The 4 Best Winter Running Leggings

Running tends to feel easier in the summertime, when the weather is warm and inviting. But when the cold weather hits, you need to have the best winter running leggings on-hand. The right pair will keep your body temperature up without slowing you down.

But not only do these tights need to be warm — they need to be wind-resistant and offer great moisture management, too. Whether it’s raining, snowing, hailing, or you're just working up a sweat, you'll want your tights to wick moisture and dry quickly so that you can still perform your best. And, in today's booming leggings market there is a range of fabrics that can help keep you warm and dry, including merino wool (a temperature regulating material that's naturally moisture-wicking) as well as an array of high-tech fabrics that were specifically developed for working out in cold wet climates.

Below, I've compiled a list of the best workout tights to keep you warm and comfortable on those chilly winter runs. Not only do these leggings promise to keep you warm and dry, but they also include other great features, like pockets for your keys (and some of which are even large enough for your smartphone), compression to increase circulation, and flat-lock stitching to prevent chafing. I also included a range of sizes, styles, and price points, so you can find the pair that's best for you.

1. The Overall Best

What's great about them: Made from 100-percent Merino wool, these are by far some of the warmest winter leggings you can find. Insulating and breathable, these leggings are designed to withstand subzero temperatures, yet they won't leave you feeling too hot in higher temps. The moisture-wicking fabric is odor-resistant, too.

These tights feature a contoured back-rise, which helps keep them from bunching up while you're on the move. Also, they can be thrown in the wash if you turn them inside out first.

What fans say: "Love these, this is my second or maybe third pair! They are great for cold weather layering. I wear them under casual clothes or leggings for out and about and under athletic pants for running/walking in cold weather (4 degrees F the other day). Standing still you [might] still get cold, but I have never felt cold wearing them."

  • Available sizes: X-Small - XX-Large

2. The Runner-Up

What's great about them: These dual-layer cold-weather leggings feature a slick, fast-drying exterior and a cozy, heat-trapping interior that work together to block wind and other elements while trapping your body heat. The material wicks sweat so you stay dry while you run and don't feel weighed down. On top of that, welded seams offer superior comfort and prevent any chafing. While these aren't going to be quite as warm as my previous pick, they're still a solid option at only half the price.

What fans say: "These leggings are nice and thin but at the same time provide serious protection from cold cutting wind. I have worn them outside on cold days (low 30s and "feels like" temps 28 degrees) and they worked beautifully and kept me nice and warm. They are thin enough to wear under jeans or other pants for even colder temps."

  • Available sizes: X-Small - XX-Large

3. The Best Compression Leggings

What's great about them: These high-quality, nylon-elastane thermal compression leggings are designed to bolster circulation, delivering more oxygen to your muscles and helping to increase your endurance. The four-way stretch fabric lets you move freely while shedding moisture from both sweat and external elements like rain or snow. Best of all, the brushed fibers on the inside layer are incredibly soft, making the leggings as cozy as they are functional. One tip: some reviewers found that they run small, so you may want to order a size or two up, depending on your preferred fit.

What fans say: "Great fit. Order a size up if you're in between sizes. Compression is excellent. I ran my most recent half marathon in these with no issues."

  • Available sizes: X-Small - XX-Large

4. The Most Diverse Sizing Options

What's great about them: There is a lot to love about these running leggings, but what really sets them apart is the range of sizes available. Not only do they have sizes that span extra-small to triple-extra large, but you can also choose between short, regular, and tall inseams. They even offer the option to choose between a high- or mid-rise waistband, so you can essentially customize your perfect leggings.

The material itself is medium weight and moisture-wicking. And they have several thoughtful design features, including: mesh panels behind the knee, a smartphone-sized pocket on the thigh, a small zippered pocket in the waistband for keys and money, and ankle zippers.

What fans say: "These are the holy grail of plus size leggings. It's not easy to find a pair of leggings that won't roll down during runs but I didn't have to adjust these once during my last race. The feel of these leggings was great as well. They had a degree of compression to them where I felt secure, but not so much where I felt suffocated. I wish they weren't so expensive, but they are definitely quality leggings and I will probably be ordering more."

  • Available sizes: X-Small - XXX-Large, Short, Tall, and Regular, High or Medium Waist

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