Winter running for some runners means continuing right on with their shorts wearing determination (yup I’m looking at my Colorado bad ass friends). But for me winter running tights ensure I get out the door and enjoy the miles a great deal more!
Moving to Colorado in 2015 from Florida, my gear closet quickly grew to now handle all the seasons.
Since then I’ve run in a ton of different styles and have narrowed it down to my top picks to help you out.
What am I looking for in a good winter running tight?
- Wicking – we don’t want anything that holds on to our sweat
- Fleece or wool that helps with the warmth and wicking
- Sometimes wind protection
- Stays up and doesn’t sag
- Bonus when it has a pocket
Best Winter Running Tights
Even in winter tights we have a HUGE range depending on what temps you’ll be heading out in to and whether it will be snowing or windy. All of these weather factors mean a couple different essentials might be needed in your closet for comfort.
This list is focused on the best tights for women, though many come in men’s styles.
Checkout my top men’s running pants tested by my husband!
Mild winter running tights
When the temperature drops and you need a warm tight, but it’s not truly fridge these are my best running tights.
Many of you will be fine with these all winter because remember our body temperature makes it feel 20 degrees warmer once we start running!
- Wool drys quickly and helps wick moisture away
- Cute ribbed design down the side adds a fun feature without bright colors
- No pockets at all
New Balance Heat Tights ($90)
- Midrise fit with a couple small pockets
- Soft fit that will again provide sweat-wicking, while keeping you warm
- Probably a little short for my very long legs, but still enjoyable
- For evening runs there’s reflective along the ankles
Smartwool Merino Wool Tights ($120)
- Slightly warmer than the two listed above, but I love merino wool for winter!
- Colorblocking is really attractive!
- Multiple pockets side could maybe fit a phone, this is one I didn’t get to test yet
Winter tights with pockets
We’ve got a super warm tight and one that helps to cut the chill! When you need pockets for more than a gel, we’re talking about being able to hold a phone comfortably.
Title Nine Crash 2.0 PolarTec – Fleece Winter Running Tights ($99)
I happily wore these last year and have already pulled them out again this year. The fleece lining feels great and truly keeps me warm on the run.
- Super warm – these are a step up in warmth from the previous tights
- Love the zippered pocket, plenty big enough for my phone
- Tons of color options which is nice, as so much seems to just come in black
- Pretty much long enough for my 33 in inseam
Nike Pro Therma Fit ($60)
I love my Nike winter tights, they aren’t too heavy and now the updated version has a pocket!!
- Fleece feels soft to pull on
- They’re always long enough for my long legs
- Side pocket for phone and back zippered pocket
Leggings for Windy Winter Runs
I’ve said before that running in the wind is one of my least favorite things. I don’t mind the cold, but oh man that wind can really whip off the mountains here!!
These tights add in just a little extra to help keep the wind from cutting.
I’ve used a lot of UA gear and generally like it. I would say tights are almost long enough for my 33 Inch inseam and usually run just a bit large on sizes.
- water-resistant layer adding a break to the wind
- Polyester is indeed also good for wicking
- Front pocket will fit most phones
- Mid-rise with a pocket along the low back for phone
- Provides wind blocking and water resistant (most water will roll off you, not waterproof)
- Ankle zippers help get them over my big calves!
Warmest winter running tights
Often winter running means I’m doubling up with a base layer and a top fleece running tight for extra warmth. These I select when I need the warmth and don’t feel like doubling up.
These have a thicker feel like a snow pant and yet maintain breathability.
- Sizes do run a little small
- They’re known for winter sports, so they know how to make gear that you can sweat in and stay warm
- Soft inside with tons of windbreaking on the outside
- Hip pocket good for small things, but not a phone pocket
Athleta Altitude Tight ($98)
- PolarTec fleece is warm, but light and super fast drying
- Wide waist band means the phone pocket is on your low back (very comfortable)
- Comes in regular, petite and tall — wohoo
- Goes from XXS to 3X — wohoo
Compression Winter Running Tights
You know I’m a fan of my compression tights for long runs to help with muscle fatigue and joint support. Why would I want to give that up for winter?!
CW-X Insulator Thermal Tight ($120)
- This is my go to brand for extra love on the knee and IT Band muscles
- Good combo of the compression along with some added warmth
- No pockets, but does have the anti-odor technology that I so love
- Usually these are maybe a shade short on my 5’9″ frame, but very close
BONUS: I have heard good things about the Tracksmith Turnover tights, but I have not tested any Tracksmith gear. I’m told they are super soft with a back pocket for your iphone!
Any other gear you’ve got questions on? Let me know!
A few other winter running guides!
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