much to complain about with these top quality winter tights.

Pros

  • NB Heat Technology fabric keeps your legs toasty warm.
  • Knit laminate wind proof fabric insulates against cold wind.
  • Zip pocket.
  • Reflective strips.

Cons

  • Not ideal for really wet weather.

Takeaway

These are easily some of the best men’s winter running tights 2018.

Asics Men's Lite-Show Winter Tights

Review: These plush leggings are soft and warm against your skin but remain breathable so that you won’t overheat.

Easy to move in and with light compression properties these leggings are very comfortable for winter running.

Pros

  • Brushed knit inner fabric is warm and soft.
  • Lower leg zips.
  • Reflective details.
  • Laminated zip pocket.
  • Elasticated waistband with drawstring for extra adjustability.

Cons

  • Not ideal for very wet weather.

Takeaway

Thick and warm without being cumbersome, these leggings put a reliable insulating layer between you and the frigid winter air.

These are some of the best men’s winter running tights.

Adidas Men's Response Climawarm Tights

Review: The simple and non-fussy design of these pants is refreshing. They do what they’re designed to, encasing your legs from hips to ankle in cozy, warm, insulating fabric to protect you from the cold.

Pros

  • Climawarm fabric is insulating, wind resistant and breathable.
  • Zip side pocket.
  • Zippered lower legs.
  • Reflective details.
  • Elasticated drawstring waistband.

Cons

  • Not water resistant.

Takeaway

These are some of the best cold weather running tights, being insulated, breathable and wind resistant.

Asics Men's Thermal XP Slim Running Pants

Review: These pants find the happy medium between tights and pants, being snug fitting and easy to move in with no excess material.

With a thermal inner and water repellent outer, they are the perfect recipe for winter running.

Pros

  • Thermal inner is warm, moisture wicking and breathable.
  • Water repellent outer keeps the wind and rain off you.
  • Zippered back pocket just big enough for keys or a gel.
  • Elasticated drawstring waistband.
  • Lower leg zips with reflective strip.

Cons

  • Zippered pocket too small for a phone.

Takeaway

These are easily some of the best winter running pants on the market right now, guaranteed to keep you warm in below freezing temperatures.

Tesla Men's Windproof Thermal Winter Pants

Review: These pants are another great midpoint between pants and tights. But best of all, they are water resistant, making them ideal for all kinds of winter weather.

Pros

  • TPU outer layer gives water resistance.
  • Thermal waffle fleece inner is warm and insulating.
  • Lower leg zips for easy dressing/undressing.
  • Drawstring waistband.
  • Zippered side pockets.
  • Very affordable.

Cons

  • May not be very breathable if you sweat a lot.

Takeaway

For this price, you can’t really go wrong with these pants.

Warm, water-resistant and comfortable, they’ll be a valuable asset for your winter running.

Brooks Men’s Notch Thermal Pants

Review: Brooks Notch thermal pants are lightweight, very easy to move in and toasty warm, they will make running in freezing temperatures a pleasurable experience!

Pros

  • Moisture-wicking fleece interior keeps you dry.
  • Zippered side pockets.
  • Stretchy material and body contoured design allows for plenty of movement.
  • Elasticated waistband.
  • Space to wear tights underneath if you really need to.

Cons

  • Not water resistant.

Takeaway

These are a great pair of running pants for cold, dry weather, being lightweight, easy to move in and very warm.

Baleaf Men's Tapered Athletic Running Pants

Review: Made of moisture wicking, breathable quick-dry material, these running pants are popular for a reason.

They are comfortable and easy to move in while being the extra insulating layer you need in winter.

Pros

  • Very affordable.
  • Very comfortable and easy to move in.
  • Large pockets.
  • Draw string waistband.

Cons

  • Be careful with the sizing, and if you’re not sure, size up to be safe.
  • Not water resistant.

Takeaway

These are a comfortable, warm, and very affordable pair of running pants that you just might want to sleep in.

4ucycling Men's Windproof Athletic Pants

Review: As a slightly looser fitting option, these very affordable, but very popular pants make a versatile addition to your running wardrobe.

They are soft and comfortable with a fleece inner and water repellent outer, but leave enough room for a base layer if the weather gets really Baltic.

Pros

  • Loose enough to allow for an extra base layer underneath.
  • Water repellent!
  • Zippered pockets and lower leg zips.
  • Designed to allow for easy movement, particularly around the knees.
  • Drawstring waist.

Cons

  • Sizing runs small.

Takeaway

If you want some looser fitting pants with insulation and a water repellent outer, you’d do well to give these a shot.

Under Armour Women’s Cold Gear Authentic

Review: These tights are reliably warm and breathable for winter running. The dual layer fabric has a cozy, moisture wicking, brush inner and quick dry exterior.

As well as being great to run in, these are also compression tights as an extra bonus for your muscles.

Pros

  • Moisture wicking, warm inner of soft brush polyester.
  • Thick waistband is comfortable against your stomach.
  • Deceptively thin material means they don’t feel bulky.
  • Very stretchy and mildly compressing.

Cons

  • No zip pocket for keys or small items.
  • No lower leg zip or reflective details.

Takeaway

If you’re looking for plain and simple, these are leggings to go for. Warm without being excessively bulky.

Asics Women’s Thermopolis Tights

Review: These brushed fabric tights are designed to be the warm layer you need to keep you insulated on your winter runs.

They are a very soft, single layer of brushed fabric that is moisture wicking and breathable.

Pros

  • Zippered, water resistant back pocket.
  • Wide contoured waistband.
  • Brushed polyester inner is soft and warm.

Cons

  • Not warm enough for really really cold weather.
  • Not water repellent.

Takeaway

These tights are ideal for cold weather running when you just need something a little thicker than your regular tights but nothing too serious.

These are some of the best women’s winter running tights.

Oiselle Women's Moto Lesley Tights

Review: Fleece lined with the softest material you can imagine, these are some of the most comfortable running tights on the market.

They are a pleasure to run in and keep you toasty in cold weather at the same time.

Pros

  • Zippered rear pocket.
  • Compression tights.
  • Very, very, comfortable material.
  • Drawstring waistband.

Cons

  • Length may be a little short on some people so you may have to wear longer socks if you want all your skin covered.
  • Not water resistant.

Takeaway

If comfort is your priority, you can’t really go wrong with these tights.

You’ll probably want to keep them on for the rest of the day and then go to bed in them.

Salomon Women's Elevate Warm Tights

Review: If you love slightly thicker leggings that really feel as though they’re putting a solid layer between you and the outside world, these are a great choice.

The brush knit fabric is plush, comfortable and breathable.

Pros

  • Thick brush knit fabric is cozy and warm.
  • Lower leg zippers.
  • Wide waistband.
  • Zippered back pocket.
  • 4-way stretch with a good amount of compression.

Cons

  • Reflective details are minimal.

Takeaway

Thick and insulated but breathable, these winter leggings are ideal for cold weather running.

Baleaf Women's Thermal Fleece Running Tights

Review: These popular tights are fleece-lined, moisture wicking and breathable, making them very comfortable to run in.

Designed for running or cycling, they are thick and cozy while not restricting movement.

Pros

  • Moister wicking material keeps you dry.
  • Cozy fleece lined inner is soft and warm.
  • Stretchy and snug fitting material.
  • Lower leg zips with reflective trim.
  • Very affordable.

Cons

  • Waistband is narrow and a little tight.

Takeaway

If you’re small around the waist or don’t mind a waistband on the tighter side, these leggings are comfortable, warm and perfect winter running.

Brooks Women's Threshold Pants

Review: As a looser alternative to tight fitting leggings for the girls, these Brooks pants will keep the wind off you on the days when you don’t feel like squeezing into some skin-huggers.

The semi-fitted design traps a layer of warm air between your skin and the outer world without being drafty.

Pros

  • Drilayer® inner is moisture wicking to keep you dry and comfortable.
  • Brushed interior is soft and warm.
  • Wind-resistant exterior.
  • Wide, elasticated waistband.

Cons

  • Not water resistant.

Takeaway

Simple, sleek and comfortable, these running pants are the perfect alternative to leggings for the cooler weather. These are some of the best women’s winter running pants.

Nike Women’s Thermal Running Pants

Review: As another super comfortable alternative to leggings, these looser fitting running pants are lightweight, warm and very easy to run in.

Pros

  • Brushed Dri-fit thermal fabric is soft and warm with moisture wicking properties.
  • Zippered pockets.
  • Cinched ankles.
  • Wide elasticated waistband.

Cons

  • No reflective material.
  • Not water resistant.

Takeaway

Comfortable, soft and warm, these running pants are ideal for cold weather running, with space to wear a base layer underneath for really insane temperatures.

With a good mix of leggings and pants with varying degrees of warmth and water resistance, this list covers all bases for winter running tights.

And, if you haven’t yet considered the world of winter running shoes, check out our article to find your ideal shoe to pair with the tights above.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the read and have found something that fits the bill for your winter running needs.

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