Looking to buy a pair of men’s running tights or pants? But not sure which one to get?
You might be tempted to pick the first tights you find online, but there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the pair that’s right for you!
This is especially true if you’re a long-distance runner because you need a pair that fits the bill and is also comfortable throughout your run.
Most reviews around here are focused on the ladies because that’s the gear I test. BUT my husband is now running 5 days a week and needed some men’s running pants for his runs.
That lead me down a wormhole of research and his legs got to start testing out some new gear! This post will be updated as more runs are had in different pants, so you’re updated on the latest men’s running tights.
I also asked a number of male running friends in Canada what they do when finally hitting the point where shorts won’t cut it!
In this article, you’ll find all you need to know how to pick the right running pants, and also our top picks!
Let’s jump right in!
Why Should Men Wear Running Tights?
Comfort along with utility is the main reason why men should wear running tights!
Some men don’t like how tight they feel, but we have a solution for that as well if you’re like my husband David and prefer a looser fit.
But when it comes to the classic men’s running tights, they offer a host of benefits.
As a run coach, I always recommend my runners warm up sufficiently before a run. Many running tights compress your muscles, which help warm them up (especially on colder days) and also assist with post-run recovery.
If you’re one of those that struggle with swelling during or post-run, tights can also help minimize that issue. Tights that fit you well can be incredibly comfortable and allow for better mobility.
They’re also a great option for when the weather starts getting colder outside and you need that extra warmth and protection. You can get the benefits of staying warm, without having to excessively bulk up.
Regardless of the reason why you feel you need a pair of new running tights (or two!), you’ll find the right ones for you in this article!
Our Top Picks for Men’s Running Tights in 2023
Whether you’re looking for looser-fit running pants or warmer tights for the winter or even compression tights – we have it all for you here.
Below are our top picks for 2023, I’m certain you’ll find the right pair for yourself here! And if you’re looking for men’s running shorts, we’ve got that covered too.
Men’s Running Pants
Some of you may fall in the same category as my husband…he doesn’t love tights. He’ll wear them, but would prefer things just be a little looser.
Thus I consider these closer to pants than tights.
On Running Pants ($170) – David’s Overall Favorite Pair
These are on the higher end of gear, but as someone who runs in their jackets I can attest to the quality and durability of their gear. These are pants he will get a lot of use from not just for one running season, but many.
- Love the windproof panels (that’s half of staying warm on some runs)
- Looser fit
- Long enough on him at 5’10”
- Has pockets, but have not tested with phone
So far these are David’s favorites. He likes that they aren’t super tight and they feel plenty warm for most runs.
Rockay Men’s Tights ($85) – Anti-Odor and Sweat-Wicking Pair
So far David likes the fit of these and is extremely happy to have a phone pocket so he doesn’t have also wear something to hold it.
The pants are described as ready for the tundra, so I thought they might be fleece lined, but are not.But David has loved these for his spring and fall runs. They provide that extra protection from the wind, along with great sweat-wicking protection.
They are fast-drying and anti-odor as well, so you can take these on a double run day without having to wash them in between the two runs!
- Traditional Tights
- Phone pocket with zipper
- Zippered at ankles
- Anti-odor (an awesome feature)
Bonus! Rockay really cares about the environment too and removes 38 bottles from the ocean for every pair purchased.
Lululemon Surge Hybrid Pant ($128) –Comfortable for Cool Days
I was honestly a little surprised by how many votes Lulu got! I don’t know why, I think it’s that most of the runners I know wearing it are ladies. BUT NOPE lots of recommendations for the Surge.
- I really like that there are length options with the hybrid and jogger
- Great running pants for taller men
- Back pocket for phone
- Jogger style pant
- Good for cool days, but not the super cold winter runs
Korsa Workout Pants ($80) – Great for Running and Biking
These came recommended by a reader whose husband also likes them for biking. That got my attention since David prefers biking and I know will be back at it as the broken hand recovers.
- Very lightweight
- Loose fit
- Zippered pockets – but not for phone
- Could easily wear a tighter base layer under these (see below)
Asics Men’s Thermopolis Jogger ($85) – Great Loose Jogger Style Pants
For those who just truly hate tights, these are a solid option. David has run in a similar style from Under Armour with no issues. I don’t understand how there is no chafing, but there’s not.
- Loose jogger style
- Hand pockets – no phone phone pocket
- 90% polyester they are going to dry fast and provide some warmth, but are not your cold weather pants
I would be more inclined to give you a subtle nudge towards the Lite-Show Winter Tight.
It runs a little large, so you can get tights that aren’t quite so tight and with a better lining to really ensure you stay dry and warm as the temps drop!
Best Men’s Running Tights for Winter
Men’s running pants simply get a little tighter when we start talking winter! These are for those days where you want a pair that has some fleece lining or wool to really keep you toasty.
Checkout the final base layer option if you would prefer wearing something under a looser fit.
I’m told these are mostly appreciated for the boys and the bum. Yes, we had some amusing conversations during this whole testing process.
Brooks Momentum Thermal Tight ($95) –DriFit with a Snugger Fit
These got high marks from a few male runners and were quickly added to our testing list!
- iPhone pocket
- Snugger fit, but still not tight like compression pants
New Balance Heat Impact Tight ($90) – Fleece-Lined with Pocket for Phone
Another one that got some rave reviews and fit our criteria, so it’s on the way for testing.
- Fleece lined is great for warmth while wicking away sweat
- Zippered at calves
- Side pocket for phone
Under Armour Packaged Base Layer 3.0 ($70) – Great Base Layer with Wicking
UA really does a great job overall with apparel. I’ve had success finding things that fit well, as has David over the years. So for the price point, I always find them to be a pretty good option.
- Designed to wear under your looser pants for cold runs
- Soft and comfy, they aren’t polyester slick material or like compression tights
- Wicking as any base layer should be
PixElite Performance Men’s Running Leggings – Great Reflective Tights ($80)
If you’re looking for some tights with good reflective details, these are the ones for you. They provide more reflective pieces than most other tights, without being overwhelming. So, they’re a great pair to wear for chilly winter mornings or after dark.
- Adjustable elastic waistband and cord that stays up quite well
- Back zipped pocket that’s great for your cellphone or other valuables
- Lower leg zip
I recommend ordering a size up when it comes to these tights if you aren’t sure.
Men’s Compression Tights
While I have given David some of my favorite brands, he doesn’t care for the super tight feel of compression gear.
However, many of the guys I asked said they love them and since I think compression pant benefits are worth it…here are two options!
CW-X Stabilyx ($85) – Best Tights for Knee or IT Band Issues
These are my top recommendation for anyone with knee or IT Band issues. The way the webbing it done it provides extra support to both areas.
I’ve not only had great luck with it, but heard from many of you who tried them and agreed they were winners.
These tights combine compression with the benefits of kinesiology tape. The target areas for it are the lower back, pelvis, hips, and knees.
- Thick material, but not lined
- Compression pant
- Great for long runs to provide that extra support
- Only a pocket for a key
2XU Compression Tight ($104) – Best Compression for Quads and Calves
These are more focused on the quads and calves than the previous pair. I tend to wear this style more during recovery, but they are great running pants.
These tights offer Muscle Containment Stamping (MCS) technology which allows for tight compression, while still keeping the fabric light (not too hot).
MCS Technology helps reduce strain and soreness to the glute, hamstring, quad, and calf muscles. MCS mapping targets thighs/quads to dissipate the load transfer on the knee joints as well.
- Highest compression around quads and calves
- Wicking and easy to have full range of motion
- No pockets, runs true to size
Men’s Running Tights with Pockets
As ladies know finding leggings with phone pockets that will stay up takes a little work. I noted in the pants above which one’s specifically have pockets that will work for a phone and not just your hands or keys.
When to Wear Running Tights
You can wear running tights just about anytime during the year! The only time you might want to avoid them is if it’s really hot outside. Again, some folks use them even in warm temps for the compression benefits.
But regardless, you can find the right pair for any other weather. We’ve listed a ton of different options along with the features for all of them in this article.
Just make sure you buy a pair that fits the weather you’ll be running in. Having a more breathable option for warmer seasons, while having a thicker one for the winter is the best option.
Different Ways to Wear Them
You can definitely wear running pants as is, but many men seem to feel a bit uncomfortable when first starting to wear running tights.
If that’s how you feel, don’t worry.
You can wear a thin pair of shorts that doesn’t have a bulky waistband on top of it. A long t-shirt is another way to go about it.
I’m sure you’ll reach a point where you not only feel comfortable wearing a pair of running tights but also prefer it. Regardless, I have a bunch of looser-fit running pants as an option in this article too so you can pick whichever one you like the most!
Just know that if you’re specifically wanting to go for the right pair to get compression benefits, running tights are the way to go (especially the ones under that specific category in this article!).
Is It Ok For Guys to Wear Running Tights?
YES. I think this comes down to your own comfort levels.
Men run sans shirt all summer long, so I’m not sure why we care if they pull on some tights to stay warm in the winter.
- Tights are designed to provide support to all kinds of areas, including your leg muscles. It’s why people like compression gear.
- Tights are designed to protect you from the elements. Keeping you warmer or dryer so you don’t skip runs.
- Running in shorts just to avoid tights does not make you more manly. I checked. It doesn’t.
- It’s okay to wear tights that are, well, actually tight. Proper tights are supposed to feel like a second skin.
Why Do Guys Wear Shorts Over Running Tights?
Personal preference. It’s just like how some women run in a sports bra and others (like me) pretty much never do.
In the winter, they may also find that added layer around the nether regions provides additional warmth. Just like we find our fingers and toes get cold on runs because blood is focused in our core…well gentlemen that’s why you get cold too.
Plus, like I said above if wearing shorts over running tights is what it takes for you to feel comfortable while running, then so be it!
At the end of the day, you’re running for your own self, and feeling comfortable during a run is extremely important, it doesn’t matter how you achieve it as long as it doesn’t lead to bad running bad (and wearing a light pair of shorts on top won’t!).
Things to Consider When Picking the Right Running Pants
When picking the right tights, there are a few things to consider. Some might apply to you, while others won’t.
Let’s go through some important factors and then our recommendations!
Warm or Lightweight
Depending on the season and temperature you want to run in, it’s important to keep in mind how warm or lightweight and breathable the running tights or pants are.
If you’re opting for tights to stay warm, it’s important to make sure they aren’t too bulky as this can restrict your range of motion and hinder your performance.
Also known as moisture-wicking, these are the ones you might especially during warmer weather conditions. It’ll help make sure you don’t feel damp.
If you’re into running early in the morning or after dark, picking tights with reflective details can be helpful to stay safe.
Since many tights are usually dark-colored or black, it can hinder visibility when it comes to drivers or cyclists being able to spot you.
Reflective details will ensure you’re well within their visibility range and can be easily spotted.
Tights provide support to your leg muscles and can greatly help if you struggle with swelling during or post-run.
We have a special category of compression tights down below with our top picks if this is a feature you’re definitely wanting in your next pair of tights.
This is also how running tights differ from some other kinds, such as yoga pants.
Having pants with flat seams can be a massive blessing for many runners. For some people, seams tend to be a big nuisance during long runs or others don’t feel the seams digging into their skin. Regardless, it’s a good thing to keep in mind and figure out where your preference lies.
Any other gear you’ve got questions on? Let me know!
A few other recent tests:
- Best HR monitors (from watches to straps)
- Best wireless headphones for running
- Best sunglasses for running
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