Staying warm while running in the cold is key for staying motivated and not getting injured. I have tested the best winter running tights for runners. The warmest running tights are the Athleta Altitude Polartec. They are comfortable, stay put, and keep your legs toasty. They also have phone pockets! I round up the best winter running tights for women to suit your needs below!
Thanks to El Nino, where I live in mild Tennessee is getting quite cold this winter! We are expected to have sub-zero temps and lots of snow. Not something we are used to! And after being out from running since this summer with a labral tear, I am back and not going to let cold conditions keep me from running! So, I am rounding up my top picks for the best cold weather running tights for women.
Because, honestly, nothing is quite worse than going out for one of your long runs winter weather conditions, and having your legs freezing and not being able to move them.
To round up this list of the best cold weather running tights, I did three things:
- I asked my thousands of Instagram followers for their favorite winter leggings
- I scoured online reviews, and
- Then I tested some of these myself on cold runs (I either already owned them or bought them) or asked my running friends (virtual or IRL) their thoughts on the products.
I weeded out the leggings that didn’t stack up. And I only include cozy and warm winter leggings that stand up to the elements. Not included are your everyday leggings that you can wear in chilly temps. For those, I love Relay Active Kalya Pocket Leggings, Vuori Daily Leggings, and Tracksmith Turnover Tights.
The top ten best cold weather running tights meet the following criteria; they are warm, fit well (mostly, some have a droopy crotch), and have storage (most of them). My below lists includes my typical pros and cons round-up, the tights’ most notable feature, and includes one uber-cheap option.
- 10 Best Cold Weather Running Tights for Women
- Alo Airbrush Winter Warm High-waist Nocturne Legging – Most Flattering Fit
- Athleta Altitude Tight in Polartec Power Stretch – Most Popular
- Janji Groundwork Flyby Tight – Most Durable
- Saucony Runshield Tights – Best Waterproof Tight
- Lululemon Base Pace Fleece Tights – Best Overall
- Craft ADV Essence Wind Tights – Best Windproof Tights
- Athleta Rainier Tight – Most Stylish
- Tracksmith NDO Tights – Warmest Tights
- Under Armor Authentic ColdGear Compression Leggings – Best Base Layer
- 32 Degrees Women’s Base Layer Leggings – Best Budget Leggings
Related: Best Running Mittens for Cold Runs
My top 10 best cold weather running tights include:
- Alo Airbrush Winter Warm High-waist Nocturne Legging
- Athleta Altitude Tight in Polartec Power Stretch
- Janji Groundwork Flyby Tight
- Saucony Runshield Tights
- Lululemon Base Pace Fleece Tights
- Craft Subzero Wind Tights
- Athleta Rainier Tight
- Tracksmith NDO Tights
- Under Armor Authentic ColdGear Compression Leggings
- 32 Degrees Women’s Base Layer Leggings
Note: I am not affiliated with any of these brands. These are honest reviews!
Ok, let’s get to the list of the best cold weather tights, shall we?
Related: THE Best Running Gear for Winter
10 Best Cold Weather Running Tights for Women
Alo Airbrush Winter Warm High-waist Nocturne Legging – Most Flattering Fit
I had to check out these cold weather running tights after Michelle Baxter, who lived in Alaska, and now lives in frigid Minnesota, raved about them being the best running tights she owns. Michelle knows cold and never lets sub-zero temps keep her from training. These Alo leggings have a flattering high waist, “booty-boosting” features, and brushed interior. Meant to go from the yoga studio to the trails or roads, the make is seamless and durable.
- Flattering sculpting fit that lifts your bum Sculpts, smooths & lifts!
- Brushed interior adds breathable warmth
- Moisture wicking and odor resistant
- Pretty sweetheart back seam and no back seams
- Pills after use
- Collects hair
- No pockets for storage or reflective details
Athleta Altitude Tight in Polartec Power Stretch – Most Popular
The Athleta Altitude Tight in Polartec is one of the most popular mainstay winter running tights. And, it is now MY FAVORITE and my daughter’s. They feel like fuzzy socks for your legs without drooping in the crotch. Indeed, from Upstate New York to Alaska to Minnesota to Montana, runners love these tights for keeping them cozy on runs on cold days. Mother runners I talked to say they practically live in their Altitude tights, they are warm yet still breathable. One fellow runner has six pairs! These Athleta cold weather running tights wear well and wash well, lasting through the active lifestyles of mother runners.
- Fleece fabric is sleek on the outside and cozy on the inside
- Back zip pocket and side drop-in pockets for storing energy gels or your phone
- Wide waistband with internal drawcord keeps tights from slipping
- Some don’t like the “snow pants” thick feel
- Stitching comes undone if you don’t follow care instructions
- Some say they fit big or baggy in the crotch. I didn’t find this to be true!
(Note: a dupe of these are the Baleaf fleece-lined leggings. Fit almost the same without the infinity drawstring, but stay put. They aren’t as warm, but warm enough for $34!)
Janji Groundwork Flyby Tight – Most Durable
On sale – $86
Janji knows runners. They make high-quality and practical designs for those on the go. Many of the runners I talked to say these winter leggings are their go-to for when the temps are freezing but also for when they are mild
(like 50 degrees). They have lots of pockets and are also comfy to wear around the house. The thick but not too thick material makes this your perfect leggings for running on the road or on the trails. You can also tighten the waistband to keep it from slipping down. Some users found the crotch a bit too baggy, always a bit of a battle when it comes to leggings.
- Moisture-wicking compression fabric that is light and soft
- Fabric stretches with you and resists odors
- Two deep side pockets and an envelope rear pocket to stash personal items
- Reflective side seams and reflective logos on front and back for visibility in low light
- Baggy crotch area for some
- Best for moderate temperatures. Not as warm in below freezing tempos
Related: Best Pocket Shorts for Runners
Saucony Runshield Tights – Best Waterproof Tight
The Saucony Sunshield Tights are the best waterproof leggings on this list that offer the best weather protection. Built for cold rain or snow, these tights stay dry while trapping in heat and wicking away moisture. The technical bottom has a cozy brushed lining designed to keep your working muscles warm and ready to work. These tights features two deep drop-in thigh pockets on each leg for extra storage. Fitted high waist design and an infinity drawstring to tighten waist.
- High rise and fitted to prevent “drop crotch” as my daughter calls it
- 5 layer waterproof membrane overlays on Solstice recycled brushed back fleece
- Ankle zips at hem for ease of on/off
- Thigh pockets
- Internal infinity drawcord
- Quick-drying fabric
- Reflective detailing including logo and trim
- Some say they still can get saggy crotch
- Ankle zip sometimes rid up
Lululemon Base Pace Fleece Tights – Best Overall
I think I have yet to create a list where I don’t include Lululemon as a recommendation from fellow mother runners. These Lululemon Base Pace Fleece Tights feature Lulu’s Nulux™ which is smooth and lightweight. Fellow runners say you feel like you have nothing on—and I feel the same way. They are seamless and lightly compressive to hug your body. The material is also very breathable. The biggest issue is that the thin fabric can tear easily so it’s not suited for trail running—or falling!
- Sleek weightless coverage with four-way stretch that retains shape
- Quick-drying, breathable and sweat-wicking
- No pilling/lint
- Back pocket
- Continuous drawcord is easy to cinch and won’t get lost in the wash
- No inseam for a smooth stride
- Great for layering
- Tears easily so not for trail runs
- Some say the waist fits small
Related: What Should I Wear for Fall Running?
Craft ADV Essence Wind Tights – Best Windproof Tights
The Craft Subzero Wind Tights were recommended by my followers who live in Minnesota. These tights are incredibly warm with a
brushed inside to add an extra layer of comfort. The elastic fit moves with you. The recycled polyester offers exceptional moisture transport and ventilation as well so you’ll never feel swampy down there. While most wearers love these no frills tights, especially for windy, snowy runs, some customer reviews I read said the latest models aren’t as warm as they used to be.
- Soft, elastic and functional jersey fabric made from recycled polyester and elastane
- Brushed inside for extra warmth
- Waistband with adjustable inner drawcord
- Mesh key pocket inside waist
- Reflective prints
- Are the most colorful on this list!
- Lacks lots of storage
- Fabric isn’t as warm in below-freezing temps, some wearers say
Athleta Rainier Tight – Most Stylish
$109 (Some colors on sale under $30!)
The Athleta Rainer Tight was a favorite among those who love the Athleta Altitude tights, but wanted something for more moderate temps. These tights come in pretty colors with stylish yet functional zippers on the thighs. The material is soft but not incredibly warm for below freezing winter runs.
- Plush SuperSonic material has a soft, brushed interior
- Zip pockets secure your essentials and back drop-in pocket stashes your smartphone
- Reflective details for early morning or after-dusk workouts
- Tears easily
- Too tight for some
- Pockets too small for larger smart phones
Tracksmith NDO Tights – Warmest Tights
Listen, I know that pricetag stings. But these Tracksmith NDO Tights are the warmest on this list, with the brand boasting that you’ll still feel toast in 0 degrees. That’s been my experience with these! NDO stands for No Days Off, so in order to take no days off, you got to have the winter gear to stand up to Mother Nature. Wearers say their legs never feel cold. That was my experience.
These tights are water-repelling, have a double-layered fabric for warmth with a wind-blocking overlay for protection. They also feature envelope pockets on the back to store supplies without having to take off your mittens. Also 360 reflectivity offers visibility in low light. These tights are the step up in warmth from the Tracksmith Turnover Tights which used to be my go -to for winter runs.
- A dual-layer fabric with bonded stretch for windblocking
- Reflective details on right thigh and lower leg
- High-rise waistband with a wide waistband and drawstring to prevent sliding
- Ankle zippers at back cuffs for easy on and off
- Two large envelope back pockets and rear zip pocket in the back for storage
- Tight fitting at waist. Some users said they felt like a sausage.
Under Armor Authentic ColdGear Compression Leggings – Best Base Layer
My first warm pair of tights were these Under Armor Authentic ColdGear Compression Leggings. I was always amazed by how UA’s ColdGear was so thin yet still so warm. Because they are compression tights, they don’t slide down. UA calls these a base-layer but they kept my body temperature up in 20 degrees. Layer over them for colder temps. The stretchy materials traps heat and wicks away moisture, keeping you dry and warm without the bulk. These tights offer no frills, so don’t expect to have pockets or any fancy features.
- Compression fit legging with secure fit that don’t slouch
- Super stretchy material for full range of motion
- Smooth, moisture-wicking fabric that is fast-drying and heat-trapping
- Thin and warm makes it perfect for layering
- Will pill over time
- Material is thin and will tear easily
- One small UA reflective detail
- No pockets
32 Degrees Women’s Base Layer Leggings – Best Budget Leggings
I aim to have an inexpensive option in all my gear lists (especially after the Tracksmith sticker shock!) and several of my Instagram followers told me these were the best budget winter running tights. I mean, you can’t beat the
price. So even if you don’t love them, who cares? You can find these 32 Degree Tights at Costco or Amazon, which has easy returns. They have lots of stretch with a lightly brushed interior for extra cozy warmth. No pockets or special features. Just basic leggings to wear on the run or with your sweater dress.
- 4-way stretch
- Versatile for casual or athletic wear
- Lacks durability and quality
- No special features like pockets or reflective details
I hope this winter running tights round-up helps you keep chasing those spring goals, no matter the temperature outside!
If you need guidance with your training and going after your goals in the winter months, check out my run coaching services. Also, be sure to check out my free training plans:
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