Alright guys, winter is coming, and you know what that means. Lots of annoying Game of Thrones puns, pumpkin spice flavored everything, lazy Sundays watching football, and that disconcerting noise (and smell) your heater makes when you turn it on for the first time in a while. Oh, and it also means that it’s time to toss those running shorts aside and reach for something warmer. One peek at all of the different tights out there can be disorienting, so I’m going to break it down for you. Tights are kind of like superheros. Bear with me as I explain.
You need tights that are going to empower you. Strengthen you. Keep your muscles from fatigue. Help you recover after an intense workout. Save you from freezing in the cold weather. You need something to illuminate you, make you visible, and keep the dangers of the road at bay. In other words, you need a hero. A hero to help you be the best runner you can be, no matter the conditions.
Also, food for thought: Did you notice that many superheros wear tights? Coincidence?! I think not.
That being said, there are a lot of different features to choose from, and knowing what you want and need ahead of time, will make tights shopping a whole lot easier. Allow me to introduce you to the five types of superheros tights you should know.
It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, it’s…
The everyday tight.
Clark’s Choice: adidas Men’s Response Long Tight (MSRP: $55)
This is your basic running tight, good for daily training and armed with the essentials. The Clark Kent of tights: simple in stature, but when you put these tights on, your running experience is transformed. Built with moisture-wicking fabric to keep your skin dry and comfortable, features often include flatlock seams to prevent chafing, reflective details to increase your visibility, and sometimes ankle-zippers to help you get in and get out fast. This is the bread and butter of running tights, everything you need to keep your running routine lively as the temperatures drop.
The Dark Knight Night
Be seen with highly reflective tights.
Mr. Wayne’s Favorite: Nike Men’s Flash Tights (MSRP: $150)
It’s always darkest just before the dawn… or just before you put on your high visibility tights. You prefer to run by the dark of night. You’re fast, but no matter how fast you are, you can’t outrun the dangers that you face while running in low-light conditions. Most tights have some form of reflective detailing, but some tights are a cut above the rest. These high visibility tights are ideal for you runners who embrace the darkness.
3/4 length, cropped, and short tights.
Torch’s Top Pick: Gore Men’s Essential 3/4 Tight (MSRP: $69)
You’re on fire. You run hot, and when you’re giving 110% during your run, full-length tights may be the wrong choice. There are times when full-length tights are necessary, but not today! The smothering feeling of longer tights is enough to make you burst into flames. Cropped lengths are just the ticket – you still get great coverage and support, but thanks to the shorter length and ventilated panels behind the knees and lower back, you will finally be able to breathe and cool down.
You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry
Tights for performance and recovery.
Dr. Banner’s Best: CW-X Men’s Revolution Tights (MSRP: $200)
Like the giant green rage machine, Hulk, you’re incredibly strong. When you get worked up and motivated for an intense run, you transform into a maniacal running monster. You embrace the hardcore running life, and your legs do their best to keep up with your intensity. Give your muscles and joints added support through various compression options, from zonal compression to graduated compression. Many high performance tights also help speed up your recovery, so you can bounce back quicker. Let’s pause a moment and be thankful that when you’re done with your run, you don’t wake up in a field naked.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Best value options.
Spidey’s Selection: Asics Men’s PR Tight (MSRP: $36)
Scraping by on an up-and-coming freelance photographer budget? Saving up to move out of your aunt and uncle’s place? Plans to buy your sweetheart a modest engagement ring? It’s true that money can’t buy virtue, and for some, every penny saved has a purpose. After evaluating your needs, you should probably settle for the basic tights without the bells and whistles. Low-cost doesn’t mean low-quality, however – it’s just low financial commitment. As you sling webs run around the city, you’ll feel great about your run, and great about the money you saved for the next big purchase.