Pants or Tights When It's Cold?

Karen's Take: Pants or Tights in Cold Weather?

Hey everyone,

Winter running is here! Many customers are coming in with questions on tights and pants, “are all bottoms equal?” If this is your first time running in the winter and it is only natural to be a bit nervous.

Note: there are runners who you will see out in 10 degrees in shorts with super red legs. Let them be. Most of them are old school, and don’t want pants or tights and seriously like to see you wince as they run by.  Heck... my husband, Bobby, never ran in pants unless it was under 32 degrees... He's mellowed!

I am going to use 40s for cold, 30s for colder, and 20s and below for the coldest conditions. Everyone is different but this will give you a gauge of what I’d recommend for a given temperature range.

When to Wear What

A Capri or Short vs A Tight: Cold Days (40s)
Tights will cover to the ankle, while a capri won’t. If you tend to feel cold you’ll want a tight.

A Tight vs A Pant: Colder days (30s)
Tights have a close to body, tighter fit that keeps more warm air closer to you. Pants offer a looser fit alternative to those uncomfortable in a tight.

A Thermal vs Non-thermal Options: Colder and Coldest (30s and below)
Thermal bottoms have a fleece brushing on the inside, if the you tend to feel cold while running or plan on running all winter, you will probably want a thermal tight/pant.

Wind blocking Options: Coldest days (20s and below)
These options have wind blocking/water resistant panels on the front of the tight/pant. If you are planning on running on the cold, wet or snowy windy days, at the Harbor or the Loch Raven Reservoir or tend to feel cold while running, this option is for you.

Other Things to Think About

Certain brands: Brooks, Moving Comfort, and Saucony make lengths in winter running bottoms.  Tights seem to be easier to wear if  you have shorter legs.  Shortening some styles are easier than others so always ask if you are unsure.

Most tights have a back zipper pocket, many pant options have bigger side pockets.

Certain brands have their own type of technology used for warmth:
-Mizuno: Breath Thermo the fibers heat up when you sweat to help keep you dry and warm, think about 1 to 2 degree difference.  Brooks: Heather Hog uses a similar technology and is new for this year.
-Some of our socks and apparel use Merino fibers to help regulate body temperature and keeping you warm even when wet. Added bonus: you don’t have to wash these garments as much.
-Saucony, North Face, Asics and Brooks have some wind and weather protection to help keep the wind out and heat in.

-What temperatures are you running in?

-What are you running/fitness goals this winter?

- Do you tend to feel hot or cold when you’re running?

The more information you can share, the easier it will be for a sales associate to help you find good pants or tights.

My Suggestions

The you might go with shorts, capris, or lightweight tight.
Good: Brooks Infiniti tight
Better: Saucony Omni tight
Best: a CW-X tight (gives extra support, can be used spring, fall and milder winter days)

You’ll probably want a pant or full-length tight.
Best: Sugoi Midzero tight

Go with an insulated tight and consider one with wind protection.

Simplicity, superior fit, and quality fabric makes the Sugoi Midzero tight a go-to

My personal favorite brand for running bottoms is Sugoi. They do an awesome job with winter apparel, and if you go with the Midzero tights or their thermal pants options you won’t be going astray.

Please try things on. I also use the Nike Thermal pant with a cuff. I like it because in the 30s and high 20s it is the perfect weight for me, pant version is great because I don’t like tight things on my calves and its cuff keeps out the cold air and wind. On the really cold days, I make sure I wear wicking underwear so I don't stay wet after I run.  I do love going out for coffee ... and well... let's just say a cold bottom is NOT fun!

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