When it comes to the age-old battle of running shorts versus running leggings, the latter always wins in my mind. Unlike shorts which basically just sit there doing nothing on your thighs, leggings encourage better circulation, increase your aerodynamics, and regulate your body temperature (warming you in the cold and cooling you in the heat). When you’re shopping for the best running leggings, keep the following factors in mind:
- Temperature: Some leggings will be thermal, cold-weather tights, while others will be lightweight cooling tights, so think about the climate, the season, and your own running patterns.
- Fabric technology: You don’t want plain old cotton when it comes to running leggings. When you’re working up a sweat, you’ll want synthetic fabrics that wick moisture, regulate odor, and dry quickly. This will typically mean some combination of nylon, spandex, polyester, elastane, or other hybrid blends.
- Comfort and fit: Running requires a lot of motion, and you want leggings that will stay put — not slide down or bunch up. The material should be soft and flexible with plenty of stretch for maximum performance compatibility.
With all of these elements in mind, I've compiled a list of the best running tights in each category, so you can find the perfect pair for your needs.