Running tights buying guide

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What are running tights?

Running tights are designed to fit closely against your body’s natural contours, offering flexibility and comfort during your run. They are constructed using lightweight synthetic fabrics such as Lyrca, nylon, polyester, elastane and merino. These fabrics have excellent wicking properties, taking moisture away from your skin to ensure comfort.


Why are run tights so helpful to runners?

Warmth: One of the primary reasons runners wear tights is to protect themselves from the cold. Tights help create a pocket of warm air next to the skin and this helps keep the muscles warm.

Compression: Running tights fit closely against the skin and the resulting compression can help prevent injury and aid recovery. Compression works by limiting muscle movement and assisting blood flow to the legs.

Wicking: Running tights use many materials and technologies to wick away sweat from your body. This ensures that you maintain an optimum body temperature and stay cool and dry. When you’re buying a pair of tights you will notice that brands have their own specific names for their wicking and ventilation fabrics.

  • Dri-FIT from Nike
  • Climacool from Adidas.
  • Powerlite™ from Ronhill

Versatility: A major advantage of running tights is that they can be used for running, working out, cycling or skiing. They’re also an excellent garment for seasonal variations as they provide a cooling function for milder temperatures and offer much needed warmth during colder temperatures.

Aerodynamics: Loose fitting clothing can catch pockets of wind which can slow you down. The slim-line design of running tights enables the runner to avoid drag while running. This is especially relevant in time sensitive run disciplines such as sprinting. The close fit of run tights also ensures that no loose clothing material can chafe against the skin and cause irritation.

Skin protection: Some running tights have inbuilt UPF protection, while others provide a basic level of sun protection. Nylon and polyester running tights are resistant to UV rays. You should consider buying a pair of running tights with inbuilt SPF if running in higher altitudes.


What types of tight are best for you?

Running tights come in a variety of different lengths and styles. When deciding to buy a run tight you will need to determine what length will work best for you.

Knee high: This is a tight that sits just above the knee and is usually constructed from light weight fabrics. These tights are suitable for warm weather conditions.

3/4 or Capri length: This is a mid calf length tight favoured by runners who are looking for protection in moderately cold conditions.

Full length: Full length tights provide the runner with total lower body coverage and protection from very cold weather.

Compression tights: Compression garments enhance performance, delay fatigue, lower the risk of injury and speed up recovery times. Based on fabrics and technology originally developed for medical compression products, they help to eliminate muscle and joint pain by supporting the muscles and reducing shock and vibrations.


Pockets, Zips and Visibility

Pockets: It’s important for running tights to have pockets which are unobtrusive. They are usually located on the external waist or back pocket area. Tights can also come with internal pockets. Some running tights come with secure zip pockets for small item storage. Compression tights rarely come with pockets as this feature can compromise their design.

Zips: These are used mainly on pockets so items remain secure. Tights can also be closed at the ankle using zips.

High Viz: Many run tights also come with reflective designs such as piping and strips to increase visibility at night or low light conditions. These features are strategically placed usually on the ankle areas and behind the knees.